In an article published Wednesday, the Journal reported:
Holly Paz, a senior official in the IRS's tax-exempt division, said Friday that the agency was working on a questionnaire to send to some of the largest of the groups. Sending such a questionnaire is considered to be the first step in an IRS investigation.
The voluntary questionnaires will ask the organizations about their activities and compliance, said Ms. Paz, the IRS's director of tax-exempt rulings and agreements, speaking at a conference of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Contacted by TPM last week, IRS spokesman Dean Patterson said in an emailed statement that Paz's comments at the conference "are the same as what we've had on our web site and in our Exempt Organization work planÂ since February." He pointed us to a passage on "501(c)(4), (5) and (6) self-declarers" in the agency's 2012 Exempt Organization work plan that reads, in part:
"In FY 2012, EO will send a comprehensive questionnaire to organizations based on Form 990 filings to assess compliance in this area."
According to Patterson, the questionnaire is not yet ready to send out.
"We have not announced when the questionnaire will be sent, and we have not announced any specific details about this beyond what's in the work plan. Other details have not been finalized, such as who will receiveÂ the questionnaireÂ or the size of the groups receiving the questionnaire," he said in the statement. "We anticipate asking groups a range of questionsÂ onÂ topics including executive compensation, member services, political activity andÂ a number of other issues."