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Boustany asks IRS about PPACA role

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A Republican lawmaker is asking for more details about how many people the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) needs to implement Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) tax provisions.

Rep. Charles Boustany has written to Steve Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, to ask questions about IRS PPACA resource allocation.

PPACA calls for the IRS to administer new taxes created by PPACA, including a new tax on health insurers; to impose new taxes on individuals who fail to meet PPACA coverage ownership requirements; to impose new taxes on employers that fail to meet PPACA “shared responsibility” health benefits standards; and to run a new health insurance tax credit system that is supposed to help low-income and moderate-income people pay for health coverage.

Boustany, R-La., chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, noted in the letter that officials at the U.S. Treasury Department, the parent of the IRS, have estimated that the IRS now has about 700 full-time equivalent staffers working on PPACA implementation.

Previously, the IRS has estimated that it would need to put about 1,300 full-time employees to work on PPACA implementation by Sept. 30, 2012, and about 900 by the end of 2013, committee officials said in a press release about the letter.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the IRS had not done much to back up those staffing needs estimates with any meaningful analysis, committee officials said.

In the letter to Miller, Boustany has asked whether the IRS is using employees from other agencies to help with PPACA work.

“If so, how many and from which agencies?” Boustany asked. “How many staff were hired by the IRS for [PPACA] implementation?

Boustany also noted that Treasury Department officials have estimated that the IRS has spent $488 million of the $1 billion in available PPACA implementation money and believes that no more PPACA implementation money is available.

Boustany is asking whether the IRS also is getting PPACA implementation money from HHS and how it is using HHS PPACA money.

“How much money, and how many full-time equivalents, does IRS anticipate needing to implement and administer the [PPACA] over the next 10 years?” Boustany asked.

Boustany said Christopher Armstrong, a member of the Ways and Means staff, will be the staffer handling IRS responses to the questions.

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