It’s Fix The Tax Code Friday!
Earlier this week, President Trump released his budget blueprint. As part of the proposal, President Trump suggested cutting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget by $239 million. The proposal also included job cuts for the agency.
(More on the proposal here.)
The call for more job cuts at IRS was a surprise considering that Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin said in January that he would prioritize increasing IRS staff. Mnuchin seemed to think that the President would be on board at the time, saying, “I can assure you that the president-elect understands the concept of ‘we add people, we make money.’ That’s a very quick conversation with Donald Trump.”
Critics say the IRS is too big and bloated but Congress doesn’t seem inclined to reduce their workload, adding several new responsibilities over the past few years. However, Congress has consistently cut the IRS budget: the budget for the last fiscal year was $900 million less than its budget for the fiscal year 2011.
Two years ago, Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson put concern that IRS does not have the resources to adequately serve taxpayers (or, as it appeared in her report, “Taxpayer Service Has Reached Unacceptably Low Levels and Is Getting Worse, Creating Compliance Barriers and Significant Inconvenience for Millions of Taxpayers”) at the top of her list of the most serious problems encountered by taxpayers. That report was delivered to Congress in 2015: funding for the agency was slashed again that year. For 2017, Olson again lamented that the IRS remains unable to meet basic taxpayer needs. She noted that a more simple Tax Code – and less burdensome compliance requirements – would make things much easier. Realistically, that’s not probably not going to happen any time soon.
That, of course, brings us to today’s Fix The Tax Code Friday question:

Assuming that the IRS isn’t going anywhere, do you think that funding for IRS should be cut?

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

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