If the IRS hoped Friday’s “apology” for giving extra special attention to tax-exemption applications of right-side groups would settle things, they’re very disappointed this weekend. The Washington Post reports that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will soon issue a report saying Friday’s apologizer, IRS Director, Exempt Organizations, knew this was going on in 2011. Meanwhile, in 2012 IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman was still testifying that IRS was not picking on the Tea Party.
So not only was the Shulman era at IRS grasping, incompetent and casually cruel, it was dishonest.
The Tax Prof has a fresh roundup, The Deepening IRS Scandal.
Another Washington Post story has this:
At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that “criticize how the country is being run” and those that were involved in educating Americans “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
Yes, we sure need to keep an eye on those wingnuts who want to educate people on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Dangerous lunatics, they are!
There is so much blog coverage of this that I won’t even try to round it all up. A few links from our blogroll:
Megan McArdle, Why Did the IRS Target Conservative Groups?
Going Concern, Footnotes: Tea Party Patriots to IRS: Drop Dead
TaxProf, Schmalbeck on the IRS ‘Targeting’ of Conservative Groups, where an academic gives a ”nothing to see here” take, one that is already largely overtaken by events.
And some other coverage:
The report doesn’t shay whether or not Shulman was informed about the Tea Party questioning, but it does show the IRS’s chief counsel was. It’s standard procedure for the counsel and commissioner to discuss this sort of thing before a Congressional hearing.
If so, The Worst Commissioner Ever can only plead incompetence instead of lying to Congress.
Reason.com has a bunch of posts at their Hit and Run blog, including Matthew Feeney, IRS Scrutiny Extended Beyond Tea Party Groups (Reason.com); Jesse Walker, A Brown Scare at the IRS?; Matt Welch, NY Times: IRS Targeting of Tea Party Only Proves Republicans Are Desperate “It’s the inability to see discrete news events for what they are, rather than what they might mean for the neverending scrum between Teams Red and Blue.”
Jonathan Adler, IRS Scrutinized Teaching the Constitution (Volokh Conspiracy)
Professor Bainbridge, Wider Problems Found at IRS – Twisting slowly in the wind
William Jacobson, IRS anti-Tea Party scandal gets real — senior IRS officials aware of targeting (Update – Chief Counsel knew and targets expanded to groups “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights”)
Katrina Trinko, Rubio: IRS Commissioner Should Resign Immediately (The Corner)
Ann Althouse has more.
And here’s my take from Friday, if you missed it: Look at a celebrity return? You’re fired! Harass a Tea Party outfit? Carry on.
In other news:
Nina Olson, IRS Taxpayer Advocate, has an article in Tax Analysts (via the TaxProf) affirming her support for taxpayer regulation. Ms. Olson has done much good work as Taxpayer Advocate, but her support for increased preparer regulation is economically uninformed and hopelessly wrongheaded.
Peter Reilly, Brooklyn Grandmother Wins On Dependency Exemption. Just in time for Mothers Day!
TaxGrrrl, IRS Set To Close Next Week. Bad news: it’s only temporary.
Trish McIntire, Max and Dave Looking for Reform
Nick Kasprak, Do Tax Cuts Pay for Themselves?
Patrick Temple-West, Falling deficit alters budget debate, and more
Andrew Mitchel, Barnes Group – Structured Repatriation Was a Dividend. In spite of the best efforts of national tax firms.
Phil Hodgen, Decline of American Civilization, Form 8938 Edition. “Let’s just bury the world in useless paperwork, shall we?” That does appear to be the plan.
Jack Townsend, Cheating is Cheating, Except When Offshore Accounts Are The Means, followed up with More on Conviction Rates in Tax Cases.
Janet Novack, Independent Contractor Enforcement: There’s More Than The IRS To Fear. Plenty of state rules and taxes also come into play.
Jim Maule, The Complexities of Tax: Is This Really Necessary? “A recent IRS private ruling, PLR 201318003, illustrates how the special low rates for capital gain adds layer upon layer of complexity to the tax law.”
I’d like to report a hijacking. It looks like somebody at Tax Analysts forgot to renew their ownership of the tax.com domain name. Going there this morning gets this:
Tax.com is (has been?) home to the great group blog featuring, among others, David Brunori, Christopher Bergin, David Cay Johnston, Martin Sullivan, Cara Griffith and Clint Stretch. I hope this is only a temporary hijacking.