It’s officially tax season and while financial issues are the top cause of security clearance denial there is one type of financial issue that consistently causes some of the most issues – and that’s failure to pay taxes. ClearanceJobs sat down with Jennifer Jones, owner of J. Jones Financial and an Enrolled Agent who provides personal and professional financial and tax assistance. She’s also a military spouse.

  • 1:25 – When you owe taxes and can’t pay.
  • 6:15 – How to interact with the IRS to address tax issues.
  • 7:22 – When to contact a tax professional
  • 10:30 – Dealing with changes to Tax Code
  • 12:05 – Tax pitfalls for those in the national security community
  • 15:30 – How to set up a payment plan with the IRS.

One of the most common tax pitfalls is individuals who put their head in the sand instead of addressing issues head-one. Jones notes she frequently comes across applicants experiencing avoidance, even down to avoiding opening correspondence from the IRS. That is the worst step a security clearance holder or individual applying for a security clearance can make.

If you find yourself experiencing financial issues or a tax debt, try to resolve it before applying for a clearance. But even if you have years of tax issues in your past, today is the day to begin addressing them.

Jones described how she had helped a man who had worked for the school system for years and who later went to try to apply for social security benefits. Then he found out that he wasn’t eligible for benefits because he had failed to file taxes year after year. He said that because he had such a high withholding rate, he assumed he didn’t owe taxes and didn’t need to file. That’s a pitfall that has befallen many tax avoiders, and it has career as well as security clearance implications.

Security Clearances and Tax Concerns

Service members often have tax burdens that can cross multiple states, which creates clearance issues. Paperwork issues, including failure to file in the correct state, can be a clearance issue.

“For security clearances, what they’re looking for is that your compliant,” said Jones. “Even if you have not paid everything that you’ve owed to the IRS, as long as you have a payment agreement with them…that counts. You just want to address that issue head on, proactively, with a professional.”


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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer