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
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.
* 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
* 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
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.”