Friday, February 17, 2012

Ohio Liberty Council asks for investigation of IRS on tax-exempt status delays and demands; raises 'politically motivated' question

Many of us have seen the story about the IRS failing to grant tax-exempt status to the Richmond Tea Party Group (RTG). It appears this may be a targeted pattern or strategy from the IRS.

Like RTG, Ohio Liberty Council has been trying, for the last 18 months, to obtain tax-exempt status only to be faced with "unreasonable, overly burdensome, intrusive and possibly politically motivated" requests for information that, the group states, "have little to do with determining our organization’s qualifications for non-profit status."

So they're fighting back.

Yesterday, they announced they are going to refuse to comply with the latest round of requests and ask Ohio's congressional delegation to investigate the delay and IRS demands.

In a letter to the IRS, OLC President Tom Zawistowski wrote:

Therefore, we hereby refuse to comply with your request. We have asked our Congressional Representatives to investigate your actions and intentions and we are exploring every legal means available to defend our rights. We answered all pertinent questions about our organization in our detailed original 1024 application in June of 2010 and see no reason why non-profit status should not be granted. We hereby request that our organization be granted non-profit status on the basis of that application without further delay.”
I defy any American to read this list of demands by the IRS and not be outraged. This is the kind of personal information that this government is going to be demanding from your church, your doctor, your hospital, your business and your favorite charity going forward. This isn’t speculation, these documents prove it is actually happening and will continue – particularly under Obamacare. Like the Catholic Church, we will not comply, we will resist with all our might, and defend the Constitution.”

The list of questions from the IRS included an 'updated description' since the application was originally filed in June, 2010. It seems to me that the failure of the IRS to timely act in reviewing an application for tax-exempt status should not result in additional work by the requesting organization. But that's what you get when government fails to do it's job: additional work on your part.

They want to know all events and activities of the group, including the qualifications of the people conducting all such activities and events. And they don't just want to know past events - but future events as well, including any payment for speakers or panel participants.

Does anyone in their right mind think any organization could provide such information on future events? Exactly how far into the future is the Ohio Liberty Council supposed to go?!?

They're supposed to predict how much time members of OLC are going to spend on conducting such events and whether or not - again, in the future - the group will spend any time or resources attempting to influence the outcome of legislation.

Also like RTP, Ohio Liberty Council was given very little time to respond. The IRS request was dated January 26th and the response had to be received by February 16th. Taking out several days for mail, this left with group with about two weeks to, basically, predict the future.

Oh, and just to make it more difficult, the letter instructs them NOT to fax the response nor to call about the status of the response. And if the response isn't received on time, they'll just assume OLC doesn't want the tax-exempt status and close the case. Oh - and they could require a whole new application if the response was just delayed in the mail.

When one organization has a problem like this, it could be just that organization. When two similar organizations are being treated the same way by a government agency, I'm thinking the problem lies with the government agency.

I can only wonder if the delays and scrutiny will apply to the Occupy Wall Street tax-exempt request.

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