July 19,2018

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Hatch Opening Statement at Markup of IRS Commissioner Nominee

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today delivered the following opening statement at a markup of the nomination of Charles Rettig to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

I’d like to welcome everyone here to today’s executive session.  Today, the committee will consider the nomination of Mr. Charles Rettig to serve as IRS Commissioner.

As I mentioned at the hearing on Mr. Rettig’s nomination a few weeks ago, the IRS is at a critical juncture.

The economic success of tax reform is being felt around the nation, and Congress is relying on the agency to maintain a smooth and efficient implementation of the law so that the American people can continue to realize the benefits of this historic reform.

The IRS will need to implement changes in order to enhance efficiency at the agency. For example, the IRS has information technology services that date back to the Kennedy administration, which could hinder the agency’s ability to interact with the technology-saturated 21st century.

If confirmed, I anticipate Mr. Rettig working with Congress to modernize the IRS’s infrastructure and technology to bring the agency into the 21st century, which he pledged to do in his nomination hearing.

Mr. Rettig also said at his nomination hearing that, should he be confirmed, his main goal would be to “rebuild trust between the IRS, the American people, and their representatives in Congress.” I find this goal admirable.

As we all know, the challenges that face the IRS today are large, but not insurmountable. The attitude and goals of the commissioner will be of paramount importance to setting the tone of how the IRS will go about implementing our new and improved tax laws.

Mr. Rettig knows that the success of our tax system depends on voluntary compliance and his goal of rebuilding trust between the IRS and the American taxpayers will go a long way toward keeping the tax system fair and efficient.

I thank Mr. Rettig for his willingness to serve, and I am confident that because of his many years of experience with the tax system, if confirmed, Mr. Rettig will lead the agency with integrity. 

My hope is that we can report his nomination out of committee in short order. 

Before we begin, 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.

The new IRS policy to protect privacy rights of donors and reduce unnecessary information reporting is a commendable policy decision for many reasons.

First, the IRS does not need this information, which had previously been used in connection to the gift tax that no longer applies.

Secondly, redacting this information consumed IRS resources, which are already strained and outdated as I mentioned earlier.

Finally, requiring the information has been a risk to American taxpayer security. The IRS is aware of 14 breaches that resulted in unauthorized data disclosures since 2010. This is unacceptable, and I welcome the IRS decision to cut back on pointlessly collecting this information. 

Since today is very busy and many members have other commitments, we will be holding the vote off the floor later today. Following Senator Wyden’s opening statement, other members will be given time to make statements, but we ask that you please limit your comments to no more than three minutes.