We are indebted to a publisher of tax information called Tax Analysts for its efforts to make the Internal Revenue Service slightly more accountable.
The IRS finds itself beleaguered, sort of, by scandal — the fallout from their practice of impeding applications for tax-exempt status of Tea Party and other “patriot” and “constitutionalist” groups. But the agency doesn’t always cooperate with investigations of its conduct.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, Tax Analysts has sued the IRS to obtain all materials used since 2009 to train Cincinnati personnel in the art of handling applications for tax-exempt status.
Folks at the IRS had at first “agreed” to comply with the FOIA request for these instructions ─ which will shed light on what, exactly, employees have been told at various times about how to deal with applicants of various ideological hue. But the agency kept dithering, first telling Tax Analysts that it would supply the stuff pronto, then saying it needed more time; then saying the same when the next-named comply-by date arrived; etc., ad infinitum.
Like the ever-slowing competitor to Zeno’s tortoise, the IRS found it impossible to ever cross the finish line or actually supply any documents.
Yet these guys slap us with penalties if we’re late with the taxes. . . .
Well, Tax Analysts has seen the IRS’s delaying tactics before. So now the matter is in court. Sooner or later we shall learn whether the agency’s own written instructions counsel ideological discrimination, or these instructions are untainted by such but have been flouted by IRS officers.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.