Bookmark and Share
Overview:

Charged with collecting taxes and enforcing tax laws, the Internal Revenue Service is popularly dubbed the “most hated” agency in the U.S. federal pantheon. The agency determines, assesses and collects revenue, including from personal and corporate income taxes, excise, estate and gift taxes, as well as employment taxes for Social Security. The IRS is the largest bureau within the U.S. Department of Treasury - and according to the government, one of the world’s most efficient tax administrators: In 2004 the IRS collected more than $2 trillion in revenue and processed more than 224 million tax returns.

 
As the federal body responsible for carrying out the government’s tax policy, the agency finds itself at the center of an interminable, and usually bipartisan, debate over how America is funded. In 1998 the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act aimed at transforming the culture of the IRS and significantly enhanced taxpayers’ rights in disputes with the agency. However, many still criticize IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) operations for a perceived abuse of unchecked power. And in recent years, operational changes - including the outsourcing of collections to private agencies and the introduction of online filing - have also been the subject of debate.
 
more
History:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Internal Revenue Service has its origins during the Civil War, when President Lincoln and Congress created the position of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay for the war in 1862. The tax was repealed ten years later, revived in 1894, and ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court the next year.

 
In 1913, the 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to enact an income tax. At the time, net personal incomes above $3,000 were taxed 1 percent, and incomes over $500,000 subject to a six percent surtax. In 1918 income tax rose as high as 77 percent to finance the First World War, dropping to 24 percent in 1929, and rising again during the Depression. Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly taxes during WWII.
 
The agency underwent a re-organization in the 1950s, to “replace a patronage system with career, professional employees,” and the Bureau of Internal Revenue became the Internal Revenue Service.
 
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 further reorganized and modernized the agency, based on a private-sector model of organizing operations around customer groups. The Act also significantly enhanced taxpayers’ rights with regard to dealings and debates with the agency.
 

Today's IRS Organization

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relying on the “voluntary compliance” of taxpayers who submit their earnings, expenses and financial records in the form of tax returns, the IRS administers the tax laws and policy of the U.S. government. It is charged with “helping” taxpayers understand and meet their legal obligations, and enforces compliance through a combination of audits, collections, criminal investigations, confiscation and prosecution.

 
Compliance and Enforcement
Real and Personal Property Auctions - the IRS confiscates real estate, cars and personal belongings of those who fail to pay their taxes.
Whistleblower - Informant Award - IRS will award up to 30% of the original tax, penalties and other amounts it collects to people who blow the whistle on others who haven’t paid their taxes.
Criminal Enforcement - See Criminal Investigations (below)
 
Statutory Authority
The IRS is organized to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code. The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The IRS was created based on this legislative grant.
 
“Section 7803 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the appointment of a commissioner of Internal Revenue to administer and supervise the execution and application of the internal revenue laws.”
 
Information
 
Resources
 
Data
 
 
Enforcement - Criminal Investigations (CI)
As tax law compliance is largely self-regulated by taxpayers, the IRS oversees compliance and enforcement operations, including civil audits and criminal investigations.
 
The IRS’s enforcement arm, Criminal Investigations (CI), is the only federal agency authorized to investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code. The division has about 4,400 employees worldwide - more than half of whom are special agents with jurisdiction under tax, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws -and operates through three interdependent programs: Legal Source Tax Crimes; Illegal Source Financial Crimes; and Narcotics Related Financial Crimes. According to the agency, CI’s conviction rate is one of the highest in federal law enforcement, and hefty prosecutions are thought to deter other violations.
 
Critics take issue with the expansion of CI operations into drug and financial investigations, charging “excessive use and misuse of intrusive and even oppressive investigative techniques.” Statement before the Senate Committee on Finance (by Robert Edwin Davis)
 
Economic Stimulus Package
 
Budget/Spending
Tax Collection Debate Is a Product of Budget Battles (by Stephen Barr, Washington Post)
 
Criticism/Complaints

IRS Complaints

(Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)

 

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corporations Avoid Paying Taxes

 
Famous Tax Evaders
 
Immigrant Tax Returns
Tax Returns Rise for Immigrants in U.S. Illegally (by Nina Bernstein, New York Times)
The Illegal Immigrant Tax Payer (by Bruce Bartlett, Wall Street Journal)
 
