IRS budget would allow for thousands of new hires

President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget includes $1.1 billion in new funds for the Internal Revenue Service, about a 9 percent increase from 2010 levels that would translate to 5,112 new hires, or a 5 percent expansion of enforcement operations. "The new enforcement personnel," says an IRS fact sheet, "will generate more than $1.3 billion in additional annual enforcement revenue once the new hires reach full potential in FY 2014."

The service is focusing its expansion of enforcement on "noncompliance among corporate and high-wealth taxpayers" and on enforcing return preparer compliance," it said, adding, "increased resources for the IRS compliance programs yield direct, measurable results through high return on investment activities" -- a return of 4.5 to 1 that, the service noted, can be used toward deficit reduction.

Republicans, long wary of an IRS they see as overreaching, reacted with skepticism. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a Finance Committee member, said in a statement to Government Executive: "The IRS needs to show it's making the best use of existing resources before receiving more. For example, two commissioners in a row have acknowledged that IRS employees spend too much time on union activities while on the taxpayers' dime.

"The Obama administration also was quick to end an effort to use outside contractors to try to collect taxes that are owed but the IRS admitted it would not try to collect," Grassley said. "That program would have brought in owed tax dollars without increasing the number of IRS employees. The president should be clear on why additional resources are needed and how they are going to be used."

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents many IRS employees, applauded the proposal. "This commitment by the White House reflects an understanding of the reality that every dollar invested in the IRS results in additional revenue to the treasury -- an absolutely critical element in attacking the federal deficit and the $345 billion gap between taxes owed and those paid," she said. "The administration's 2012 funding level for the IRS would permit the agency to improve services through increasing response rates to inquiries, deploying enforcement resources to what the White House called high-return integrity activities and by modernizing information technology systems."

Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew, testifying on Tuesday before the House Budget Committee, was asked by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., how many of the potential thousands of new federal employees the president's budget proposes would be IRS agents. Lew said he did not know.

The prospect of 5,112 new IRS agents is "worrisome" to Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the conservative National Taxpayers Union. "Unlike some claims about new agents being hired for the health care law, this seems pretty clearly a targeted enforcement effort, and based on taxpayers' past experience, they have every reason to be concerned about potential abuse."

The IRS budget also includes expanded funding for implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act during the next several years, noting that 80 percent of its request for this purpose is for information technology systems spread across several ongoing programs. The budget proposes $18 million, or a 16.2 percent increase, in funds for enforcing the related health care tax credit enacted in 2002.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., has introduced legislation that would prohibit the IRS from hiring new employees to enforce the individual mandate in the health care reform law.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.