Treasury Releases Plan to Review All Regulations


The Treasury Department on May 26 released a plan to review all existing Treasury regulations and identify those that are “obsolete, unnecessary, excessively burdensome, or ineffective.” The plan is part of a larger federal government regulatory review initiative mandated by an executive order issued by President Barack Obama in January.

Under the Treasury Department plan, members of the public will annually be given an opportunity to make suggestions to the various Treasury bureaus regarding regulations that should be updated or amended. Regulatory staff will review the suggestions from the public, as well as plans recommended by Treasury personnel. Each bureau will then consult with policy officials to prioritize review projects.

One result of the plan, the Treasury Department said, will be to develop a “strong ongoing culture of retrospective analysis.”

The Treasury Department will select and publicly announce the priority regulatory review projects, which will, to the extent practicable, be placed on a separate fast track. The factors used to prioritize projects will include:

  • The economic impact of the regulatory project;
  • The burden or intrusiveness of the regulatory project; and
  • The extent and content of feedback on the regulatory project.

Specific IRS projects that are already under consideration for review include:

  • Proposed regulations making corrections to reflect the proper place for filing claims for refund or credit;
  • Proposed regulations regarding lifetime income from retirement plans;
  • Proposed regulations regarding accuracy-related penalties;
  • Final regulations that would provide relief to employers facing financial hardships from certain 401(k) contribution requirements;
  • Updating final regulations to reflect changes to Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax;
  • Proposed regulations under the dependency exemption rules that incorporate the uniform definition of child;
  • Final regulations concerning substantiation and reporting requirements for charitable contributions; and
  • Proposed regulations on the deductibility of certain investment advisory expenses of trusts and estates under Sec. 67(e).

In March, the Treasury Department solicited public comments on developing a regulatory review plan. The plan’s appendix includes a summary of the comments received.

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