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Federal workers owe $3.5b in back taxes

WASHINGTON — The number of federal workers and retirees who owe delinquent income taxes jumped nearly 12 percent in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service said Friday.

Nearly 312,000 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in back taxes as of Sept. 30, 2011, the agency said. The year before, about 279,000 workers and retirees owed $3.4 billion.

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Overall, the 9.8 million workers included in the data had a delinquency rate of 3.2 percent. That’s better than the general public. The IRS says the delinquency rate for the general public was 8.2 percent.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development had the highest delinquency rate, at 4.4 percent. The Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, had the lowest, at 1.1 percent.

The IRS says most residents who owe back income taxes file returns but cannot pay the full amount at tax time. Others have their tax bills increased through audits and cannot pay the higher bill.

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