The United States Department of the Treasury is a Cabinet department, a treasury, of the United States government established by an Act of U.S. Congress in 1789 to manage the revenue of the United States government.
It is administered by the United States Secretary of the Treasury and the Treasurer of the United States who receives and keeps the monies of the United States. The Department prints and mints all the Federal Reserve notes and coins in circulation through the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint. It also collects all taxes through the Internal Revenue Service.
The basic functions of the Department of the Treasury include:
- Managing Federal finances;
- Collecting taxes, duties and monies paid to and due to the U.S. and paying all bills of the U.S.;
- Producing all postage stamps, currency and coinage;
- Managing Government accounts and the U.S. public debt;
- Supervising national banks and thrift institutions;
- Advising on domestic and international financial, monetary, economic, trade and tax policy - fiscal policy being the sum of these, and the ultimate responsibility of US Congress.
- Enforcing Federal finance and tax laws;
- Investigating and prosecuting tax evaders, counterfeiters, forgers, smugglers, illicit spirits distillers, and gun law violators.
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 involves changes to institutions created at the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944, e.g. the World Bank, which govern the relationship of the US dollar to other global currencies.
The Office of the Treasurer is the only office in the Treasury Department that is older than the Department itself. It is an office that was originally created by the Continental Congress in 1775. The Department of the Treasury was created by an Act of Congress passed on September 2, 1789:
The US Treasury, Washington D.C.
- 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.  (http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/history/act-congress.html)
Alexander Hamilton was sworn in as the first Secretary of the Treasury on September 11, 1789. The Treasury Building is on the back of the U.S. $10 bill, the same bill with Alexander Hamilton's portrait.
Effective January 24, 2003 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was no longer a Bureau of the Department of the Treasury. The law enforcement functions of ATF have been transferred to the Department of Justice. The tax and trade functions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms remained with Treasury at the new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
On March 1, 2003 the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the United States Customs Service, and the United States Secret Service moved to the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The Office of the General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury 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 Comptroller of the Treasury (1789-1817), First Comptroller of the Treasury (1817-20), Agent of the Treasury (1820-30) and Solicitor of the Treasury 1830-1934.