Can You Work for the IRS if You Owe Taxes?

Navigating Federal Employment with Tax Debts

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) plays a crucial role in ensuring tax compliance and collecting revenue for the United States government. As such, the IRS expects its employees to uphold the highest standards of integrity, including fulfilling their tax obligations. This raises the question: can individuals with outstanding tax debts be eligible for federal employment, particularly within the IRS?

IRS Employment Eligibility and Tax Compliance

The Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 828) aimed to limit the eligibility of delinquent taxpayers for federal employment, including those with outstanding tax debts and public liens. However, this bill has not yet been enacted into law.

Currently, there is no explicit prohibition against individuals with tax debts seeking employment with the IRS. However, the IRS, like other federal agencies, conducts thorough background checks on potential employees, which may include a review of their tax history.

IRS Background Checks and Tax Debts

During the IRS background check process, any outstanding tax debts or liens may be identified. The IRS may consider the following factors when evaluating an applicant’s tax compliance:

  • Nature and Severity of Tax Debt: The IRS will assess the type and amount of tax debt owed, as well as any history of non-compliance or willful neglect.
  • Payment Arrangements and Resolution Efforts: Applicants who have entered into payment arrangements or are actively working to resolve their tax debts may be viewed more favorably.
  • Criminal Tax Convictions: Any criminal tax convictions or pending charges can significantly impact an applicant’s eligibility for IRS employment.

Exceptions to Tax Debt Eligibility Restrictions

Even if an applicant has outstanding tax debts, they may still be eligible for IRS employment under certain exceptions:

  • Payment Arrangements: Applicants who have made arrangements to pay off their tax debts may be considered eligible, provided they are adhering to the terms of the agreement.
  • Offer-in-Compromise: Applicants who have submitted an offer-in-compromise to settle their tax debt may be eligible, depending on the status of their offer.
  • Collection Due Process Hearing: Applicants who have requested or are pending a collection due process hearing may be eligible, as their case is still under review.
  • Tax Relief: Applicants who have received tax relief, such as penalty abatement or discharge of debt, may be eligible.

While the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act has not been enacted, the IRS considers tax compliance an important factor in its hiring decisions. Applicants with outstanding tax debts should be prepared to address their situation during the background check process. By being transparent and proactive in resolving their tax obligations, individuals can increase their chances of being considered for IRS employment.

If You Can’t Pay The IRS – Your OPTIONS & IRS Payment Plan Explained


Can owing the IRS affect getting a job?

If your background shows serious unresolved debt, it could affect your level of clearance, it could be revoked, or could lead to uncomfortable questions at work.” When you don’t pay your taxes, the IRS may file a lien against your assets.

What if I owe the IRS money but can’t pay?

File your tax return and pay what you can If you can’t pay the full amount of taxes you owe, don’t panic. Submit your return on time and pay as much as you can with your tax return. The more you can pay by the filing deadline, the less interest and penalty charges you will owe.

Does the IRS have a forgiveness program?

The IRS has the final say on whether you qualify for debt forgiveness. In general, though, the agency looks for taxpayers who: A total tax debt balance of $50,000 or below. A total income below $100,000 (or $200,000 for married couples)

What qualifications do you need to work for the IRS?

And if you want to continue your formal education, the IRS has a great tuition assistance program. Internal Revenue Agent requirements include US citizenship, plus either a four-year degree or experience along with 30 semester hours of accounting coursework.

Should I file a tax return if I owe taxes?

If you need to file a tax return, you should, even if you’ll owe taxes when you file. You should file your return on time, with or without a payment — the IRS can charge penalties for filing late. The IRS also charges daily interest on unpaid tax bills, so the longer you wait, the more interest you’ll owe. What should I do? How will this affect me?

Can you pay off tax debt if you owe the IRS?

It offers a few options and grace periods. You’ll have tax debt until you pay it off if you owe money to the IRS, but there are many options available to help you pay. The sooner you’re able to pay off your tax debt, the less you’ll pay over time in interest charges and penalties.

What if I owe more taxes than I can afford?

That’s right: the IRS offers payment plans for people who owe more taxes than they can afford to pay immediately. If you find yourself unable to pay, the IRS provides options to help you. The IRS can grant a short-term agreement or long-term payment plan—an installment agreement—for someone who needs more time to pay.

What if I can’t pay my taxes?

If you find yourself unable to pay, the IRS provides options to help you. The IRS can grant a short-term agreement or long-term payment plan—an installment agreement—for someone who needs more time to pay. You may qualify for a short-term payment option if you owe less than $100,000, including penalties and interest.

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