The IRS would receive additional money for taxpayer services and tax law enforcement, and several financial regulatory agencies also would see funding increases to help them enforce Wall Street reforms, under a spending bill approved Tuesday by a Senate panel.
The Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government, meanwhile, released no information regarding a potential federal employee raise in January 2013. A summary of the bill is silent on the issue, and the question of a raise did not arise during the subcommittee’s brief meeting to approve the bill. The White House has requested a 0.5 percent raise, but the House counterpart bill would leave salary rates unchanged for the third straight year.
The Senate bill would provide $12.5 billion for the IRS in fiscal year 2013 which starts in October, an increase of 6 percent from the 2012 level but still 2 percent below the White House request.
“Resources provided will allow the IRS to meet an increasing demand for services and to make improvements that will permit taxpayers to access automated self-service applications including refund inquires, freeing staff to handle more complex tax law inquiries. Funds will also support an array of compliance activities to address offshore tax evasion, reduce the under-reporting tax gap, combat tax-related identity theft, strengthen return preparer compliance, and restore revenue lost as a result of past reductions to examinations and collection programs,” the bill summary says.
“The IRS’s ability to fulfill its critical mission has been threatened the last two years by a lack of resources,” said President Colleen M. Kelley of the National Treasury Employees Union, who called it counterproductive to restrict IRS funding so much that it hampers tax collection.
The House version in contrast would allot $11.8 billion for the IRS, the same as the current level.
The Senate bill also would increase funding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by 50 percent over current levels to $308 million, for increased staff and technology to handle requirements under the Dodd-Frank law for greater oversight and regulation of trading. Similarly, funding for the Securities and Exchange Commission would rise by 19 percent to $245 million, although that increase would be paid by securities transaction fees.
The Senate bill is scheduled for a vote in the full Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The House is in recess this week.