Tax exempt Feed

Thousands gather for a service at Lakewood Church in Houston, one of many megachurches often led by prosperity gospel evangelists. As since biblical days, religious leaders and governments continue to jockey over rendering unto the tax collector. (Photo by ToBeDaniel via Wikipedia Commons) Religion and taxes are inextricably tied together, primarily because religious groups that pass Internal Revenue Service muster don't have to pay taxes. But some religious leaders have gotten extra attention lately for, shall we say, the extravagant ways they seek to serve their god. Private jet is biblical: Televangelist Kenneth Copeland, who in 2015 defended his use... Read more →


At least one state, Texas, joins the Internal Revenue Service in making filing accommodations for those affected by software company's malware troubles. Watch the full classic Roseanne Roseannadana skit at NBC's Saturday Night Live video page. As the wonderful Gilda Radner character Roseanne Roseannadana used to say, "It's always something." That's particularly true in the tax world. Just when we thought we had made it relatively unscathed through the 2019 tax season, which already was crazy since it was the first one in which most of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes took real life effect for taxpayers,... Read more →


Gustave Dore's 1866 engraving of Satan falling from Heaven for John Milton's "Paradise Lost." (Wikimedia Commons photo) Tax-exempt organizations became a landmine for the Internal Revenue Service in 2013. In May of that year, a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report determined that the agency had used questionable tactics in reviewing applications by self-described social welfare organizations seeking the favorable 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. You may remember it as the IRS/Tea Party Scandal. Now a new tax-exempt designation might open up the IRS for more criticism. This time, though, it doesn't involve nonprofit groups that might spend a little too... Read more →


Tax litigator Charles Rettig (far left) is sworn in on Oct. 1 as new IRS commissioner by his boss, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (far right). (Photo courtesy Mnuchin's Twitter account) It's official. Charles P. "Chuck" Rettig is the Internal Revenue Service's 49th commissioner. He moved into his new office on Monday, Oct. 1, almost 11 months after his predecessor, John Koskinen, left the job. After 36+ years with the California-based law firm of Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, P.C., Rettig now will be in charge of around about 80,000 employees and a budget of approximately $11 billion. Rettig's official... Read more →


Former Internal Revenue Service Exempt Organizations chief Lois Lerner leaves a Capitol Hill hearing on how the agency handles tax-exempt status requests. Her refusal to testify before two House Oversight Committee hearings in May 2013 and March 2014 ultimately led to her resignation from the IRS. Remember back in April 2015 when the Department of Justice decided it wouldn't follow-up on a Congressional contempt citation against Lois Lerner or "take any other action to prosecute" the former Internal Revenue Service executive? Current Republican Representatives do. And now, with the Justice Department full of fresh faces serving under a GOP White... Read more →


The Stars and Stripes. Old Glory. The Red, White and Blue. The Star Spangled Banner. Whatever name you use, today is the annual national celebration of the United States of America's flag, one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. U.S. Navy vessels commemorate Flag Day. (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy via Twitter) Flag, Flag Day history: The U.S. flag was adopted 240 years ago on June 14, 1777. From its beginnings at Betsy Ross' hands during the American Revolution to today when many residents of Puerto Rico are seeking to have another star added, Old Glory has changed with... Read more →


Since Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced on April 19 that he won't seek reelection in 2018 and then the next day suggested he may even leave before his term ends, there has been much speculation as to what this might mean for additional Congressional investigation into possible questionable ties between the Trump Administration and Russia. Chaffetz is, after all, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is one of the Capitol Hill panels with jurisdiction over the international conflict of interest questions. To many, Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, seemed reticent to dive into such inquiries, although today he... Read more →


Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen got an early Christmas present on Tuesday, Dec. 6, when the House overwhelmingly rejected a last-ditch effort to impeach him. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced a resolution Dec. 6 to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. The effort failed, with House members instead voting to send the matter back to the Judiciary Committee for yet another review. Click image to view full C-SPAN video clip. A faction of conservative Congressional Republicans have been trying to remove Koskinen from his job for more than a year. The lawmakers, led by the House Freedom Caucus, believe that... Read more →


Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton isn't the only person facing email questions. Republicans who head Congress' tax-writing committees want answers from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over reports that Uncle Sam's tax enforcement and collection agency spent $12 million on an unusable email service. The IRS' email is not as rudimentary as options for backpackers, but apparently a recent, and costly, system upgrade didn't work out as the tax agency had hoped. (Photo by mattwi1s0n via Flickr CC) Upgrade failure: Concerns about the IRS email system came to light in a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report, dated Sept. 30... Read more →


Embattled Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen this week met with House Republicans who want him out of his job. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen makes a point during a Congressional hearing. He also received additional support from outside groups that wrote House leaders detailing why they believe that impeaching Koskinen is a bad idea. However, it looks like the final decision will be made by the full House sometime this month. Intent on impeachment: Reps. John Fleming (R-La.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) in July introduced a privileged resolution calling for Koskinen's impeachment. The maneuver requires a full House vote, rather... Read more →


