The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee held a hearing on September 18 to review the audit of the Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations Division and question the acting chief of the IRS Danny Werfel. Here are some links and excerpts of articles covering the hearing:
In May, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [TIGTA] released an audit exposing the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on name and policy position. The audit confirmed what many feared – that the IRS was treating applicants differently based on their beliefs by subjecting them to endless delays and intrusive information requests. Today we want to bring that disinfecting sunshine to the audit branch of the IRS as well.
Highlights from the House Ways & Means Committee IRS Exempt Orgs Hearing (Sustainable Law Group)
A few years ago Lois Lerner told an audience at Duke University that the IRS Exempt Organizations Division can use the tax return examination process to take a closer look at advocacy groups. As a result, the Subcommittee has expanded its investigation to include whether the IRS improperly targeted conservative advocacy groups for reviews and audits.
Acting IRS Chief Touts Progress in Reforming Exempt Organizations Processes (Government Executive)
Ranking Member Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., though agreeing that the IRS tax exempt organizations unit needed reforms, said, “Unfortunately, my friends on the other side of the aisle continue to frame this issue as a partisan one — as only affecting conservative groups. Time and time again the facts have shown that both Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning groups were singled out during the application process. We know why we are here today — for Republicans to distract us from their lack of a positive legislative agenda to improve the economy, create jobs and fund the government.”
News of interest for startup nonprofits: There is currently a backlog of over 65,000 exemption applications from 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations.
Also see this article published in The Nonprofit Quarterly the day before the hearing: Update on IRS Scandal.