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.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. Internal Revenue Service official knew in 2011 that IRS agents were giving extra scrutiny to conservative Tea Party groups, according to documents from a watchdog office obtained by Reuters on Saturday.
In a scandal that has already embarrassed the IRS and become a distraction for the Obama administration, a report from the Treasury Department’s Inspector General For Tax Administration (TIGTA) was expected to be issued publicly next week on the IRS practice, who knew about it and when.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior Republican senator condemned the Internal Revenue Service on Saturday for singling out conservative political groups for extra scrutiny, while the IRS described the incident as isolated and not politically motivated.
“When we start letting the IRS impose its will on people and doing it in a partisan, biased way, then we’re exposing our country to some real problems,” Senator Orrin Hatch told Reuters.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An investigation of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service was launched on Friday after a senior IRS official publicly apologized for subjecting conservative political groups to “inappropriate” scrutiny.
In a practice that drew complaints during the 2012 election campaign, groups with the words “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their names were flagged for closer IRS review when they applied to the agency for tax-exempt status.
* Falling deficit alters debate. Damian Palleta – The Wall Street Journal. Rising government revenue from tax collections and bailout paybacks are shrinking the federal deficit faster than expected, delaying the point when the government will reach the so-called debt ceiling and altering the budget debate in Washington. Link
* Who would win or lose on online sales tax. Jayne O’Donnell and Hadley Malcolm – USA Today. Major retailers and local stores will be the big winners if the House follows the Senate and requires Internet retailers to collect sales taxes on online purchases. Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tax auditors inappropriately targeted applications from conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status, an Internal Revenue Service official acknowledged on Friday.
Lois Lerner, director of the IRS tax-exempt office, said the practice was “was absolutely incorrect and it was inappropriate.”
LONDON/WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) – A joint effort by
Britain, the United States and Australia to track down people
who conceal wealth in offshore tax structures has helped
identify more than 100 individuals, the UK’s tax authority said
“The message is simple: if you evade tax, we’re coming after
you,” said Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne.
* Swiss bank tied to indictment ponders U.S. registration -sources. John Letzing – The Wall Street Journal. A Swiss private bank that recently suspended an executive who allegedly helped U.S. taxpayers evade obligations is considering opening a U.S. branch, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday, a step intended to help it comply with U.S. regulations. Link
* Tax collections from wealthy are saving government. Robert Frank – CNBC. Call it proof that the system is working—or proof that the system is broken—but taxes paid by the nation’s top earners are putting government back in the black. Link
WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) – Anti-tax advocates on
Wednesday applauded an effort by Senator Rand Paul to roll back
important sections of a U.S. law designed to fight tax evasion
by Americans with assets stored overseas.
In a move tax experts said would effectively gut the Foreign
Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Paul has proposed stripping
FATCA of key enforcement and information reporting requirements.
WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Rand Paul
introduced a bill late on Tuesday that would repeal parts of a
2010 law designed to fight offshore tax evasion by Americans
with assets hidden in foreign banks.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is being
implemented worldwide through a series of agreements between the
U.S. government and other governments and foreign banks.