chief says may face budget crunch on Obamacare rollout
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[January 07, 2014]
By Patrick Temple-West
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. Internal
Revenue Service may need to spend money on its Obamacare implementation
at the expense of other agency programs due to budget constraints, its
new commissioner said on Monday.
John Koskinen, sworn in on December 23 to lead the tax agency, did
not elaborate on what programs might suffer to ensure full funding
for the IRS's numerous jobs in putting into effect President Barack
Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010.
Koskinen said the IRS' role in implementing the ACA has so far been
glitch-free. More work is coming for the agency in early 2015, when
Americans will start reporting healthcare compliance information to
the IRS, he said.
"The ACA program will be funded ... If our budget continues to
shrink other things may have to go by the wayside," he told
reporters at the IRS headquarters in Washington.
Known as Obamacare, the ACA includes dozens of tax code changes. IRS
watchdogs have previously said the agency was struggling to keep up
with its ACA responsibilities.
The IRS' budget and staffing have been cut by Congress in recent
years. "I hope that one of my legacies ... as IRS commissioner will
be that we put the agency's funding on a more solid basis," Koskinen
He joined the IRS as it recovers from its worst scandal in years. In
May, an IRS official apologized for what she termed improper
scrutiny of conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt
status, triggering investigations.
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Koskinen said another of his top priorities "is to put to rest all
of the issues and concerns surrounding applications for tax-exempt
status ... We hope we're in the home stretch" of the investigations.
He said he will soon meet Republican lawmakers to discuss these
(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Cynthia Osterman)
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