I am retired from my position of senior disability evaluation specialist for the Social Security Disability program in West Virginia since 2005.
My experience with working directly with federal laws and regulations in that specialized program informs me that federal agencies may create specialized work groups when dealing with an application program that requires special knowledge, or needs more immediate attention than can be supplied by the general employee.
These work groups would likely be created in a designated office(s), and the groups would receive training that would enable the employees to expedite applications/claims or examine them in greater detail, such as when a new category was being implemented or an older one significantly changed.
In order to select these applications/claims from the general flow, word “tags” would be created so these may be “pulled” and routed to the special group for review, according to the guidelines given to those employees. So identifiers, such as “tea party” “concerned citizens,” “citizens for fairness” and so on, would have been identified in order to route these applications to the central work groups.
This is what seems to have happened with the IRS review of a sudden flood of applications for tax-exempt status after various tea party groups began to hastily assemble in 2010. Although not a new category, the type of applicant was unusual, and the number of them evidently caused a glut to the IRS system of processing applications. It would be determined to send this group of applications to one office — Cincinnati was chosen — to be reviewed for relevant information and updated status. Employees in those work groups would likely need updated information and more detail provided than the more familiar applicants, and so (would) initiate additional contacts with the applicants.
It was found in review that none of the applicants seeking the tax-exempt status were denied, but some did drop out, not unusual in a group that starts out with enthusiasm but lacks leadership within to move forward in an organized way. This seems to me to be administrative, not political, and it is unlikely that senior officials would have given the designated process a second thought. TERESA BIHL, DAYTON
Let’s just get rid of the IRS
It’s time to get rid of the U.S. income tax and the whole IRS with it. Our federal tax system is a dysfunctional monster, too complex and too expensive to operate. It’s corrupt. If you want a tax break for your enterprise, contribute enough money to enough members of Congress and you got it. There is a pervasive underground economy that doesn’t pay income tax.
The latest scandal of the targeting of conservative groups brings it to a head. There are better tax systems: The flat tax, the Fair Tax and 9-9-9, all national sales tax systems.
If we have a national sales tax, the goods we purchase and the cost of making those goods get equally taxed, whether they are made in the U.S. or imported. With our current income tax system, goods made in the U.S. have built into their sale price the U.S. income tax levied against the people and companies making them, while goods imported don’t. With a national sales tax, the foreign-made goods would get the same tax as the U.S. goods. That would mean more competitive American products and, thus, jobs for Americans. MARSHALL STEARNS, TROTWOOD
Time to redefine ‘social welfare’ status
It is common knowledge that nonprofit groups that operate for religious or social welfare purposes may seek tax-exempt status, and that these groups are limited in the type and amount of political lobbying they may do. Recently, the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling has made it possible for groups to form with a professed “social welfare” purpose, but with limited or no disclosure of donors and actions.
During their evaluation process of new social welfare groups, the IRS erred in profiling (targeting) certain groups based on their apparent orientation. All new applicants for 501(c)(4) status (and probably those groups already in existence) should be stringently evaluated. We need to redefine “social welfare” in a logical, transparent way, and “Citizens United” must be revoked. MARY DUERKSEN, OXFORD
If you preach politics, pay your taxes
When Karl Rove and every right-wing PAC whose primary objective is to stymie the efforts of the current administration and promote candidates who seek to advance their agenda, are applying for tax-exempt status, then it is time for the IRS to closely examine those records. Anyone or any group that wishes to promote a political agenda should pay their taxes.
These groups are seeking to have the government and the taxpayers underwrite their programs with an obvious tax dodge that exempts them from paying millions in legal taxes.
I feel the same way about the church; if you preach politics from the pulpit, you pay your taxes like any other citizen who wants a voice in the debate. GREGORY JORDAN, DAYTON
I attended several big tea party events which were attended by thousands of middle-class citizens who behaved peacefully and left the venues as clean as before the events. These are the people who pay the salaries of government workers through their taxes. The IRS is biting the hand that feeds it by harassing the hardest-working people. …
After the latest apology from the IRS to conservatives, we understand our fears are coming to pass. Seventeen thousand new IRS agents to administer Obamacare and who knows what else? It is amazing that a sitting president doesn’t know anything about anything, but the rest of us know all about it. Amazing! Conservatives and liberals beware.
So President Obama is outraged at the IRS scandal? I’ll just bet he is. It is amazing how the POTUS is always kept out of the loop. Whether it’s the IRS, “Fast and Furious,” drones or Benghazi, it’s always the same old tune. He sounds like Sgt. Schultz of “Hogan’s Heroes” saying, “I know nothing!” Do you really believe he’s always in the dark? And if he were, doesn’t that concern you?
Research showed me that the tax-exempt status the tea party wants is a 501(c)(4), which allows for charities to collect money without revealing the donor(s). If an organization wants to back a political party or candidate, they are to file a 527 tax exemption, which requires them to name the donor(s). The tea party has shown their organization is not a charity, so why does anyone think they deserve 501(c)(4) status? Honest people who pay taxes only pay more when others don’t pay their share. …
Of course, the IRS should be suspect of a group of new nonprofits cropping up, and make sure they are truly nonprofit. The IRS is guardian of our tax money and we all pay more when nonprofits don’t pay taxes.
President Obama is all talk and his talk is a farce. Now he is saying that he has no patience “if” allegations about IRS targeting turn out to be true. There is no “if.” The IRS has already admitted they targeted and even apologized for doing it. Our president must think that we all live in a vacuum and are only aware of what he decides to tell us.
How long is it going to take the mainstream media to figure out that because they control the White House, the Obama administration believes that they have the right to do and say whatever they want? They only enforce the laws that they choose to enforce, they continue to lie about and distort the truth from the American people on why four Americans were killed in Libya, they use their position of authority to intimidate whistle blowers, and spy on their political opponents and the free press. When are journalists, other than Fox News, going to report on what is happening and hold this administration accountable? Thank God that Republicans control one house of Congress.
All those on the right feigning outrage over the IRS seeking additional information from those “astroturfing” groups seeking nonprofit status now know how it feels when the right targeted labor unions during the Bush years — when we were trying to comply with Department of Labor forms.
There are too many supposed nonprofits avoiding taxes already so, of course, the IRS should focus on a new group of organizations applying for nonprofit status. The IRS is supposed to protect our tax money.