U.S. SenatorJohn Cornyn (R-TX) has introduced a bill he is calling The Eliminating Improper & Abusive IRS Audits Act of 2014.
“As we approach the deadline for this tax season, Americans are more skeptical than ever of the IRS after the gross violations of public trust that have come to light over the past year,” said Cornyn.
A release from Cornyn’s office said that the bill would provide “social welfare organizations” with the right to seek a declaratory judgement in federal court if the IRS fails to process applications filed by the organizations within nine months; or when the IRS makes an “adverse determination” against the organization.
“Social welfare” organizations, in this case, refers to 501(c)4 tax code designations like civic leagues, according to one Cornyn aide interviewed by the Borger News-Herald. “Under the bill,” said the aide, “an organization that is applying for a 501(c)(4) designation would be able to go to court for a declaratory judgment if the IRS has not made a determination on their application within nine months or rejects it all-together. This will provide for judicial determination on their application. These are the same procedural protections that charities currently enjoy.”
The bill would also require that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) “review and consult with the IRS” on the protocol for selecting tax documents for auditing, assessment, “or any heightened scrutiny or review.” This provision of the bill, said the release, should prevent the criteria from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, or political ideology.
“Americans should never face persecution from their government for exercising their Constitutional rights,” explained Cornyn, “My bill will help ensure that no one is targeted by the IRS for their political or religious beliefs and will work to repair the serious breach of faith caused by the IRS’ actions.”
Provisions in the bill would force the IRS to terminate any employee who violates the rights of any taxpayer. It also contains language that would increase the penalty on “rogue” IRS agents who have violated privacy laws, committed extortion, fraud or bribery, according to the release.
When the Borger-News Herald asked about the possibility that “eliminating ... ‘abusive’ IRS audits” could jeopardize legitimate investigations; or if the bill would provide criminals with a ‘hiding spot’ within the tax code, the Cornyn aide replied, “There is nothing in this bill that would protect people who have improperly filed their taxes. Instead, this bill will help Texans by making it easier to appeal for tax-exempt status. It will also give Texans additional time to collect the proceeds from the sale of property that has been wrongfully levied and to bring civil action against the IRS for a wrongful levy. Additionally, it would increase the penalties and punishments for IRS officials who abuse the system and violate taxpayers’ rights.”