By: Richard Ruvelson

Former Commissioner of Internal Revenue Mark Everson met with a group of GHJ clients and tax personnel on Wednesday August 7, 2013. Everson currently serves as the Vice Chairman of alliantgroup, a national tax consulting firm that works closely with businesses and accounting firms with respect to federal and state tax credits and incentives, as well as, providing tax controversy services. He was in Los Angeles visiting clients of alliantgroup.

Everson, who served as Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 2003 until 2007, served as Deputy Director for Management for the OMB and Controller of Financial Management in the Office of Financial Management in the George W. Bush administration prior to being appointed to lead the IRS. He previously served in the Reagan administration and in the private sector.

Everson discussed his career in public service, as well as issues currently facing the IRS. In addition to discussing the scandals involving the denial of tax-exemption to IRC Section 501(c)(4) organizations and the 2010 Anaheim conference costing $4 million, Everson raised concerns over the issue of identity theft that will necessitate more and more resources to lessen, not just stop, and the role of the IRS being a key player in health care reform, which he fears undermines the independent enforcement role of the IRS. In addition to the potential perception threat to the IRS, the IRS’ role in health care reform requires resources which must come from somewhere. The combination of identity theft and health care reform coupled with what Everson sees as increased difficulties for the IRS in the budgeting process due to the tax-exemption and conference spending scandals create further difficulties for the IRS both in terms of credibility and in being appropriated the funds to operate effectively.

Specifically, with respect to the scandal over tax-exemptions, Everson discussed the IRS’ history of nonpartisanship prior to the denial and targeting of Section 501(c)(4) tax-exemptions. Although the conduct of the Cincinnati determinations group came to light over just the past several months, the issues have been well known for several years and should have been addressed by the IRS. He feels that it will take the IRS many years to recover from the damage done in terms of perception, credibility and having the necessary resources to do its job well.