(Warrant-less) Wiretap Program and IRS Data Mining
IRS Abuses Offer Insight Into Dangers of Wiretap Program (by Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
 
Smithsonian Audit

Audit reveals depth of Smithsonian-IRS scandal

(Washington Times)

 

more
Suggested Reforms:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1998 Restructuring

Debate continues over IRS restructuring proposals (by Mary A. Turville, National Public Accountant)
Auditing the IRS (PBS Online NewsHour)
 
The “Fair Tax”
The Case for the 'FairTax' (by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Wall Street Journal) (pdf)

Just how fair is the 'FairTax'? The push to scrap income taxes - and the IRS - is gaining fans. But the plan has a lot of holes (by Pat Regnier, Money)

 

 

more
Debate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bush Tax Cuts Help the Rich

The debate over tax reform and the IRS runs the gamut from those who would think taxes are unconstitutional and would like to see the agency abolished - to those who contend the government should do more to regulate massive individual wealth and corporate greed in the interest of social safety and development.
 
Meanwhile, during the Bush Administration’s tenure, tax cuts and policy decisions elicit cries of injustice from the political Left - who point out that the biggest breaks and benefits are going to the richest Americans - and the Right, who claim the rich are being unfairly punished.
 
In the New York Times article below, a nonpartisan Congressional study showed that families earning more than $1 million per year saw their federal taxes drop more sharply than any other group - while the tax burden has largely shifted to the middle classes…
Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich, Study Says (by Edmund L. Andrews, New York Times)
A Taxing Debate (by Daniel J. Mitchell, Heritage Foundation)
 
Privacy
There is a debate over whether preparers should be allowed - even with taxpayers’ permission - to sell or disclose customer return information.
New IRS rules prompt debate over tax privacy (by Mary Dalrymple, Associated Press)
 
Online Filing/Private-sector collection
Debate over whether the agency should be required to provide direct filing services for taxpayers online, with concern over “predatory” refund anticipation loan solicitation and the quality of private-sector return preparation. The IRS began outsourcing collections in 2006.
Collectors Cost IRS More Than They Raise (by Lyndsey Layton and Christopher Lee, Washington Post)
Democrats May Eliminate IRS's Use of Collection Agencies (by Tom Herman, Wall Street Journal)
 
Standard Deduction and Low-income Taxpayers

See both sides of the debate

(Helium.com)

 

more
Former Directors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Commissioner Mark Everson resigned in 2007 to lead the American Red Cross.

Remarks of IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson at National Press Club

(News Release)

 

more

Comments

Martha brown 4 months ago
Owed 2010 taxes...my husband filed jointly. The irs is now billing us separately for the same amount. I set up a payment plan...making payments, they still bill us separate one to me and one to my husband. How can I get through to them.?
Carmen Hamling 1 year ago
Been on hold for 1 hour and fortyfive minutes. I should go to work for the IRS. Been trying to talk to them about a tax bill, was $11,000.00, Made the payments and it was going down, June I paid $4,000.00 on the $9,000.00 that was left. You would think it would go down from there..Nope. it went from 5,100.00 to 5,450.00. When I paid the $4,000.00 the interset and late fees went up. So the payment they set doesn't even touch the principle.
Jason 2 years ago
i have been waiting since april 17th for my federal check to come in form myt axes. have called 4 times since then, and theirs no one too talk too. for soem reason, the irs website is saying its still processing my check..thats wierd twisted and retarded...not much else i can do too contact them..unless thier doing this intentionally*
gerald slaton 5 years ago
A IRS wants 63% of my take home salary for 5 years, on a thirteen year old tax bill that you were not even responsible for Appeals say $3,200.00 per month, Taxpayers Advocate Office said that $1,500.00 per month is correct amount. The collections officer say NO HE WANTS $5,000.00. PLEASE HELP.

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1862
Annual Budget: $11 billion
Employees: 100,000
Official Website: http://www.irs.gov/
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Koskinen, John
Commissioner

President Barack Obama has turned to a veteran executive to take over the Internal Revenue Service, which was rocked earlier this year by allegations—later shown to be false—that it had targeted politically conservative non-profit groups for extra scrutiny, and steer the agency to calmer waters. John A. Koskinen embarked on his second public service career in 1994, having spent two decades in the private sector. If confirmed by the Senate his term would last until November 2017, and he would replace Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel, who took the job in May after acting commissioner Steven T. Miller was forced to resign soon after the allegations surfaced. 

