- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2014

It turns out that even having high security clearance doesn’t mean you are up to date on paying your taxes: the government’s chief watchdog said Monday that 26,000 Defense Department workers and contractors with high clearances are in arrears.

The problem is a big enough security risk that the intelligence community has formed a working group to try to get a handle on in. They are trying to see if they can get access to information about tax debt in order to make extra checks.

“Giving security clearances to individuals who fail to follow the law is unwise and risky,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican. “Federal tax cheats with security clearances jeopardize both our national and economic security, and could unnecessarily put our nation’s classified information at risk.”

In its report the Government Accountability Office said 83,000 federal employees and contractors eligible for security clearance had tax debt totaling $730 million. Not everyone eligible for clearances has access to secret information, however — that number was smaller.

Of the 83,000, only about 40 percent had tax repayment plans in place with the IRS, according to the report.

** FILE ** The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington is seen here on March 22, 2013. (Associated Press)
** FILE ** The exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in ... more >

The government doesn’t keep data to know how many employees were denied clearance because of their tax debt.