December 2, 2018 - Douglas Myser

New IRS Commissioner with new ideas. As the IRS's new top administrator, Charles Rettig will focus on maintaining and building ties with practitioners, he told CPAs at the AICPA National Tax Conference in Washington. After all, until Rettig's swearing in as the Service's 49th commissioner he was for 36 years a tax lawyer himself, he noted. In private practice with the Los Angeles area law firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher and Perez PC, he specialized in representing clients in tax controversies. He has also been an officer in the American Bar Association's Section of Taxation and the American College of Tax Counsel, as well as chairing the IRS Advisory Council.

New IRS Commissioner with new ideas. He was born from private practice. Rettig said he was moved emotionally by the standing ovation many in the gathering of about 700 people gave him upon entering the meeting hall, his first public speaking engagement as commissioner. Although he referred to a prepared script, his remarks were mostly off the cuff and from personal reflection. "I consider the tax practitioner community to be a family," he said, a family that also includes IRS employees, whom he said he has been busy meeting by conference call and one on one.

Several times, Rettig mentioned taxpayer compliance and enforcement as a priority, but with a sensitivity, he said, for taxpayers, especially the "most vulnerable," whose particular compliance and service needs he has witnessed firsthand. "When I used to get called on to speak, I'd say we're all in the same business, whether you're with the government or private practice in the tax world, to get people back into compliance, he said. One of the ways of getting them into compliance was sending more tax liens and  also IRS Wage Garnishment notices. But they also started giving options like the IRS Fresh Start Program. Using a Tax Resolution firm would be your best bet to pursue tax relief options.

Instilling  pride within the IRS for its employees hard work and ingenuity in overcoming "a really difficult process for a long time" is a chief aim, Rettig said. "We don't have the tools we need," such as the customer service options available to consumers of electronic products, he said.