Charles Rettig, the Beverly Hills, Calif., tax attorney who was nominated by President Trump to head the IRS and who once wrote that Trump’s lawyers should not advise him to release his tax returns, told senators on June 28 that he would work on behalf of the average Joe taxpayer, not just the rich.
The Associated Press wrote:
At his confirmation hearing by the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, Rettig was asked whether, given his experience representing wealthy individuals in tax-avoidance cases, he would work for ordinary taxpayers.
“I have seen the difficulties faced by taxpayers of all kinds,” Rettig said. “I will work … to take on challenges with the impact on taxpayers in mind.”
If confirmed by the Senate as the new IRS commissioner, Rettig, who has spent the past 35 years as a tax lawyer at Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, would have the unenviable task of overseeing and enforcing the new tax law that Trump signed late last year. He also would preside over the first tax-filing season under the new tax code.
Changing the public’s negative perception of the IRS would be one of his top priorities, he told lawmakers, according to The Hill:
“If I am privileged to serve as commissioner, my overriding goal will be to strengthen and rebuild the trust between the IRS, the American people and their representatives in Congress.”
“That trust is critical to all that the IRS does, particularly as it works with the Department of Treasury to implement once-in-a-generation tax-reform legislation enacted by Congress last year.”
And he all but promised lawmakers that the IRS will be run in an “impartial and unbiased manner” under his watch, according to The Hill.
“I would hope that the members of this committee and the American taxpayers see me as staunchly independent,” he told the lawmakers.
The issue of the IRS’s impartiality has been a top concern for both Republicans and Democrats. Republicans have been critical of the agency following revelations in 2013 that officials submitted conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status to extra scrutiny. And Democrats are worried that the IRS under the Trump administration may be making decisions for political reasons.
If confirmed, and it’s pretty much a given at this point, Rettig would serve the remainder of a five-year term that ends in November 2022.