Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 6, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 242: Lois Lerner Is 2013 Tax Person of the Year

Tax Analysys Logo (2013)The 2013 Tax Person of the Year: Lois Lerner, 142 Tax Notes 7 (Jan. 6, 2014):

Last year was a struggle for the IRS. The effects of years of frozen or cut budgets began to take their toll on tax administration. The agency had a tough tax season because of the late passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Guidance for the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the Affordable Care Act was slow in coming. And, of course, the IRS spent the last eight months dealing with a major controversy involving the handling of exempt organization applications.

While many of the Service's problems were not necessarily its own fault, the exempt organization scandal was an almost entirely self-inflicted wound. No one personifies that scandal more than Lois Lerner.

Lerner ignited a political and media firestorm when she confessed in May that the exempt organizations unit of the IRS Tax-Exempt and Government Entities Division inappropriately handled many Tea Party groups' exemption applications.

mThe now former exempt organizations director's admission and subsequent refusal to testify before Congress contributed to her becoming the public face of the scandal. Although Lerner does not bear sole responsibility for the IRS's missteps in processing conservative groups' exemption applications, the publicity of her role in one of the year's biggest news stories earns her the distinction of being Tax Notes' 2013 Person of the Year.

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