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What is the United States Department of the Treasury Responsible for?

By Misty Amber Brighton
Updated May 17, 2024
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The United States Department of the Treasury is primarily responsible for ensuring the financial stability of the country. Its officials serve as advisors to the U.S. president on economic and financial matters. This agency is also responsible for producing paper and coin money, as well as distributing it to banks. It may also borrow funds from other governments, on behalf of the nation.

Collecting debts owed to America is one of the primary duties of the United States Department of the Treasury. The agency may collect funds borrowed by other countries. It might also accept taxes owed by U.S. citizens. This organization helps collect taxes, in part, by helping the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) enforce tax laws and prosecute tax evaders.

This department is headed by the Secretary of the Treasury. This individual is a member of the presidential cabinet, as well as the United States National Security Council. He advises the president on such matters as economic or tax issues. He might also warn the chief executive of any potential economic disasters, and recommend measures to minimize financial hardship to the government or its citizens.

The Department of the Treasury oversees the printing and stamping of all U.S. coin and paper currency, which are also called notes. Coins are produced by the U.S. Mint, while currency is printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Both of these report directly to the treasury department.

After production of the money, this agency makes sure it is distributed to the Federal Reserve, which, in turn, releases the funds to the banking industry. The treasury also attempts to predict how much money it should print by monitoring the current economic conditions and comparing these statistics with historical data.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the office of Inspector General, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) are all agencies that are headed by the United States Department of the Treasury. These all perform investigations into crimes which could potentially affect the U.S. economy. Such offenses could include the illegal sale of tobacco, international financial crimes, or instances of government fraud or abuse.

The United States Department of the Treasury has been in existence since the late 1700s. It is authorized by the U.S. Congress to oversee matters pertaining to the country's financial security. Its existence is vital to the economic well-being of the American government as well as its citizens.

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Discussion Comments

By stl156 — On Jan 08, 2012

I am wondering since there are so many agencies that are under the Department of the Treasury if there are a lot of different jobs available out there.

I have seen that there are some law enforcement types of jobs with the Department of the Treasury such as the ATF, but I also see that there are also jobs available with the Internal Revenue Service that I assume are desk types of jobs.

I would think that there are thousands of jobs out there for the Department of the Treasury and that there are a variety of jobs available that can be found if people were to look into them closely.

It just seems to me like this particular Department of government has a good variety of jobs available that give out good benefits like most government jobs.

By matthewc23 — On Jan 08, 2012

I never knew that the Department of the Treasury oversaw so many government agencies. I would have never guessed that the ATF was under the Department of the Treasury, and investigation into counterfeiting was not.

People may not see the Department of the Treasury as being as important as the State Department, but the economy is what has made America a successful country over the years and it is important to protect the well being of the nations economy and the money flow.

If there were to be a major problem and the Treasury did not oversee their duties well, then it could cripple the nation in a way that has not been seen in hundreds of years and could hurt the way of life of the American people.

In a way I see the Treasury Department as being one of the most important areas of the national government just due to the importance of what the protect, which is in essence the financial well being of all Americans.

By kentuckycat — On Jan 07, 2012

@jcraig - That is an excellent question that I have an answer for. Counterfeiting actually falls under the Secret Service, the same people that oversee protecting the President.

This does sound very odd, but it actually makes sense when one looks at history. Abraham Lincoln actually created the Secret Service as his last act as President and was shot a couple of days later, and it created the Secret Service to combat counterfeiting, which was crippling the value of the US dollar.

It was after he was shot that it was decided the Secret Service would also protect the President. This is why the Department of the Treasury does not handle counterfeiters despite them being a legitimate threat against the United States economy.

By jcraig — On Jan 06, 2012

I find it very surprising that the Department of the Treasury does not oversee counterfeiters and seek to prosecute them.

I would figure that the department that oversees the protection of the economy would oversee the prosecution of people that would endanger the value and trust that people have of the United States Dollar.

I am also highly surprised the the Department of the Treasury would also oversee the ATF, but then again it makes sense considering that they do protect against the economy, but why not counterfeiting?

By LisaLou — On Jan 05, 2012

Every year when I do my taxes, I am reminded of one of the duties of the treasury department. If I have to send in more money, my check is always made out the the treasury.

I had the treasury job in a small organization before. This was a volunteer position keeping track of all the money for the organization, and recording all deposits and withdrawals.

It is hard for me to imagine the enormous job it would be for the Treasury Department of the United States to keep everything balanced.

Keeping track of all the finances for a whole nation seems like it would be an overwhelming undertaking.

By myharley — On Jan 04, 2012

When I was a kid, I thought the government could simply print more money if they needed to pay their debts.

It wasn't until I was older and studied about the Treasury Department of the United States that I realized how much was involved with this process. It certainly is not as easy as just making more money.

If you ever do get the chance to visit a place where they are printing money, it is really quite interesting. I had the opportunity to tour the Denver mint, and was fascinated by the whole process.

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