The Internal Revenue Service has recently come under fire following accusations the federal tax agency wrongfully targeted the Tea Party and other prominent conservative groups for tax audits. Now, other reports are suggesting the IRS is actually scrutinizing the tax returns of a wide variety of individual filers, regardless of their party affiliations.
The IRS has already apologized for the unnecessary probing of conservative organizations, but numerous individuals taxpayers say they have also been affected by unnecessary audits. For example, one Texas woman says she and her businesses were audited after her voting rights organization applied for tax exempt status. Likewise, a military veteran in another state claims the IRS scrutinized him after he donated money to conservative causes through his church.
The IRS has yet to reveal how they determine appropriate targets for audits, but the agency’s critics assert that members of or contributors to groups with phrases like “tea party” and “patriot” in their names may met with an excessive amount of scrutiny when they filed their returns. Experts say taxpayers can expect to learn more about whether they may have been inappropriately targeted with an audit as lawsuits and congressional probes into the issue proceed. The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing in which such individuals are set to testify before a panel and say why they believe they have been wronged.
The founder of a Texas-based voting rights organization aimed at educating voters about election fraud said she and her husband were met with audits and pages of questions after applying for the same tax exempt status owned by other groups. The IRS even demanded the organization hand over records of all of its Facebook and Twitter activity. She said the group has yet to be granted tax exempt status even though she filed for it in the summer of 2010.
An IRS audit can be intimating and confusing for many Texas taxpayers. This makes it worthwhile for such individuals to seek the help of a qualified attorney specializing in tax law. This can help avoid negative repercussions like monetary penalties and interest.
Source: seattletimes.com, “IRS scrutiny not limited to those with tea-party ties” David Lightman, Jun. 01, 2013