Government Reform

Don't Pay Your Taxes, Don't Get Paid in Tax Dollars. Simple.


this will happen to at least one Chaffetz staffer, and it will be awkward

I love a nice political stunt.

Just in time for tax season, California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (and former HP exec) is backing legislation that would set up new rules to give the heave ho to any federal employee who hasn't paid their taxes. The bill was proposed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)—who goes by the hilarious Twitter name jasoninthehouse—and it stipulates that "persons having seriously delinquent tax debts shall be ineligible for Federal employment."

From Fiorina's press release:

The measure would extend to all federal government employees an existing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policy that allows the agency to terminate its own employees who do not pay their income taxes. According to the IRS, 447 House employees and 231 Senate workers failed to pay federal income taxes in 2008. House staff owed $5.8 million in unpaid taxes, and Senate staff owed $2.46 million in unpaid taxes last year. The IRS also reports that 276,000 federal civilian employees owed $962 million in unpaid federal income taxes in 2008.

Remember when a passel of Obama appointees didn't pay their taxes either, but then a bunch of them got to hold really important jobs anyway? Good times.

NEXT: Ten Years of Union "Ugly" in California

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Isnt Fiorina considered the Libertarian in this race?

    1. I think that Tom Campbell is considered that.

    2. Carly Fiorina is considered the idiot in this race. See: Demon Sheep.

      Campbell’s the libertarian in this race.

      1. Nancy Peolosi is considered a libertarian in CA.

        1. No, but she is considered to be a serious person and a responsible politician, which is even more bizarre.

  2. Paying taxes is for suckas!!

    1. Every year on the fourth of July I look at how much tax debt I have and estimate how much I need to pay the rest of the year. I aim for just above a zero return. I have had to pay taxes one year because of unforeseen changes. Having to tap the HELOC was not my first choice but the best at the time.

  3. Damn Straight!

  4. it stipulates that “persons having seriously delinquent tax debts shall be ineligible for Federal employment.”

    Prediction: No amount of tax debt will be found to be seriously delinquent, and so no one will be fired.

    Why the fuck do they have to use this kind of weasel wording? Why can’t they just give a hard, bright-line test:

    Any federal employee who has not paid his or her taxes in full within six months of the due date will be terminated immediately and will not be eligible for re-hire for five years.

    Employees who are more than six months late, but whose tax liability has not been finally determined by the exhaustion of all appeals, shall be suspended at half pay. In the event that it is determined on appeal that they owed no taxes, they shall be reinstated and any wages withheld shall be paid in full.

    1. Well, taking the number of senators and congressman, determining 90%, than adding the rest of them, which equates to the number who have knowingly evaded taxes, and/or unknowingly, which mops up everybody else…yup, theres your problem…or feature. You would never have a quorum.
      Have you paid all your taxes? If you believe that, you have never talked to an IRS auditor.

      1. I have? If not, then there is something seriously wrong with the 2009 1040EZ form and my 2009 W-2.

    2. How is it that us petty citizens can come up with a better plan than our so called leaders?

    3. They can’t do that, RC. Because they always have to put escape clauses in…for themselves.

    4. And note that “seriously delinquent” refers to the amount of time the debt has been outstanding, not the amount of the debt. Unless of course you read it so that “seriously” modifies both “delinquent” and “tax debts,” which I don’t.

    5. In the event that it is determined on appeal that they owed no taxes, they shall be reinstated and any wages withheld shall be paid in full.

      Awesome, so if the IRS investigates and you’re found cleared, free vacation.

      Await the government employees who manipulate the system to get audited on purpose.

    6. Spot on, RC.

      But you know as well as I do if it didn’t contain weasel wording the bill wouldn’t get a single co-sponsor.

    7. R C Dean for President

  5. Oh, and one more:

    Any employee who accepts half pay while litigating their appeal shall be required to repay wages received while on suspension in the event it is determined on appeal that they owed taxes.

  6. I think you need something for a payment plan. “Paid in full” would have you firing anyone on a plan, but that’s a pretty easy fix, I would think.

    1. I think you need something for a payment plan.

      Why? Pay your fucking taxes on time, or get of the taxpayer tit.

