Specialist in tax, regulatory law nominated as IRS commissioner

February 24, 1993|By New York Times News Service

Margaret M. Richardson, a partner in the Washington law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, was nominated by President Clinton yesterday to be the new commissioner of internal revenue.

A specialist in tax and insurance regulatory law, Mrs. Richardson has been practicing at Sutherland, Asbill for 15 years.

Before joining the firm, she spent nearly eight years at the Internal Revenue Service, primarily in the chief counsel's office, where she served as director of the administrative services division.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mrs. Richardson would become the second Sutherland, Asbill partner to serve as IRS commissioner, a distinction that her firm said no other law firm in the country could match. Randolph W. Thrower, a partner in the firm's Atlanta office, served as commissioner from 1969 to 1971 under President Richard M. Nixon.

Mrs. Richardson, 49, would assume command at the IRS at a time when the Clinton administration is expecting much from the agency.

Among other things, Mr. Clinton has proposed scrapping the personal income-tax simplification provisions adopted in the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to raise additional revenue. The president also expects the IRS to raise large sums in corporate income tax from foreign multinationals, which, he contends, under-report income from U.S. operations.

The proposals have drawn criticism from Capitol Hill as well as from business.

The proposed changes in the individual income tax code, the critics say, would bring more loopholes into the tax system. They also argue that the projections on the amounts to be raised from a sharp increase in tax rates on the wealthy are overstated.

Instead of paying additional tax, rich taxpayers would choose to defer income or channel income into areas not subject to federal tax, critics say.

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