The Internal Revenue Service may be short-staffed and have seen its budget cut, but Commissioner Charles Rettig believes he can both improve taxpayer and tax practitioner service, and up the agency’s enforcement game.
he told an audience of over a thousand accountants in his keynote at the American Institute of CPAs’ 2019 Engage conference.
“Last year we collected $3.5 trillion -- 95 percent of the gross revenue of the U.S. government,” he explained. “We cannot have a functioning government without a functioning IRS.”
That is beginning to be recognized in Washington, he noted: “There is a bipartisan feeling that we need a fully functioning Internal Revenue Service,” he said, noting that Congress is seeking $12 billion in appropriations for its next budget. “Though we’d like to see it raised!”
Regardless of the final budget figure, he thinks the service is better-positioned than some might think.
“I thrive on tax,” said Rettig, who was a tax attorney for three decades before becoming commissioner. “I read the cases every day and I read the guidance -- I’ll never lose my passion for tax.”
As a practitioner himself -- the first to helm the IRS in 20 years, since Margaret Milner Richardson in 1997-1998 -- he called on the audience at Engage to work more closely with the service.
We will have a much greater presence on enforcement than before. We will be in every neighborhood that we can be, we’ll be touching people -- but a fair touch.”
Beyond those goals, Rettig hopes to leave the IRS much improved when his term is up in 2022.
“I believe we have a real opportunity to make the tax system to better,” he said, before adding:
How many jobs do you have where you can make a real difference for people you’ll never meet? I can go home at the end of the day and say, ‘I did this today -- do you know how many people it will help?’”
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Read more at: Tax Times blog