Wednesday, October 25, 2017
The IRS Scandal, Day 1630: The Real Scandal Is The IRS's Budget
Philip Hackney (LSU), The IRS Targeting Scandal Was Fake, but IRS Budget Woes Are a Real Problem:
Conservatives have been seething since 2013 over what they say was an unfair and imbalanced effort by the IRS to scrutinize right-leaning organizations more closely than other groups seeking nonprofit status.
As a new report from the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration shows, the IRS did flag some conservative groups out of concern that they might be problematic. But it also paid the same kind of extra attention to liberal organizations with words like “occupy” and “progressive” in their names between 2004 and 2013.
So it’s now official. There was extra scrutiny but there was no liberal bias among the federal employees who determine whether new organizations that want to operate as nonprofits are legitimate – and therefore eligible for the tax-exempt status that goes with that designation.
As a former IRS lawyer who now researches nonprofit regulation, I am relieved to see the claim that the government exclusively targeted conservative organizations officially debunked. I believe this new report ought to usher in a serious discussion about a very real problem: The IRS is too cash-strapped to conduct its oversight of nonprofits of all kinds. ...
The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan congressional agency, recognized in 2014 that the tax agency’s budget and staff were too small to handle its nonprofit oversight responsibilities. The situation has only deteriorated since then.
The overall IRS budget fell by about 18 percent in inflation-adjusted terms from 2010 to 2017, from US$14 billion to roughly $11.5 billion. Today, the agency employs fewer people than it did in 2010. The number of its employees dedicated to auditing and vetting the nonprofit sector fell about 5 percent from 2010 to 2013, the GAO found.
This long-term trend, which began two decades ago, has eroded oversight. The number of aspiring nonprofits gaining tax-exempt status rose over the past decade as rejections fell. The number of denials plummeted from 1,607 in 2007 to merely 37 in 2016.
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1612: Inspector General Debunks Ideological Targeting Of Conservative Groups By The IRS (Oct. 7, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1611: TIGTA Report, Review Of Selected Criteria Used To Identify Tax-Exempt Applications For Review (Oct. 6, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Day 1610: Inspector General Says IRS Gave Extra Scrutiny To Liberal Groups, Undermining GOP Claims Of Ideological Targeting Of Conservative Groups By IRS (Oct. 5, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1501-1600 (June 18, 2017 - Oct. 4, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1401-1500 (Mar. 10, 2017 - June 17, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1301-1400 (Nov. 30, 2016 - Mar. 9, 2017)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1201-1300 (Aug. 22, 2016 - Nov. 29, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1101-1200 (May 14, 2016 - Aug. 21, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1001-1100 (Feb. 4, 2016 - May 13, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 901-1000 (Oct. 27, 2015 - Feb. 3, 2016)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 801-900 (July 19, 2015 - Oct. 26, 2015)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 701-800 (April 10, 2015 - July 18, 2015)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 601-700 (Dec. 31, 2014 - April 9, 2015)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 501-600 (Sept. 22, 2014-Dec. 30, 2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 401-500 (June 14, 2014 - Sept. 21,2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 301-400 (Mar. 6, 2014 - June 13, 2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 201-300 (Nov. 26, 2013 - Mar. 5, 2014)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 101-200 (Aug. 18, 2013 - Nov. 25, 2013)
- The IRS Scandal, Days 1-100 (May 10, 2013 - Aug. 17, 2013)
The comment about the bipartisan scrutiny now being officially debunked reminds me of the science is settled statement.
Posted by: EricD | Nov 1, 2017 8:31:12 AM
So, if this is correct, why did the DOJ settle the case for between $1 and $10 million?
Posted by: bflat879 | Oct 27, 2017 11:18:19 AM
It is a little disappointing to see how quickly certain factions jump on the flawed exoneration as a means to sweep the past under the rug. One has to wonder what their motivation is. And why the DOJ is paying out settlements, if there was nothing improper done.
Posted by: ruralcounsel | Oct 27, 2017 4:41:21 AM
Art Deco and ThomasA, I "like" your comments. Yesterday's DOJ admission of wrongdoing, in a settlement with 400 conservative groups, is presumably also imaginary.
Posted by: Michael Wexler | Oct 26, 2017 11:27:16 AM
Really? Lois Lerner tried a modified limited hangout because it was all imaginary? Then took the 5th because it was all imaginary? Then played hide-the-ball with their own inspector general and with Congressional committees because there was nothing to see there?
Posted by: Art Deco | Oct 25, 2017 12:23:07 PM
The "Sequester", which was President Obama's idea, one of his few good ones, but one he tried to blame others for, is not a "Scandal."
It was the right thing to do across the board. The fact that the IRS got caught in it was a coincidental benefit, since they were wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on crap like this while they're budget was declining:
This is just more evidence of the need for simplified federal tax reform. The IRS should only be in the business of collecting tax revenue.
Posted by: MM | Oct 25, 2017 8:36:59 AM
Mr. Hackney's chart conveniently omits all those groups that applied for tax-exempt status but whose applications were neither approved nor denied. May were left in limbo because they were unwilling or unable to comply with the IRS's unreasonable paperwork requests. Most of those were conservative groups.
Posted by: ThomasA | Oct 25, 2017 8:24:01 AM
Great comment. Why don't you go test the theory of gravity for us, if you disbelieve science so much?
Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Nov 1, 2017 12:52:23 PM