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IRS Reorganizes Division at Center of Controversy
GovernmentExecutive ^ | 3-21-2014 | Charles S. Clark

Posted on 03/21/2014 3:36:49 PM PDT by smoothsailing

IRS Reorganizes Division at Center of Controversy

By Charles S. Clark 4:25 PM ET March 2`1,2014

This story has been updated.

The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday announced a reorganization of the legal team in its Tax Exempt and Government Entities division, the umbrella unit for the office at the center of the ongoing dispute over mishandling of applications by nonprofits seeking tax-exempt status.

“Under the change, technical law specialists and support staff, responsible for published guidance (including revenue rulings, revenue procedures), certain private letter ruling requests and technical advice, will be shifted from TE/GE to the IRS Office of Chief Counsel,” the agency said in a statement. “TE/GE is one of the few places in the IRS where published guidance, private letter rulings and technical advice memoranda are worked on outside of Chief Counsel. This change will bring TE/GE in alignment with the other three IRS business operating divisions, which use Counsel for their guidance and legal work.”

The advantage of the move, IRS said, is to “help ensure consistency and efficiency.”

Affected managers and the National Treasury Employees Union were notified of the plan scheduled to be completed by Oct. 1. “NTEU is reviewing this plan and will work to ensure that employees affected by the reorganization are not negatively impacted,” said NTEU President Colleen Kelley

The IRS believes “this organizational shift will have relatively little impact on practitioners and organizations that interact with this area,” the agency continued. “The IRS may, however, have to revise some administrative guidance, such as revenue procedures and addresses on where to send private letter ruling requests.”

Not mentioned in the statement is that the plan includes moving the director of the Exempt Organizations Division, a job once held by Lois Lerner before she retired last September in the midst of political controversy, from Washington out to Cincinnati, as noted by Marcus Owens, a onetime head of the Exempt Organizations Division who is now an attorney with Caplin and Drysdale.

That Ohio office is where most of the applications for status as social welfare groups were processed and, in many cases, subjected to extra scrutiny, particularly those with conservative and Tea Party themes.

The IRS’s planned shift will do little to help the division resolve outstanding controversies in the processing of nonprofit applications, Owens told Government Executive. “It really mirrors what happened in the rest of IRS, the units doing corporate tax and individual tax back in the 1980s. Then, the commissioner and chief counsel decided it made sense not to maintain two separate sets of legal counsel, and so sent all lawyers off to the chief counsel’s office. Those remaining back under the assistant commissioner were the project planning staff and program monitors,” Owens said.

The exception, however, was the Exempt Organizations Division, where it was believed the legal team was required by law to stay with the unit. When the IRS was reorganized in the late 1990s, that statutory provision ended, “which paved the way” for the new change, the recent disputes over 501 (c) (4) applications being “simply the impetus for bringing that part of the service in alignment with the rest of the service,” Owens said.

The new arrangement will have its most visible impact on the updating of tax forms for nonprofits, Owens added, forms such as the 990 which, unlike individual tax forms that involve mostly numbers, require taxpayers to compose narratives about their activities. “It will be interesting to see what the move does to funding,” he said. The legal positions that are moving to Washington are high-grade, while the support positions left in Cincinnati overall are lower-grade, he said. “It will be more difficult to coordinate between field offices and headquarters.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder with demands for documents and questions on the testimony that Lerner reportedly gave to Justice Department investigators despite her having pled the Fifth Amendment and refusing to answer questions during two appearances before Issa’s committee.

“For over eight months, the committee has sought to carry out its oversight obligations in concert with the Department of Justice’s law-enforcement duties,” wrote Issa, along with subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “At every stage, the department has refused to fully cooperate with the committee.” 

The letter seeks detailed information on the Lerner testimony’s scheduling, content, discussions of possible immunity from prosecution and whether Lerner declined to answer any of Justice’s questions.

The Justice Department has received the letter and is reviewing it, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Much of Issa’s actions toward Lerner, in Owens’ view, are “staged-managed, classic congressional theater.” He objects to the Republican IRS critics’ regular use of the term “targeting” to describe the delays and extra paperwork the Exempt Organizations division imposed on the mostly conservative groups listed in the May 2013 inspector general’s report. “It’s unclear whether it was inappropriate handling,” he said. “The IRS mission is to discriminate among taxpayers who are voluntarily complying and those who are not, and those who are complying never hear from it. I find the use of the word targeting as a pejorative to be odd.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government
KEYWORDS: irs; obama; obamalies; teaparty

1 posted on 03/21/2014 3:36:49 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Republicans are BALL-LESS!!!! Lois Lerner should be in the CLINK!


2 posted on 03/21/2014 3:40:42 PM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion.....the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: smoothsailing

Why reorganize the department if there isn’t a smidgeon of corruption in it? /s


3 posted on 03/21/2014 3:44:59 PM PDT by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: Ann Archy
 photo Lerner_AA_zps7a970b17.jpg

LOCKER UP! THAT'LL LERNER!!!

4 posted on 03/21/2014 3:47:26 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Also in answer to the problem deep cuts were made in the staffing of the janitorial compliments. That’ll larn ‘em.


5 posted on 03/21/2014 3:50:23 PM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: TigersEye

During the reorganization all the files get lost, hard drives get erased, memos misplaced, etc.

“In the process of moving from Washington to Cincinatti, mistakes were made. We regret any inconvenience”.


6 posted on 03/21/2014 3:52:05 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Did any IRS employee get disciplined? Was any IRS employee reprimanded? Was any IRS employee fired? Of course not! What a silly question. Federal employees are above the laws that apply to mere mortals; they bestride the wage slaves as gods...and don’t you forget it, peasant.


7 posted on 03/21/2014 4:02:59 PM PDT by MasterGunner01
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To: TigersEye
Why reorganize the department if there isn’t a smidgeon of corruption in it?

To make certain there are no leaks when they screw over non-liberals going forward?

Democrats don't consider it to be corruption when they mis-use the power of the government to harrass and persecute their opposition.


8 posted on 03/21/2014 4:03:10 PM PDT by Iron Munro (The future ain't what it use to be -- Yogi Berra)
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To: Iron Munro; smoothsailing

Most transparent coverup effort in an administration rife with transparent coverups.


9 posted on 03/21/2014 4:31:28 PM PDT by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: smoothsailing

well ok, this makes me feel so much better... </s>


10 posted on 03/21/2014 4:33:50 PM PDT by ForYourChildren (Christian Education [ RomanRoadsMedia.com - a classical Christian approach to homeschool])
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To: smoothsailing

“The IRS mission is to discriminate among taxpayers who are voluntarily complying and those who are not, and those who are complying never hear from it.

Unless of course thay happen to be conservatives.


11 posted on 03/21/2014 4:39:45 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: smoothsailing

Aw gee, the Dems are objecting to another term. We are so baddy. Causing them to revamp their operation with a host of indecipherable and confusing moves. At least they are experts at something—getting offended at words and reorganizing as a befuddling tool.


12 posted on 03/22/2014 3:55:17 AM PDT by firebrand
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To: firebrand
Befuddling! LOL! Great word! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
13 posted on 03/22/2014 7:17:34 AM PDT by smoothsailing
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