Healthcare Reform Law Requires New IRS Army Of 1,054

IRS asks for $359 million to watch over the initial implementation.

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The Internal Revenue Service says it will need an battalion of 1,054 new auditors and staffers and new facilities at a cost to taxpayers of more than $359 million in fiscal 2012 just to watch over the initial implementation of President Obama's healthcare reforms. Among the new corps will be 81 workers assigned to make sure tanning salons pay a new 10 percent excise tax. Their cost: $11.5 million.

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"The ACA [Affordable Care Act] will require additional resources to build new IT systems; modify existing tax processing systems; provide taxpayer outreach and assistance services; make enhancements to notices, collections, and case management systems to address and resolve taxpayer issues timely and accurately; and conduct focused examinations to encourage compliance," said the newly released IRS budget.

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In its request, the IRS explained that the tax changes associated with health reform are huge. "Implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 presents a major challenge to the IRS. ACA represents the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years, with more than 40 provisions that amend the tax laws."

Unsaid: The requests are just the beginning, since the new healthcare program is evolving and won't be fully implemented until about 2014.

The detailed IRS budget documents spell out exactly what most of the new workforce will be doing. For example, some 81 will be tasked just to handle the tax reporting of 25,000 tanning salons. They face a new 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services. Another 76 will be assigned to make sure businesses engaged in making and imported drugs pay their new fee which is expected to deliver $2.8 billion to the Treasury in 2012 and 2013. The new healthcare corps will also require new facilities and computers.

[See editorial cartoons about the healthcare law.]

The document gives the GOP a bright target to hit if they plan to make good on promises to defund the president's healthcare plan.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who's become a point man in the budget battle, told Whispers, "The president's irresponsible budget empowers the IRS to begin to audit Americans' healthcare. As the IRS says, Obamacare represents the largest set of tax changes in more than 20 years. Adding hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars to the IRS isn't going to make care better or more available for anyone. I will continue to fight to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient centered reforms that help the private sector—not the IRS—create more jobs." 

The Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS said: "The Affordable Care Act includes important tax credits that help small businesses provide health insurance for their employees and partially cover the cost of health insurance for Americans who do not have access to affordable coverage, and Treasury's Budget includes funding for the IRS to administer these tax provisions. The vast majority of this funding will be used to develop information technology systems and other support to implement the law and help taxpayers claim these important credits."

The IRS document also noted that other tax law changes related to the stimulus require more workers, estimated at about 215 new employees.

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It's not all tough news for taxpayers. The IRS regularly pays for its enforcement team and more when they collect taxes that companies and individuals try to skip out on. According to the budget documents, the IRS plans to get a big return on investment worth about $279 million by fiscal 2014.

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  • Corrected on : Updated on 2/15/11