The Internal Revenue Service is a dynamic organization that is constantly seeking new ways to further its mission of helping taxpayers comply with the tax law. This panel will provide insights directly from IRS leadership on emerging civil and criminal compliance trends, current priorities and initiatives, and how the different divisions of the IRS work together to address non-compliance.
Identify IRS initiatives, challenges, and priorities as described by the IRS panelists.
Sunita Lough is the Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement of the Internal Revenue Service. As the DCSE, she provides leadership to the four taxpayer-focused IRS operating divisions; Wage & Investment, Large Business and International (LB&I), Small Business/ Self Employed and Tax Exempt & Government Entities (TE/GE). She also oversees the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, Office of Professional Responsibility, Online Services, the Return Preparer Office, and the IRS Whistleblower Office.
Sunita joined the IRS in 1994, as a tax law specialist in the Exempt Organizations Division. She has served in many different positions within the IRS, including docket attorney in the Office of Chief Counsel and technical advisor to the director, Tax-Exempt Bonds. From 2003 to 2008, she served as the Director, Federal, State and Local Governments. After graduating from the executive development class in 2009 she served as the Director, Exempt Organizations (EO) Examinations until accepting the position Deputy Director, Pre-filing and Technical Guidance, LB&I in December2009. She also served as the Director, Pre-filing and Technical Guidance. In 2014, she joined TE/GE where she led the Division in all aspects of strategic planning and tax administration for entities not subject to income tax under the Internal Revenue Code. She remained in this role until 2019, with the exception of a 2018 detail as the head of the DCSE Tax Cuts and Jobs Act office. In this role she led an executive team to deliver all aspects of the 119 provisions contained in the TCJA. Implementing the largest tax reform in 30 years, she oversaw the publication of over 100 pieces of guidance; revisions to more than 500 tax forms, publications, and instructions, including Form 1040; and substantial IT re-programming efforts.
Sunita received her Juris Doctorate degree from George Mason University Law School and Master of Laws degree in taxation from Georgetown University Law Centre. She has eight years of private practice experience in the areas of tax-exempt bonds and exempt organizations. Sunita is a member of the District of Columbia and Virginia State Bars.
John D. (Don) Fort is the Chief, Criminal Investigation, headquartered in Washington, DC. He was appointed to the position in June 2017 and heads the Internal Revenue Service division responsible for investigating criminal violations of the tax code and related financial crimes. Mr. Fort oversees a worldwide staff of nearly 3,300 CI employees, including approximately 2,200 special agents, investigating crimes involving tax, money laundering, public corruption, cyber, ID theft, narcotics, and terrorist financing.
Douglas is Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service’s Large Business and International (LB&I) Division headquartered in Washington, D.C. In this role, he is the United States Competent Authority and oversees tax administration activities for domestic and foreign businesses and partnerships with a United States tax reporting requirement and assets equal to or exceeding $10 million as well as the Global High Wealth and International Individual Compliance programs.
Prior to his current executive appointment, Mr. O’Donnell served as the Deputy Commissioner (International) in LB&I. In this role he was responsible for planning, developing, directing, and implementing a comprehensive servicewide tax administration program that enhances compliance with international tax laws, ensures consistency in taxpayer treatment, continuously improves systems and processes and effectively allocates resources to meet servicewide international tax administration priorities.
Mr. O’Donnell previously served in other executive positions including the Assistant Deputy Commissioner, International; Director, Competent Authority & International Coordination; Director of International Compliance, Strategy & Policy; Deputy Director, Pre-Filing and Technical Guidance; and the Director of Field Operations, Heavy Manufacturing and Transportation Industry.
Mr. O’Donnell began his career with IRS in 1986 as a revenue agent in Washington, D.C. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Maryland.
Tamera (Tammy) Ripperda is the Commissioner of the Tax Exempt & Government Entities (TE/GE) business operating division, where she is responsible for administering the tax laws governing employee retirement plans, tax-exempt organizations, tax-exempt bonds, Indian tribal governments, and federal, state and local governments.
From 2016 to 2019, Tammy served as Deputy Commissioner of the Small Business/Self Employed Division (SB/SE) business operating division, where she led tax administration that meets the needs of more than 57 million small business owners and self-employed taxpayers with less than $10 million in assets.
During her tenure as Deputy Commissioner, SB/SE, Tammy also served a 14-month assignment as a director in the Tax Reform Implementation Office (TRIO) where she served as one of the five executives charged with overseeing the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017.
Prior to serving as the SB/SE Deputy Commissioner, Tammy was the Director of TE/GE Exempt Organizations (EO), where she oversaw tax administration and policy for 1.6 million exempt organizations.
Tammy began her IRS career in 1988 as a Revenue Agent in St. Louis, MO. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from Southern Illinois University. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Appointed in September 2019, Mr. Hylton oversees taxpayers’ programs and services, affecting the nation’s small business and self-employed individuals. He is responsible for providing executive leadership and direction to a nationwide staff of approximately 20,000 employees responsible for service and enforcement programs for taxpayers who file personal, corporate, flow-through, employment, excise, estate, and gift tax returns.
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