Douglas Shulman

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Douglas Shulman
Douglas Shulman.jpg
Commissioner of Internal Revenue
In office
March 24, 2008 – November 9, 2012
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Linda Stiff (Acting)
Succeeded by Steven Miller (Acting)
Personal details
Born 1967 (age 46–47)
Alma mater Williams College
Harvard University
Georgetown University

Douglas H. Shulman (born 1967) was the U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue.[1] His appointment by then-president George W. Bush was confirmed by the full U.S. Senate on March 14, 2008[2] and he was sworn in on March 24, 2008[3] and served his full term until November 2012.[4] He formerly served as vice chairman of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (successor to NASD) and sat on the board at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC)[5] and the World Federation of Exchanges.

Early life and education[edit]

Shulman was born in 1967 to Jeff and Celia Shulman. He grew up in Oakwood, Ohio (Greater Dayton Area). He graduated from Oakwood High School in 1985. Shulman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College, a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center.

Business career[edit]

Shulman co-founded and served as Executive Vice President of FoundryOne, Inc., a company focused on building and spinning off technology-focused startups within major corporations. Previously, Shulman was Vice President of Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd. and served as a senior policy advisor and as Chief of Staff for the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service.[6] Shulman began his career as a consultant at A.T. Kearney in New York City.

Shulman came to NASD in 2000. He directed NASD's efforts to restructure itself as solely a regulator and spin-off its market subsidiaries. He led the negotiations that resulted in the sale of both the NASDAQ Stock Market and the American Stock Exchange. He also oversaw NASD's efforts to become active in the fixed income markets by launching the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE), NASD's real-time corporate bond market regulatory and information system. Another main area of focus was heading the successful effort by NASD to modernize its technology systems.

IRS Commissioner[edit]


On November 22, 2007, Republican President George W. Bush announced he would appoint Shulman to be Commissioner of the IRS,[7][8] despite the fact that Shulman had donated to the Democrat National Committee in the 2004 election.[9] When being questioned by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in January 2008, he said that the IRS must be "competent, fair and impartial."[10][11] In March, he was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate to be the 47th IRS Commissioner.[12][13][14]

Shortly after President Obama was re-elected in the 2012 presidential election, on November 11, 2012, Shulman finished serving out his full term as Commissioner.[4][15][16][17]

Stimulus packages[edit]

In March and April 2008, one of his first duties was to send out 77 million tax rebates after congress passed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.[18] He also led the IRS after congress passed Obama's $787 billion economic recovery stimulus package.[19]

Offshore accounts[edit]

In August 2009, he persuaded Switzerland to turn over the identities of 4,450 Americans with secret UBS bank accounts.[20] UBS paid a $780 million fine. From 2009 to 2011, the IRS collected $4.4 billion from 33,000 people who had offshore accounts. He said it was an "amount we never thought we'd reach. If we catch people before they come in voluntarily, it's going to be a much worse outcome for the taxpayer." In January 2012, he revived a program that would be even more strict toward offshore accounts. He said the "long-term goal is deterrence. We want to wake up and have the next generation of taxpayers not even think about hiding their assets overseas."[21]

Healthcare reform[edit]

The IRS was given major responsibilities for the money flows of the affordable care act.[22] In April 2010, Shulman said that taxpayers' refunds in order to collect fines from those who don't buy health coverage via Affordable Health Care for America Act. In response to Republican arguments that the IRS would abuse their powers, he said he would not allow the IRS to be "too punitive."[23] According the Congressional Budget Office, the fines would range from several hundred dollars to as much as 2.5% of household income.[24]

Modernizing the IRS's Technology[edit]

While serving as commissioner, Shulman led a major modernization of the IRS's technology to streamline tax payment processing, facilitate compliance, and improve customer service.[25] On January 17, 2012 Shulman oversaw the transition to the Customer Account Data Engine 2,[26] moving the data of 140 million taxpayers into a modern database environment. This was the first successful major upgrade of the IRS data repository for more than 50 years.

Policy on aiding Madoff victims[edit]

The IRS released a number of guidelines to help the 4,800 victims of the Bernie Madoff $65 billion scandal. Shulman said the IRS will allow the amount of the theft loss to include the investor's unrecoverable investment for Ponzi scheme victims. Victims who are part of small businesses will be able to go back 5 years to recover investments and so-called "phantom profits".[27][28][29]

Tea Party scandal[edit]

Douglas Shulman was the Commissioner of the IRS during the time when non-profit 501(c)(4) conservative leaning groups were targeted for increased scrutiny according to the name of the non-profit organization and according to the political nature of the organization.[30] In a congressional hearing held on May 21, 2013, Douglas Shulman denied responsibility for the policy, stating that he found out about the use of inappropriate criteria from Steven T. Miller.

