Koskinen sworn in as IRS commissioner

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John Koskinen was officially sworn in as IRS commissioner on Monday morning, giving the tax agency its first Senate-confirmed leader in more than a year.

Koskinen, confirmed by the Senate on Friday, told agency employees in a message on Monday that one of his top priorities would be to immediately reach out to them.

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The new commissioner has acknowledged that he faces the difficult challenge of restoring taxpayer trust in the IRS, which admitted to inappropriately singling out Tea Party groups in May. The IRS also plays a key role in administering tax credits that are central to President Obama’s healthcare reform law.

“Looking ahead, 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,” Koskinen told IRS employees.

“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, the interim IRS chief put in place just days after the agency acknowledged the targeting.

Werfel’s time at the IRS will be his last hurrah in government, at least for now. The IRS says Werfel, formerly a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget, would stay on at the agency through the end of the year.

“Following that, Mr. Werfel intends to take some time with his family, while exploring future opportunities outside of government,” the IRS said.