The Senate Finance Committee held hearings on the nomination of Douglas Shulman to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

"Since I've been nominated, many people have asked me if I would emphasize service or enforcement," said Shulman in his opening statement. "But to be forced to choose between the two is a false choice. In order to execute its mission, the IRS must do both."

Shulman emphasized the need "to work closely with the practitioner community, including lawyers, accountants and tax preparers - a vital part of our nation's tax compliance system." He said the IRS would need to "use all the tools at its disposal - dialogue, education, service and enforcement - to ensure that these important members of the tax community are partners in our efforts to see that all individuals and institutions meet their tax obligations."

Shulman is currently vice chairman of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers. Before becoming vice chairman of FINRA, Shulman was vice president of Darby Overseas Investments. He also served as senior policy advisor and later chief of staff of the bipartisan National Commission on Restructuring the IRS.

"The position of IRS commissioner is very important and it is vital that the position be filled as quickly as possible," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.

He added that the IRS commissioner would need to modernize the agency's computer systems and take a hands-on approach to the Office of General Counsel. He also wants to see the IRS commissioner use the Private Debt Collection program to help close the tax gap. Grassley received assurances from Shulman that he would try to hire 1,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for agency positions during the upcoming fiscal year.

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