The Senate Appropriations Committee on June 16 approved, along party lines, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for fiscal year (FY) 2017. The bill includes the FY 2017 budget for the IRS. The Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee had approved the bill on June 15. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.
According to a summary by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., funding for the IRS would be set at $11.2 billion, equivalent to the enacted FY 2016 level. “Of the total amount, $290 million must be dedicated to measurable improvements in customer service level of service, identity theft protection and enhanced cybersecurity to safeguard taxpayer data,” Cochran noted.
Additionally, the bill would “ensure accountability and transparency,” by including the following prohibitions, Cochran explained:
A prohibition on funds for bonuses or to rehire former employees unless employee conduct and tax compliance is given consideration;
A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target groups for regulatory scrutiny based on their ideological beliefs;
A prohibition on funds for the IRS to target individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights; and
A prohibition on funds for the production of inappropriate videos and conferences.
“Allocations are snug but fair,” Senate Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Boozman, R-Ark., said during the full committee markup. The bill is $2.2 billion below President Obama’s request, but there are still positive aspects, Appropriations Committee ranking member Chris Coons, D-Del., said. “We were able to fund agencies either at last year’s level or at the level of the president’s request,” Coons added.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for FY 2017 on June 9 (TAXDAY, 2016/06/10, C.1). The bill includes a $10.9-billion budget for the IRS for FY 2017. Both House and Senate IRS budget proposals are below President Obama’s $12.28 billion IRS budget request. “This legislation represents a very good effort to fund federal agencies despite budget constraints,” Cochran said about the Senate measure.
By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff
Appropriations Press Release: Appropriations Committee Approves FY2017 Financial Services & General Government Appropriations Bill