Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Data Debunks IRS Rationale for 'Tea Party' Scandal

Top Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials have been saying that a “significant increase” in applications from advocacy groups seeking tax-exempt status spurred its Cincinnati office in 2010 to filter those requests by using politically loaded phrases such as “Tea Party” and “patriots.” Officials have cited an increase from about 1,500 applications for 501(c)(4) “social welfare” group tax-exempt status in 2010 and to nearly 3,500 in 2012. But the data doesn't bear out the IRS explanation, notes Doug Donovan in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The IRS scrutiny of conservative applications began in March 2010, before an uptick could have been observed, according to data contained in the audit from the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration. Plus, the number of 501(c)(4) applications for all of 2010 was actually less than in 2009: According to the audit, 1,735 groups applied for 501(c)(4) exemption for the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, 2010 -- six months after the IRS began its scrutiny -- which was actually down slightly from 1,751 the prior year. The applications total did grow to 2,265 during the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2011, and to 3,357 for 2012, but by then the criteria the IRS was using to flag groups had changed to include searches for groups with names that contained “Bill of Rights,” “educating on the constitution,” and “limiting/expanding government.” For more, see the story at https://philanthropy.com/article/IRS-Rationale-for-Tea-Party/139277/

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