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$13 billion for IRS 'goons'?

President wants to give agency more money for service, but don't expect that to be easy in this political climate.

By Kay Bell Feb 21, 2011 8:08PM

President Obama released his fiscal year 2012 budget earlier this month.

For every president, the annual budget is like a kid's long Christmas wish list. It's what an Administration would like for Congress to OK.

And just like how Mom and Dad Santa picks and chooses which goodies actually show up under the tree, Congress has its say on every Commander in Chief's myriad budget requests.

One Representative immediately denounced any money to hire more IRS "goons."

But the annual fiscal exercise is how the system works (or doesn't, depending on your point of view). And it provides insight on what a president believes is important.

IRS gets budget thumbs up

For the coming fiscal year, Obama has given the Internal Revenue Service a vote of confidence.

He's seeking almost $13.3 billion to fund the tax agency's operations, which represent 94.5 percent of the entire Department of Treasury budget.

Obama's precise FY12 budget request for the IRS, and this week's By the Numbers featured figure, is $13,283,907,000.

That amount is a $1.1 billion increase from the enacted fiscal year 2010 budget.

Here are some of the key ways the almost $13.3 billion would be allocated:

  • $339 million would go to new IRS enforcement initiatives.
  • $33 million would go toward improving the IRS website and providing new online services.
  • More than $18 million for health insurance tax credit administration. 
  • Nearly $17 million would help increase oversight of tax return preparers.   

Budget proposal, budget cuts

As I mentioned, these figures won't hold. The House, now under Republican control, isn't going to approve any money that supports any portion of the health care reform law.

Plus, many GOP members of Congress already are skeptical of the IRS and its efforts to collect from businesses, a traditionally Republican-friendly constituency.

Every Congressional session, at least one lawmaker introduces a bill to abolish the IRS.

This year, we have HR 25, sponsored by Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., and which so far has 55 cosponsors. A companion bill in the Senate, S 13 by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has five cosponsors. The primarily responsibility for tax collection, mostly in the form of sales taxes under these bills, would fall to the states, not Uncle Sam.

The lawmakers supporting HR 25 and S 13 obviously don't want to give the IRS any money.

And even catching tax evaders becomes politicized at budget time.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appeared before a House Budget Committee hearing Feb. 16, two days after the Obama FY12 budget was released. During that session, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., referred to IRS agents as a "goon squad."

Akin told Geithner that he'd rather spend money on simplifying the tax code than on paying for more IRS examiners.

"Not to mention the fact that it’d make us all look better if we don’t have a goon squad of 5,000 IRS agents tromping around the country with the economy the way it is," Akin said.

Geithner told the Missouri Republican that most of the new IRS employees would work in customer service or information technology, not enforcement, but Akin was not appeased.

Look for similar IRS opposition on Capitol Hill as the budget process moves forward.

More from Don't Mess with Taxes and MSN Money:


Feb 21, 2011 11:06PM

We are suppose to be cutting spending not increasing it!!!!

Feb 22, 2011 4:33PM

What part of CUT SPENDING does Washinton not "get"?  There are too many agencies, subsidies, foreign aid, agency czars, corporate welfare, earmarks, benefits for illegals and too many budget increases for all of the bloated government departments. Every time I read an article, there is a new agency being created to oversee "something". STOP NOW!. I hope the Republicans actually slash all of this crap once and for all, even though they are also guilty of getting us to this point.


Have we learned nothing from GM? They had a bloated, overpaid workforce and they went belly up. Who's going to bail the U.S. out when we go belly one. The Chinese will march in and we'll all be learning mandarin. That's if the Arabs don't get us first.


I agree with you 100%. Gov't is wayyyyy too big & full of waste, however this article was about the IRS. The 1 agency that actually brings in more then it spends. If you had a business and 1 part was very profitable and kept bringing in exponentially more than it was funded and another or multiple parts that were losing and wasting money what would you do. If you had business sense you would continue to expand the profitable parts and cut and eliminate those that were losing money

Feb 22, 2011 5:51PM

Simplify the INSANE tax code and you wouldn't need to hire more personnel...downsize!  The federal income tax system is an incredible drag on our economy.  Ron Paul has the right idea. Phase it out!  Stop pissing away trillions overseas and this can be done!