In November 2011, he said that “Beginning soon, the IRS will send letters to tax-return preparers who have been identified as high risk.” Shortly thereafter, various political groups were investigated with a focus on ­separating legitimate tax-exempt groups from those working to get candidates elected. He also criticized congress for proposing spending cuts to the IRS.[31]

In March 2012, he testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives and told U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany "what’s been happening has been the normal back-and-forth that happens with the IRS. None of the alleged taxpayers, and obviously I can’t talk about individual taxpayers and I’m not involved in these, are in an examination process. They’re in an application process which they moved into voluntarily. There is absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back-and-forth that happens when people apply for 501(c)(4) status."[32]

In May 2013, he told Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn “I certainly am not personally responsible for making a list that had inappropriate criteria on it. With that said, this happened on my watch, and I very much regret that this happened on my watch.”[33]

On May 31, 2013 it was reported that Shulman had been cleared to visit the White House 157 times between October 2009 and December 2012.[34] Most of these were meetings at the Executive Office Building or the New Executive Office Building.[35] The records show that Shulman signed in for 11 of these meetings. Whether he actually attended any more of the meetings for which he was cleared to attend is unknown to the public.[35]


  1. ^
  2. ^ AP News, March 14, 2008[dead link]
  3. ^ Official IRS Web Site ([dead link]
  4. ^ a b Kocieniewski, David (2012-10-10). "Douglas Shulman, Head of the Internal Revenue Service, to Step Down". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ DTCC Official Bio
  6. ^ List of Staff Members (
  7. ^ Associated, The (2007-11-22). "Bush to Nominate An I.R.S. Chief -". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  8. ^ "Former IRS Commish Fired by American Red Cross". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "IRS nominee faces tough questions from Senate panel - Oversight". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  11. ^,6941506&dq=douglas+shulman&hl=en
  12. ^ 8:00 AM (2008-03-14). "Reid Statement On Confirmation Of Executive Appointments | Senate Democrats". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  13. ^ "TaxProf Blog: Senate Confirms Nomination of Douglas Shulman as IRS Commissioner". 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  14. ^ "Shulman Confirmed As IRS Commissioner". 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  15. ^ IR-2012-76 (10 October 2012). "Shulman to Finish His Term as IRS Commissioner on Nov. 9". US IRS. 
  16. ^ Kocieniewski, David (10 October 2012). "I.R.S. Commissioner Will Step Down in November". New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Tax Notes Today Reporter (November 8, 2012). "2012 TNT 217-14 IRS COMMISSIONER HIGHLIGHTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS HE PREPARES TO LEAVE OFFICE. (IR-2012-89) (Release Date: NOVEMBER 07, 2012) (Doc 2012-22997)". Tax Analysts. 
  18. ^ Block, Sandra (2008-06-20). "Millions more could get tax rebate if they file a return -". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  19. ^ Ohlemacher, Stephen (2009-04-14). "Taxpayers more frugal with refunds this year -". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  20. ^ Donmoyer, Ryan J. (2009-08-19). "Shulman Says U.S. Expanding Tax Inquiry After UBS ‘Victory’". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  21. ^ Fram, Alan (2012-01-09). "IRS reviving program seeking offshore tax cheats". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Republicans to Taxpayers: Brace for IRS Enforcement of Health Care Law". Fox News. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  24. ^ Starr, Penny. "IRS Says Health Care Coverage Fines Not Punitive, But Admits Govt Can Keep Refunds If Fines Not Paid". CNS News. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ Block, Sandra (2012-04-01). "Fixing The IRS". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  27. ^ Chew, Robert (2009-03-17). "IRS Reveals Tax Guidelines for Ponzi Victims". TIME. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  28. ^ Martin Zimmerman (2009-03-18). "IRS giving relief to some Madoff investors - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  29. ^,2004849&dq=douglas+shulman+madoff+scandal&hl=en
  30. ^ Martin, James (2013-05-24). "Should the United States fund the service program AmeriCorps? President Obama would increase its budget. Rep. Paul Ryan would eliminate federal funding for the program". The Washington Post. 
  31. ^ Sloan, Steven (2011-11-15). "Shulman Says IRS Will Focus on ‘High Risk’ Return Preparers". Businessweek. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  32. ^ "FLASHBACK: Doug Shulman in March 2012: ‘There is absolutely no targeting’ | Washington Free Beacon". 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  33. ^ Blake, Aaron (1970-01-01). "Douglas Shulman won’t apologize — yet, at least". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  34. ^ CNN Political Unit, CNN's Kevin Liptak and CNNMoney's Jeanne Sahadi (2013-05-31). "Did IRS chief really visit White House 157 times?". Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  35. ^ a b Franke-Ruta, Garance (May 31, 2013), "The Fake Story About the IRS Commissioner and the White House", The Atlantic, retrieved 2013-05-31 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Linda Stiff
Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Succeeded by
Steven T. Miller