TaxProf Blog

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1015

IRS Logo 2Albuquerque Journal, Six Years and Counting: ABQ Tea Party Still Waiting on IRS:

Six years and still counting.

That’s how long the Albuquerque Tea Party has been waiting for a ruling from the IRS on its request for tax-exempt status.

“Most people, when they file a 501(c)(4), wait three to six months and then get approval or get denied, and if they get denied they can appeal,” said Rick Harbaugh, a past president and former secretary of the board of the Albuquerque Tea Party.

“The ATP filed their request in December 2009. Several months later the IRS demanded more documentation concerning the activities of the ATP since that application date. This was done. Then several months later, the IRS again asked for an update on all activity,” including board minutes, brochures, newsletters and correspondences, Harbaugh said. “All the information we sent them was well over 1,000 pages.”

The importance of getting tax-exempt status, he explained, is that the Albuquerque Tea Party, which has about 2,500 supporters, would then be able to transfer money to and receive money from other tax-exempt entities without paying taxes on those funds. “We have been prevented from getting (tax-free) money for six years,” Harbaugh said.

In 2012, the American Center for Law and Justice, on behalf of the Albuquerque Tea Party, as well as a host of other conservative groups, filed a lawsuit against the IRS, Harbaugh said. ...

Last year, New Mexico’s sole Republican congressman, Rep. Steve Pearce, made an inquiry on behalf of the Albuquerque Tea Party concerning the organization’s request for tax exempt status.

“He was told that because of our lawsuit, they would not release any information,” Harbaugh said.

Bill Brunson, who is responsible for IRS media inquiries from New Mexico, declined to comment on the status of the Albuquerque Tea Party application for tax-exempt status.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, on Monday told the Journal in a written statement that although the IRS scandal is no longer in the headlines, “the unlawful and unconstitutional treatment against conservative and Tea Party organizations continues.”

The ACLJ litigation against the IRS is ongoing in federal court, and of the 38 clients the organization represents, several, including the Albuquerque Tea Party, remain in a holding pattern while the IRS delays its response to their request for tax exempt status, he said.

Sekulow called that wait of more than six years “outrageous” and said it “underscores what we have contended from the very start – the IRS is arrogant, corrupt, and incapable of self-correction.”

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Comments

Not a smidgen of corruption...

Posted by: wodun | Feb 19, 2016 12:00:57 AM

Probably should have denied exempt status years ago.

Posted by: Sterling | Feb 19, 2016 2:28:25 AM