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Commissioner of Internal Revenue Douglas H. Shulman



Commissioner of Internal Revenue Douglas Shulman

Douglas H. Shulman is the 47th Commissioner of Internal Revenue. As Commissioner, he presides over the nation's tax system, which collects approximately $2.4 trillion in tax revenue that funds most government operations and public services. Shulman manages an agency of about 100,000 employees and a budget of more than $12 billion. The agency touches every facet of American society, including individual taxpayers, the tax-exempt sector, small businesses and large corporations.

As Commissioner, Shulman has emphasized the necessity of maintaining a balance between taxpayer service and tax enforcement. His goals for the IRS are improving service to make voluntary compliance easier for taxpayers while at the same time enforcing the law to make sure everyone meets their obligation to pay the taxes they owe.

During Commissioner Shulman's tenure, the IRS played a major role in the economic recovery efforts by delivering about $300 billion — or 40% of the money of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — through the tax system as well as by designing IRS programs to assist individuals and businesses struggling through difficult economic times. In the face of increasing globalization of tax administration, Shulman has stepped up IRS activity on a variety of international tax issues, including offshore tax evasion. He has served as the Chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Forum on Tax Administration since 2009. He has also led an effort to reshape the relationship with corporate taxpayers, by focusing on issue resolution, certainty and transparency. Also under Shulman's direction, the IRS launched the Return Preparer Initiative to ensure high standards of ethics and service across the tax preparation industry.

During his tenure, Commissioner Shulman has focused on employee engagement and performance. Under his leadership, the Agency has jumped from 8th to 3rd out of the 14 largest agencies in the federal government-wide Best Places to Work in Government survey. Also during his tenure, the IRS embarked on and is scheduled to finish a major modernization of IRS’s core technology account database which will achieve the goal IRS set in 1988 to process all tax returns on a daily cycle, rather than weekly batch cycle, which leads to significant improvement in customer service and compliance activities.  Other major initiatives launched during his tenure include expanded use of data analytics to enhance service and compliance, and shifting the agency to resolve taxpayer issues at the earliest possible time. 

Commissioner Shulman came to the IRS from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the private-sector regulator of all securities firms doing business in the United States, where he served as Vice Chairman. He served in the same role at the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) before its 2007 consolidation with New York Stock Exchange Member Regulation, which resulted in the formation of FINRA. After joining NASD in 2000, Commissioner Shulman played an integral role in restructuring the company, led the negotiations of the sale of the NASDAQ stock market and American Stock Exchange, oversaw the launch of industry-wide bond market transparency and modernized NASD's technology operations.

Earlier in his career, Commissioner Shulman helped to co-found Teach for America, was involved with several start-up organizations, was a vice president of a private investment firm and served as Senior Policy Advisor and then Chief of Staff of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service.

Commissioner Shulman holds a B.A. from Williams College, an M.P.A. from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 13-Jan-2014