Tax collectors planning to auction income tax protesters' potentially booby-trapped property
The U.S. tax system is not very attractive

IRS emails, hearings and budgets, oh my!

The Internal Revenue Service isn't getting as much front page coverage as it did when the 501(c)(4) application debacle broke back in May.

Bankrate Taxes Blog icon But not to worry, tax geeks, things are still happening in and around the federal tax collection office. And recent Congressional hearings on IRS operations and the agency's bottom line were topics last week at my other tax blog.

Intriguing email: Let's start with the applications for tax-exempt status and the use of be on the lookout, or BOLO, lists to deal with the requests from conservative and progressive groups.

In looking into how what the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, characterized as "inappropriate criteria" in reviewing the applications, the tax watchdog office heard from the IRS about a specific and potentially damning email.

That electronic communication, TIGTA investigators were told, was "a smoking gun email" that would show who had instructed IRS employees in the Cincinnati office to target conservative groups, specifically those with the terms "Tea Party," "patriot" and "9/12" in their names.

But, Inspector General J. Russell George told the House Oversight Panel last week, a search of more than 5,500 IRS emails failed to turn up the reported smoking gun email.

Budget battle, too: The BOLO lists and spate of other IRS management issues that have come to light this year are why another Congressional panel wants to cut the agency's budget.

The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee has slashed the IRS' fiscal year 2014 operating budget by 24 percent from 2013 levels.

The ostensible reason given for taking away some IRS spending money was to "to help the IRS regain Americans' trust."

To me, though, the move looks more like politically partisan cuts to the IRS budget.

You can find my additional tax thoughts at Bankrate Taxes Blog, usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

But if you miss them those days, no worries. You can find a summary (and links) here the following weekend.

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