Donald Trump, in a combative press conference today (May 31), announced the veterans' groups that received money collected in his Iowa debate alternative event last January. Click image to watch Trump campaign video via Twitter The 41 nonprofits and the amounts they received/will get are: 22Kill -- $200,000 Achilles International Inc. -- $200,000 American Hero Adventures -- $100,000 Americans for Equal Living -- $100,000 America's Vetdogs - The Veterans K9 Corps Inc. -- $75,000 AMVETS -- $75,000 Armed Services YMCA of the USA -- $75,000 Bob Woodruff Family Foundation Inc. -- $75,000 Central Iowa Shelter and Services -- $100,000 Connected... Read more →


Opponents of Scientology were jazzed yesterday as word spread across the Internet that the controversial church's tax-exempt status had been revoked. They were quickly disappointed. Church of Scientology "Big Blue" building in Los Angeles (Photo by PictorialEvidence via Wikimedia Commons) The report that hit my social media feeds ostensibly was from ABC News. It said, in part: In a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court today, the eight justices ruled in favor of revoking the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status in the United States. Under the ruling, Scientology will still be able to operate as a business but no longer... Read more →


After reviewing how the Internal Revenue Service mishandled tax-exempt requests of Tea Party and other groups, the Department of Justice (DoJ) determined that poor management is not necessarily a crime. Lois Lerner, the former IRS executive who's been the target of many Congressional investigations won't face any criminal charges in the Tea Party tax exempt applications scandal. I can attest to that. If that were the case, then I've worked for some places where casual Friday attire would have been orange jumpsuits. No names. Arduous, inept process: In case you've forgotten, back in 2013 the Treasury Inspector General for Tax... Read more →


As the global refugee crisis continues to grow, Pope Francis has a warning for churches. Open your doors to these displaced people or pay taxes. Photo by R LeMoyne courtesy United Nations The Pontiff's message about caring for those in need shouldn't come as a surprise. He has spent his life ministering to the poor and he's carried that message with him as the head of the Catholic Church. But his no-nonsense assessment of how some churches take tax advantage of their special status has taken some aback. Heavenly guidelines for worldly acts: "On Judgment Day we already know how... Read more →


What is it with government employees and emails? Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account to send some State Department messages has gotten a lot of attention and criticism. But the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate is not the only one. The commingling of business and personal email apparently is a common practice among those working for Uncle Sam. U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and other senior American diplomats there have used personal email accounts to conduct State Department business, according to a just-released inspector general report. And back in 2007, the George W. Bush White House revealed that... Read more →


Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen apparently was a bit too optimistic a few months ago when he declared his agency had turned a corner when it came to the problems it had encountered. IRS chief John Koskinen at one of his many appearances before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Republican leader of that panel and 20 of his colleagues are tired of Koskinen's testimony and now say he should be fired for his part, or lack thereof, in resolving the Tea Party tax-exempt application scandal. Congress, particularly Republicans in the House, continues to focus on the... Read more →


Stop me if you're heard this before. And before. And before. Yep, I'm talking, again, about tax extenders legislation. These 50+ temporary tax laws must be renewed periodically, with the one to two year extensions, sometimes retroactively, giving them their name. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Minority Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), left, and SFC Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will guide their tax-writing colleagues today in examining tax provisions that expired at the end of the 2014 tax year. (Official Senate Finance Committee photo) The current batch of extenders expired on Dec. 31, 2014, after being given new life retroactively for... Read more →


While most of us were focused on the recent Supreme Court health care and marriage rulings, and I plead guilty here, some other tax-related events were quietly taking place, like a look at those still-missing Lois Lerner emails. We're now into the second year of this mess (781 days so far by TaxProf's count), and Lerner, the now-retired/fired Internal Revenue Service executive in charge when the Tea Party tax-exempt status scandal broke, is still under the gun The latest revelations about missing IRS emails that might shed some light on the agency's process for assessing and approving 501(c)(4) not-for-profit status... Read more →


I'm not much of a churchgoer, but if the new First Church of Cannabis opens a sanctuary in Austin, I might just drop by services now and again. The Indianapolis-based marijuana-smoking church has received approval of its incorporation papers from the state of Indiana and, from the more important tax perspective, from the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) religious organization. For the new religious order, that designation means no taxes. For donors, that also means tax deductions if they itemize. Religious freedom law opens church doors: And the new ministry is looking for donors to help it raise... Read more →


What once seemed like a tax Hail Mary pass doomed to fall short is now a game ending completion. The National Football League is giving up its tax-exempt status, which he called a "distraction." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the change, which will take effect with the league's 2015 fiscal year, in a memo to the 32 NFL team owners. Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman and ranking minority member on the House Ways and Means Committee, also reportedly got copies. Goodell cited among the reasons for the change in tax status recent Congressional criticism of... Read more →