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January 19, 2007

The TaxProf highlights a story showing that many federal employees are happy to take it, but they'd rather not dish it out:

According to press reports, more than 450,000 active and retired federal employees owe $2.8 billion in federal income taxes. WTOP Radio created this Excel Spreadsheet from data obtained through FOIA requests.

The report breaks it down by agency. Some of the tax delinquency rates:

* House of Representatives: 4.81%
* SEC: 3.05%
* Senate: 3.76%
* Tax Court: 4.85%
* White House: 2.95%

The Treasury Department is the second-most compliant agency, with 98.7% of its employees up to date on their taxes. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has the worst record, with over 9% of their employees delinquent on their taxes.

This doesn't speak well for the current IRS collection system. If the government can't collect taxes from folks that it issues checks to every two weeks, that's pretty lame. I'd bet that very few of these government-issue tax delinquents get behind on their monthly bills for premium cable TV or cell phone service.

17 senators have proposed to prohibit private collection of federal tax debts. If the government collectors can't even collect from government employees, it's hard to argue that private collectors shouldn't get a shot at it.

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