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Jun 18, 2013

‘Conservative Republican’ at IRS defends treatment of Tea Party

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A manager from a U.S. Internal Revenue Service office in Cincinnati where staff have been accused of unfairly subjecting conservative groups to extra scrutiny has said his agents were not influenced by any political agenda.

John Shafer, who described himself as “a conservative Republican,” told congressional investigators he sought advice from his boss on how to handle the first Tea Party application he and a lower-level agent came across in February 2010 because it was a new, high-profile issue.

Jun 17, 2013

Political optics overlooked in ‘Tea Party’ review: IRS official

By Kim Dixon and Kevin Drawbaugh

(Reuters) – Internal Revenue Service employees in Ohio, who singled out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny, likely did not consider the political implications, an IRS official in Washington has told congressional investigators.

Providing additional details about the worst crisis to hit the IRS in years, tax agency official Holly Paz told investigators she was concerned when she learned that IRS employees were singling out groups with “Tea Party” and other key words in their names.

Jun 4, 2013

Watchdog faults IRS over Star Trek video, conference

By Kim Dixon and Kevin Drawbaugh

(Reuters) – A spoof Star Trek video and lavish hotel suites for government workers were singled out on Tuesday by a government watchdog in criticizing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s conference planning and budgeting from 2010 through 2012.

In a report that the IRS has already acknowledged as pointing out “inappropriate” spending, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) faulted the agency specifically for a 2010 conference in Anaheim, California, that cost $4.1 million.

May 30, 2013

Insight: How U.S. Treasury’s tax loophole mistake saves companies billions each year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the U.S. economy crumbled in early 2009, President Barack Obama offered a plan that he said would save American jobs: a crackdown on corporate tax loopholes that encourage companies to send profits abroad to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes each year.

Tax lobbyist Ken Kies was not worried. A decade earlier, he had led a fight to preserve a key loophole – known in Treasury Department shorthand as the “check the box” rule – when another Democratic president, Bill Clinton, had tried to kill it.

May 30, 2013

How U.S. Treasury’s tax loophole mistake saves companies billions each year

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) – As the U.S. economy crumbled
in early 2009, President Barack Obama offered a plan that he
said would save American jobs: a crackdown on corporate tax
loopholes that encourage companies to send profits abroad to
avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes each year.

Tax lobbyist Ken Kies was not worried. A decade earlier, he
had led a fight to preserve a key loophole – known in Treasury
Department shorthand as the “check the box” rule – when another
Democratic president, Bill Clinton, had tried to kill it.

May 21, 2013

Apple CEO makes no apology for company’s tax strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook made no apology on Tuesday for the iPad maker saving billions of dollars in U.S. taxes through Irish subsidiaries and told lawmakers that his company backs corporate tax reform, even though it may end up paying more.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found that Apple in 2012 alone avoided paying $9 billion in U.S. taxes, using a strategy involving three offshore units with no discernible tax home, or “residence.”

May 20, 2013

Timeline: Events in IRS ‘Tea Party’ scrutiny scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A controversy at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service involving extra scrutiny in 2010-2012 of politically conservative groups is dominating the political agenda in Washington, with congressional hearings set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here are key events in the scandal, based on a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), IRS statements, news reports and interviews:

May 15, 2013

Watchdog slams U.S. IRS over targeting conservative groups

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. government watchdog faulted the Internal Revenue Service for targeting conservative groups on Tuesday, criticizing senior IRS leaders for poor management of a policy that spun out of control and compromised the tax agency’s political impartiality.

As the FBI mounted a criminal investigation of the matter, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reported that the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” when it singled out groups for extra scrutiny based on their names.

May 14, 2013

Senior U.S. tax officials knew of extra Tea Party scrutiny

WASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) – Higher-level U.S. Internal
Revenue Service officials took part in discussions as far back
as August 2011 about targeting by lower-level tax agents of “Tea
Party” and other conservative groups, according to documents
reviewed by Reuters on Monday.

The documents show the offices of the IRS’s chief counsel
and deputy commissioner for services and enforcement
communicated about the targeting with lower-level officials on
Aug. 4, 2011, and March 8, 2012, respectively.

May 14, 2013

Senior U.S. tax officials knew of extra Tea Party scrutiny -documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Higher-level U.S. Internal Revenue Service officials took part in discussions as far back as August 2011 about targeting by lower-level tax agents of “Tea Party” and other conservative groups, according to documents reviewed by Reuters on Monday.

The documents show the offices of the IRS’s chief counsel and deputy commissioner for services and enforcement communicated about the targeting with lower-level officials on August 4, 2011, and March 8, 2012, respectively.