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Rettig Tapped for Top IRS Job

Agency facing critical time with new tax law implementation

The IRS currently faces the tough task of implementing the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The IRS currently faces the tough task of implementing the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced he will nominate longtime tax lawyer Charles Rettig to be the next commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

Rettig, if confirmed by the Senate, would take over at a critical time for the agency tasked with implementing the most sweeping tax code overhaul in decades. He’s currently with the Beverly Hills, California-based firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, PC, and is a vice-chairman for the taxation body of the American Bar Association.

In a statement, the White House hailed his more than 35 years of experience as a tax attorney, representing taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, the Department of Justice’s tax division and more.

Rettig would take the helm of a cash-strapped agency, a frequent target of Republicans in Congress, with a monumental job to do. The IRS is under the gun to implement the new tax law enacted in December, and the agency’s internal public advocate has warned that a major influx of new resources will be needed.

“The IRS has been bogged down by scandal and disruption in recent years, losing the trust of the American people. It’s past time we restore Americans’ faith in this agency,” said Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, whose committee will oversee the nomination process. “I look forward to learning more about Mr. Rettig and his qualifications to both achieve this goal and ensure an efficient implementation of the biggest tax rewrite in over 30 years.”

Watch: Lawmakers Praise Trump in Rose Garden Tax Bill Celebration

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Congress passed a massive spending deal early Friday that would potentially pave the way for more money to flow to the IRS this year.

The previous full-time IRS chief was John Koskinen, whose term ended in November. Koskinen, a 2013 appointee of former President Barack Obama, had a rocky relationship with GOP lawmakers who pushed for him to be impeached or fired by Trump.

The acting IRS commissioner is David Kautter, who is also assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy.

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