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Taxation & Estate Planning: IRS Problem Solver Blog
IRS Commissioner Shulman to Quit
By Darrin Mish
The IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman whose term ends November this year, said he is not seeking re-appointment. The IRS Commissioner?s position is a President appointed one and runs for 5 years. The only Commissioner to have served in that position for 2 terms is Guy Helvering who ended his service back in 1943. But Shulman said he has made up his mind not to renew his contract. At a question and answer session during a talk given by Shulman at the National Press Club, he said, ?My plan is to leave at the end of my term.?
At the National Press Club in Washington, Shulman spoke on the agency?s progress in technology, enforcement and taxpayer services. He expressed his regret to note that for a financial agency, the IRS spends a ?shockingly low? amount of money on technological improvements. ?We have a very complicated, interrelated set of systems that, when you try to unbundle those, that makes the job even harder.? Nevertheless, on the technological front, Shulman described recent improvements in IRS technology as a breakthrough that is resulting in faster processing of tax returns.
During Shulman?s term, the IRS has also taken on a more active role in regulating the tax preparer industry. Paid tax preparers now have to register themselves with the IRS and are given a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) that identifies their work. They also have to undergo a continuous education program that entails passing competency tests. However, enrolled agents, CPAs and tax attorneys are exempted from these continuous education program requirements.
But although Shulman has defended the IRS? regulatory actions, there are those who are not pleased. Some tax preparers and the Institute for Justice, a Virginia-based organization, are suing the IRS to annul the regulations. However, Shulman believes the IRS would be exonerated by the courts over this matter. ?Not only is everything we?re doing going to be seen as legal, but everything we?re doing is going to benefit the American people,? he said.
Shulman took over the position as IRS Commissioner in 2008, after working as the Vice Chairman of the National Industry Regulatory Authority. At the time, he described the IRS as an organization that was ?mired in the past? fewer than 20 years ago.
At the close of his address, Shulman cautioned that Congress should not delay deciding whether to extend various tax cuts that expired in 2011 and income and payroll tax cuts due to expire end of this year. He said, ?You could have a real disaster in the filing season where there?s total confusion (about the tax cuts).?
As at March 23 this year, the IRS has received 84.1 million tax returns and paid $200.9 billion in tax refunds.
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