As an attorney, Rettig has specialised in tax planning,
litigation and controversy. He has 36 years of experience in
private practice, serving as principal at Hochman Salkin Rettig
Toscher & Perez in Beverly Hills. Rettig will replace
acting IRS chief David Kautter, who took office when John
Koskinen stepped down in November 2017.
Kautter was EY’s national director for 10 years
and later joined RSM US as the firm’s national tax
leader. Kautter has overseen the first steps to provide
guidance on US tax reform, including the rules on Section 965 and foreign earnings.
The interim period was meant to last for 120 to 190 days,
but it has stretched across 11 months since Koskinen stepped
down. The first hearing on Rettig's nomination was in June,
though the Democrats set out to block his confirmation over
concerns that the Trump administration was concealing the
identity of their donors.
The decision to appoint Kautter was not uncontroversial at
the time either. During Kautter’s tenure as
EY’s national director, the Big 4 firm faced a
scandal over claims it was running illegal tax shelters for 200 clients. It
should be noted that Kautter was never implicated in any
The confirmation of a new commissioner brings this long
transition to a close. Kautter will continue to serve as the US
Treasury’s top tax policy adviser.