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All told, he paid $34,023 in back taxes and $8,679 in interest. The IRS waived penalties.

The Finance Committee said Mr. Geithner had other past instances of late-filing and mistakes for federal Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes for an employee and Maryland taxes.

Problems with tax returns have sunk nominees before.

In 2004, President Bush withdrew his nomination of Glen Bower to be a judge on the United States Tax Court after Mr. Baucus raised questions over tax deductions Mr. Bower took, and over what Mr. Baucus said were “woefully short” efforts to clean up his tax returns.

While senators sought to keep the focus on the IRS problems, the housekeeper issue could be just as volatile, and so-called “nanny problems” have derailed several nominees before.

President Clinton’s first pick to be attorney general, Zoe Baird withdrew her nomination after acknowledging she hired two illegal immigrants as servants. And both Bernard Kerik, whom Mr. Bush tapped in 2004 to be homeland security secretary, and Linda Chavez, whom he nominated in 2001 to be labor secretary, were withdrawn because of illegal immigrant help they had hired.