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May 17, 2013

IRS chief declines to identify employees involved in scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The outgoing head of the Internal Revenue Service provided little help on Friday to lawmakers investigating who at the tax-collection agency was responsible for targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

As Congress kicked off the first of several investigations into a scandal that has put President Barack Obama on the defensive, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller said he could not say who had come up with the idea to single out conservative groups for intense scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

May 17, 2013

Obama picks temporary IRS head as Tea Party decries scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday chose a White House budget official to lead the beleaguered Internal Revenue Service and vowed to ensure that the tax-collection agency will not single out any more groups based on their political beliefs.

Danny Werfel, who has been Obama’s point man in overseeing the controversial “sequestration” budget cuts, will tackle the biggest scandal of Obama’s presidency when he takes charge of the IRS on May 22.

May 16, 2013

Obama picks temporary IRS head as Tea Party rallies on scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday chose a White House budget official to lead the beleaguered Internal Revenue Service and vowed to ensure that the tax-collection agency will not single out any more groups based on their political beliefs.

Danny Werfel, who has been Obama’s point man in overseeing the controversial “sequestration” budget cuts, will tackle the biggest scandal of Obama’s presidency when he takes charge of the IRS on May 22.

May 16, 2013

Finding permanent IRS chief now difficult job for Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Finding a permanent Internal Revenue Service commissioner who is ready to endure a grueling Senate confirmation hearing could be a challenging task for President Barack Obama in the wake of the controversy engulfing the agency over its targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Under law, Danny Werfel, the acting commissioner appointed Thursday by President Barack Obama, can only serve until early June. On Wednesday, reacting to the scandal, Obama replaced Steven Miller, who was also an acting commissioner.

May 16, 2013

Obama’s new tax chief will need to be manager, apolitical and ‘insane’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After forcing out acting Internal Revenue Service commissioner Steven Miller amid a scandal over targeted scrutiny of conservative groups, President Barack Obama is looking for a new tax chief.

The informal job requirements might include a willingness to make treks to Capitol Hill to take a grilling from antagonistic members of Congress.

May 16, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: Tax scandal fells IRS acting chief, and more

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President Barack Obama announcing that the Internal Revenue Service acting commissioner had been ousted, May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

 * Tax scandal fells IRS chief. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. The acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service was forced to resign Wednesday in connection with the inappropriate targeting of conservative political groups. Link

May 14, 2013

US senator probing why IRS revealed mistakes at lawyer meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The decision by the IRS to reveal to a small room of tax lawyers last week that it had targeted conservative groups is now itself the subject of a Congressional inquiry.

In a letter Tuesday to Steven Miller, acting commissioner of the IRS, Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley asked for all records relating to the decision to reveal its mistakes at a meeting on Friday of an American Bar Association committee instead of to Congress.

May 14, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: Uneven IRS scrutiny, and more

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Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines:   

* Uneven IRS scrutiny seen in political spending by big tax-exempt groups. Nicholas Confessore – The New York Times. For the I.R.S.’s bipartisan legion of critics, the agency’s record has underscored its contradictory and seemingly confused response to the fastest-growing corner in the world of unlimited political spending. Link    

 * Q&A: Details of the IRS controversy. Laura Saunders – The Wall Street Journal. The Internal Revenue Service is embroiled in a controversy over its handling of applications by tea-party and other conservative groups seeking to set up as tax-exempt nonprofits known as 501(c)(4)s. Link 

May 13, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: IRS targeted groups critical of government, and more

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Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.

* Health insurance tax ‘scares the daylights’ out of some small-business owners. J.D. Harrison. Many small-business owners worry that a new tax on insurance providers in the health-care law will mean higher premiums for them, undermining the law’s capacity to lower their health-care costs. Link  

* IRS targeted groups critical of government, documents from agency probe show. Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post. At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution. Link  

May 12, 2013

Timeline: Events in U.S. IRS ‘Tea Party’ scrutiny scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is under investigation for extra scrutiny it gave to conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a practice that elicited complaints from the groups during the 2012 presidential election campaigns.

Following are some key events in the fast-developing scandal that has embarrassed the agency and poses another potential headache for the Obama administration at a time when Republicans continue to raise questions about the administration’s actions related to the deadly assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September.