Feb 22, 2011 5:19PM
Please show us where the money from taxes actually goes-so many gullable Americans think this money paves roads. How foolish. The money from the tax at the gas pump is allocated for that service. In 1998 it was estimated there was enough money taking in to pave every road in our country 3 times over. That money is being misappropriated elsewhere. Insist on our "leaders" and elected officials in showing real numbers. Show us the books if you will. Tax money is paying a bill to a private corporation that learned how to loan money into existance making it mathmatically impossible to pay it's debt off. Look at what is happening now to anyone who wishes to buy over $100 worth of gold.
Feb 22, 2011 5:53PM
You've got to be F@@@ing kidding.  We're shutting down elementary schools, laying off teachers and giving the "goons" bonuses.  Makes me sick.

Feb 22, 2011 7:54PM

priorities, his are in federal employment, spending, taxes and tax collection! where's all the shovel ready jobs???  what happen to the infrastructure revamping jobs...roads, bridges, dams, airports, and the electrical grid for Americans sake??? the southern border fence???

the canals and other waterways that need lock repair on the tn river??? where besides d.c. and wallstreet are all of the jobs you promissed???

Feb 22, 2011 3:29PM

What part of CUT SPENDING does Washinton not "get"?  There are too many agencies, subsidies, foreign aid, agency czars, corporate welfare, earmarks, benefits for illegals and too many budget increases for all of the bloated government departments. Every time I read an article, there is a new agency being created to oversee "something". STOP NOW!. I hope the Republicans actually slash all of this crap once and for all, even though they are also guilty of getting us to this point.


Have we learned nothing from GM? They had a bloated, overpaid workforce and they went belly up. Who's going to bail the U.S. out when we go belly one. The Chinese will march in and we'll all be learning mandarin. That's if the Arabs don't get us first.


Wisconsin's governor is on the right track. Stop the upward spiral of government employees' benefits. They've held us hostage for too long. You can't even lay them off because they'll collect 90% of their pay and still keep their insurance. No wonder they don't want to give up their collective bargaining rights on their benefits. Hope they all get fired.

Feb 25, 2011 5:06PM
Most Americans don't have a problem with the IRS or paying taxes. The problem is with the way it's spent(wasted) once it's collected. The country has been mismanaged for years, and everyone is fed up. That's where the angry, and sometimes misdirected , commentary comes from. The country is bankrupt, whether anyone wants to pull their head out of the sand and recognize it or not. It pisses me off to look at the wreckage of my country, especially since none of the responsible parties are made to pay for their actions. Our system of government is broken beyond repair, and sooner or later we'll be forced to dismantle it and start over from scratch. It's happening now in the middle east. 
Feb 23, 2011 11:07AM
cut off china all together. no imported goods and it will put america back to work and guess what...people that work pay taxes. so there is your source of funding to pay for all the foolish govt spending
Feb 23, 2011 8:08AM

OK everyone, It does not matter how you slice it, flat tax or the current tax code or however you want to be taxed let's explain the reality of things.


1. Name a service the government provides you now (personally provides you) that you are willing to give up.


2. Name a service the government provides you now you can not live without. OK let's say border enforcement.


Guess what no matter how or what you cut the government cost money. The government obtains it money through taxes. No one repeat no one likes to pay taxes. I know I don't but I have to if I like to receive my government services i.e (medical care because I got wounded protecting your behinds by going to war).


Now no matter what tax system you use you will have people who don't want to pay taxes and will cheat the system no matter what. Flat tax, how may self employed people will not send their monthly tax payments if they could get away with it. No matter if we like it or not we need people to enforce the tax laws and insure people pay their taxes.


Now unless you are strange and work for free you expect to be paid if you worked. Government emplyees are not diffrent. Now the individuals who enforce the tax system get paid as well. Unless you want a chimp to do the job to get people who are qualified to perform the job will cost money.


Now we could get rid of the IRS (yeah I would never pay taxes again but we would have no government sevices at all) but then who would enforce your flat tax code. Or do you expect everyone to be perfect little angles and just pay if it was a flat tax world, yea and let's get rid of the police and everything else as well. GROW UP! Even with a flat tax or any new tax system someone has to be there to make sure everyone pays their taxes. I would perfer GOONS to WIMPS as the tax enforcers. At least then most people will apy taxes without any issues.


No taxes=No Government which means no services, police, fire, mail or all the other services you no depend on to make sure the food you eat is safe etc. So everyone just GROW UP.

