White House budget would increase IRS spending by 6 percent

(Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Obama’s 2015 budget plan calls for $12 billion in base funding for the Internal Revenue Service, which would represent an increase of 6.3 percent compared to the 2014 spending level

The White House proposed investing more in IRS programs that support tax compliance and customer service, including $165 million for an “opportunity, growth and security initiative” that aims in part to help call centers boost their response rates from 60 to 80 percent.

The budget blueprint also calls for $480 million to support additional tax enforcement and compliance functions that the administration estimates would save the government $35 billion over the next 10 years.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has repeatedly talked about budget cuts taking a toll on customer service and tax enforcement. During a hearing with a House appropriations subcommittee last week, he said staffing and resources have become a major concern at his embattled agency, which he took over in December.

Republicans have criticized Koskinen for complaining about the pains of austerity after he restarted bonuses for the IRS this year. The agency pulled back on performance awards in 2013 after controversies involving lavish spending on conferences and targeting of advocacy groups, as well as because of the government-wide spending cuts known as the sequester.

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Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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