Tags: irs | charity | audits | obama

IRS Audits of Charities Soar Under Obama

Thursday, 07 Feb 2013 10:51 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Internal Revenue Service audits for tax-exempt charities have jumped a startling 79 percent under President Barack Obama over what they were under President George W. Bush, says Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute.

According to IRS data, Schweizer writes in a Fox News op-ed piece, the agency audited an average of 6,205 returns of charities each year from 2001 to 2008, but from 2009 to 2011 the number of audited returns spiked to an average of 11,111 per year.

At the same time, he notes, fewer tax-exempt organizations have actually filed IRS returns under Obama than they did under Bush. From 2009 to 2011, the agency received an average of 819,417 returns per year, and from 2001 to 2008 it saw a larger average of 847,898 returns each year.

“What’s going on here?” asks Schweizer, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of "Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy."

"Why is the Obama administration draining precious resources and time from charitable organizations to lawyer up and endure the long hard slog of an IRS audit?"

Schweizer, who discloses that he is president of an organization now being considered for 501(c) (3) status by the IRS, said, "One thing is for sure: the IRS’s motivation isn’t money” because tax-exempt groups produce little if any revenue.

He asserts that the increased audits are politically motivated. As an example, he cites a meeting of officials from charitable organizations at the White House, where they were pressured to support Obama's proposed tax hikes on the wealthy as part of a fiscal cliff deal “or else.”

In response, Republican Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah issued a joint statement, saying, “What the White House did today is disturbingly reminiscent of how it conducted itself during congressional consideration of Obamacare —telling groups that they better back the White House, or else.”

The statement continued, “Bullying isn’t leading. These kind of intimidation tactics are unacceptable, and they need to stop now.”

Whatever the motivation, says Schweizer, honing in on tax-exempt charities is “at a minimum a gross misallocation of time, energy, and taxpayer dollars. At worst, it is further evidence of a White House determined to flex its political muscle to keep organizations dependent and fearful.

"Either way," he adds, “it needs to stop."

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