OMB Review of IRS Regulations

It is likely that OMB will begin the review of Treasury tax regulations, an exemption from OMB review which was granted over three decades ago that should never occurred in the first place.

Having worked for more than a half century to vest OMB with the authority to review regulations I doubt whether there are any new arguments against OMB’s likely new role will emerge during the current debate.

The traditional arguments include the lack of OMB expertise in the particular subject matter at hand. I heard this argument many times over when OMB (OIRA and its predecessor organizations) began to review EPA regulations.

The aforementioned argument is misguided because OMB need not duplicate the expertise of Treasury. Instead they are focused on the benefits and costs of proposed regulation as well as the underlying policy arguments. More specifically the new tax bill is considerably more than a tax bill; instead it is founded on a number of policy arguments, such as for example, the treatment to be accorded to religious groups.

The very talented staff of Treasury are a key component of any tax regulation but to state they must maintain their monopoly on judging the merits of a tax regulation is misguided.

Jim Tozzi

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

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