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Daniel Werfel starts work as IRS' 50th commissioner

UPDATE, Monday, March 13, 2023: Daniel (Danny) Werfel began work today as the 50th commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. He was confirmed by the Senate on March 9, and sworn into office this morning by Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Doug O'Donnell, who served as acting commissioner since November. Werfel's term will run through Nov. 12, 2027.

"After taking the oath of office a short time ago, I feel incredibly grateful and humbled to have the chance to lead such an amazing group of dedicated public servants at a pivotal moment in IRS history," Werfel told IRS employees. "This role culminates a lifetime of commitment to public service for me."

You can read more in the post below, published on Feb. 18, about Werfel and his plans for the IRS that he discussed in his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing.

Dan Werfel at SFC IRS commissioner hearing 16Feb2023_SFC video screen capture2
Daniel Werfel testifies at the Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination to be the next Internal Revenue Service commissioner. (Screen capture from SFC hearing video)

The beleaguered Internal Revenue Service is about to get a new commissioner. It's fitting that the person chosen to lead the tax agency is a man who was around during an earlier IRS controversy.

Daniel Werfel, tapped by President Joe Biden last November, filled the IRS' top role in 2013 in an interim capacity during the agency's Tea Party/nonprofit authorization scandal.

When confirmed, as most expect will happen soon, Werfel will deal with an IRS that's trying to rebuild after years of staff attribution and budget battles with Congress. Now, even after getting $80 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act, some on Capitol Hill want to limit the agency's funding and audit abilities.

Those issues were part of Werfel's confirmation hearing held last week by the Senate Finance Committee. That hearing earns this weekend's multiple Saturday Shout Outs.

Here's a preview.

As for audits, Werfel told lawmakers that the IRS would not increase audit rates for households earning less than $400,000 per year. In response to a report that Black taxpayers had been disproportionately targeted for IRS examinations, Werfel also said that as IRS commissioner he would work to ensure that audits were more equitable.

Werfel also addressed the false assertion pushed by some IRS opponents that the agency would use its new funding to arm agents. "I certainly would have no intention of making that part of any plan going forward," he said in his written testimony.

Instead, Werfel said, the agency plans to use much of the money to hire new staff, a process already underway, over the next 10 years (the distribution timeline for the IRS' newly allotted funds) to replace the tens of thousands of retiring employees.

Now for the shout outs with more on these and other issues addressed at Werfel's Feb. 15 hearing before the Senate Finance Committee (SFC).

You can watch the full hearing at the SFC's website. Hint: the actual hearing starts at about 30 minutes into the video, so move your cursor forward. Also, once it starts, it runs for almost three hours.

You can read the statements prepared for the hearing from Werfel, SFC Chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and Ranking Member Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

Another video of the hearing is available at C-SPAN.

And you can read coverage of the hearing at —

Werfel's nomination is expected to clear the SFC in a few weeks. It then will go to the full Senate for a final vote.

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