Thursday, April 12, 2012
Following up on my previous posts (links below): Darrell Issa, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Jim Jordan, Chair of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending, have sent this letter to the IRS demanding an explanation by April 16, 2012 of alleged harassment of Tea Party Groups applying for tax-exempt status under § 501(c)(4):
Over the past several weeks the IRS sent many organizations, operating under tax exempt status, lengthy and detailed questionnaires. These questionnaires ask for information well beyond the scope of typical disclosures required under IRS Form 1024. ...
The IRS should provide appropriate scrutiny of organizations applying for tax exempt status. However, several experts suggest that these recent IRS questionnaires exceed appropriate scrutiny. For example, Marcus Owens, who ran the IRS's exempt organizations department for a decade, called the IRS initiative an "overreach." Moreover, the IRS must apply the same criteria for all organizations applying for tax exempt status. News reports, however, indicate that the IRS effort lacks balance, with conservative organizations being the target of the IRS's heightened scrutiny. Roll Call contacted several liberal groups, including ProtectYourCare, a 501(c)(4) set up to defend the new health care law, and reported that none had received the recently-sent questionnaire.
We respectfully request that you provide the following information to the Committee by April 16, 2012: ...
- All documents and communications between IRS officials and elected officials or any employee of a federal agency or department, referring or relating to the 2012 IRS work plan for 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6) organizations. ...
- A list of all the organizations that the IRS sent these types of questionnaires to this year, the date the questionnaire was sent by the IRS, the date the IRS asked for a response, and the date the organizations sent their initial application for tax exempt status.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Senate Candidate Calls for Investigation of IRS 'Assault' on Tea Party (Feb. 24, 2012)
- IRS May Out Donors to Tea Party, Other 501(c)(4) Groups (Mar. 9, 2012)
- NY Times Backs IRS Efforts to Out Donors to Tea Party, Other 501(c)(4) Groups (Mar. 10, 2012)
- Why Is The IRS Asking Tea Party Groups If They Know Me? (Mar. 16, 2012)
- More on IRS, Tea Party Groups, and § 501(c)(4) Tax-Exempt Status (Mar. 24, 2012)