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IRS commissioner addresses tax professionals

Sunday, March 1, 2020

By Nathan Hyun

Tax professionals gathered in Los Angeles in January for the 73rd annual 2020 Tax Institute hosted by USC Gould School of Law.

The annual three-day event featured keynote speeches from experts including Charles Rettig, Internal Revenue Service commissioner, and offered conversations about timely tax issues, including those affecting corporations, privately held companies and real estate.

Rettig talked to an audience of more than 500 fellow tax professionals about the importance of the IRS and its significance to the military and other beneficiaries of its services.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig presented one of the keynote presentations at the 2020 Tax Institute.

“I’m hugely proud of our military,” Rettig said. “The military doesn’t operate without the Internal Revenue Service operating. Ninety-six percent of gross receipts of the country go through the Internal Revenue Service.”

The IRS touches more Americans than any public or private service in the United States, said Rettig. With more than 80,000 employees and an $11.5 billion budget, the agency’s work can be challenging, but “the employees do a lot of good,” he said. “If the IRS is not successful, the country is not going to be successful.”

The IRS is committed to helping everyone, no matter their race or background, Rettig said. He emphasized that the IRS aims to make its services accessible to the many different language speakers in the United States.

“Every April 15 [non-English speakers] know that when they file a return it’s a way of demonstrating that they are part of this country and they are important to this country, just like the rest of us,” said Rettig.

Most importantly, he said, the IRS needs help from the people it serves. Bloomberg Tax covered his remarks urging tax professionals to work with the IRS so they can advise the agency’s response to the Taxpayer First Act, which aims to broadly redesign the IRS.

“Please reach out to us; provide whatever knowledge, experience, assistance you can. Do not sit on the sidelines,” he said.

Additional keynote speakers included Mark Holmes of the U.S. Tax Court and Professor Michael Graetz from Columbia Law School.

The annual Tax Institute is one of many continuing legal education courses offered every year by the USC Gould Office of Continuing Legal Education.

Learn more about the Tax Institute and other CLE classes at gould.usc.edu/why/academics/cle

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