Rettig sworn in as IRS commissioner

Charles “Chuck” Rettig was officially sworn in as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin on Monday – and he has quite a job ahead of him.

He comes on board as the IRS is working to implement the many changes to forms, systems, calculations and other aspects of the tax system created by the massive tax reform act passed last December. A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration suggested that the difficulties involved could lead to a delayed start to the 2019 tax season.

Besides the mandates created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS has been struggling with the repercussions of slashed budgets, a shrinking workforce, and a seeming inability to manage technology. The service suffered a debilitating – and embarrassing – outage last Tax Day, with many of its most critical systems offline for almost half the day.

According to Politico.com, Rettig introduced himself to IRS staff with an agency-wide email that stressed the perennial need to balance enforcement and taxpayer service.

"I am honored, privileged and most humbled by the opportunity to serve with you as commissioner," Rettig wrote, according to The Hill. "The foundation of my becoming commissioner is a deep appreciation for the IRS, its workforce and our country."

IRS commissioner nominee Charles Rettig at Senate confirmation hearing
Charles Rettig Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Rettig is the 49th commissioner, officially succeeding John Koskinen, whose term ended in November 2019. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy David Kautter has been serving as acting commissioner since then.

A tax attorney at Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez PC, Rettig was originally nominated by President Trump in February, but didn’t have his confirmation hearing until June. The Senate Finance Committee voted to advance his nomination in July by a closely divided vote of 14-13. The full Senate voted to confirm him by a 64-33 vote in mid-September.

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