 

Born July 30, 1939, Koskinen graduated Ashland High School in Ashland, Kentucky in 1957, going on to earn a B.A. in Physics at Duke University in 1961 and a law degree at Yale Law School in 1964. He also did post-graduate work in International Law at Cambridge University from 1964 to 1965. Koskinen clerked in 1965 and 1966 for Judge David Bazelon, who was one of the leading jurists of the day and served as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1962 to 1978.

 

After a short stint in 1966 and 1967 practicing law at the firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, Koskinen served in 1967 and 1968 as assistant to the deputy executive director of the Kerner Commission, which produced a landmark report on racism and the urban riots of 1967. He then served as a legislative assistant to Mayor John Lindsey of New York City (D), who had been vice chairman of the Kerner Commission, from 1968 to 1969. Koskinen got a taste of Capitol Hill from 1969 to 1973, serving as administrative assistant to Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut).

 

Leaving government service in 1973, Koskinen worked 21 years for the Palmieri Company, which specialized in “turnaround management” of foundering companies. Joining as vice president, he was named CEO and president in 1979. During this period, he also found time to serve as vice chairman of the American Professional Soccer League from 1987 to 1991.

 

Returning to public service after the 1992 elections, Koskinen served as deputy director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget from 1994 to 1997, and as assistant to President Bill Clinton and chair of the President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion from 1998 to 2000. 

 

From 2000 to 2003, Koskinen served as deputy mayor and city administrator of Washington, D.C., and from 2004 to 2008, he was president of the United States Soccer Foundation, which is the major charitable arm for soccer in the U.S.

 

In the wake of the collapse of the mortgage bubble and resulting crisis, Koskinen served as non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac from 2008 to 2011, including a stint as acting CEO in 2009. 

 

Koskinen serves on the boards of AES Corp. and American Capital, Ltd.  

 

A lifelong Democrat, Koskinen has donated more than $80,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations since 1990, including $7,300 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, $18,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and numerous smaller donations to various candidates.

 

John Koskinen is married to Patricia Salz and has a daughter Cheryl and a son Jeffery.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Biography (Wikipedia)

Obama Chooses John Koskinen as Next U.S. IRS Commissioner (by Richard Rubin, Bloomberg)

John Koskinen Tapped for Worst Job in D.C. (by Lauren French, Politico)

more
Werfel, Danny
Previous Director

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—reeling from criticism aimed at possibly inappropriate investigative tactics employed by agents reviewing applications for tax-exempt status from several “Tea Party” affiliated conservative groups—has a new acting director. Appointed by President Obama on May 16, Daniel R. Werfel has served as controller at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) since July 2009. At IRS, he succeeds acting director Steven T. Miller, who resigned under pressure. Werfel took office on May 22, and his term will end at the close of the 2013 fiscal year on September 30.

 

Born circa 1971, Werfel earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1993, and a joint Masters Degree in Public Policy at Duke University and JD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both in 1997. Although he never played football at the college level, Werfel displays a photo in his office of former Florida quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel in honor of the similarity of their names.

 

After law school, Werfel served at OMB as policy analyst in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs before serving briefly as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Dissatisfied with litigation work, Werfel returned to OMB in April 2002 to work as a budget examiner in the Education Branch until late 2003, as chief of the Financial Integrity and Analysis Branch from late 2003 to 2006, and as deputy controller from 2006 to July 2009.

 

As controller of OMB, Werfel was largely responsible for establishing Recovery.gov, a federal Web site that tracked how the 2009 economic stimulus program was distributing billions of dollars to jump-start the economy. Werfel also served as a member of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board from 2006 to 2009.

 

Danny Werfel is married to Beth Werfel, with whom he has two children, Sean and Molly.

