Bloomberg Daily Tax Report® Quotes Greg Jenner on How Recent Agreement Between OMB and Treasury on Tax Rules May go Astray

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If OIRA becomes “a political pressure point” for lobbying above Treasury and the IRS, the agreement “will significantly politicize a process that is now relatively free from those influences.” —Greg Jenner on the new agreement between the OMB and Treasury.

Tax attorney Greg Jenner was quoted in Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Tax Report® in an article titled “Lobbyists Could Get Second Crack at Tax Rules Under OMB Review,” published April 17, 2018. (Subscription required.) The article discusses an agreement recently made between Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget that will allow the latter’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to review major tax rules, a reversal of a longstanding arrangement that designated very few tax regulations for additional scrutiny.

The new agreement lets OIRA review tax rules for 45 days before publication. While it could give people, including lobbyists, an opportunity to appeal to OIRA if they think Treasury hasn’t listened to them, a former OIRA administrator said lobbying shouldn’t be an issue as the office can only hold meetings when a regulation is under review and has to follow strict rules when meeting with the public, including providing to Treasury within 10 days copies of any written communications between the office and “any person who is not employed by the executive branch of the Federal Government.”

However, Jenner fears the new agreement “opens the door to potential mischief,” because the OMB, as part of the Executive Office of the President, is less insulated from political pressures than Treasury, where, even though the department is led by political appointees, its leadership has tended to defer to nonpartisan career staff on tax regulations.

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