Feb 23, 2011 11:06AM

Calling the IRS 'goons' is all empty talk. The Republicans need the IRS more than the democrats do. They want no cuts in defense. So who is going to be doing the dirty job of  collecting  the $780 billion? We have seen this time and time again. Other empty talk is getting rid of the Education department. Once they come back to power in the White house all this talk will disappear.

Feb 23, 2011 11:01AM
We are also supposed to be maximizing our revenue (since a drop in revenue is what has caused government shortfalls NOT an expansion of government workers). The reason the Republicans want to cut and cripple the IRS is that the policy in the Obama administration has turned its attention to investigating and enforcing against wealthy scofflaws and corporations. The IRS has been going after off-shore tax cheats and Swiss bank accounts with some solid resultsAnd of course, what the IRS needs is the manpower to do their job.  If everybody paid what they owe, we wouldn't be in this mess.
Feb 24, 2011 11:18AM
@ lovedaokra... spoken like a true imbicile who doesnt understand economics... note I am not an irs "goon" I just understand good business. Im guessing you are a southern lower income republican (maybe even cheat on your taxes or has some other ax to grind such as being a racist)who was brainwashed into thinking that the republican tax system is fair.... lmao, the republican system is farrrrr from fair. it exponentially favors the rich. the rich obtain the majority of their income from dividends and capital gains (taxed at 15%) us hard workers get the majority of our income from wages (taxed anywhere between 15 and 35%). This is why warren buffets secretary is in a higher tax bracket than him.... Please explain this fairness.... guess what you cant. But you bought into the republican propaganda that the dems waste money blah blah blah.... you sir are an idiot.
Feb 22, 2011 11:29AM
What part of for every additional dollar allocated to IRS enforcement brings 10 into the treasury dont you understand. You cut 1 dollar of IRS enforcement funding and you cut 10 in taxes coming in. sorry but that is horrible business sense
Feb 23, 2011 1:11AM

 Whatever you might say, the job of the IRS is to collect revenue by whatever means the government allows. The very same Congress that initiated an incredible number of reforms to develop more revenue must either fully support its collectors who are responsible for enforcing those new laws or repeal them.


Why hire more people for "enforcement"? How else can the government repay even the interest due on our National Debt? How can the unemployed be supported? How can State bailouts be funded?


Let's get past the nonsense. Every single person in the USA needs to pay for the bills our government racked up. That comes out to a little more than $128K per taxpayer. Without "enforcers" it simply cannot happen.


Without the legislation to strip every taxpayer of their personal deductions, educational deductions, and the other items currently stalled (not repealed) that were/are due to become part of the tax returns money "recovered" won't be even close to what's needed.


 Our government needs money now. It's the reason why all returns are supposed to filed online as of next year. It's the reason why all preparers must now pay a fee to register with the IRS (that made the government roughly $45Mil, after the "administrative fee" was paid to an outside service, which is why I don't see the "oversight of preparers" as something that needs additional funding). Expect that anyone between the taxpayers and the IRS collections efforts will be strictly monitored, which means if a tax preparer doesn't perform as the government dictates, they won't be able to keep certification.


 Yes, it's simply "divide and conquer" dictated by necessity and the need for any income that can be obtained.


 The harsh reality is that unless the government can pay its bills via collections/enforcement this country is finished. How we got to this point isn't relevant and pointing fingers won't resolve the situation.


 Brace yourself, get your Personal Tax Identification Number (PTIN), and prepare to ante up.



Feb 22, 2011 10:13PM

Why does everybody want the Gov. to cut spending?  Traditional economic thinking dictates that the quickest way out of a recession is to increase Gov. spending, cut taxes, lower the fed discount rate and reserve requirements.

Feb 22, 2011 10:35AM
Of course the republicans are against the IRS. The IRS catches all their fat cat friends in their cheating manipulative schemes. Honest taxpayers have a lot to benefit from an IRS that is bigger. The IRS enforcement officers bring in on average 10X their salary, so more officers = more money for the treasury. Unfortunately the rich republicans hate this because most of those tax dollars coming in are from their constituents. Middle income and lower income taxpayers are a small portion of the audits. Don't be brainwashed by the rich republicans, if you are an honest middle class taxpaying american the IRS is making things more fair. By catching the cheats they are keeping the honest peoples taxes lower. I am not saying the tax laws are fair. Of course they aren't. However that is what congress does, they write the laws. The IRS is only there to ensure that it is being adhered to as written.
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