The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to confirm Daniel Werfel, Sanford ’97, to be the next commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Passing by a vote of 54-42, all but one Democratic senator joined six Republicans and two independents to confirm Werfel. Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican representing North Carolina, was one of the six.
Nominated to the position last November by President Joseph Biden, Werfel arrives at the IRS a few weeks before the 2022 income tax filing deadline on April 18. The tax agency is also currently going through a critical transition phase after it was allocated $80 billion in funding last year as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. That funding was partially used to recently hire 5,000 new agents in an effort to improve customer service.
Most of the additional funding is yet to be used, leaving Werfel with the important task of spending that money. The IRS was supposed to have submitted a spending plan to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last month, but that has since been delayed, leaving it unclear when such a plan will be released.
The IRS is under scrutiny, particularly by the Republican majority in the House. In January, House Republicans voted to slash IRS funding, though the vote was largely symbolic given the lack of support from Democrats in the Senate and President Biden.
“If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, the audit and compliance priorities will be focused on enhancing IRS’ capabilities to ensure that America’s highest earners comply with tax laws,” Werfel said in his confirmation hearing in February.
Werfel also assured senators that he would not increase audit rates for small businesses and households making under $400,000, in line with a directive from Yellen released last August.
“Confirming someone as qualified as Mr. Werfel as IRS commissioner is crucial to making sure Americans take full advantage of all the tax credits we approved last year,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday on the Senate floor.
This isn’t the first time Werfel will lead the IRS. In 2013, Werfel was appointed by former President Barack Obama to temporarily lead the IRS after then-interim Commissioner, Steven Miller, was fired over a scandal involving the targeting of conservative groups.
Werfel holds a masters degree in public policy from Duke and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Werfel was previously the controller of the Office of Management and Budget during the Obama Administration. Before that role, Werfel played a key role in providing oversight over the Bush administration’s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and helping execute the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He is currently a partner at Boston Consulting Group.
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Jazper Lu is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.