Is GSA doing enough about contractor tax-delinquents?

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee told the General Services Administration to make sure the contractors in the agency’s primary supplier database aren't behind on their federal taxes even as they compete for and win new government contracts.

"The committee has questions about whether [GSA's System for Award Management] contains reliable, current information, and whether taxpayer money is subsidizing contractors that do not pay their own taxes," states a Nov. 22 letter from Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman and ranking member of the committee, respectively.

Chaffetz and Cummings reminded GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth that under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, contracting officers should not award contracts to companies that have delinquent federal tax debt and those officers must actively seek out that information before an award is made.

Federal agencies awarded $63.8 million in contracts in fiscal 2016 to contractors that collectively had $112 million in tax liens, according to an article in U.S. News and World Report in October. Those agencies include GSA, the National Institutes of Health and the IRS.

"Agencies must have access to up-to-date information so they can make informed acquisition decisions," Chaffetz and Cummings wrote.

By Dec. 6, the lawmakers want to know how GSA compiles, verifies, publishes and updates data on active contractor exclusions in SAM and how it ensures that contracting officers do not award contracts to companies with delinquent taxes.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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