Seems like the White House is emphasizing two different angles on the 1.1 Billion increase for the Internal Revenue Service in Obama’s Budget. To Reporters the increase is to answer questions and provide quality information to taxpayers. But on the IRS website they emphasize that the funds will actually decrease the deficit by increasing enforcement and collections. Additionally, they highlight a program to police the Tax Preparer industry by checking out ethical standards and compliance issues.
First lets look at what the press is reporting
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports (Bold is ours)
Student loans take a hit. So does the program that helps the poor pay for home heating oil. But not the Internal Revenue Service.
The President’s budget has winners and losers, and one of the clear winner’s is the IRS.
Under the President’s budget plan for 2012, the IRS’s budget is getting a boost of $1.1 billion – that’s an increase of nearly 10 percent.
The budget summary released by the White House explains that the extra money will help the IRS “improve service to taxpayers” and “make interactions with the IRS more smooth and effective.”
A more smooth IRS? Or would that be a smoother IRS?
Anyway … A press release from the Treasury Department explains that the money will help the IRS become more responsive, in part, by improving those toll-free help lines.
“Because new tax cuts aimed at helping taxpayers and stimulating the economy over the last few years have increased the volume of calls to toll-free service lines at the IRS,” the release says, “Treasury’s Budget request includes increased funding to improve service on IRS toll-free service lines.”
Read More at White House Budget Gives IRS a Big Boost
Now lets run over to the IRS website and see what they are highlighting.
From the IRS website (Bold ours)
The Administration’s FY 2012 budget request for the Internal Revenue Service is nearly $13.3 billion, a $1.1 billion increase from the FY 2010 budget. Because of the IRS’s unique function as the revenue center of government, this budget increase actually reduces the deficit through increased tax enforcement revenues.
The FY 2012 budget includes $339 million in new IRS enforcement initiatives, which raise $1.3 billion in revenue annually at full performance. This is a return on investment (ROI) of 4.5 to 1 when new hires reach full potential in FY 2014.
Prior investments in IRS enforcement programs have yielded significant increases in enforcement revenue. In FY 2010, enforcement revenue reached nearly $58 billion, exceeding the previous year by 18 percent.
The proposed FY 2012 funding will enable the IRS to continue to strengthen enforcement efforts and reduce the tax gap in several areas, including:
- Increasing compliance by addressing offshore tax evasion through several initiatives. The budget will help the IRS to conduct more examinations and implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA).
- Implementing information reporting requirements approved by Congress in 2008 to validate income reported by businesses by reconciling their income with their payment card receipts and third party transactions.
- Improving tax debt collection coverage and improving collection processes.
The IRS will also continue to focus on compliance issues and new responsibilities arising from recent tax law changes included in major legislation, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act.
Return Preparer Initiative
The FY 2012 budget request includes nearly $17 million to increase oversight of tax return preparers. This initiative will help ensure uniform and high ethical standards of conduct for tax return preparers by enforcing preparer compliance with IRS rules, increasing preparer examinations and pursuing preparers engaged in fraudulent activities.
via IRS FY 2012 Budget Proposal Summary.
Notice the emphasis to the press and readers is the Services provided will be increased to help customers. But the IRS website emphasizes compliance and enforcement of tax laws that will decrease the deficit.
If I were not so sure the White House wouldn’t be “dishonest”, I would think they were speaking out of both sides of their political buzz word laden mouths