The Internal Revenue Service is set to have a new leader at its helm-and for the first time in several years, the candidate will have a background in tax law. Several news outlets have reported that President Trump is allegedly preparing to nominate California-based tax lawyer Charles Rettig to serve as the commissioner of the IRS.
Rettig is a tax attorney based in California, where he specializes in tax controversy. If he is granted the position, he will be one of the few IRS Commissioners with tax law experience. As an attorney, Mr. Rettig has represented clients before the IRS, federal and state tax authorities and the Tax Division of the Justice Department.
If Rettig’s nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate, he will have his work cut out for him. He will be in charge of implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Trump administration’s controversial tax overhaul passed last year. Mr. Rettig will also be tasked with mending the bridge between the IRS and conservative House members. The IRS has a tense relationship with many House Republicans, as the conservative-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee filed a motion to impeach the previous IRS Commissioner in 2015. Not to mention, Rettig will have to do all of this on a shoestring budget: Over the past eight years, the IRS’s budget has been cut by nearly 20 percent.
In addition, Rettig will oversee President Trump’s personal tax audit. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Mr. Trump famously refused to release his tax returns, breaking four decades of protocol for presidential candidates. The president claims that his returns are being audited and that he will not release them publicly until the federal audit is complete. Mr. Rettig has expressed his support for the president’s decision in an essay in Forbes magazine.