Tax exempt Feed

In a few hours, the San Francisco Giants will attempt to make it three Major League Baseball playoff series sweeps in a row. The Baltimore Orioles started it Sunday afternoon, taking the third straight game from the Detroit Tigers in their American League Division Series match-up. Later this week, the Birds will face the Kansas City Royals; that Missouri team swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Sunday night. The Giants hold a 2-0 lead in their National League Division Series battle with the Washington Nationals. The Bay Area fans are hoping they will get to use their brooms.... Read more →

It's Monday. That mean millions of workers have spent way too much time slogging through email that piled up over the weekend or, in some cases, while we were on vacation. But it's missing, not received, emails that are once again getting special attention. Specifically, missing Internal Revenue Service emails. More specifically, some lost messages from Exempt Organizations unit colleagues of former IRS executive Lois Lerner. Late last week, the IRS reported to Congress that it is missing emails from five more employees connected to the agency's alleged targeting of conservative groups that applied for nonprofit tax status. The loss... Read more →

It was another bad week for the Internal Revenue Service. First, it was revealed that one of the tax agency's workers faced disciplinary action for improper political activities while on the job. Then judges in two lawsuits against the IRS have demanded that the agency provide official explanations of missing emails that might be tied to the continuing nonprofit tax status problems. First the politicking worker. Out-of-line Obama phone chant: It's not the political involvement that Republican members of Congress have been searching for, but one Internal Revenue Service employee did use his official position to push for the president's... Read more →

Did you make it through last night's prime time grilling of the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner? Don't feel bad. I had to take a break and catch up via tape later myself. I admit it; Jack Bauer was kicking butt! But even the unusual evening session couldn't generate much new excitement. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) rehashed much of what his Ways and Means colleague had covered just before the weekend break. Issa's technique, of course, was bit grittier than that of tax panel Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). But the results were the same. During... Read more →

Well, that Congressional hearing provided just about what followers of the Tea Party targeting investigations had expected. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen just wrapped up an almost four-hour appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee. The tax-writing panel's main focus was a batch of emails belonging to former IRS executive Lois Lerner that were lost when her office computer crashed in 2011. Some of those missing communications are believed to have discussed the division's activities beginning in 2009 in determining which groups were granted the 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. At that time of the PC crash, Lerner (who's since... Read more →

If you're gearing up to watch Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testify today before the House Ways and Means Committee, here's a preview of what to expect. Committee Chairman Dave Camp's (R-Mich.) formal announcement of the hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. Eastern Time today (Friday, June 20), says the he and his colleagues will focus on the IRS' recent statement about Lois Lerner's emails, both the communications furnished and those lost in a computer crash. So far, according to the IRS, the agency has or expects to hand over around 67,000 emails relevant to the investigation into the... Read more →

Find C-SPAN on your local television provider's schedule and set your DVRs. Things are going to get exciting on Friday, June 20, and Monday, June 23. That's when Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen will be on Capitol Hill to explain why his agency can't hand over a chunk of emails to and from Lois Lerner. Koskinen is the only witness for the 9 a.m. Eastern Time hearing Friday, June 20, before the House Ways and Means Committee. He also will be solo at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, June 23, when he answers questions from the House Oversight... Read more →

Anyone who uses a computer knows that unfortunate things happen. You hit a wrong key and that email you meant to send to just your best buddy ends up in the mailboxes of all your coworkers. Thank goodness at least the boss wasn't on that mail list! A stray finger stroke and all your hard work disappears. Please, please, please IT guys, save me! Or your machine suddenly decides to give up the ghost, taking your digitized life with it. Well, it seems that our federal tax agency also has its own technology troubles. Lost Lerner emails: The Internal Revenue... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service's policy that allows it to award bonuses to employees who haven't paid their taxes is wrong. So is rewarding employees who faced disciplinary action. That, however, is what happened. A Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) audit found that the IRS paid $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems. Just more than $1 million of those rewards went to workers who owed back taxes. In addition to cash rewards, the employees in question also received additional time off from work as bonuses. Source: Awards data from the IRS Human Capital Office and... Read more →

What did we learn during IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's appearance today before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee? First, real witnesses aren't necessary. Koskinen was making his first visit before the Oversight panel to discuss how the Internal Revenue Service previously handled and is now dealing with applications for 501(c)(4) nonprofit status. Just in case you have 3½ hours and want to watch the fireworks yourself. The new IRS chief was treated the same way as most other witnesses on this topic have been. He was asked long, politically-tinged questions and then, for the most part, was not allowed... Read more →

We didn't learn anything new about how the Internal Revenue Service used to handle 501(c)(4) applications at the contentious Congressional hearing this week, but since its dramatic ending, things have changed. In case you missed the hearing, Lois Lerner was back before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as it continued its investigation into the IRS' questionable tactics in reviewing applications for that favorable tax-exempt status. The quick recap is that Lerner showed up but once again took the Fifth and didn't testify. An irked Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chair of the committee, ended the hearing early and abruptly.... Read more →

Tempers flare at IRS hearing. Reality show, anyone?

