Implementation of the GOP tax law has kept officials and staff at the Treasury Department working overtime writing rules and guidances. As if there’s not enough work and stress already, the Treasury is reportedly engaged in a power struggle with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over who should get the final say in writing tax regulations.
The new tax law has put a great deal of power in Treasury’s hands to interpret various aspects of the statute. That kind of power tends to attract attention. The OMB wants to have the authority to review and approve regulations coming out of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Unlike other regulatory agencies, the Treasury is not used to ceding its rulemaking authority to the OMB. Tax regulations are exempt from review by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs because their scope and impact are limited; and they are not considered economically significant. The OMB questions whether those arguments are still valid.
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) has taken Treasury’s side in this little fracas, acknowledging that Treasury is the “main driver” when it comes to finalizing tax regulations.