TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 938

IRSTown Hall, Tea Party Group Pushes Back Against IRS Plan to Collect Social Security Numbers:

Just because the Justice Department’s investigation into the IRS resulted in no charges against the agency, it doesn’t hide the fact that officials had been targeting donors who dared to give donations to groups who didn’t comply with the Obama administration’s liberal agenda.

This exposed bias of the IRS makes tea party groups justifiably concerned about the agency’s plan to collect the social security numbers of donors who give $250 or more to an organization.

The provision, posted in September, is explained as such:

Accordingly, the proposed regulations require that donees who opt to use donee reporting must report that information as well as the donor's name, address, and taxpayer identification number. 

This information is necessary, the agency insists, to “properly associate the donation information with the correct donor.”

Tea party groups are pushing back, arguing such details are superfluous. Here’s what Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin told The Daily Signal:

“They don’t need to be collecting Social Security numbers,” she said. “Donations to nonprofits are allowed to be kept confidential. Having gone through the [IRS] targeting [of conservative groups] because our name is Tea Party Patriots, I’m very sensitive to anything that expands the IRS’ reach into nonprofits and who their donors are.”

She, along with other right-minded organizations, are launching a Twitter campaign called #IRSPowerGrab Wednesday to draw attention to the agency’s continual overreach. Concerned citizens also have the opportunity to voice their opposition to the regulation until Dec. 16.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/12/the-irs-scandal-day-938.html

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Comments

Surely the IRS can safeguard donors' data just as well as the government protects all its sensitive data. Oh, wait...

Posted by: AMTbuff | Dec 3, 2015 8:37:03 AM

What is Ms. Martin's authority for her statement that the IRS doesn’t “need to be collecting Social Security numbers. . . . “Donations to nonprofits are allowed to be kept confidential?” Donations to 501(c)(3)s–which can give rise to 170 deductions by donors– and 527s are NOT confidential. Donations to real, bona fide 501(c)(4)s generally are. Fair and uniform tax administration demands that donors and donations to 501(c)(3)s and 527s be tracked and correlated by the tax agency. It also demands that 501(c)(4) applicants be examined to determine whether the applicants are real “civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare” or just dodgy 527s. But then, that’s the crux of the IRS “scandal,” isn’t it?

Posted by: Publius Novus | Dec 3, 2015 10:26:39 AM

Funny how the Obama administration claimed this all stopped years ago and that Obama's internal DOJ investigation didn't find anything happened and yet the activity is still ongoing.

This means that it has the approval of the head of the IRS and DOJ and it also means that Obama himself is complicit in the ongoing persecution of dissidents.

Posted by: wodun | Dec 3, 2015 2:39:49 PM

If government would quit trying to control political speech and fundraising, and just live with the fact that people are going to organize to advocate for what they believe and against what they oppose, regardless of what position the government wants people to have, things could be a lot simpler.

But we have a government that only wants to make it easy for its proponents, not its opponents. That's called improper use of authority, and should be grounds for removal from office.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Dec 4, 2015 6:07:24 AM

A lot of the comments here and elsewhere seriously misunderstand the role of the IRS. It is supposed to track where the money goes and ensure that these moneys are used for genuine exempt purposes and not as a tax dodge or a political reshuffling shell game. It seems to me that a lot of the bloviation on the right is an attempt to push the IRS away from its monitoring role and let the gusher of money flow under the cover of exempt entities.

Posted by: Sejanus | Dec 4, 2015 6:13:13 AM

Sejanus: While I understand your point, mine was that this is an improper role for the IRS to be utilized in, or even Congress to be assigning. We shouldn't be giving tax-exempt status to anyone, because the issuing of that special status and how it is enforced becomes a political football in itself. Government needs to quit appointing itself as arbiter of what is political money and what is not. It is always destined to internal corruption in judging, biased against anti-administration groups.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Dec 4, 2015 9:24:11 AM