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Federal Workers Owe $1.03 Billion In Unpaid Taxes

Here's your interesting numbers story of the day: Based on The Washington Post's analysis of Internal Revenue Service records, about 98,000 federal employees — including those from the post office — owed $1.03 billion in unpaid taxes. It's a number that has been reported before but this year, while the number of delinquent employees fell, the total amount owed ballooned by $32 million or 3 percent.

The Post reports:

"The figures are 'totally unacceptable and disrespectful to hardworking American taxpayers,' said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). 'If you're on the federal payroll, the very least you can do is pay your taxes.'

"Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have authored bills that would force federal agencies, the U.S. Postal Service and congressional offices to fire employees who purposely avoid paying taxes. Exceptions would be made for employees suffering from family turmoil or working to correct significant financial hardship. Chaffetz's bill was approved by a committee last spring, but Coburn's still awaits consideration by a Senate panel."

The Post also put together a nice graphic that lists agencies and their delinquency rates. The top one with a delinquency rate of 9.43 percent is the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics comes in at No. 6 with a 6.49 percent delinquency rate.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.