 

To Learn More:                    

Who is IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel? (by Ed O’Keefe and Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

Obama Names New Acting I.R.S. Chief (by Michael D. Shear, New York Times)

Alumnus Daniel Werfel to lead scandal-rocked IRS (by Mary Catt, Cornell Chronicle)

As OMB Controller, Alum Ensures Financial Transparency (Duke Alumni Profile)

more
Bookmark and Share
Overview:

Charged with collecting taxes and enforcing tax laws, the Internal Revenue Service is popularly dubbed the “most hated” agency in the U.S. federal pantheon. The agency determines, assesses and collects revenue, including from personal and corporate income taxes, excise, estate and gift taxes, as well as employment taxes for Social Security. The IRS is the largest bureau within the U.S. Department of Treasury - and according to the government, one of the world’s most efficient tax administrators: In 2004 the IRS collected more than $2 trillion in revenue and processed more than 224 million tax returns.

 
As the federal body responsible for carrying out the government’s tax policy, the agency finds itself at the center of an interminable, and usually bipartisan, debate over how America is funded. In 1998 the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act aimed at transforming the culture of the IRS and significantly enhanced taxpayers’ rights in disputes with the agency. However, many still criticize IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) operations for a perceived abuse of unchecked power. And in recent years, operational changes - including the outsourcing of collections to private agencies and the introduction of online filing - have also been the subject of debate.
 
more
History:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Internal Revenue Service has its origins during the Civil War, when President Lincoln and Congress created the position of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay for the war in 1862. The tax was repealed ten years later, revived in 1894, and ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court the next year.

 
In 1913, the 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to enact an income tax. At the time, net personal incomes above $3,000 were taxed 1 percent, and incomes over $500,000 subject to a six percent surtax. In 1918 income tax rose as high as 77 percent to finance the First World War, dropping to 24 percent in 1929, and rising again during the Depression. Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly taxes during WWII.
 
The agency underwent a re-organization in the 1950s, to “replace a patronage system with career, professional employees,” and the Bureau of Internal Revenue became the Internal Revenue Service.
 
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 further reorganized and modernized the agency, based on a private-sector model of organizing operations around customer groups. The Act also significantly enhanced taxpayers’ rights with regard to dealings and debates with the agency.
 

Today's IRS Organization

 

more
What it Does:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relying on the “voluntary compliance” of taxpayers who submit their earnings, expenses and financial records in the form of tax returns, the IRS administers the tax laws and policy of the U.S. government. It is charged with “helping” taxpayers understand and meet their legal obligations, and enforces compliance through a combination of audits, collections, criminal investigations, confiscation and prosecution.

 
Compliance and Enforcement
Real and Personal Property Auctions - the IRS confiscates real estate, cars and personal belongings of those who fail to pay their taxes.
Whistleblower - Informant Award - IRS will award up to 30% of the original tax, penalties and other amounts it collects to people who blow the whistle on others who haven’t paid their taxes.
Criminal Enforcement - See Criminal Investigations (below)
 
Statutory Authority
The IRS is organized to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code. The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The IRS was created based on this legislative grant.
 
“Section 7803 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the appointment of a commissioner of Internal Revenue to administer and supervise the execution and application of the internal revenue laws.”
 
Information
 
Resources
 
Data
 
 
Enforcement - Criminal Investigations (CI)
As tax law compliance is largely self-regulated by taxpayers, the IRS oversees compliance and enforcement operations, including civil audits and criminal investigations.
 
The IRS’s enforcement arm, Criminal Investigations (CI), is the only federal agency authorized to investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code. The division has about 4,400 employees worldwide - more than half of whom are special agents with jurisdiction under tax, money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act laws -and operates through three interdependent programs: Legal Source Tax Crimes; Illegal Source Financial Crimes; and Narcotics Related Financial Crimes. According to the agency, CI’s conviction rate is one of the highest in federal law enforcement, and hefty prosecutions are thought to deter other violations.
 
Critics take issue with the expansion of CI operations into drug and financial investigations, charging “excessive use and misuse of intrusive and even oppressive investigative techniques.” Statement before the Senate Committee on Finance (by Robert Edwin Davis)
 
Economic Stimulus Package
 
Budget/Spending
Tax Collection Debate Is a Product of Budget Battles (by Stephen Barr, Washington Post)
 
Criticism/Complaints

IRS Complaints

(Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)

 

more
Controversies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corporations Avoid Paying Taxes

 
Famous Tax Evaders
 
Immigrant Tax Returns
Tax Returns Rise for Immigrants in U.S. Illegally (by Nina Bernstein, New York Times)
The Illegal Immigrant Tax Payer (by Bruce Bartlett, Wall Street Journal)
 
