Senators Introduce Bill to Withhold Bonuses From Tax Cheats
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) yesterday introduced the No Bonuses for Tax Cheats Act which withholds bonuses from federal employees who are delinquent on their taxes or have engaged in documented misconduct.
“The fact that millions of dollars in bonuses have been given to IRS employees who haven’t been paying their taxes is alarming and completely unacceptable,” Senator Manchin said. “No federal agency is above the law nor should anyone be able to reward tax-delinquent employees with taxpayer-funded bonuses, least of all the IRS. We cannot expect the American taxpayer, especially those struggling to make ends meet, to have faith in their government when they discover the agency they are paying their taxes to is rewarding employees who haven’t paid theirs. I’m at glad to join this bipartisan effort to help fix this oversight.”
“Today, we’re taking the first step to prevent bureaucrats from getting paid bonuses while fleecing the taxpayers at the same time,” said Senator Burr. “It’s unconscionable that federal employees are eligible for bonuses, paid for by Americans, while they have dodged the tax collectors. We know of too many examples of bad behavior from individuals like the IRS’s Lois Lerner, who targeted Americans for their political beliefs and received over $129,000 in bonuses even as she was engaged in wrongdoing. The IRS alone has paid over $2.8 million of taxpayer money to employees who haven’t paid their own taxes. This bill will put a stop to this egregious practice, once and for all.”
“This bill is about as common sense as they come,” said Senator Thune. “At its core, it’s about accountability. This bill says to hard-working Americans that the federal bureaucrats who collect their taxes have the same responsibility they do in fulfilling tax obligations. No one, especially employees at the IRS, should be rewarded while willfully cheating on their taxes or otherwise engaging in misconduct.”
“Simply put, IRS employees should live by the rules they enforce and should not receive a bonus while owing back taxes,” Senator Roberts said. “Our bill makes sense and is one small way to help restore faith in an agency that has lost the trust of the American people.”
“It’s time to stop giving bonuses to IRS employees who behave badly,” Senator Enzi said. “Why should we reward IRS employees for late taxes or misconduct? This bill will provide a rational solution to ensure the IRS is more accountable to the American people.”
In April of 2014, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report that found the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had paid $2.8 million in bonuses, as well as tens of thousands of hours of leave and hundreds of pay-step increases to employees who were tax delinquent or had committed serious misconduct, including fraud and drug use. More recently, in their April 2015 report, TIGTA found “108 of 364 employees with willful tax noncompliance cases closed between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2013, received one or more awards, promotions, quality step increases or Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments within one year after being disciplined for the tax noncompliance.”
Senators Manchin and Burr initially introduced a version of this legislation in April, 2014.
To read the bill text, please click here.
To read a one-pager of the bill, please click here.
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