Trump announces pick for new IRS commissioner

President Donald Trump announced his plans Thursday to pick a new Internal Revenue Service commissioner, with little more than two months until the 2018 tax filing deadline.

The president said he intends to nominate California-based tax attorney Charles Rettig to succeed former commissioner John Koskinen,  who stepped down last November. David Kautter, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for tax policy, has been serving as acting IRS commissioner.

Retting has been an attorney with the Beverly Hill-based law firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez for more than 35 years. During his career, Rettig has represented clients before the IRS and the Justice Department’s Tax Division, as well as state tax authorities, according to a biography on the firm’s website.

If confirmed by the Senate, Rettig would take over an agency that has had its budget reduced by 18 percent and its workforce by 14 percent since 2010. Those cuts have contributed to challenges the IRS anticipates during the current tax filing season.

Last month, the National Taxpayer Advocate reported to Congress that the IRS would only be able to handle 40 percent of “basic” tax questions over the phone through its taxpayer hotlines. The IRS receives about 95 million calls each year.

In 2010, the IRS appointed Retting to serve as the chair of its advisory council, and has been a member of the council since 2008. The council reviews existing tax policy and makes recommendations for new and existing policies.

Rettig has served on the advisory board of the California Franchise Tax Board, and was a member of the advisory council of the California State Board of Equalization.

Rettig holds a law degree from Pepperdine University and a Master of Laws in taxation from New York University.

If confirmed, Rettig would serve as IRS commissioner for a seven-year term.