The Senate Finance Committee (SFC) advanced President Donald Trump’s nomination of Charles Rettig for IRS Commissioner. The SFC approved the nomination on July 19 by a 14-to-13 party line vote.

Qualified Nominee

Several SFC Democrats and Republicans praised Rettig’s qualifications to serve as the next IRS Commissioner. SFC ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that he is a “qualified nominee.”

However, Democrats voted against his nomination in protest of new IRS guidance ( Rev. Proc. 2018-38, discussed later in this Issue) that limits donor reporting for certain tax-exempt organizations.

“The Trump administration has taken a qualified nominee and dumped him right into the middle of a dark money political firestorm of their own creation,” Wyden said. Wyden announced the day before the vote that he would not support Rettig’s nomination unless Rettig committed to reversing the IRS’s new rules on certain Schedule B donor disclosures.

However, SFC Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, noted during the markup that the IRS reporting rules are unrelated to Rettig’s nomination. “I know that some of my colleagues have expressed dissatisfaction with new IRS reporting rules released recently and want to oppose the important appointment of an IRS commissioner because of these new rules, over which he had no control,”Hatch said. Hatch, praising Rettig’s qualifications, expressed confidence that Rettig, if confirmed, would “lead the IRS with integrity.”

Next Steps

Rettig’s nomination now heads to the full Senate. If confirmed, Rettig will oversee the implementation of tax reform enacted last December under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97).

Rettig previously told the committee that restoring taxpayer trust in the IRS would be a top goal as IRS Commissioner. “If I am privileged to serve as Commissioner, my overriding goal will be to strengthen and rebuild trust between the IRS, the American people, and their representatives in Congress,” Rettig said. “That trust is critical to all that the IRS does.”