Mnuchin Testifies on IRS Budget Before House Appropriations Subcommittee

CCH Tax Day Report

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on June 12 before the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee. Mnuchin discussed with lawmakers the Trump administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request for the Treasury Department.

“A budget should not be an end in itself but a means of improving the lives of Americans” Mnuchin testified. “The president has challenged every agency and department to identify greater efficiencies and savings that can be realized both immediately and in the coming years,” he added.

According to Mnuchin, the administration’s budget request prioritizes IRS funding that will reflect comprehensive tax reform that simplifies the tax code and filing process. “It’s been too long since comprehensive tax reform…we are committed to changing that,” Mnuchin told lawmakers. The administration’s tax reform plan, expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, will eliminate all deductions except for the charitable contribution and mortgage interest paid deductions, he said.

Additionally, the administration’s tax plan will implement one business tax rate, with special rules in place to avoid wealthy taxpayers from taking advantage of a lowered rate for passthrough entities, according to Mnuchin. “We believe in a business tax, not just a corporate tax.”

Meanwhile, several Democrats voiced concerns with the administration’s proposed cuts to the IRS. Subcommittee ranking member Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said he was “disappointed” in the administration’s request to cut the IRS’s budget by $260 million. “The IRS would need to reduce staff by 6,000” to meet the requested funding levels, according to Quigley.

Likewise, Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., criticized the proposed cuts to the Service as not prioritizing taxpayer needs. “With these cuts, taxpayer service will become even worse,” she said.

Mnuchin, however, testified that increased funding does not equate to better services. “One of the president’s promises to the American taxpayer was that he would make sure that their money is spent wisely…more money does not necessarily translate into better policy,” he said.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

Treasury Department News Release, TDNR SM-0104

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