Finance Department

Find finance departments, DFS, and DOF. Finance departments provide information on financial services, finance, taxation, and banking.

What is a Finance Department?

A finance department is focused on government financial business. In many ways, the government functions as a business. It delegates tasks related to fiscal management to municipal, statewide or federal finance departments. At the top, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is our country's leading finance department. It produces currency, pays national debts, collects federal taxes, oversees banking and disburses federal funding.

State and municipal finance departments focus on planning and implementing financial plans, as well collecting taxes and revenues and disbursing benefits payments. The responsibilities of a department of financial services include bank supervision and licensing, regulation of insurance companies, and investigation of mortgage or real estate issues. State departments of financial services protect citizens from economic exploitation while ensuring financial companies are safe and fit to do business. A city or municipal department deals more directly with the allocation and collection of revenues and taxes.

A Finance Department is responsible for

  1. Revenue services. Taxes provide the funding for crucial public services that make our lives easier. Roads, schools, hospitals and law enforcement are just some of the services that depend in part on funding from the public. The Internal Revenue Service is the federal tax collection agency of the United States. Each year, citizens are required to report their financial information to the IRS, and pay a portion in taxes. It has the power to conduct audits and investigate tax evasion. Additional taxation varies from state to state, and is collected by state tax agencies, usually automatically. Municipal and state finance departments also collect fees and fines with the help of law enforcement and the court system.
  2. Budgeting and implementation. It is up to municipal governments to spend public funds in a way that will best benefit their communities as a whole. Local finance departments encourage citizen participation, and often hold open voting sessions where budgeting is decided. The federal government does the same thing on a larger scale with Congress determining how much funding to allot to its different branches.
  3. Bank licensing. State departments oversee banking institutions through chartering, licensing, registering and compliance examination. This supervision enforces accountability and transparency in banking institutions.
  4. Insurance and regulation. Insurance companies, like banks, fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of state and federal government. The insurance divisions of financial services departments usually have specific bureaus for property, life, and health. The federal government also works with insurance companies to subsidize rates. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is another federal service ensuring financial security.
  5. Consumer protection through litigation. Unfair and deceptive practices in the insurance and lending industries can be addressed and resolved in court. Courtroom assistance and fraud protection is yet another function of financial service departments.

Are there different types of Finance Departments?

Yes, and understanding the difference is important. There are municipal, statewide and federal finance departments that collect and budget debts owed by citizens. There are also financial service departments that regulate financial institutions and protect taxpayer wealth.