The Senate voted 64-33 to confirm Charles Rettig as commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, giving the IRS a full-time leader for the first time in nearly a year.
Rettig, a Beverly Hills, Calif., tax attorney, will be the first practicing lawyer to lead the IRS in more than 20 years. He takes over as the agency undertakes administration of the most significant tax code overhaul in decades, with next year’s filing season being the first under the new code. At the same time, the agency has been beset by funding cuts and declines in headcount and morale.
Since 2010, the IRS has lost about $715 million in funding and 22,000 full-time employees.
Rettig has touted his experience in recent years as chair of the IRS Advisory Council, head of the tax section of the California bar, and an organizer and presenter on dozens of tax panels. But he faced questions during his Finance Committee confirmation hearing about lack of management experience. The nomination also drew scrutiny from Democrats after the agency in July reversed a long-standing policy of requiring certain political nonprofits to report the identities of their donors.
The commissioner position has been held so far this year on an acting basis, by Assistant Treasury Secretary David Kautter.