Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 9/10/2010 7:29:46 AM EDT
Story

Capitol Hill employees owed $9.3 million in overdue taxes at the end of last year, a sliver of the $1 billion owed by federal workers nationwide but one with potential political ramifications for members of Congress.

The debt among Hill employees has risen at a faster rate than the overall tax debt on the government's books, according to Internal Revenue Service data. It comes at a time when some Republican members are pushing for the firings of government workers who owe the IRS and President Obama has urged a crackdown on delinquent government contractors.

The IRS information does not identify delinquent taxpayers by name, party affiliation or job title and does not indicate whether members of Congress are among the scofflaws. It shows that 638 employees, or about 4 percent, of the 18,000 Hill workers owe money.

The average unpaid tax bill is $12,787 among the Senate's delinquent taxpayers and $15,498 among those working in the House.

IRS debt among government workers has surfaced repeatedly as a political issue over the years, most recently when Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced legislation this year to fire federal workers who owe back taxes unless they have entered into a payment plan. Eight Republicans co-sponsored the bill. No Democrats have signed on, and some have said firings would reduce the government's prospects of being paid.

"If you're on the federal payroll and you're not paying your taxes, you should be fired," Chaffetz said in an interview. He said the policy should apply across the board and "there should be no special exemptions."

An agency-by-agency breakdown of IRS debt is not published but is available in a redacted form from the agency upon request. Along with the Capitol Hill totals, it shows that three employees at the Office of Government Ethics owed a combined $75,000. And 41 employees at the Executive Office of the President owed $831,000 altogether - about the same amount as during the last year of George W. Bush's administration.

Some tax experts and watchdog groups say that Capitol Hill employees have an added obligation to settle IRS debts.

"Congress and their staff - because they are the people who write the tax laws and because they work for the public - have to be held to a higher standard," Steve Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, said when told of the IRS numbers.

"These are hard times, but they are on the government payroll," said Mortimer Caplin, an IRS commissioner for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and a founding partner of the Caplin & Drysdale law firm. "The idea of paying taxes is kind of fundamental to a sound democracy, and they certainly have a special obligation in that regard."

Nationwide, debt to the IRS has been rising steadily, even before the current economic downturn, with $103.2 billion owed at the end of last year. Tax experts say that delinquencies are another sign of economic pressures on American families, but they also may represent bad individual money management or skewed spending priorities.

On Capitol Hill, recent increases in delinquencies also may reflect the unusual nature of the workforce, which turns over dramatically when a new political party comes into power.

From 2004 through 2006, the last three years that Republicans were in power, the total amount of back taxes owed each year by congressional workers hovered just below $9 million. But in 2007, when Democrats took control of both houses, it dropped to $6.8 million. Since then, it has increased by 37 percent.

Jock Friedly, who publicizes congressional salaries on the Web site LegiStorm, said many new staffers come from the private sector, where they worked as lobbyists or in other higher-paying jobs. "They go to a somewhat lower-paying government job and then, over time, debt starts to build up," Friedly said.

During 2008 and 2009 - when the financial crisis took hold and the economy started sinking - the Senate debt increased 80 percent and the House debt increased 25 percent.

Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) declined to comment, and aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not respond to a request for comment.

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:30:42 AM EDT
Shocker.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:32:06 AM EDT
but a story isn't complete with a gratuitous "but Bush did it too" line thrown in there!

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:36:22 AM EDT
It's simply amazing how fast this country is falling. And disgusting too.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 7:39:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sev89:
but a story isn't complete with a gratuitous "but Bush did it too" line thrown in there!


And 41 employees at the Executive Office of the President owed $831,000 altogether - about the same amount as during the last year of George W. Bush's administration.

That close enough for you?




Link Posted: 9/10/2010 8:02:16 AM EDT
The audacity of these fucking scum bags is unreal.
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 8:18:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Hamel:

Originally Posted By Sev89:
but a story isn't complete with a gratuitous "but Bush did it too" line thrown in there!


And 41 employees at the Executive Office of the President owed $831,000 altogether - about the same amount as during the last year of George W. Bush's administration.

That close enough for you?


A bit shy of 9.3 million

Link Posted: 9/10/2010 8:19:50 AM EDT
20% of companies pick up CEOs' taxes on perks

By Greg Farrell, USA TODAY

CEOs are just like the rest of us: They hate paying for things out of pocket if they can find someone else to foot the bill.

Fortunately for them, in many cases there is someone willing to pick up the bill for selected personal expenses: the shareholders.

A new study from The Corporate Library finds that the most common form of perk being granted to CEOs these days is something called a tax "gross-up." In plain English, it means that a company pays the taxes owed by the CEO on benefits granted by the company.

The Corporate Library, a shareholder watchdog group, found that 20% of major American companies, or 657 of nearly 3,300 examined, picked up the tab on at least one tax owed by the CEO.

"We are sure that many U.S. workers would be grateful if their employers also paid their income tax obligations," writes Paul Hodgson of The Corporate Library in the report.

Almost any perk granted to a CEO generates a tax bill, from an executive life insurance policy paid by the company to country club dues.

But one of the most common reasons cited by the report for tax "gross-ups" is use of the corporate jet. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, for security reasons, the boards of many companies have encouraged their CEOs to fly on private jets rather than commercial airlines when traveling on business. Public companies often allow the CEOs to use the corporate jet for personal travel as well.

Personal use of the company plane is a form of compensation to the executive, so it generates a tax liability. But rather than making the CEO pay tax on that benefit, dozens of companies in the Russell 3000 pick up the tax bill.

The Corporate Library report singles out Ryland Group (RYL), a home-building company, as the biggest provider of "gross-up" payments to its CEO. For 2007, Ryland provided CEO R. Chad Dreier with $4 million in gross-ups as part of a pay package that totaled $12 million. Ryland did not return calls for comment.

Revelations about corporate perks can create ill will among investors, says Ira Kay of the compensation consulting firm Watson Wyatt.

"We advise our clients to minimize perks as much as possible," he says. "It's an irritant to shareholders and a distraction from incentive plans that work well."

Alan Johnson of Johnson & Associates suggests that many companies maintain a corporate jet primarily to accommodate the CEO, or, if the company already has a corporate jet that's used for business, a CEO's needs can lead the company to lease another jet.

Some companies, such as General Mills (GIS), have canceled the personal-use-of-the-corporate-jet perk. It's a trend that's likely to grow, says Watson Wyatt's Kay.

Hodgson agrees. "There are more boards who are less happy paying for quite so many perks now that they've been exposed," he says. "I'm expecting a reduction in number and range of perks being paid."
Link Posted: 9/10/2010 8:21:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/10/2010 8:23:03 AM EDT by YankeeSpirit76]

Do as we say, not as we do.

Someone please tell me how much longer we are going to put up with this shit!
Top Top