The ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee threatened to place a "hold" on President Bush's nomination for the top Treasury tax official, unless the department agrees to provide a comprehensive plan to close the tax gap by the end of September.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said in a statement that neither nominee Eric Solomon, or new Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, had agreed to meet a Sept. 30 deadline for a plan to close the gap, the difference between taxes collected, and taxes legally owed. Estimates put the gap, a hard-to-quantify number, at upwards of $300 billion annually.

Solomon is currently serving as the Treasury deputy assistant secretary for tax policy, and is conducting many of the Treasury tax duties in his current job. He needs approval from both the Senate Finance Committee and the full Senate for confirmation as an assistant secretary. Since the 2004 departure of Pamela Olson from the job, Bush's initial nominee, Treasury official Greg Jenner, was never confirmed and he left the government that same December. Bush's second nominee, Philip Morrison, withdrew in October 2005 after seeing the confirmation process drag on for nearly six months.

Baucus called Solomon both a tax expert and a good public servant, but said that the Treasury Department hasn't shown appropriate concern and action on the tax gap issue.

Previously on WebCPA:

Solomon: Tax Reform, Tax Compliance on Radar (July 14, 2006)

Bush Nominates Treasury Official to Tax Post (May 10, 2006)

Tax Analysts Taps Olson and Langdon for Board (Dec. 8, 2004)

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