(Warrant-less) Wiretap Program and IRS Data Mining
IRS Abuses Offer Insight Into Dangers of Wiretap Program (by Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
 
Smithsonian Audit

Audit reveals depth of Smithsonian-IRS scandal

(Washington Times)

 

more
Suggested Reforms:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1998 Restructuring

Debate continues over IRS restructuring proposals (by Mary A. Turville, National Public Accountant)
Auditing the IRS (PBS Online NewsHour)
 
The “Fair Tax”
The Case for the 'FairTax' (by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Wall Street Journal) (pdf)

Just how fair is the 'FairTax'? The push to scrap income taxes - and the IRS - is gaining fans. But the plan has a lot of holes (by Pat Regnier, Money)

 

 

more
Debate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bush Tax Cuts Help the Rich

The debate over tax reform and the IRS runs the gamut from those who would think taxes are unconstitutional and would like to see the agency abolished - to those who contend the government should do more to regulate massive individual wealth and corporate greed in the interest of social safety and development.
 
Meanwhile, during the Bush Administration’s tenure, tax cuts and policy decisions elicit cries of injustice from the political Left - who point out that the biggest breaks and benefits are going to the richest Americans - and the Right, who claim the rich are being unfairly punished.
 
In the New York Times article below, a nonpartisan Congressional study showed that families earning more than $1 million per year saw their federal taxes drop more sharply than any other group - while the tax burden has largely shifted to the middle classes…
Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich, Study Says (by Edmund L. Andrews, New York Times)
A Taxing Debate (by Daniel J. Mitchell, Heritage Foundation)
 
Privacy
There is a debate over whether preparers should be allowed - even with taxpayers’ permission - to sell or disclose customer return information.
New IRS rules prompt debate over tax privacy (by Mary Dalrymple, Associated Press)
 
Online Filing/Private-sector collection
Debate over whether the agency should be required to provide direct filing services for taxpayers online, with concern over “predatory” refund anticipation loan solicitation and the quality of private-sector return preparation. The IRS began outsourcing collections in 2006.
Collectors Cost IRS More Than They Raise (by Lyndsey Layton and Christopher Lee, Washington Post)
Democrats May Eliminate IRS's Use of Collection Agencies (by Tom Herman, Wall Street Journal)
 
Standard Deduction and Low-income Taxpayers

See both sides of the debate

(Helium.com)

 

more
Former Directors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Commissioner Mark Everson resigned in 2007 to lead the American Red Cross.

Remarks of IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson at National Press Club

(News Release)

 

more

Comments

Martha brown 4 months ago
Owed 2010 taxes...my husband filed jointly. The irs is now billing us separately for the same amount. I set up a payment plan...making payments, they still bill us separate one to me and one to my husband. How can I get through to them.?
Carmen Hamling 1 year ago
Been on hold for 1 hour and fortyfive minutes. I should go to work for the IRS. Been trying to talk to them about a tax bill, was $11,000.00, Made the payments and it was going down, June I paid $4,000.00 on the $9,000.00 that was left. You would think it would go down from there..Nope. it went from 5,100.00 to 5,450.00. When I paid the $4,000.00 the interset and late fees went up. So the payment they set doesn't even touch the principle.
Jason 2 years ago
i have been waiting since april 17th for my federal check to come in form myt axes. have called 4 times since then, and theirs no one too talk too. for soem reason, the irs website is saying its still processing my check..thats wierd twisted and retarded...not much else i can do too contact them..unless thier doing this intentionally*
gerald slaton 5 years ago
A IRS wants 63% of my take home salary for 5 years, on a thirteen year old tax bill that you were not even responsible for Appeals say $3,200.00 per month, Taxpayers Advocate Office said that $1,500.00 per month is correct amount. The collections officer say NO HE WANTS $5,000.00. PLEASE HELP.

Leave a comment

captcha

Founded: 1862
Annual Budget: $11 billion
Employees: 100,000
Official Website: http://www.irs.gov/
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Koskinen, John
Commissioner

President Barack Obama has turned to a veteran executive to take over the Internal Revenue Service, which was rocked earlier this year by allegations—later shown to be false—that it had targeted politically conservative non-profit groups for extra scrutiny, and steer the agency to calmer waters. John A. Koskinen embarked on his second public service career in 1994, having spent two decades in the private sector. If confirmed by the Senate his term would last until November 2017, and he would replace Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel, who took the job in May after acting commissioner Steven T. Miller was forced to resign soon after the allegations surfaced. 

