The IRS Giveth & the IRS Taketh Away

Obama IRS
I am beginning to think the only way we can ever accomplish anything in politics today is to have every year be an election year for somebody. Sure, that means we might never be able to go to our mailbox again without seeing at least 3 trees worth of glossy mailers mixed in with our bills or we might have to permanently expand the memory on our answering machine to handle all of the robocalls. However, isn’t it worth it if those in office only act right when they know they are just possibly 51 weeks from packing boxes?

It’s not only the politicians who are on extra good behavior during election years, but also the various large bureaucratical beast they have created. The largest and most powerful being the IRS who have just recently tried to appease the growing rumblings of dispproval of opinions from people on both sides of the aisle. These come from everyday Americans, who are tired of hearing about the never ending circus of committee meetings on Capitol Hill and want to see some form of action or solution to the problem created by the IRS targeting scandal.

Hence, why on July 1, 2014 the 1023-EZ Form was put into place. This new 3 page form, which was shrunk from 26 pages, allowed organizations who paid a $400 fee and signed a legal document declaring they brought in an annual income of less than $50,000 and total assets valued less than $250,000 to be granted almost immediate tax exempt status. Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? When have you ever heard of Washington actually reducing or simplifying one of its own programs? Our Congress and President deserve a pat on the back for finally doing something right… Wrong! 

If you are not surprised or bothered by the fact that a government application process as important as this was not decided by a large representative body like Congress, then I would hope that you would be at the very least bothered at the fact that it was decided and crafted by a very small group of IRS employees. Most coincidentally, this new form can from the Cleveland, Ohio office. The same organization that had the power to target groups and individuals based upon specific criteria can now grant tax exempt status based upon specific guidelines of their crafting as well. 

Sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it? Granted, this year the 1023 EZ more than likely will benefit most smaller conservative grassroots organizations. Dan Backer, a prominent attorney for many of the organizations involved in the IRS targeting scandal including, says, “The simplified procedures for small charities is the one right thing the IRS has done lately – I’m amazed they didn’t lose their emails about it – because it will empower the kind of small-scale, local charitable efforts that allow communities to solve their own problems without vast government bureaucracies. Exempt application is a huge barrier to many trying to do good, and this will help those who want to help others do so rather than spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars wading through IRS regulations.”

However, Christina Sirois, who serves as counsel to exempt organizations with DB Capitol Strategies PLLC was quick to point out a crucial point. She said, “Only small organizations, whose annual gross receipts will not exceed $50,000 in the next three years, are eligible to use the new IRS form 1023. While this expedited process may help small organizations move through the approval process much quicker, it will likely open the door to an increase of applications by fraudulent organizations.”

So has the IRS potentially just opened the door for more fraud in the future on purpose?

Remember, this is an election year and the IRS can change their policies at any point with little discussion or notice. Therefore, I am sure once they realize any mistakes they have missed they will be quick to correct…unless it’s to their benefit to remain broken.

Which makes me wonder, whose job is it to oversee the rules and policies of the IRS and how much accountability do they really have in regards to Congress? As we have seen lately, it looks as though the policy up until now has been to act now and ask forgiveness later which, as we have found out, can be extremely dangerous. Even more scary is with this being the same organization being charged with overseeing the Affordable Healthcare Act, it’s hard to ask forgiveness when you are sick or dead. 

Therefore, what decisions and what debates are we paying Congress to make these days and how much power do bureaucracies like the IRS really have? Last time I checked, we the people did not elect people to the IRS. We elect people to Congress. I don’t want to be completely negative as the House just recently unanimously passed Arizona Representative Gosar’s Amendment, which if passed by the Senate would cut the IRS budget by 3% and set it back to its 2007 budget total. This, however, is not enough as those elected in Congress should also be the ones making these rules and regulations not a small group around a conference table. This is not a private corporation. The IRS is not using private funds. Any rules regarding the collection or non-collection of these funds should be done by the representatives of the people.

Let’s send the message to Congress. The Constitution designates only 3 branches of hovernment and unless they start actually doing their job, and rein in the powers of the beast they created called the IRS, they might find themselves replaced by their own creation.