Skip to Main Content
 

99-Year-Old Former IRS Commissioner Mortimer Caplin on Life and Taxes

June 1, 2016, The Wall Street Journal

Mortimer M. Caplin has been watching the drama around the Internal Revenue Service since 2013 with the perspective of someone who has seen it all before, because he has. Mr. Caplin, who will turn 100 years old in July, ran the U.S. tax agency from 1961 to 1964 before becoming a founding member of the Caplin & Drysdale law firm in Washington.  He spoke with Richard Rubin of The Wall Street Journal's "Real Time Economics" about the IRS and how tax law has changed over time.  For the full interview, please visit The Wall Street Journal's website (subscription required).

Mortimer Caplin, 99, ran the Internal Revenue Service under President John F. Kennedy

Excerpt taken from the article.

WSJ: When and how did you find out that you were going to be nominated?

Mr. Caplin: I was teaching at the University of Virginia. I was a law professor. And I had Bob Kennedy and Ted Kennedy as students. One of the partners [at a firm I worked with] was Bill Battle, one of the younger partners, and he had been in World War II with Jack Kennedy. So it brought us all together a little bit more. I had written a lot of articles and teaching for these years from 1950 right up to the election day.

Kennedy gets elected and I get a call from Ted Sorensen saying that President-elect Kennedy wanted to form a task force on taxation. I was appointed and met with Kennedy. He had seen our report. We gave him a brief summary and he then tells me that I’ll hear from him in a few days or from Bobby. And I did get word from Bob Kennedy. We met up in Washington. I answered a lot of questions, my attitude, and wrote him a long letter. He wanted me to put it in writing.

[A newspaper] wrote an article about my being considered for possibly assistant secretary of the Treasury. I didn’t really want that job. I thought I would have more freedom as Commissioner of Internal Revenue. I’d have my own building, my own staff and all that, and not be the assistant secretary for tax policy. And lo and behold, it all worked out. I had a great, great, great time in that job.

________________________________________________

About Caplin & Drysdale
Having celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2014, Caplin & Drysdale continues to be a leading provider of taxtax controversy, and litigation legal services to corporations, individuals, and nonprofits throughout the United States and around the world. We are also privileged to serve as legal advisors to accounting firms, financial institutions, law firms, and other professional services organizations.

The firm's reputation over the years has earned us the trust and respect of clients, industry peers, and government agencies. Moreover, clients rely on our broad knowledge of the law and our keen insights into their business concerns and personal interests. Our lawyers' strong tactical and problem-solving skills -- combined with substantial experience handling a variety of complex, high stakes, matters in a boutique environment -- make us one the nation's most distinctive law firms.

With offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., Caplin & Drysdale's core practice areas include:
For more information, please visit us at www.caplindrysdale.com.
Washington, DC Office:
One Thomas Circle NW
Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005
202.862.5000
New York, NY Office:
600 Lexington Avenue
21st Floor
New York, NY 10022
212.379.6000

___________________________

Disclaimer
This communication does not provide legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship with you or any other reader. If you require legal guidance in any specific situation, you should engage a qualified lawyer for that purpose. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Attorney Advertising
It is possible that under the laws, rules, or regulations of certain jurisdictions, this may be construed as an advertisement or solicitation.
© 2018 Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered
All Rights Reserved.

Related Professionals