Biden’s I.R.S. Nominee Will Be Grilled About $80 Billion Overhaul

“To presume this ‘pinky promise’ pledge has lasting impact, one must assume it somehow lasts 10 years, outlives multiple agency heads and does not change overnight without any recourse or accountability,” Senator Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, the top Republican on the committee, wrote in The Washington Examiner this week. “Neither the Treasury Department nor the I.R.S. has determined how to define or uphold this pledge.”

In his opening statement, Mr. Werfel said he would be committed to meeting Ms. Yellen’s directive to not increase audit rates “relative to historic levels” for small businesses and households making under $400,000.

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“If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, the audit and compliance priorities will be focused on enhancing I.R.S. capabilities to ensure America’s highest earners comply with applicable tax laws,” Mr. Werfel said.

Americans for Tax Reform, a group run by Grover Norquist that promotes lower taxes, has called on lawmakers to question Mr. Werfel about the firearms and ammunition possessed by I.R.S., about the 30 million taxpayer documents that the I.R.S. destroyed in 2021 amid a backlog of filings and about its last-minute decision in December to delay for a year a new tax policy that would have required users of digital wallets and e-commerce platforms to start reporting small transactions.

“Congress passes laws, not the I.R.S.,” Mr. Norquist said. “The key question is whether he or whoever takes this job is willing to commit on a series of challenges that the I.R.S. has had.”

Mr. Werfel is no stranger to the I.R.S. or the cauldron of challenging Washington policy jobs.

President Barack Obama tapped Mr. Werfel in 2013 to temporarily take over the agency after a scandal over its targeting of conservative groups led to the firing of another interim director, Steven T. Miller.

At the time, Mr. Werfel had been working as controller of the Office of Management and Budget, serving as the Obama administration’s point person on the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and making sure government agencies adhered to the law. Before that, he helped carry out the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Mr. Obama’s stimulus legislation. Mr. Werfel also worked in the administration of President George W. Bush, helping to oversee compliance with the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 in the Office of Financial Stability.