  7. RC, you forgot “ineligible.” If I were defending one of these tax-feeding buttclowns I would argue the rule only applies to prospective employees, not current. I’m not saying it would work, but it’s not Rule 11 sanctionable to make that argument.

  8. I have to ask: are these people “tax cheats” or are they merely unable (like most Americans) to decipher the fucking morass of idiotic and impenetrable tax rules?

    Of course, the fact that they are actually in a position to effectively advocate for tax simplification, and do not, is all the more reason to despise them.

    1. I have to ask: are these people “tax cheats” or are they merely unable (like most Americans) to decipher the fucking morass of idiotic and impenetrable tax rules?

      The IRS doesn’t care, and neither do I.

      Unless the people most able to affect our tax code lie broken and bleeding in the street until its fixed, it won’t get fixed.

    2. like most Americans

      I get such a kick out of this myth, whenever I see it. “Ohh, taxes are sooooo haaaaarrrrd!” No, actually, most Americans can do basic arithmetic if they’re willing to take their attention away from their TVs and cell phones for five minutes together.

      Of course, if government employees find their taxes too complex, they could always simplify them and institute a flat tax. “Ohhh, but that’s soooo haaaaarrrrd!” Yeah. Well, enjoy unemployment then, AFAIC.

      1. Don’t forget, Federal Employee taxes are soooo complicated due to stock options, offshore tax shelters, wind turbine farms, etc. No federal employee should be expected to complete their tax return – it’s just too difficult.

  9. “persons having seriously delinquent tax debts shall be ineligible for Federal employment.”

    What? You mean the Feds won’t let them work it off?

    1. LOL. You said “work”.

      1. You said “Feds” and “work” in the same sentence.

        EPIC LULZ!!

  10. Why do they pay income taxes at all? Lower their pay by a commensurate amount and the money doesn’t have to go through another IRS/Budgeting spin cycle. Why waste even more money than we already are?

    1. that would make it more obvious that they are actually parasites. Can’t have that.

      1. So would making them wear pubic lice costumes to work… hmm…

  11. Yet another instance where our glorious leaders won’t be beholden to the same behavior.

  12. Apparently there is nothing in the proposed law that would stop me from heading the Department of Treasury.

  13. This is racist.

  14. I predict hilarious unintended consequences.

  15. R C Dean for President

  16. Demon Sheep are not libertarian

  17. Why should our Overlords pay any tax? We are lucky to have them guide us to a bright and shining future!!!! I’m mean, what? Is Kim Il-Jung going to dive into this mess? No! So, lets support our leaders.

    Thank you


  18. I believe these laws would be ruled unconstitutional.

  19. Federal employee here and I pay my taxes on time, every time. Frankly I’m amazed that so many federal employees don’t pay their taxes. I guess I just assumed it would be something the IRS would check out and deal with easily since they can garnish wages for a ton of other things pretty easily.

  20. What do you call it when 276,000 simple serpents get fired for failing to comply with federal laws?


  21. Well, the delinquent thing will work, but you can’t suspend them at half pay or take any negative action so long as they are legitimately fighting with the IRS, as opposed to being in default. That would pretty clearly violate due process, and not the liberal “due process is whatever I want it to be” but actual, real due process.

    You have a right to fight and appeal IRS attempts to take your hard-earned money, and nobody-even federal government employees-should be punished for exercising their rights to challenge the IRS.

  22. I’d like to point out that each gov’t agency has it’s own rules, and many have “bright lines” . For example, for some elements at DOJ, you will lose your job if you don’t pay your taxes. Further, for positions that require a clearance and what’s called a “lifestyle” polygraph, they ask you specifically if you’ve cheated on your taxes ( also if you steal, cheat or lie in general, seriously)and if you have, you lose your clearance and your job. I think a better idea would be that all our elected representatives must pass the same full scope polygraph that many federal employees have to pass. It is a little demoralizing when the people “above” you are subject to lower standards of personal behavior than you are. Plus it would have the added benefit of completely cleaning house, and we could start over again.

  23. Man, that tax-free income job in the UAE and Form 2555 Foreign Earned Income Exclusion keep sounding better by the day. Or I could just get hired by the Big O and save on travel expenses.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.