Internal Revenue Service

Pres. Abraham Lincoln, Revenue Act of 1862
16th Amendment by the Congress in 1913

Industry: Government


Tax, as we have come to know and realize, is an important part of a nation’s development. Tax is the government’s revenue used in various projects that furthers a nation’s progress. This is exactly what Abraham Lincoln’s point was when he appointed and established the first Commission on Internal Revenue. The Revenue Act of 1862 was passed to fund the military efforts during the Civil War through the collection of internal taxes of people’s personal incomes. It was abolished ten years later and was revived in 1894, only to be ruled by the Supreme Court unconstitutional a year later. It was in 1913 when the 16th Amendment was ratified and passed in the Congress that the practice of enacting income tax was finally made legal. Taxes have been a big part in the US’ history, helping fund the First and Second World War efforts and helping the government through the Great Depression.

In the 50’s, the agency reorganized and replaced patronage taxes with taxes from professional employees. The bureau also changed its name from Bureau of Internal Revenue to Internal Revenue Service, a name it had used sparingly since 1918.

Today, it is one of the world’s most efficient tax administrators earning trillions of dollars a year to fund US projects. Its mission is “to provide taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.” It regulates and implements the tax laws passed by the Congress and ensure that everyone meets their tax obligations and that no one is exempted from their tax duties.

The IRS is under the Department of Treasury and it also carries out the responsibilities of the secretary of Treasury (this under the Internal Revenue Code, section 7801). The IRS employs over 100,000 employees from auditors, collectors, criminal investigators and others, making it one of the largest federal bureaus in the US.

Commissioner Douglas Shulman, appointed March of 2008, currently heads the IRS.


Commissioner, Internal Revenue — Douglas Shulman
Chief of Staff — Jonathan M. Davis
IRS Chief Counsel — Clarissa Potter, Acting
Appeals — Diane Ryan, Chief
Taxpayer Advocate Service — Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate
Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity — Dora Trevino, Acting Chief
Research, Analysis and Statistics — Mark Mazur, Director
Communications and Liaison — Frank Keith, Chief

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