June 6, 2013
Re "The 501(c)(4) fiasco," Editorial, May 31 Your editorial highlights the fact that no solutions to the potential use of the IRS as a political weapon are being proposed. We must simplify our income tax system by instituting a flat 15% tax on personal income and eliminating all deductions. All personal income taxes would be deducted from regular earnings, and the need for income tax returns would be eliminated. Further, tax-exempt status needs to be restricted to those organizations that provide food, shelter, clothing and medical treatment.
June 6, 2013 |
The widening scandal engulfing the Internal Revenue Service has turned into a major headache for the Obama administration. Among the many names the scandal has drawn into its orbit is a Southern California artist who works as a motivational speaker. San Diego artist Erik Wahl reportedly was paid $17,000 by the IRS to perform at a 2010 employee convention in Anaheim, according to the Bloomberg news service. The convention has drawn a considerable amount of scrutiny in recent days for its perceived extravagance and a price tag reportedly close to $4 million. Wahl hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing.
June 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service has suspended two employees for accepting free items during a conference in 2010, the first example of agency personnel facing disciplinary action connected to recent investigations of wasteful spending on employee meetings. A congressional source identified one of the suspended employees as Fred Schindler, a 15-year veteran of the tax agency who serves in a senior role relating to IRS implementation of President Obama's healthcare law. The source was not able to immediately identify the second individual.
June 3, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The new head of the Internal Revenue Service acknowledged that the embattled agency "undermined the public's trust" when employees singled out conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny, and he pledged full cooperation with lawmakers in pursuing reforms. In his first public testimony since taking over at the IRS in mid-May, acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel called actions by employees "completely inexcusable and inherently damaging" to the agency, blaming what he called "a fundamental failure by IRS management" to prevent it. He said he would hold accountable any employees responsible for misdeeds, promising at one point, "We will uncover everything.
June 1, 2013
Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane were wrong to say in their Op-Ed article Wednesday that the IRS' targeting of unorthodox political groups chills free speech, wrote reader Harrison Stephenson in a letter to the editor. He said: "The dismal task of the IRS was to determine if groups applying for tax exemption as 'social welfare' organizations were really political groups, which do not qualify under the fuzzy wording of the tax code. Certainly the words 'tea party' and 'patriot' would suggest groups applying for tax-exempt status under these names are likely to be principally political.
May 31, 2013 |
The scandal surrounding the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of tax-exempt groups based on their political leanings has prompted investigations by at least four congressional committees and the Justice Department. The acting head of the IRS has been sent packing. And the hearings on Capitol Hill show no sign of abating. The attention is appropriate because of the troubling questions the scandal raises about the agency's independence. But the report that brought the episode to light - by J. Russell George, a Treasury Department inspector general - became politicized so quickly that those questions may be given short shrift.
May 29, 2013
Re "Showing IRS love after scandal," Column, May 26 Michael Hiltzik's column hit home with me, as I feel like I am the only person on Earth who is grateful for all that the IRS does. My experiences with it have been nothing but positive. While I have had no problems or audits with my personal tax returns, I have dealt with the IRS several times when, as a board member on all-volunteer nonprofit groups, I inherited old oversights that put our nonprofit, tax-exempt status at risk.
May 29, 2013 |
Should you need a license from the government to exercise free speech? The real scandal at the Internal Revenue Service should be seen not as a left-versus-right issue but instead as infringement on the 1st Amendment. The people targeted were political entrepreneurs with unorthodox political voices. More to the point, IRS discrimination was consistent with 40 years of institutionalized hostility by the federal government to such views. Elections in a free country are not truly free unless all voices are allowed to enter the marketplace of ideas.
May 28, 2013 |
My last post , which attempted to rebut claims that Obamacare would have the Internal Revenue Service reviewing personal medical records, wasn't as reassuring to some readers as I'd hoped. In fact, several said the proof of the agency's interest in medical records was already out there, in the form of a class-action lawsuit filed this year that claims the IRS seized "at least 6 million identifiable medical records" belonging to about 10 million Americans. Reader "GIJay" asked, "Healy[sic]
May 25, 2013 |
You may not have discerned this through the fog and mist of recent weeks, but the Internal Revenue Service is pretty durn good at its job. Some experts would go further. "I think they do an extraordinary job, considering that they're historically underfunded and under-resourced," says Dennis Ventry, a tax expert at UC Davis law school. Last year, he observes, the agency processed 144 million returns for the personal income tax, 2 million for the corporate income tax, and 3 million for the estate and gift tax, with a speed he calls "miraculous.