With the arrival of “Tax Day,” there was much congressional interest this week in tax code and IRS reform. Indeed, the House of Representatives passed a package of bills aimed at boosting accountability and efficiency at the tax collecting agency. In addition to legislation addressing IRS workforce rules and its disposition of taxpayer fees, one of the bills very simply stated, “None of the funds made available under any Act may be used by the Internal Revenue Service to target citizens of the United States for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
Remembering the agency’s targeting of conservative organizations that was uncovered three years ago, Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), the sponsor of that legislation, said, “Every year, Americans pay their taxes. They should not be further burdened with the fear that they may be singled out for their strongly held beliefs and convictions.” A similar bill sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) awaits action in the Senate.
Notably, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Family Talk Action, and Samaritan’s Purse were among those groups that reported suspicious questioning from IRS agents in 2013. In response to this most recent Capitol Hill effort, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, said, “The IRS and other agencies have no business targeting religious organizations for the principles of their faith. I laud the House of Representatives for their action to reinforce this basic freedom."
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: April 22, 2016