President Obama’s choice for IRS Commissioner is John Koskinen, a man known for his talent in turning around large corporations on the brink of collapse. He is known for his skills in “restoring public trust” after major disasters. Isn’t it a little funny that Koskinen is coming highly recommended for the post without any significant tax knowledge? I don’t know if it is funny or just a sign of the times.
The nomination of John Koskinen shows where our priorities are with the IRS. The IRS is in survival mode and they need a strong leader who will right the ship. Sure, they are fine-tuning and making needed adjustments to their processes along the way (according to the near weekly TIGTA audit reports), and this makes it seem like they are focused on the important details of tax administration. But don’t be fooled. The nomination of Koskinen speaks volumes about how the president views this agency in crisis. And the Senate too, since it looks like Mr. Koskinen has received bipartisan support at his confirmation hearing earlier today.
50 years ago it may have seemed odd to put somebody like Koskinen at the head of the IRS, but it was a different agency back then. I do think they have the right guy for the job. The IRS needs a proven leader and game-changer, not just another bean counter. Koskinen went on the record saying, “public trust is the IRS’ most important and valuable asset,” and I think this is spot on. If taxpayers can’t be certain the IRS will safeguard their private information and administer the tax laws fairly, then the concept of “voluntary compliance” will not work because people literally won’t pay.