Monday, February 21, 2011

IRS and the Health Care Law

A reader asked if reports that the IRS would need over 1,000 new workers to administer Obama's health care reform law. Not surprisingly, the numbers are misleading...

Fact Check reports:

The IRS is actually asking for more new workers than reported in an article by U.S. News and World Report — a story that has generated a lot of Internet buzz after being picked up by news outlets, such as Fox News and The Daily Caller. The IRS budget request for fiscal year 2012 shows that the agency is seeking at least 1,269 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) at a cost of $473 million to help implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

But many of them are needed to deliver new tax credits, not to dun taxpayers. The agency is seeking to add 291 "revenue agents" — most of them (193) to "ensure accurate delivery of tax credits." The agency’s technology staff would see the biggest increase with the addition of 537 IT program analysts and specialists.

Still, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming mischaracterized the IRS budget request in an interview on Fox News, falsely suggesting that all of the new hires will be auditing taxpayers.

Barrasso, Feb. 16: We don’t need a thousand new IRS agents who are now going to audit Obamacare.

That’s ridiculous. Yes, the IRS budget request lists 1,054 FTEs under the category of "enforcement initiatives" — which is the number cited by U.S. News. And, yes, the IRS wants 58 agents to enforce the new tanning salon tax, which took effect in 2010. But the 1,054 figure also includes 504 new hires to "ensure accurate delivery of tax credits." The law, among other things, provides tax credits for small businesses to offer coverage to their employees, beginning in April 2010.

Read more here

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