Politics

Tea Party Patriots, others still waiting for IRS tax-exempt decision

While the Internal Revenue Service has apologized for targeting Tea Party groups, a number still have not received their tax-exempt status. Some have not even heard back from the IRS.

According to lawyers representing some of these groups, Tea Party organizations have continued to face delays in their applications for 501 (c)(3) or 501 (c)(4) applications.

“The most extreme case we’ve got is a group called Tea Party Patriots that was filed in December 2010 and is still awaiting action by the Internal Revenue Service,” Alan Dye, a partner at Webster Chamberlain & Bean who specializes in non-profit organizations, told The Daily Caller.

Normally an application for this kind of status takes 9 months, Dye explained.

In the case of Tea Party Patriots, the IRS followed up with a round of questions the group responded to a year ago.

“Almost every organization that applies for (c)(4) status is engaged in attempting to affect legislation and public policy. That is no different for Tea Party Patriots. There is really no reason why this should occur,” Dye said.

Tea Party Patriots had authorized Dye to speak about the matter using their name — Dye said that he could not name the other groups he represents that had faced similar delays in processing.

The agent in charge of the Tea Party Patriots case has not responded to calls from the group’s lawyers since the IRS revelation on Friday.

Heidi Abegg, senior counsel at Webster Chamberlain & Bean, added that she knew of two other groups that faced similar delays, both of which ultimately withdrew their applications.

“For the one, the wait was just too long,” she explained. “The other one, it had been so long they decided to just dissolve rather than to spend money to keep it open.”

Abegg explained that the inability to obtain a tax-exempt status interferes with group’s ability to raise funds and conduct activities.

Monday the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 27 Tea Party groups revealed they are still waiting for tax-exempt statuses for 10 of their Tea Party clients: Albuquerque Tea Party, Allen Area Patriots, Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots, Greenwich Tea Party Patriots, Laurens County Tea Party, Linchpins of Liberty, Myrtle Beach Tea Party, North East Tarrant Tea Party, Patriots Educating Concerned Americans Now (PECAN), and Unite in Action.

Fifteen of ACLJ’s 27 Tea Party clients have received tax-exempt status.

In a letter to the IRS, ACLJ demanded the agency grant these groups tax-exempt status by May 17th or face possible legal action.

“We are demanding that the IRS grant our remaining clients tax-exempt status immediately. If that does not occur by Friday, we will advise our clients of their right to sue the IRS for the redress of their grievances,” Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ said in a statement. “The targeting scheme employed by the IRS not only violates their own rules and regulations, but is certain to result in a growing mistrust of the IRS by the American people.”

The IRS said Friday that it had singled out for extra scrutiny nonprofit applications that included terms such as “tea party” and “patriot.” Monday news reports revealed that the effort was wider and included targeting those focused on government spending, debt and the Constitution.

According to Fox News, Lois Lerner, the director of the division in charge of tax-exempt organizations learned of the practice in June of 2011. Friday she apologized for the practice, which she said was initiated by low-level employees in a Cincinnati division.

“Why if this was all discovered in June 2011, why are we now in May 2013 without any of these cases being acted upon?” Dye demanded.

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