Paul L. Caron

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Death Of Former IRS Commissioner Sheldon Cohen

CohenWashington Post, Sheldon S. Cohen Dies at 91:

Sheldon S. Cohen, a tax lawyer and certified public accountant who helped set up the first presidential blind trust, for Lyndon B. Johnson, and then helped fully computerize the IRS as Johnson’s commissioner of internal revenue, died Sept. 4 at a nursing home in Chevy Chase, Md. He was 91. The cause was complications from congestive heart failure, said a grandson, Reuben C. Goetzl.

Mr. Cohen, a native Washingtonian and son of a Lithuanian-born shopkeeper, graduated first in his law-school class at George Washington University in 1952. He then joined a cadre of young lawyers at the Internal Revenue Service who drafted a massive overhaul of the federal income tax code.

His role shaping the new tax code, which took effect in 1954, vaulted him to prominence in the field of tax law. He soon left government work for private practice and was recruited to the politically connected firm of Arnold, Fortas and Porter. One of the partners, Johnson confidant and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, became Mr. Cohen’s mentor. ...

Sheldon Stanley Cohen was born in Washington on June 28, 1927. His first experience in finance, he said, was helping his father with deliveries at the family business, Potomac Butter and Egg. After graduating from Coolidge High School in 1945, he served in the Navy at the end of World War II. He received a bachelor’s degree from GWU in 1950.

In 1969, Mr. Cohen and IRS general counsel Lester Uretz formed a boutique tax-law practice. It was absorbed in 1985 by Morgan, Lewis and Bockius, where Mr. Cohen remained until retiring three decades later. He then spent several years as a senior counsel and director of Farr, Miller and Washington, an investment-management firm.

(Hat Tip: George Yin.)

IRS News, Obituaries, Tax | Permalink