For Immediate Release
February 16, 2012
Contact: Andreanna Anastasiou
As with Other Liberty Groups, the IRS Is Bogging Down Richmond Tea Party’s Application for Tax-Exempt Status with Unreasonable Documentation Requests
The Internal Revenue Service has served Richmond Tea Party (RTP) with unreasonable requests to obtain a tax-exempt status, fitting the pattern of the Federal Government’s forcing liberty groups to spend inordinate time and money complying with their demands during this critical 2012 election year.
On December 28, 2009, RTP applied to become a 501(c)(4) organization. After nearly ten months, the IRS finally responded with a letter (dated September 17, 2010), requesting detailed documentation to satisfy 17 questions, giving RTP only a two-week window in which to finish. (As the response was curiously due on the opening day of the inaugural Virginia Tea Party Convention, for which RTP was a central organizer, we requested and received a two-week extension.) We fully complied, providing over 500 pages of documentation. We received no response for over a year. Eventually the IRS sent a letter dated January 9, 2012, thanking us for our “complete and thorough responses” from the first request, but then asking us to answer 12 additional questions in 53 separate parts, including the totally inappropriate request for a full list of our donors and volunteers. We were given the same two-week timeframe for completion. It should be noted that this most recent letter was issued on the same day that the IRS issued a new 45-section bulletin regarding applications for tax-exempt status.
This illustrates everything the American people find unacceptable from their government. A simple request for tax-exempt status should not take years to complete, involve hundreds of pages of documentation, require hundreds of volunteer hours, and request private information we should never have to disclose. This grants the Federal Government the dangerous power to selectively stymie those voices with which they disagree, bogging them down in endless paperwork and compliance costs so that they are unable to spend time serving the principles they founded their organization to advance.
RTP is consulting its attorneys for how best to respond to this overreach from the Federal Government. In the meantime, we stand with the Ohio Liberty Council in calling on Congress to investigate whether or not the IRS is operating under specific instructions to delay the granting of tax-exempt status for Tea Parties and similar organizations. We would also call into question the specific rules and regulations—not bulletins—that the IRS uses so that all organizations can clearly see the metrics for determining a successful application. We will be contacting our own federal legislators to these ends.
Especially in light of the recent report by The Daily Caller about Media Matters—a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that is alleged to be coordinating its messaging with the White House—we intend to see this critical issue through. RTP stands with other liberty groups across the nation to use this issue to highlight yet another example of how powerful our Federal Government has become and the arbitrary and capricious use of that power to silence their opposition.