In addition to extending a number of tax provisions, the omnibus spending bill signed into law last week will give the Internal Revenue Service an additional $290 million in funds – but it must be spent only taxpayer services and efforts against tax-related identity theft.
The Obama administration had sought $2 billion in extra funding for the IRS, which has repeatedly cited years of budget cuts as the cause of the severely curtailed customer service available to both taxpayers and tax preparers last year.
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 froze most IRS spending, and allows only $290 million in extra funds, which lawmakers specified must be used for “taxpayer services to ensure that the agency responds to taxpayer questions in a timely manner, and to improve fraud detection and prevention and cybersecurity,” according to a summary from Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee quoted by The Hill.
“While the bill contains a modest increase in IRS funding, the IRS budget would still be well below the level the agency needs to provide the kind of quality service the American people deserve," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement Friday. "Fully funding the IRS is important for individual taxpayers, the security of our data, and our ability to collect the revenue our country needs."
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