IRS Reform: Politics as Usual?

7 Columbia Journal of Tax Law 36 (2016)

Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 337

45 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2016 Last revised: 22 Jun 2016

Leandra Lederman

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: March 9, 2016

Abstract

The IRS is still reeling from accusations that it “targeted” Tea Party and other non-profit organizations for delays of their applications for tax-exempt status. Although multiple government investigations found no politically motivated behavior — only mismanagement — Congressional hearings were quite inflammatory. Congress recently followed up those hearings with a set of IRS reforms. Congress’s approach is reminiscent of the late 1990s, when highly publicized Congressional hearings regarding alleged abuses by the IRS resulted in a major IRS reform and restructuring, although the allegations subsequently were largely debunked. This Article argues that the recent allegations against the IRS also were overblown. It looks to the aftermath of the 1998 IRS reform, which included a major downturn in enforcement, for lessons for the present day. The Article concludes that Congress as a whole can do a better job of keeping politics from undermining tax administration.

Keywords: IRS, Congress, reform, 501(c)(4), exempt organizations, nonprofits, Tea Party, Internal Revenue Service

JEL Classification: H20, H29, H30, K34, K49

Suggested Citation

Lederman, Leandra, IRS Reform: Politics as Usual? (March 9, 2016). 7 Columbia Journal of Tax Law 36 (2016); Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 337. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2745370

Leandra Lederman (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
(812) 855-6149 (Phone)
(812) 855-0555 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.indiana.edu/people/lederman

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