Fed Employees Owe Tax at Twice Rate of Government Workers

Employees at the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors manage the nation’s steady money supply. Their personal finances are a little shakier.

The share of the 1,873 Fed workers who were delinquent on their U.S. taxes on Sept. 30, 2013, was 6.51 percent, almost double the percentage for all federal government employees, according to Internal Revenue Service data released today.

Their counterparts at the Treasury Department -- many of whom would face dismissal for some tax violations -- are far more compliant, with a 1.2 percent delinquency rate.

Overall, 3.27 percent of federal workers and retirees were behind on their taxes. The comparable figure for the entire U.S. population is at least 8.7 percent, according to the IRS.

The delinquency rates at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs were 5.29 percent and 4.38 percent, respectively.

Some smaller agencies had even higher rates, including 9.52 percent at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and 7.69 percent at the Office of Government Ethics.

The Treasury, which includes the IRS, had the lowest rate. Employees there are subject to tougher penalties, including firing, for willful tax cheating.

Congressional Scrutiny

The IRS has been facing congressional scrutiny after an inspector general’s report showed that the agency had given bonuses to employees with tax debts.

Commissioner John Koskinen told a House subcommittee this month that he was raising the issue of making such workers ineligible for bonuses in negotiations with the union that represents IRS employees.

“It is fair to say that if we’re encouraging others to pay their taxes, we should ensure that IRS employees are paying theirs,” Koskinen said.

The commissioner also told lawmakers that the tax-delinquency rate for congressional workers is higher than for IRS workers.

According to the data, 4.87 percent of employees of the U.S. House of Representatives have tax debts, as do 3.24 percent of Senate workers.

The delinquency rate at the Securities and Exchange Commission was 2.25 percent. The rate at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was 2.51 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net Laurie Asseo

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