Social Security Employees Owe Uncle Sam Millions In Late Taxes

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Officials at the IRS garnished the wages of 1,242 Social Security Administration employees behind on their taxes in December, according to a new report from the SSA Office of Inspector General.

Nearly 4 percent of SSA employees owed Uncle Sam between $11 million and $21.8 million in delinquent taxes from 2006 to 2013, even though federal law requires federal employees to pay taxes, the IG found. The IRS can’t tell the SSA which employees are breaking the law, but the IG said SSA officials should track past offenders through security clearance background checks.

The report also said things are about to get tougher for SSA employees.

“By 2017, SSA will be required to ensure automatic tax-compliance checks are conducted on employees who occupy public trust and sensitive positions or require access to classified information,” the IG’s report said.

SSA employees aren’t the only ones behind on their taxes. The volume of delinquent taxes from federal employees has almost doubled in the last decade, even as the number of delinquent employees has remained somewhat level. In 2004, 102,794 federal employees were behind on their taxes by nearly $600 million. In 2014, 113,805 employees were behind by $1.1 billion, according to IRS data.

A September 2014 report to Congress for fiscal years 2006 to 2013 found about 3.1 percent of federal employees and retirees were behind on their taxes, for a total of up to $3.3 billion in delinquent taxes.

Employees of the U.S. House of Representatives were among the worst offenders, with more than 5 percent of them behind on their taxes by $6.7 million total.

Top five federal bodies with 100+ employees and the worst delinquency rates

  1. Armed Forces Retirement Home, 6.87 percent of staff delinquent
  2. Federal Maritime Commission, 5.41 percent of staff delinquent
  3. U.S. Postal Service, 5.04 percent of staff delinquent
  4. U.S. House of Representatives, 5.04 percent of staff delinquent
  5. U.S. Agency for International Development, 4.68 percent of staff delinquent

Top five agencies by balance owed:

  1. U.S. Postal Service: $345 million
  2. Military Reserve/Guard: $165 million
  3. Social Security Administration: $26 million
  4. Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts: $11.8 million
  5. U.S. House of Representatives: $6.7 million

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