Tax exempt Feed

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 →

Lois Lerner, the former head of the Internal Revenue Service's Exempt Organizations Division and the GOP focal point in the tax agency's Tea Party tax-exempt debacle, is off the hook for her refusal to testify before Congress. Before her resignation from the IRS in September 2013, Lerner headed the agency's tax exempt unit when the 501(c)(4) application scandal broke. Lerner twice invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Members of that and other Congressional committees wanted her to talk about her role in the handling of applications... Read more →

Full disclosure: I didn't watch HBO's documentary on the Church of Scientology last night. We don't get the premium channel and anyway I had zombies walkers to follow. But I plan to catch "Going Clear" when it's available on video on demand or some streaming option. HBO "Going Clear" trailer Alex Gibney's two-hour film apparently focuses more on certain specific allegations about the church, particularly in connection with two of its most famous members, actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise, than did the book upon which it is based. From a tax standpoint, how the Scientologists came to be officially... Read more →

Things have been pretty quiet of late in the Congressional crusade against the Internal Revenue Service, so you can't be blamed for thinking that the tax agency was off the hook for its ham-handed handling all around of 501(c)(4) applications. After all, a federal court judge on Oct. 23 threw out a pair of lawsuits filed by Tea Party groups, Linchpins of Liberty and True the Vote, against the IRS that had claimed the IRS targeted them for special scrutiny. Last week, however, another thorn -- or more accurately 30,000 thorns -- in the IRS side flared up. That's when... Read more →

I am a glutton for punishment. For work, I write about taxes. For fun, I'm a life-long Dallas Cowboys fan. The abuse I get in both cases runs neck-and-neck, with seasonal fluctuations for whatever group is most in the public eye at the time. But at least America's Team (bracing now for a new influx of emails) isn't having as bad a year as I expected. I predicted the 'Boys would only notch four wins. And the 'Pokes also are definitely doing better than their long-time NFC East rival based in the Washington, D.C., area. Not only is the national... Read more →

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 →