IRS budget continues path through Congress

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government has approved the IRS budget of $11.1 billion for fiscal year 2008 after the budget was approved by the House. The amount is slightly ($112.5 million) above President Bush's suggested budget and $544.5 higher than the fiscal year 2007 budget.

Included in the IRS budget is $6.8 billion slated for enforcement activities, $2.1 billion for taxpayer services, and $282 million for modernization. Federal employees would receive a 3.5 percent wage increase.

The Senate plan would cut funding for the controversial IRS private debt collection program to $1 million. The IRS estimates the cost of continuing the program to be $7 million in 2008. The private debt collection program has collected $20 million in its first year and is expected to garner $2.2 billion in collections over the next ten years.

The budget now goes to the full Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

"This bill represents an important step forward in the effort to improve government services for the American people," said Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) in a statement.

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