Recently I pointed out that the federal government is paying people an exorbitant amount of money as compared to the private sector. Now I bring you the happy news that at a time when the White House is projecting the largest deficit in the nation's history, Uncle Sam is trying to recover billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from its own employees.
Federal workers owe more than $3 billion in income taxes they failed to pay in 2008. According to Internal Revenue Service documents, 276,300 federal employees and retirees owe $3,042,200,000.
The IRS tracks the voluntary compliance rate of federal employees and retirees each year, and each year feds come up short. The one bright spot in this year's report is that after several years of a steady increase, the amount owed by feds is down from the previous year.
Federal employees and retirees owed $3,586,784,725 in unpaid income taxes in 2007.
The IRS documents show delinquent employees from nearly every federal agency with more than 25 employees. Based on percentages, the Department of The Treasury, which includes the IRS, has the best compliance rate. Fewer than 1 percent of Treasury employees didn't pay their taxes in 2008.
The IRS is the only federal agency where employees can be fired for not paying their taxes. The non-compliance rate for IRS employees in 2008 was 0.76 percent -- down from 0.89 percent in 2007.
The agency with the most tax scofflaws is the U.S. Postal Service, with 28,913 employees who owe $297,933,756. But that is still a dramatic improvement from 2007 when more than 54,000 employees owed more than $407 million.