Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this month needing to approve the IRS’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget. The IRS, like many federal agencies, is currently operating under a temporary spending bill.
Last year, the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed to fund the IRS at $11.1 billion for FY 2018. However, Congress failed to pass a budget for the IRS before September 30, 2017. Since October 1, Congress has approved temporary spending bills to keep the federal government open.
In December, a National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) representative testified that the Service’s budget has been cut by some $1 billion since 2012. “In the last five years, the IRS budget has declined from $12.146 billion in 2012 to $11.235 billion in 2016. As a result, the number of revenue agents decreased 22 percent, from 10,216 to 7,937, and the number of tax compliance officers decreased 28 percent, from 1,154 to 832,” Jennifer MacMillan, EA, of the NAEA told Congress.
Funding for 2018
The current temporary spending bill funds the IRS through January 19, 2018. “It is imperative that the Congress use the next few weeks to reach an agreement on spending levels in order to finalize FY 2018 appropriations,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said.
Implementing Tax Reform
Tony Reardon, president, National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), recently said there is a “dire need” to fund the IRS. “The Service is now tasked with interpreting and implementing hundreds of pages of changes to the tax code. The agency faces this monumental work, on top of its everyday workload and preparing for the upcoming tax filing season, with a reduced budget and workforce that has been decimated in recent years due to budget cuts.” Reardon said. The NTEU represents IRS employees.
Reardon said that IRS employees do not have “the tools and resources, including colleagues,” to do the work they already had to do before tax reform. “The agency is trying to figure out what all this means,” he added.
By George L. Yaksick, Jr., Wolters Kluwer News Staff