Koskinen Sworn in as IRS Commissioner

Photograph by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

John Koskinen, President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Internal Revenue Service, prepares to testify on Capitol Hill on Dec. 10, 2013, before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination.

It’s out with the acting, in with the new at the Internal Revenue Service.

John Koskinen was sworn in today as IRS commissioner, ending the longest gap between confirmed commissioners since Congress created the tax agency in 1862. He was confirmed by the Senate on Dec. 20.

Koskinen, 74, is a former chairman of Freddie Mac and city administrator of Washington, D.C. He gets the task of rebuilding public trust in an agency that said it had given scrutiny to Tea Party groups based solely on their names.

“We have a filing season beginning soon, and I know that there is no higher priority for the agency than ensuring that it goes as smoothly as possible,” he wrote to IRS employees today. “I plan to do my best to assist you in that effort and to stay out of the way to the extent that that’s helpful.”

Koskinen replaces Danny Werfel, who has led the agency since President Barack Obama forced out acting commissioner Steven Miller in May.

Werfel won’t return to his old job as controller of the Office of Management and Budget. Instead, when he leaves the IRS on Dec. 31, Werfel will be “exploring future opportunities outside of government,” according to the IRS.

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