Archive for September, 2011

EO Tax Journal 2011-157

Paul Streckfus, September 23, 2011 at 6:09 am

1 – The EOTJ Mailbag

2 – Oprah Nudged Out by Gates and Buffett

3 – More Practical Solutions for Private Foundations

4 – Whither the EO Division? Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2011-156

Paul Streckfus, September 21, 2011 at 6:01 am

1 – IRS’s Commitment to Opaqueness

2 – Bad Liberal (c)(3) Spotted

3 – LDA Restrictions Hurting Nonprofits

4 – Approval of Model Protection of Charitable Assets Act Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2011-155

Paul Streckfus, September 19, 2011 at 5:57 am

In a recent report, reprinted below, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) states that the IRS Office of Disclosure continues to improve compliance with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements.

First, let me comment on what is in the report. The overall objective of the review, in the words of the report, “was to determine whether the IRS improperly withheld information requested by taxpayers in writing.” According to TIGTA, the IRS is doing a splendid job in its FOIA compliance by providing accurate and complete responses in a timely manner to requesters, based on a review of 65 requests — out of almost 13,000 requests for FY 2010. Timeliness requires that the IRS respond within 20 business days of the receipt of a request, with an automatic 10-day extension possible. TIGTA found that 98 percent of the cases reviewed met this requirement.

What are we to make of all this good news? I, frankly, am a bit skeptical. As I have noted before, having TIGTA review the IRS is having one part of Treasury review another part. In EO, we call that DPs. Besides that, I wonder what the nature of those 13,000 requests were. If people are writing in asking for their neighbors’ tax returns, those are easy denials. I also wonder if TIGTA talked to any of those folks making the 65 requests reviewed. Were they satisfied with the response or rejection they received from the IRS?

My experience with FOIA requests over the years has been terrible. The IRS takes forever in responding and when they finally do, they send out the wrong information or deny having or being able to find the requested information. And why is there no uniform address for FOIA requests? Every time I make a FOIA request it ends up in a different office. As I’ve noted before, my FOIA requests have gone to Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; Louisville, Kentucky; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to name a few destinations. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no rhyme nor reason as to where FOIA requests go — and no uniformity in responding, since I often make similar requests.

I’m reprinting my two most recent FOIA requests. In the first, I mailed my request on May 23, 2011. Almost four months later I am still awaiting a response — so much for a timely response. In the second, I mailed my request on July 20, 2011, and the IRS said it did not receive it until August 17, 2011. I did get a form letter dated September 8, 2011, saying I would receive a response by October 28, 2011, which would be three months. Meanwhile, my only remedy for the IRS’s intransigence is to go to court, which for most people is no remedy. As I’ve noted before, when someone does go to court, as Tax Analysts has in the past, it’s expensive, and the IRS can be expected to appeal, costing more time and money. Even if a plaintiff wins on appeal, IRS compliance remains problematic, since the courts have limited enforcement powers over the IRS. Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2011-154

Paul Streckfus, September 16, 2011 at 6:02 am

1 – EOTJ Mailbag

2 – Weekend Reading

3 – Latest Information on Automatic Revocations from Sandy Deja

4 – Urban Institute’s “Snapshot” of Revoked Organizations

5 – COF Continues to Seek Update of Rev. Proc. 92-94

6 – IRS Revoking Credit Unions by Mistake? Continue…

EO Tax Journal 2011-153

Paul Streckfus, September 14, 2011 at 6:49 am

My good friend Bill Brockner is one of the most conservative guys I know, so he’ll probably be howling about my choice of articles today. But as I tell him, bring me articles about liberal groups possibly violating their section 501(c)(3) status and I’ll run them, too. Bill will say liberals control the media — ignoring Fox News, etc. — but another good friend, Connie Rosenberg, will say the so-called liberal media is owned by some of the most conservative corporations in the country — and so the arguments go.

If it’s news affecting tax-exempt organizations, I will highlight it. So send me articles highlighting the abuses by liberal nonprofit organizations and I’ll note them. But right now here’s what has come over my transom.

1 - EOTJ Mailbag

2 – Evangelical Pastors Heed a Political Calling for 2012

3 – Battle Rages over Income to Jay Sekulow Continue…