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Trump Picks Anti-IRS Attorney To Lead The IRS, Surprising No One

Screengrab/UCLA Extension Accounting & Finance/YouTube

Charles Rettig has practiced tax law for more than 35 years, defending clients against the IRS.

In keeping with his theme of selecting nominees who are opposed to the agencies they have been chosen to head, President Donald Trump has picked an anti-IRS attorney to lead the Internal Revenue Service.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump formally nominated Charles P. Rettig, a Beverly Hills, Calif., lawyer with the firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, to succeed John A. Koskinen, the commissioner whose term ended in November.

During the 2016 presidential election, when Trump was facing pressure to release his tax returns - as has been tradition in recent decades - Rettig, writing for Forbes, said he would advise Trump against releasing his tax information during an audit:

“Is there any legal impediment to Trump publicly releasing his tax returns? Absolutely not,” Mr. Rettig wrote. “Would any experienced tax lawyer representing Trump in an I.R.S. audit advise him to publicly release his tax returns during the audit? Absolutely not.”

Rettig has plenty of experience with tax law, settling disputes with the IRS and defending clients against the agency in tax fraud investigations.

Last year, he sued the I.R.S. on behalf of a California bank holding company over a $1.5 million corporate tax bill that the company said was wrongly assessed. In 2014, he filed a similar suit on behalf of a California couple over $644,000 in tax penalties and interest that the couple said the I.R.S. had wrongly assessed.

Republicans, who have railed against the IRS in recent years, appear hopeful that Rettig will turn the agency around:

“It’s past time we restore Americans’ faith in this agency,” Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah and the chairman of the Finance Committee, said. “I look forward to learning more about Mr. Rettig and his qualifications to both achieve this goal and ensure an efficient implementation of the biggest tax rewrite in over 30 years.”

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