Rettig’s term will extend through 2022 and he will take over from Acting Commissioner, David Kautter, who is a senior Treasury Department official. Rettig is a tax attorney from Beverly Hills, California, who for the past 35 years, has worked at his firm, Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, P.C.
Mr. Rettig has extensive experience representing individuals and companies in both civil and criminal tax matters both in court and in front of the IRS. Rettig is a past Chair of the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC), which serves as a public forum that brings IRS officials and the public together to discuss tax issues. Rettig has extensive knowledge of the tax code and is generally very well respected within the tax field.
During Rettig’s confirmation, Democrats went after a policy change by the Trump administration that would allow political nonprofits such as Planned Parenthood and the National Rifle Association to shield the names and addresses of big donors from the IRS. Democrats argued that this change decrease transparency will make it harder for people to know who is funding political ads. That being said, most Democrats had few objections to Mr. Rettig himself.
As new IRS Commissioner, Rettig will be tasked with the implementation of the $1.5 trillion tax law passed by the Republican Congress earlier this year. There remains a lot of work to be done preparing the IRS for the first tax filing season under the new law. Additionally, Rettig will be responsible for helping modernize the agency’s computer systems after a high-profile glitch on Tax Day last year that delayed millions of people from submitting their returns online. Rettig will have to face all of these challenges with an IRS that has been weakened after years of budget cuts. IRS staff has shrunk by 14% since 2012 and last year, the rate of IRS audits was its lowest since 2002.
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The new IRS Commissioner will play a critical role in the implementation of the massive tax reform package passed earlier this year. Next April is the first filing deadline under the new law and the IRS Commissioner will be the person responsible for overseeing this transition.