by Sarah Curry
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
Today the Internal Revenue Service is celebrating its 61st birthday. The idea of the IRS is much older, dating back to 1862 when President Lincoln created a commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses. The collection of income taxes began in 1913, but the agency as we know it today was not in operation.
In 1953 the agency was restructured from an organization of primarily government appointments to an organization comprised of career and professional employees. During this change, the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s name was changed to the Internal Revenue Service on July 9th.
Today the IRS is made up of professional accountants and other professional employees. The only employees appointed are the commissioner and chief council which are both selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate.