With Doug Shulman concluding his service as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service early next month, I thought it might be nice to look at some of the details of the office itself and look back at some prior Commissioners.
The Office of Commissioner was created by Congress on July 1, 1862 even though the modern history of the IRS really began in 1913, ten years after the income tax was abolished. IRS Commissioners are appointed by the President of the United States with the approval of Congress. There was no set term prior to 1998. For example, Guy T. Helvering was “sentenced” to over 10 years of service (from 1933 to 1943). He holds the record for the longest term as Commissioner. The shortest term was just over 3 months by Robert E. Hannegan which, coincidentally, was immediately following Helvering’s term in 1943.
Shulman came very close to serving a full 5-year term as he got his start back in March 2008. Shulman took over after Mark W. Everson, who also served a 4-year term. IRS has a complete list of all past Commissioners, in case you’re curious.
According to Shulman’s bio, his emphasis has been to strike a balance between providing excellent service to taxpayers (hopefully offering tax relief where appropriate) and enforcement of tax laws (i.e., collection back tax debt). Has Shulman succeeded?