Tucked inside the the government report that found the IRS used inappropriate criteria to identify tax-exempt applications to review is a list of seven questions.The questions appeared in letters sent in January and February of 2012 to groups seeking non-profit status, from specialists on an IRS team in Cincinnati known as the Determinations Unit. And the seven questions were later identified as unnecessary by higher-up IRS officials.
The questions are the kind of thing Tea Party groups have been complaining about for a while now. Among other things, the questions asked for donor names, lists of all issues important to applicant organizations, and the political affiliations of group officers, directors, speakers, and candidates supported.
The report released Tuesday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration blamed the questions on “a lack of managerial review, at all levels.” The report also determined that the specialists in Cincinnati, part of the very IRS unit tasked with evaluating applications from non-profits, “lacked knowledge” about what activities 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 groups are allowed to engage in.
“This created burden on the organizations that were required to gather and forward information that was not needed by the Determinations Unit and led to delays in processing the applications,” the report stated.
Overall, the report found that 170 organziations received additional information request letters. Ninety-eight of those additional requests were unnecessary, in whole or in part, according to the report.
Here’s the full list of questions:
A timeline included in the government report suggested that it was in the wake of these letters going out, in February and March of 2012, that media outlets began to report on the IRS’ unfair treatment of Tea Party groups, and that members of Congress “began to show interest in the IRS’ treatment of Tea Party organizations.”