 

Born July 30, 1939, Koskinen graduated Ashland High School in Ashland, Kentucky in 1957, going on to earn a B.A. in Physics at Duke University in 1961 and a law degree at Yale Law School in 1964. He also did post-graduate work in International Law at Cambridge University from 1964 to 1965. Koskinen clerked in 1965 and 1966 for Judge David Bazelon, who was one of the leading jurists of the day and served as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1962 to 1978.

 

After a short stint in 1966 and 1967 practicing law at the firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, Koskinen served in 1967 and 1968 as assistant to the deputy executive director of the Kerner Commission, which produced a landmark report on racism and the urban riots of 1967. He then served as a legislative assistant to Mayor John Lindsey of New York City (D), who had been vice chairman of the Kerner Commission, from 1968 to 1969. Koskinen got a taste of Capitol Hill from 1969 to 1973, serving as administrative assistant to Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut).

 

Leaving government service in 1973, Koskinen worked 21 years for the Palmieri Company, which specialized in “turnaround management” of foundering companies. Joining as vice president, he was named CEO and president in 1979. During this period, he also found time to serve as vice chairman of the American Professional Soccer League from 1987 to 1991.

 

Returning to public service after the 1992 elections, Koskinen served as deputy director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget from 1994 to 1997, and as assistant to President Bill Clinton and chair of the President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion from 1998 to 2000. 

 

From 2000 to 2003, Koskinen served as deputy mayor and city administrator of Washington, D.C., and from 2004 to 2008, he was president of the United States Soccer Foundation, which is the major charitable arm for soccer in the U.S.

 

In the wake of the collapse of the mortgage bubble and resulting crisis, Koskinen served as non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac from 2008 to 2011, including a stint as acting CEO in 2009. 

 

Koskinen serves on the boards of AES Corp. and American Capital, Ltd.  

 

A lifelong Democrat, Koskinen has donated more than $80,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations since 1990, including $7,300 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, $18,000 to the Democratic National Committee, and numerous smaller donations to various candidates.

 

John Koskinen is married to Patricia Salz and has a daughter Cheryl and a son Jeffery.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Biography (Wikipedia)

Obama Chooses John Koskinen as Next U.S. IRS Commissioner (by Richard Rubin, Bloomberg)

John Koskinen Tapped for Worst Job in D.C. (by Lauren French, Politico)

more
Werfel, Danny
Previous Director

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—reeling from criticism aimed at possibly inappropriate investigative tactics employed by agents reviewing applications for tax-exempt status from several “Tea Party” affiliated conservative groups—has a new acting director. Appointed by President Obama on May 16, Daniel R. Werfel has served as controller at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) since July 2009. At IRS, he succeeds acting director Steven T. Miller, who resigned under pressure. Werfel took office on May 22, and his term will end at the close of the 2013 fiscal year on September 30.

 

Born circa 1971, Werfel earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1993, and a joint Masters Degree in Public Policy at Duke University and JD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both in 1997. Although he never played football at the college level, Werfel displays a photo in his office of former Florida quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel in honor of the similarity of their names.

 

After law school, Werfel served at OMB as policy analyst in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs before serving briefly as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Dissatisfied with litigation work, Werfel returned to OMB in April 2002 to work as a budget examiner in the Education Branch until late 2003, as chief of the Financial Integrity and Analysis Branch from late 2003 to 2006, and as deputy controller from 2006 to July 2009.

 

As controller of OMB, Werfel was largely responsible for establishing Recovery.gov, a federal Web site that tracked how the 2009 economic stimulus program was distributing billions of dollars to jump-start the economy. Werfel also served as a member of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board from 2006 to 2009.

 

Danny Werfel is married to Beth Werfel, with whom he has two children, Sean and Molly.

 

To Learn More:                    

Who is IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel? (by Ed O’Keefe and Josh Hicks, Washington Post)

Obama Names New Acting I.R.S. Chief (by Michael D. Shear, New York Times)

Alumnus Daniel Werfel to lead scandal-rocked IRS (by Mary Catt, Cornell Chronicle)

As OMB Controller, Alum Ensures Financial Transparency (Duke Alumni Profile)

more