A couple of U.S. Representatives have stumbled across a way for Uncle Sam to raise more revenue without worrying about raising anybody's taxes. Just turn the halls of Congress into a reality show. I know, there's C-SPAN. I'm a big fan of the public affairs channel. But with just a tinch of tweaking as happens with the so-called reality shows that are already so popular, Congress could have a hit on its hands. In fact, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) filmed the potential program's pilot today during yet another hearing on Internal Revenue Service operations. Check it... Read more →

Maybe the National Taxpayer Advocate's recommendations came too late in the budgeting process. Or maybe members of Congress just like whacking the most hated federal agency with a fiscal bludgeon. Whatever the reason, the Internal Revenue Service is going to have to make do with less money in fiscal year 2014 under the omnibus budget bill worked out this week on Capitol Hill. UPDATE: The House passed the spending bill Wednesday, Jan. 15, afternoon by a bipartisan 359-to-67 margin. It now awaits Senate action. And that means all of us taxpayers will probably suffer at least a little bit this... Read more →

You remember the Internal Revenue Service's inappropriate targeting of groups seeking tax-exempt status based on the organizations' political leanings, right? When the word about the clumsy application review process was leaked to the media by now retired IRS executive Lois Lerner in advance of a damaging Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report, Congress jumped right into the middle of the mess. Republican-led House committees held what seemed like daily hearings on IRS tax-exempt review techniques, particularly as they applied to Tea Party and other conservative groups. Democrats countered with evidence that liberal and progressive groups also got added... Read more →

A lot of attention has been paid, rightfully, to the federal workers who are on furlough or working for free until Capitol Hill agrees on a fiscal 2014 budget. Among those sitting out the political stalemate are around 86,000 Internal Revenue Service rank and file workers. But as the shutdown approached, there also were some changes -- or not -- at the IRS' executive level. Werfel remains, for a while: First, the top guy's status. Daniel Werfel stepped in as Acting IRS Commissioner (his title was tweaked for administrative reasons in June) after word broke, and Congressional hearings began, on... Read more →

Just like filmdom's persistent poltergeists, Congressional attacks on the Internal Revenue Service are back. House Republicans are hoping that new looks into IRS improprieties in dealing with applications for tax-exempt status will recapture public attention. IRS email appetizers: The stage was reset by an unbylined outlook piece in the Wall Street Journal this week entitled "Lois Lerner's Own Words." House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) posted the column in full on the committee's website and sent out an "in case you missed it" notification of the article via email. The newspaper looks at emails between Lerner, now... Read more →

Since May, we -- OK, primarily tax geeks and members of Congress -- have focused on the issue of tax-exempt status. This is because on May 10 we learned that the Internal Revenue Service had a questionable system of assessing whether a group that might engage in some political activity should be allowed to operate as a nonprofit. The main issue is whether the IRS improperly relied on its perception of the organizations' political leanings. Tea Party groups said they did and cried foul. It later was revealed that more liberal groups also got extra IRS scrutiny. That battle is... Read more →

The controversy over how and which groups the Internal Revenue Service targeted in assessing applications for nonprofit status is heading to court. Maryland Democratic Rep. Chis Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, will be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit expected to be filed today in federal district court challenging the IRS' interpretation of the law that governs the tax status of social welfare organizations. UPDATE, 2 p.m. Aug. 21: It's official. The lawsuit has been filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. You can read the press release issued by the... Read more →

The richest 20 percent of Americans enjoy more than half of the benefits from 10 major tax breaks. That's the analysis of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in its report, "The Distribution of Major Tax Expenditures in the Individual Income Tax System," released last week. The tax breaks -- or expenditures as they are known in legislative circles -- include tax deductions, tax credits, preferential tax rates for certain types of income and income that is excluded from taxes. The CBO grouped the expenditures into four categories: Exclusions from taxable income, which includes employer-sponsored health insurance, net pension contributions and... Read more →

A whistleblower who exposed a tax fraud scheme by Enron and Wall Street firms has been awarded a $1.1 million reward by the Internal Revenue Service. The payout came from the new IRS Whistleblower Office, but was made under prior, less generous guidelines. Those older rules, which still apply in some instances, call for a reward of up to 15 percent of the money that the IRS recovers based on the information. The whistleblower office was revamped in 2006. Now when whistleblower information about alleged tax cheating leads to IRS collection of unpaid taxes and the subsequent recovery amount exceeds... Read more →