Why the IRS Still Doesn’t Have a Permanent Commissioner

Sep 4 2018

The highly charged confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, began on Tuesday. While the Senate could be occupied with Kavanaugh’s confirmation for weeks, Politico’s Bernie Becker reminds that IRS nominee Chuck Rettig is still waiting to be confirmed more than six weeks after the Senate Finance Committee approved him by a party-line 14-13 vote. Democrats objected to Rettig’s nomination in protest over a new IRS policy that they say will allow more foreign “dark money” to flow to political groups.

“Senate aides from both parties say they still can’t offer a timeline as to when Rettig might be confirmed, with Democrats also using Rettig’s nomination to lash out at new Treasury and IRS rules limiting blue state workarounds to the tax law’s cap on state and local deductions,” Becker writes.

The delay in confirming an IRS commissioner may not be a problem — yet — and chances are that Rettig will be confirmed along with IRS chief counsel nominee Michael Desmond, especially since, Becker says, “Democrats, historically more so than Republicans, have a vested interest in the IRS working as efficiently and as close to full potential as possible.”

But it’s not clear when that confirmation might take place, and a significant further delay could rattle some nerves. “There’s the filing season, there are modernization issues — which they got more money for from Congress earlier this year — the next budget season, withholding tables, the administrative side of the building,” Jorge Castro, a former counselor to the IRS commissioner and former congressional tax counsel, told Becker. “All those stand to benefit from having an IRS commissioner in place sooner rather later.”

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