Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

IRS unveils raft of key leadership appointments 

These leadership changes are part of a larger effort underway at the IRS to continue work on the Taxpayer First Act

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced several key leadership appointments as it continues implementing major provisions of the Taxpayer First Act.

Douglas O’Donnell will serve as the new IRS deputy commissioner, Services and Enforcement, and Sunita Lough will be returning to serve as the IRS commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE ).

These leadership changes are part of a larger effort underway at the IRS to continue work on the Taxpayer First Act, which includes work to reimagine the agency’s tax administration and work to improve taxpayer service and enforcement.

Lough has served as the IRS Deputy Commissioner, Services and Enforcement, since September 2019, and is returning to her prior position as commissioner of TE/GE, a role she previously held from 2014 to 2019.

She has worked for the IRS for nearly 27 years, holding many key leadership roles. She served as the executive project lead for the Tax Reform Implementation Office, effectively spearheading the successful delivery and implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the biggest tax reform legislation in 30 years.

Lough said: “Helping to lead this agency during the pandemic has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve done during my career, and I am very grateful to everyone at the IRS. I’m excited to return to TE/GE as we work to assure our commitment to strengthening the oversight and services within the TE/GE community.”

O’Donnell has been the commissioner of the Large Business and International Division of the IRS (LB&I) since 2015, where he also served as the U.S. Competent Authority. He began his career at the IRS as a revenue agent in 1986.

He said: “We have an exceptionally strong IRS leadership team, and I am hopeful we can continue our efforts to earn the trust and respect of every American. Our employees have worked hard during the unprecedented pandemic to assist the people of our country and, rest assured, we will continue to do so.”

In addition, Nikole Flax will take over as commissioner of LB&I after serving as deputy commissioner of the division since 2017. She has held many key roles at the IRS including IRS chief of Staff and assistant deputy commissioner for Services and Enforcement, among others.

Meanwhile, Holly Paz replaces Flax as deputy commissioner of LB&I. She is leaving her current role at LB&I as the director of the Pass-Through Entities Practice Area, which supports all of LB&I with S Corporation and Partnership Specialty teams and the Ogden TEFRA Unit. She has held other key roles at the IRS including serving as the director of Corporate Issues and Credits in LB&I’s Enterprise Activities Practice Area, among others.

Edward Killen will return to the role of deputy commissioner of TE/GE. Prior to joining TE/GE, he held several leadership positions including the IRS chief privacy officer and senior advisor to the IRS Deputy Commissioner of Operations Support, among others.

IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, our strong leadership team is making some changes to take on the important challenges ahead. Taxpayers need to see the IRS renewing the fight each day for the highest possible service and tax compliance.

“These are all exemplary leaders, who have a demonstrated ability to work together, communicate effectively inside and outside the IRS as well as organize cross-functional teams to take on our biggest compliance challenges.”

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