Bill Introduced to Provide Financial Relief for Relocating Feds
Under the new tax law, federal employees required to relocate for their position have received a significant tax burden. To alleviate this cost, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) have introduced the Relocation Expense Parity Act alongside Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
The bill would ensure all federal employees who qualify for reimbursement for moving expenses also have the taxes owed as a result of that relocation reimbursed as well.
A one-pager released by Senator Warner on the bill explains, “The Department of Defense employs thousands of teachers for their elementary, middle, and high schools across the globe, teaching the children of military families. Moving new teachers to distant locations, like one of the 20 schools in Japan, can lead to tens-of-thousands of dollars of extra income. It also heavily affects other departments where transfers upon being hired are more likely, such as the FBI. These workers are facing thousands of dollars of extra costs for taking these important jobs.”
Last year, Senators Warner and Kaine wrote a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) requesting clarity on the reimbursement of tax expenses. A subsequent clarifier alleviated this problem for about 95 percent of federal workers, according to a statement obtained by FEDmanager. However, the remaining 5 percent of federal workers still face significant burdens due to relocations.
Federal law enforcement groups were quick to praise the legislation for granting relief for the remaining federal employees impacted by this problem.
Thomas O’Connor, President of the FBI Agents Association, said in a statement, “The FBIAA supports the Relocation Expense Parity Act because it would authorize agencies to offset new tax burdens on employees who receive moving reimbursements. It is important to close the gap in current law and help protect FBI Special Agents facing new financial burdens.”
Nathan Catura, National President of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, also noted the impact this glitch in the tax law has had on expanding the federal workforce, “Federal agents and law enforcement officers are subject to mobility agreements and frequently relocate to new duty stations throughout their career to protect and serve the American public. Such moves are stressful and costly enough for federal agents and their families – they do not need the additional burden of significant tax bills because they were required to relocate for their job. Agencies are also facing challenges hiring and deploying law enforcement officers, especially to border areas, and those barriers would be lowered with passage of this legislation.”
Other groups to support the legislation include the National Treasury Employees Union, the Senior Executives Association, and the Federal Education Association.
Posted in From the Hill