WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Internal Revenue Service announced that experienced agency executive Lia Colbert has been named the new commissioner of the Small Business Self-Employed Division (SB/SE), which oversees the agency’s collection activities and the examinations of most businesses in the United States.
“This is a crucial position for the IRS, and Lia’s background provides a unique perspective for this important role,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “This area is critical to ensuring fair enforcement of our nation’s tax laws while respecting taxpayer rights. In addition, this area is a key place for the agency to find ways to improve the taxpayer experience, not just for individuals who interact with this area but also for tax professionals that handle enforcement-related issues.”
The IRS also announced that Maha Williams has been selected to act as the deputy commissioner, SB/SE Examination, to fill in for De Lon Harris, who is retiring at the end of April. Darren Guillot will continue to serve as deputy commissioner, SB/SE Collection and Operations Support.
Colbert replaces Eric Hylton, who was SB/SE commissioner, when he left the agency about a year ago. Harris and Guillot served as interim co-commissioners during that time.
In her new role, Colbert will be responsible for providing executive leadership and direction to a nationwide staff of approximately 20,000 employees. These employees are responsible for the design, development and delivery of a comprehensive tax administration program. This program touches more than 57 million small business owners and self-employed taxpayers with business interests having less than $10 million of assets.
Furthermore, Colbert and the SB/SE deputy commissioners will work closely with employees, managers and executives across the division to review current operations and strategize improvement opportunities by looking deeply into experiences faced by the nation’s taxpayers and IRS employees in this ever-challenging pandemic environment.
Williams will be responsible for providing executive expertise and direction for special projects covering major segments of SB/SE including Campus Exam/Automated Under Reporter (AUR), Field Exam, Specialty Exam, Headquarters Exam and Exam Performance & Planning Analysis. She will also oversee the Office of Promoter Investigations (OPI), which provides support for all IRS efforts in identifying abusive tax transactions, tax schemes, and emerging abusive arrangements.
Colbert’s most recent role at the IRS was deputy chief Appeals. Prior to that, she was IRS chief of staff and executive lead of the team that drafted the Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress. She also has held several senior leadership and executive roles within Appeals and the Human Capital Office. She started her career at the IRS as a revenue officer before becoming 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 IRS Deputy Commissioner Services and Enforcement Douglas O’Donnell. “We are moving forward to implement the vision outlined in the Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress, and Lia will be a strong addition to the Services and Enforcement leadership team in that effort. The IRS will be well served with Lia, Maha and Darren in these pivotal roles.”
Maha began her career as a revenue agent in Tampa in 2001. She has held various management positions in SB/SE, including deputy director Examination, director Field and Campus Policy and director Case Selection. She is a 2018 graduate of the Candidate Development Program, earned her bachelor’s degree in Accounting from State University of New York at Plattsburgh and is a certified public accountant.
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