As expected, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Doug Shulman, the 47th commissioner to serve, has officially announced his plans to step down at the end of his term. That makes November 9, 2012, his last day in office. Shulman has served as IRS Commissioner since March 24, 2008.
Shulman had already indicated earlier in the year at a Q&A at the National Press Club that he would be stepping down after his term ended. Commissioners generally only serve one term after being appointed and no Commissioner has served longer than five years since the office was created by Congress by the Revenue Act of 1862 (although the IRS was, at that time, referred to as the Bureau of Internal Revenue). In Shulman’s case, November 9 is the last day of the term because November 12 is Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday.
Shulman was appointed to office by President George W. Bush. He made waves in 2010 when he announced that he doesn’t do his own taxes, saying: “I use a preparer… I’ve used one for years. I find it convenient. I find the Tax Code complex, so I use a preparer.” It became quite the sound bite for Congressional officials to rail against the complexity of the Tax Code (ironic, of course, since Congress made it that way).
It has been a challenging term for Shulman, who has managed 100,000 employees at the IRS in the midst of a tough economy. That level of employee management is pretty impressive: according to the Census, fewer than 1,000 U.S. companies even come close to those kinds of numbers, putting it on par with Marriott, GM, and Starbucks and well ahead of Apple and Microsoft.
“The IRS team made remarkable progress in the last few years during a challenging period,” Shulman said. “It has been an honor to serve the American people during this dynamic time.”
Since IRS commissioners are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, a new Commissioner won’t step in immediately. For now, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven T. Miller will serve as acting IRS Commissioner when Shulman steps down. As to who will be officially appointed to take Shulman’s place? That die is likely cast the Tuesday before Shulman officially steps down, following the Presidential and Congressional elections.