May 16, 2011

Internal Revenue commissioner to speak at Leaders + Legends

Douglas H. Shulman, commissioner of Internal Revenue, is the featured speaker at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School’s Leaders + Legends lecture series on Wednesday, May 18. The event will take place at 7:30 a.m. in the Legg Mason Tower in Harbor East. The title of his remarks is “Leading Around Corners: Meeting Today’s Challenges While Positioning for Tomorrow.”

The 47th commissioner of Internal Revenue, Shulman was appointed in March 2008. As commissioner, he presides over the nation’s tax system, which collects approximately $2.4 trillion in tax revenue that funds most government operations and public services. Shulman manages an agency of nearly 100,000 employees and a budget of more than $12 billion. The agency touches every facet of American society, including individual taxpayers, the tax-exempt sector, small businesses and large corporations.

As commissioner, Shulman has emphasized the necessity of maintaining a balance between taxpayer service and tax enforcement.  His goals for the IRS are improving service to make voluntary compliance easier for taxpayers and, at the same time, enforcing the law to ensure tax obligations are met by all.

During Shulman’s tenure, the IRS has played a major role in the economic recovery efforts by delivering 119 million economic stimulus payments, implementing a significant portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and designing IRS programs to assist individuals and businesses struggling through difficult economic times.  In the face of increasing globalization of tax administration, Shulman has stepped up IRS activity on a variety of international and corporate tax issues, including offshore tax evasion. Also under Shulman’s direction, the IRS launched the Return Preparer Initiative to ensure high standards of ethics and service across the tax preparation industry. Other major initiatives include expanding use of data and third-party information to enhance compliance, and preparing the IRS workforce for the next decade. He currently serves as chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Forum on Tax Administration.

Shulman came to the IRS from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, the private-sector regulator of all securities firms doing business in the United States, where he served as vice chairman. He served in the same capacity at the National Association of Securities Dealers, or NASD, before its 2007 consolidation with New York Stock Exchange Member Regulation, which resulted in the formation of FINRA. After joining NASD in 2000, Shulman played an integral role in restructuring the company, led the negotiations of the sale of the NASDAQ stock market and American Stock Exchange, oversaw the launch of industrywide bond market transparency and modernized NASD’s technology operations.

Earlier in his career, Shulman helped co-found Teach for America, participated in several start-up organizations, was a vice president of a private investment firm and served as senior policy adviser and then chief of staff of the National Commission on Restructuring the Internal Revenue Service.

Shulman holds a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a master of public administration degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a doctor of laws degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

The Leaders + Legends monthly breakfast series, which features today’s most influential business and public policy leaders addressing topics of global interest and importance, is designed to engage business and community professionals in an examination of the most compelling issues and challenges facing society today.

Admission to the lecture, which includes breakfast, is $35. To register and for more information, go to