Mark Everson

Internal Revenue Service commissioner Mark Everson was Tuesday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On his approach to running the IRS:

"It is about recentering the agency and making sure we are doing both the service side and the enforcement side. But at this stage we do need to do more on the enforcement side."

On improving IRS enforcement:

"The agency is too slow. It takes us on average five years to do ... a big corporate audit. [We] might as well be writing about the Civil War."

On what one thing would most help the tax system:

"The most important thing that has to happen is we have to restore the integrity and the credibility of tax attorneys and accountants. The tax-shelter industry has had a corrupting influence on the traditional practice of tax law and in the accounting arena as well."

On the need to simplify the tax system:

"We need to have a serious discussion ... on simplification.... [When] there is not enough simplification, you lose transparency. [And] it will reduce the willingness of individuals to pay if they don't understand and clearly see what is happening in the system."

On his personal taxes:

"I went to one of the very big service providers for my father-in-law's taxes. I did my own with a [software] package from ... another large provider, and I am mailing it in to the IRS just to see how long it takes to get my refund."

An expanded report is available at:

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