Archive for October, 2010

EO Tax Journal 2010-153

Paul Streckfus, October 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm

This morning I went to hear Gordon Clay, Sarah Hall Ingram, Cathy Livingston, Ruth Madrigal, and Theresa Pattara speak at the ALI-ABA program on Tax-Exempt Charitable Organizations.

Here’s my from the trenches report. Cathy Livingston was a no-show. Apparently, she was not rescued with the Chilean miners, so she remains underground. Rumors that she has run off to join the Church of Scientology have been denied by the IRS Office of Public Affairs. Another no-show was Theresa Pattara — perhaps she was out searching for Cathy or both of them may have run off to join the Church of Scientology.

Ruth Madrigal and Gordon Clay were there. Ruth gave a rehash of legislative and guidance developments, which have been reported on before in these missives, and Gordon gave a rehash of congressional developments, which is a bit of an oxymoron, and these lack of developments have also been reported on before in these missives, so I’m going to continue on to the star of the show…. DRUM ROLL Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-152

Paul Streckfus, October 20, 2010 at 7:31 am

My most requested feature is IRS phone numbers. Why I don’t know, since most of you report that no one calls you back or, if they do, they provide little useful information. There are a few exceptions. Steve Clarke, for example, has been helpful in regard to Form 990 questions. Some IRS people are downright unhelpful, but I’ll let you discover them on your own. Since Marv Friedlander retired, there has been no go-to person in EO. In fact, I think the IRS company line to EO practitioners is to not call the EO function, but instead to call the IRS tax help line at 1-800-829-1040.

I’m always open to hearing about readers’ experiences with calling the IRS. This is an area where “applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all” is a critical issue — clearly another area where the ACT Committee should make some inquiries as to what is the official policy. If the EO function does not want practitioners to call, then they should make that announcement and then apply it uniformly, with no exceptions. It’s only fair that everyone be treated the same.

There should not be a group of well-connected practitioners who get their phone calls returned. The IRS should not be discriminating among practitioners. As the EO function has become less transparent in recent years, telephone access has become even more important. Clients are willing to pay for information from those who have access. The IRS should not be creating two classes of tax practitioners — the favored few and everyone else.

For telephone and email access, there should be a uniform policy, and it should be adhered to, no exceptions. Discrimination in any form is truly repugnant to our belief in “truth, justice, and the American way of life.” Maybe the folks at IRS never watched Superman as kids. I know it was my favorite show. Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-151

Paul Streckfus, October 19, 2010 at 8:07 am

1 – Old Business

2 – Partial Transcript of D.C. Bar Program on EO Politicking

The transcription process is always a challenge. In the case of a recent D.C. Bar program, I was unable to get a good recording of the remarks of Karl Sandstrom, one of the speakers. Rather than tossing the transcript, I am sending along the remarks of Jim Joseph and Marc Owens. If Karl would like to work on his comments, I would be happy to send him what we have.

With Halloween coming, I am reminded of what happened to one set of tapes I sent my transcriber a few years ago. Apparently her mailperson left the envelope containing the tapes on her door sill. The day being Halloween, trick-or-treaters who came by must have been irritated that she was not home to give them candy, so they ripped the envelope apart and threw the tapes in her bushes. When I told her later that the tapes should have arrived, she looked around and luckily found them intact in the bushes. I guess you could say a tape in the hand is worth two in the bush.

3 – Clergy VOICE’s Letter to IRS re the Fellowship Foundation

Last week I reprinted (Email 2010-148) a Washington Post article, “Sponsor of National Prayer Breakfast Received Money from Alleged Terrorist Group.” Today I’m reprinting the letter that was the basis for the article. Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-150

Paul Streckfus, October 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm

1 – New York Times’ Primer on EO Tax Law

2 – Ofer Goes Where Lions Fear to Tread: Is a Political Contribution a Gift?

1 – New York Times’ Primer on EO Tax Law

Who would have guessed that the New York Times would devote two articles appearing today in its print edition to explain basic concepts of EO tax law. Of course we know “basic concepts” don’t take you far in EO election tax law, as it’s all facts and circumstances, as Judy Kindell is fond of explaining. The Times’Michael Luo gets it mostly right in his bold attempt to go where no IRS has gone before. I’ve noted in CAPS my comments. Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2010-149

Paul Streckfus, October 15, 2010 at 10:32 am

1 – Old Business

2 – Upcoming Programs

1 – Old Business

In regard to yesterday’s email update, former IRSer Bill Brockner chides me for not pointing out that Senator Durbin is incorrect in his press release in stating that “U.S. tax law requires that the primary purpose of 501(c)(4) organizations … cannot be political….” According to Bill, “There is no primary purpose test for (c)(4)s — including most if not all (c)s aside from (c)(3)s. What we have for (c)(4)s is a primary activity test, which is more quantifiable than a purpose test — if you can figure what and how to quantify.”

In regard to Wednesday’s email update, in which I noted recentPhiladelphia Inquirer articles about the Milton Hershey School, the newspaper has a blistering editorial today:

Inquirer Editorial: Hershey deals leave bad taste Continue…