REFLECTING ON FOUR YEARS PROUDLY WORKING ALONGSIDE IRS EMPLOYEES TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY (by Chuck Rettig, former Commissioner of the IRS)
November 10, 2022
We are on the brink of an exciting new era for the IRS, one that is desperately needed to transform the agency to improve taxpayer service and ensure fairness in tax compliance.
Four years ago, I proudly took the oath of office to become the 49th Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Throughout my term, I have been honored, privileged and most humbled by the opportunity to serve. I became Commissioner out of a deep appreciation for the IRS, its workforce and our country.
Before coming to the IRS, I spent 36 years in private practice as a tax attorney, and I regularly worked with the employees of the IRS. I saw and appreciated the dedication and commitment that the IRS workforce has for the nation and the mission of the Service. The IRS employees are the reason I took this challenging position.
My time as Commissioner has given me an even deeper appreciation of what our workforce is capable of achieving. I have been constantly amazed at the accomplishments of IRS employees during what has been a challenging and historic time for our nation. Time and again I have seen them deliver for taxpayers under tight timeframes and difficult circumstances – responding in a manner that demonstrates the importance of every American to the IRS and the IRS to every American. With the recent funding commitment to the IRS for the next decade, people should know that this important work to transform and improve the agency will be guided by employees dedicated to public service and delivering for our great country.
The essential role the IRS plays in the life of our nation is something that I've tried, during my term as Commissioner, to make sure people understand. Each year, the IRS collects approximately $4.1 trillion in taxes and generates about 96 percent of the funding that supports the federal government's operations. IRS employees serve and interact with more Americans than any other public or private organization. The IRS is more than a tax administration agency. We make it possible for the government to perform its vital functions, helping fund the great work of our nation on everything from education and defense to our roads and other infrastructure.
The importance of the IRS to the nation was most clearly illustrated over the last two-and-a-half years, which have been an unprecedented period for the IRS and for the nation. During the pandemic, the IRS successfully delivered more than $1.5 trillion to people across the nation through tax refunds and by implementing various relief measures to help Americans cope with the financial effects of COVID-19. This included issuing three rounds of more than 500 million Economic Impact Payments totaling more than $830 billion, all in record time. It also included more than 200 million advance payments of the Child Tax Credit totaling $93 billion that were made to eligible families between July and December of last year.
It's important to remember the IRS faced unexpected factors in responding to a pandemic that affected wide segments of the U.S. economy – and created unique challenges for IRS employees and everyone involved in the tax system inside and outside government. Nonetheless, thanks to the agility and flexibility of our workforce, the IRS moved forward, using innovative approaches to make sure our employees could deliver on the agency's mission, such as significantly increasing our virtual and digital operations.
It's also important to realize that, during this pandemic period, our employees faced the same health and safety concerns for themselves and their families as everyone else. Nonetheless, they went the extra mile in doing their jobs, and they also made a difference in their communities.
Read the rest of Chuck Rettig’s statement here.