Daniel Werfel, a former acting commissioner of the IRS during the Obama administration and a current managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, has been nominated by President Biden as the next head of the IRS.
People familiar with the search had said the Biden administration wanted an IRS commissioner with deep management and business experience as opposed to a tax attorney, like outgoing IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who can help to lead and transform the sprawling agency that processes more than 150 million individual tax each year, Bloomberg reported in September.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement on Thursday that Werfel fits that description.
“I strongly support President Biden’s intent to nominate Daniel Werfel to serve as the next commissioner of the IRS,” she said. “Danny’s prior service under both Democratic and Republican administrations, his deep management experience, and his work directing significant transformation efforts, make him uniquely qualified to lead the agency at this critical juncture.
“After decades of underfunding, the IRS now has the resources it needs to improve services for taxpayers and modernize outdated technology and infrastructure. Danny’s deep commitment to fairness and making sure government works for all will also be invaluable as we improve the taxpayer experience and eliminate a two-tiered tax system. In addition, Danny’s leadership will be critical to effectively and efficiently implement the clean energy tax incentives that will increase production in the United States and lead to significant job creation,” Yellen continued. “I urge the Senate to act swiftly to confirm Danny and look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”
If his nomination is approved by the Senate, Werfel will take over an agency that just received an influx of funding thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed by Congress in August. The $80 billion in funding the IRS will receive over the next 10 years will be used to hire more personnel—including tax agents and customer service representatives—and to update the agency’s antiquated technology.
Earlier in his career, Werfel worked for the federal government under both Republican and Democratic administrations. He began his career at the Office of Management and Budget in 1997 during the Clinton administration as a policy analyst in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He continued his work at the OMB during the Bush and Obama administrations.
After serving as OMB deputy controller, Werfel was nominated by President Obama to be controller of the OMB in 2009, a post he served in for four years before becoming acting commissioner of the IRS on May 22, 2013.
Werfel followed Steven Miller as acting commissioner of the IRS after Miller resigned on May 15 of that year. Miller departed after the IRS admitted to improperly scrutinizing the federal tax-exempt status of some conservative groups. Werfel stayed on as acting commissioner until John Koskinen was nominated and confirmed as IRS commissioner later in 2013.
Werfel joined Boston Consulting Group in 2014 and is currently the global leader of the consulting firm’s Public Sector practice. He previously led BCG’s Public Sector practice in North America.
If confirmed by the Senate, he will succeed Rettig, whose four-year term comes to an end this week. Rettig said in a statement today that his time as commissioner “has given me an even deeper appreciation of what our workforce is capable of achieving.”
He continued: “I have been constantly amazed at the accomplishments of IRS employees during what has been a challenging and historic time for our nation. Time and again I have seen them deliver for taxpayers under tight timeframes and difficult circumstances—responding in a manner that demonstrates the importance of every American to the IRS and the IRS to every American. With the recent funding commitment to the IRS for the next decade, people should know that this important work to transform and improve the agency will be guided by employees dedicated to public service and delivering for our great country.”
Until Werfel’s confirmation, IRS Deputy Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell will serve as acting commissioner.