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Department of the Treasury
US-DeptOfTheTreasury-Seal.svg
Treasury Seal
Agency overview
Formed September 2, 1789
Preceding agency Board of Treasury
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters Treasury Building
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.
38°53′54″N 77°2′3″W / 38.89833°N 77.03417°W / 38.89833; -77.03417
Employees 115,897 (2007)
Annual budget $19.56 billion (2009)
Agency executives Timothy Geithner, Secretary
Neal S. Wolin, Deputy Secretary
Rosa Gumataotao Rios, Treasurer
Child agencies Internal Revenue Service
United States Mint
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Several others
Website
www.ustreas.gov

The Department of the Treasury is an executive department and the treasury of the United States federal government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue. The Department is administered by the Secretary of the Treasury, who is a member of the Cabinet.

The first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton, who was sworn into office on September 11, 1789. Hamilton was asked by President George Washington to serve after first having asked Robert Morris (who declined, recommending Hamilton instead). Hamilton almost single-handedly worked out the nation's early financial system, and for several years was a major presence in Washington's administration as well. His portrait is on the obverse of the U.S. ten-dollar bill and the Treasury Department building is shown on the reverse.

Besides the Secretary, one of the best-known Treasury officials is the Treasurer of the United States, who receives and keeps the money of the U.S. Facsimile signatures of the Secretary and the Treasurer appear on all modern U.S. currency.

The Treasury prints and mints all paper currency and coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint. The Department also collects all federal taxes through the Internal Revenue Service, and manages U.S. government debt instruments.

Contents

History

The U.S. Treasury building in 1804. This building was burned by the British on August 25, 1814.

The Office of the Treasurer is the only office in the Treasury Department that is older than the Department itself, as it was originally created by the Continental Congress in 1775.[1] Michael Hillegas served as the first Treasurer of the United States[2] and throughout the American Revolution until Congress created the Department of the Treasury on September 2, 1789:

And be it...enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to digest and prepare plans for the improvement and management of the revenue, and for the support of public credit; to prepare and report estimates of the public revenue, and the public expenditures; to superintend the collection of revenue; to decide on the forms of keeping and stating accounts and making returns, and to grant under the limitations herein established, or to be hereafter provided, all warrants for monies to be issued from the Treasury, in pursuance of appropriations by law; to execute such services relative to the sale of the lands belonging to the United States, as may be by law required of him; to make report, and give information to either branch of the legislature, in person or in writing (as he may be required), respecting all matters referred to him by the Senate or House of Representatives, or which shall appertain to his office; and generally to perform all such services relative to the finances, as he shall be directed to perform.[3]

The current law, 31 U.S.C. § 301, reads as follows (in part):

(a) The Department of the Treasury is an executive department of the United States Government at the seat of the Government.

(b) The head of the Department is the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary is appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

President John Hanson, the first President of the United States (1781-1783) before the Constitution was signed, established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first Foreign Affairs Department.

Responsibilities

Treasury Department official, surrounded by packages of newly minted currency, counting and wrapping dollar bills. Washington, D.C., 1907.

The basic functions of the Department of the Treasury include:

With respect to the estimation of revenues for the executive branch, Treasury serves a purpose parallel to that of the Office of Management and Budget for the estimation of spending for the executive branch, the Joint Committee on Taxation for the estimation of revenues for Congress, and the Congressional Budget Office for the estimation of spending for Congress.

The term Treasury reform usually refers narrowly to reform of monetary policy and related economic policy and accounting reform. The broader term monetary reform usually refers to reform of policy of institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.

Administrative Materials

As part of its administration of Federal tax, the Treasury issues a wide range of documents providing its interpretation of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which each document having a varying level of weight for which the tax payer may rely:

  • Treasury Regulations reflect the Treasury's interpretation of the IRC, may be promulgated by the Secretary of the Treasury, and when final they have "force of law" status. Congress can sometimes carve out areas in which the Treasury can actually make, not just interpret, the rules.[4]
  • Revenue Rulings are issued under the same statutory authority as regulations, but generally are just a response to a taxpayer's question about their own tax liability. Published Revenue Rulings are released in the weekly Internal Revenue Bulletin and again in the semi-annual Cumulative Bulletin; they do not have the force or effect of regulations, but nonetheless may be cited and used by the public. Private Letter Rulings are also the IRS' response to a specific taxpayer's question regarding the tax consequences of a particular transaction and can be made public upon request. Although they may not be relied on by anyone other than the taxpayer that requested it, they are still useful for tax planning purposes.
  • A Revenue Procedure is a statement of the Treasury's practice and procedures, and generally deals with a broad subject area.

Organization

The Office of Foreign Assets Control and the main branch of the Treasury Department Federal Credit Union are located in the Treasury Annex in Washington, D.C.

The Office of the General Counsel is charged with supervising all legal proceedings involving the collection of debts due the United States, establishing regulations to guide customs collectors, issuing distress warrants against delinquent revenue collectors or receivers of public money, examining Treasury officers' official bonds and related legal documents, serving as legal adviser to the department and administered lands acquired by the United States in payment for debts. This office was preceded by the offices of the (1789–1817), First Comptroller of the Treasury (1817–20), Agent of the Treasury (1820–30), and 1830–1934.

2003 Reorganization

Congress transferred several agencies that had previously been under the aegis of the Treasury department to other departments as a consequence of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Effective January 24, 2003, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), which had been a bureau of the Department since 1972, was extensively reorganized under the provisions of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. The law enforcement functions of ATF, including the regulation of legitimate traffic in firearms and explosives, were transferred to the Department of Justice as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). The regulatory and tax collection functions of ATF related to legitimate traffic in alcohol and tobacco remained with the Treasury at its new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

Effective March 1, 2003, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the United States Customs Service, and the United States Secret Service were transferred to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"). On March 14, 2003, the United States Coast Guard also became a part of DHS.

See also

References

External links

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Simple English

Department of the Treasury
Agency overview
Formed September 2, 1789
Preceding Agency Board of Treasury
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.
Employees 115,897 (2007)
Annual Budget $11.10 billion (2007)
Agency Executives Timothy Geithner, Secretary
 
Neal S. Wolin, Deputy Secretary
 
Rosa Gumataotao Rios, Treasurer
Child Agencies Internal Revenue Service
 
United States Mint
 
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
 
Several others
Website
www.ustreas.gov
File:US Treasury
U.S. Department of Treasury headquarters in Washington DC.

The United States Department of the Treasury is a Cabinet department and the treasury of the United States government. It was established by an Act of Congress in 1789 to manage government revenue. The first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton. He almost single-handedly worked out the nation's early financial system, and for several years was a major presence in Washington's administration as well. His statue still stands outside the Treasury building.

Other websites

"Enough Wise Men, The Story of Our Constitution" by Forrest McDonaldPublished by the Dominion of Canada and by Longmans Canada Limited, Toronto 1970


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