* Obama's 2012 plan calls for 9.4 pct boost
* New IRS agents seen boosting tax collection by $1.3 bln
* Request sets up clash with Republican plans for IRS cuts
(Recasts with increased numbers of IRS agents)
By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, Feb 14 The Internal Revenue Service
would get an additional 5,100 agents under President Barack
Obama's increased budget request, setting up a clash with
Republicans who advocate cuts for the tax collection agency.
Obama's 2012 budget proposal, released on Monday, calls for
a $1.13 billion, or 9.4 percent, funding increase for the IRS
for fiscal 2012, to $13.28 billion for fiscal 2012. Adding the
extra agents would only amount to about a 5 percent increase in
manpower to 100,537.
The request includes a $460 million increase for tax
enforcement programs such as those targeting offshore tax
evasion, over 2010 levels.
The federal government is currently operating on an
extension of 2010 funding levels because lawmakers have not
agreed to a budget for the remainder of 2011.
The agency's budget will likely get caught up in the
political debate over spending now heating up in Congress.
Republicans, who took control of the U.S. House of
Representatives in November's congressional elections, view the
IRS with suspicion and want to slash millions of dollars from
Treasury Department officials said the increase in the
enforcement budget would result in increased tax collections of
about $1.3 billion annually once the new hires reach their full
potential in fiscal 2014.
The IRS under Commissioner Douglas Shulman, appointed by
former President George W. Bush but kept on by Obama, has
beefed up enforcement against tax cheats in recent years, with
a focus on high net-worth individuals and the banks that aid
The poster child for that effort is Swiss global banking
giant UBS AG UBSN.VX (UBS.N), which in the past two years
paid $780 million as part of a settlement and has pledged to
hand over account information on nearly 5,000 Americans that
the bank helped dodge U.S. taxes.
The president's budget is a blueprint or wishlist that
starts a debate in Congress, where the actual budget is
Republicans in the House on Friday announced a plan for
deep cuts in spending. [ID:nN11200912]
(Additional reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Tim Dobbyn
and Sandra Maler)