Are Officials in the IRS Appeals Office “Officers” of the United States?

In Tucker v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit made relatively quick work of a constitutional challenge to the authority of the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Appeals.  Senior Judge Stephen Williams’ opinion for the court begins:

Taxpayer Larry Tucker appeals a judgment of the Tax Court rejecting two contentions: first, a constitutional claim that certain employees of the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Appeals are “Officers of the United States,” so that their appointments must conform to the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, art. II, § 2, cl. 2, and second, an argument that the employees in question abused their discretion in rejecting his proposed compromise of the collection of his tax liability. . . . Because the authority exercised by the Appeals Office employees whose status is challenged here appears insufficient to rank them even as “inferior Officers,” we reject the constitutional claim. And we find no abuse of discretion in those employees’ decision in this case.