Pay your taxes and file on time!

I was denied an interim clearance because, amongst several things, I owed $15,000 in back taxes and penalties to the IRS and I lived in Russia for a year teaching English. Also, smoked a bit of pot over the past 10 years. My investigation is ongoing, but the close associations they’re talking to aren’t being asked about drugs. They’re being asked about the chances that I’m a Russian operative.

I’ve been going through DOHA appeal decisions and I am shocked about how little the government cares about drug use (so long as mitigated, which is apparently pretty easy) but cares a LOT about timely filing taxes.

Yes, and they also don’t like it when it looks like you only started to clear up any tax issues when you were going to get a clearance.


That may be, but if you read successful DOHA appeals, DOHA panels credit payments toward tax debts after receiving a denial but before the hearing.

In either case, I was making payments for two years. They know circumstances didn’t allow me to pay it off until I this year.

From what I’ve seen, so long as you’re honest on your SF-86, there’s nothing short of murder that can’t be forgiven. The exception appears to be child support arrearage, IRS debts, and not filing timely returns.

My IRS debt arose out of filing mistakes (the same mistake) over three years. The investigator kept asking, in different words, whether I was late filing my taxes OR mistakenly averring that I was late filing my taxes. I kept having to correct him, “I wasn’t late filing my returns. They were always timely filed. I just files them incorrectly.” I was receiving rebates during years when I actually owed taxes.