Trump Directs Treasury Department to Review ‘Tax Regulatory Burdens’

President Trump signed an executive order directing the Treasury Department to review tax regulations that he says are creating an undue burden for American taxpayers.

President Trump signed an executive order today directing the Treasury Department to “immediately review all significant tax regulations” issued by the agency over the last year.

The purpose of the order is to limit tax regulations which the President says are adding “undue complexity” to the tax code and imposing an “undue financial burden on United States taxpayers.” It targets regulations put in place under the Obama administration as it instructs the Treasury Department to review regulations enacted on or after January 1, 2016.

The order directs the Secretary of the Treasury to submit a report to the President within 150 days with recommendations for specific actions to help lessen the burdens from the overbearing tax code regulations.

“I will be signing three presidential directives to further protect our workers and our taxpayers,” said President Trump at a signing ceremony at the Treasury Department.

He added, “The first executive action instructs Secretary Mnuchin to begin the process of tax simplification. This regulatory reduction is a first step towards a tax reform that reduces rates, provides relief to our middle class, and lowers our business tax which is one of the highest in the world and has stopped us from so much wealth and productivity.”

Two presidential memoranda also issued today address the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, specifically the Orderly Liquidation Authority (OLA) and Financial Stability Oversight Council.

A copy of the executive order is below.

April 21, 2017

Presidential Executive Order on Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens



By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. The Federal tax system should be simple, fair, efficient, and pro-growth. The purposes of tax regulations should be to bring clarity to the already complex Internal Revenue Code (title 26, United States Code) and to provide useful guidance to taxpayers. Contrary to these purposes, numerous tax regulations issued over the last several years have effectively increased tax burdens, impeded economic growth, and saddled American businesses with onerous fines, complicated forms, and frustration. Immediate action is necessary to reduce the burden existing tax regulations impose on American taxpayers and thereby to provide tax relief and useful, simplified tax guidance.

Sec. 2. Addressing Tax Regulatory Burdens. (a) In furtherance of the policy described in section 1 of this order, the Secretary of the Treasury (Secretary) shall immediately review all significant tax regulations issued by the Department of the Treasury on or after January 1, 2016, and, in consultation with the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, identify in an interim report to the President all such regulations that:

(i) impose an undue financial burden on United States taxpayers;

(ii) add undue complexity to the Federal tax laws; or

(iii) exceed the statutory authority of the Internal Revenue Service.

This interim report shall be completed no later than 60 days from the date of this order. In conducting the review required by this subsection, earlier determinations of whether a regulation is significant pursuant to Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993, as amended (Regulatory Planning and Review), shall not be controlling.

(b) No later than 150 days from the date of this order, the Secretary shall prepare and submit a report to the President that recommends specific actions to mitigate the burden imposed by regulations identified in the interim report required under subsection (a) of this section. The Secretary shall also publish this report in the Federal Register upon submitting it to the President. The Secretary shall take appropriate steps to cause the effective date of such regulations to be delayed or suspended, to the extent permitted by law, and to modify or rescind such regulations as appropriate and consistent with law, including, if necessary, through notice and comment rulemaking. The Secretary shall submit for publication in the Federal Register a summary of the actions taken in response to the report no later than 10 days following the finalization of such actions. Should all such actions not be finalized within 180 days following the submission of the report to the President, the Secretary shall submit for publication in the Federal Register an initial report summarizing the actions taken to that point.

(c) To ensure that future tax regulations adhere to the policy described in section 1 of this order, the Secretary and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall review and, if appropriate, reconsider the scope and implementation of the existing exemption for certain tax regulations from the review process set forth in Executive Order 12866 and any successor order.

(d) The Secretary shall cause section of the Internal Revenue Manual to be revised, if necessary to fulfill the directives in subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


April 21, 2017.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.