FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - At least two North Texas conservative groups are among those that say they were singled out when requesting tax exempt status from the IRS.
The American Center for Law and Justice demanded immediate action for the groups Monday, the same day President Obama called the practice “outrageous.”
According to a letter to the IRS Monday, the ACLJ said the North East Tarrant Tea Party and the Allen Area Patriots, along with eight other groups across the nation, are still waiting for approval for their tax exempt status.
The NETTP said they applied for 501 (c) (4) status in 2011 to avoid paying taxes on donations from members. The IRS gives the designation to “social welfare” groups. After the NETTP applied in 2011 however, nearly a year went by before it even got a response from the IRS.
“We were told there is an expected delay, you know they have to process the paper work,” said co-founder Julie McCarty. “Then it started stretching on and on, and we knew something was wrong.”
When the response came, it was in the form of a request for detailed information that could potentially fill thousands of pages. McCarty said the IRS wanted a list of all their volunteers, everything they did. It wanted an accounting of every dollar donated and what it was spent on. It wanted records of every speaker the group had ever hosted and fliers they might have handed out.
McCarty said the group wasn’t sure the practice was going on outside of Texas, until it was approached by the ACLJ.
They never turned over many of the details she said the IRS requested.
“You think there’s not a reason they want every name?” she said. “You’re setting people up for harassment, intimidation.
Those are very specific questions. They wanted them for a reason.”
The ACLJ said it represented 27 groups, of which 15 had been granted their tax exempt status. It demanded the status be granted immediately for the NETTP and the Allen Area Patriots. It also demanded that the IRS “identify and appropriately discipline all IRS employees” who were involved with the scheme. The letter from the group threatens a lawsuit if there is no action by noon Friday.
McCarty said she was shocked by the IRS apology last Friday.
“You feel justified somehow, or validated, because now what we have known for two years, everybody knows. And it feels good.”