The Internal Revenue Service Appoints a New Small Business and Self-employed Division Director

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Internal Revenue Service announced the appointment of Lia Colbert as the new commissioner of the Small Business Self-Employed Division (SB/SE), which oversees the agency’s collection activities and examinations of the majority of businesses in the United States.

“This is a critical position for the IRS, and Lia’s background provides a unique perspective for this critical role,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. “This area is critical to ensuring that our nation’s tax laws are fairly enforced while respecting taxpayer rights.” Furthermore, this area is a critical location for the agency to identify ways to improve the taxpayer experience, not only for individuals who interact with this area, but also for tax professionals who handle enforcement-related issues.”

 

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The IRS also announced that Maha Williams has been named deputy commissioner, SB/SE Examination, to replace De Lon Harris, who is retiring at the end of April. Darren Guillot will remain as deputy commissioner for SB/SE Collection and Operations Support.

Colbert takes over for Eric Hylton, who left the SB/SE as commissioner about a year ago. During that time, Harris and Guillot served as interim co-commissioners.

Colbert will be responsible for providing executive leadership and direction to a nationwide staff of approximately 20,000 employees in her new role. These employees are in charge of designing, developing, and delivering a comprehensive tax administration program. This program affects more than 57 million small business owners and self-employed taxpayers with assets of less than $10 million.

Furthermore, Colbert and the SB/SE deputy commissioners will collaborate closely with division employees, managers, and executives to review current operations and strategize improvement opportunities by delving deeply into the experiences of the nation’s taxpayers and IRS employees in this ever-challenging pandemic environment.

Williams will be in charge of providing executive expertise and direction for special projects involving major segments of SB/SE, such as Campus Exam/Automated Under Reporter (AUR), Field Exam, Specialty Exam, Headquarters Exam, and Exam Performance & Planning Analysis. She will also be in charge of the Office of Promoter Investigations (OPI), which assists the IRS in identifying abusive tax transactions, tax schemes, and emerging abusive arrangements.

Colbert’s most recent position at the IRS was that of deputy chief of Appeals. Prior to that, she was the IRS’s chief of staff and the executive director of the team that wrote the Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress. She has also held senior leadership and executive positions in Appeals and the Human Capital Office. She began her career at the IRS as a revenue officer before moving on to become a settlement officer in Appeals.

“Lia is a strong leader with an excellent taxpayer experience perspective, a proven track record of working well with internal and external partners, and deep people development skill,” said Douglas O’Donnell, Deputy Commissioner Services and Enforcement at the IRS. “We are moving forward with the vision outlined in the Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress, and Lia will be an important member of the Services and Enforcement leadership team in that effort.” With Lia, Maha, and Darren in these critical roles, the IRS will be well served.”

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In 2001, Maha began her career as a revenue agent in Tampa. She has held several management positions in SB/SE, including deputy director Examination, Field and Campus Policy Director, and Case Selection Director. She graduated from the Candidate Development Program in 2018, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, and is a certified public accountant.

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