Jeff Quinn
Special to the Bonanza

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July 10, 2012
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Revenooer Rants: IRS scooping up the dough from taxpayers' foreign accounts

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — We guess there’s just not enough dough lying around in taxpayers’ U.S. investment accounts. IRS is just loving all of the found money in accounts offshore.

Recent pontifications from the Revenooers indicates that they have already collected something like $5 billion (with a capital ‘B’) as a result of taxpayers’ disclosures of offshore accounts, pursuant to new reporting rules.

“People are finding it tougher and tougher to keep their assets hidden in offshore accounts,” quoth IRS Commish Shulman recently. Recall that Congress recently enacted legislation (yes, they do that from time to time) requiring non-U.S. financial institutions to provide info about their account holders to the Revenooers.

And speaking of looking under every rock, IRS is also all over some tax-exempt political organizations which they think are doing just a bit too much “politicking.” IRS has been working on a list of questions to put before these groups, designed to scope out whether their fundraising or advertising efforts cross the guidelines of the tax laws.

Seems that the targets are qualified charities under IRC Section 501(c)4 and thus tax exempt. That section of the code exempts “civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare ... and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.” These organizations can keep the names of their donors private as long as the dough they spend produces “issue ads,” which don’t use a candidate’s name or likeness, and are ostensibly intended to simply educate John and Jane Q. Public on broad issues.

But the definitions can get a but murky — especially to Obama and his minions which recently requested that the Federal Election Commission force Crossroads GPS, a tax-exempt group founded by Dubyah and his buddy, Karl Rove to register as a political action committee, and disclose the identity of its donors.

“Crossroads was formed by people with a long association to the Republican Party. It doesn’t seem to advocate for an issue for any other reason other than it has an impact on a political campaign,” quoth Marcus Owens, a former director of the IRS exempt organization group. Owens estimates that something like 100 tax exempt groups could draw attention from IRS in this regard.

And never to let one side or another go off “scott free,” recall that a while back, some advocacy groups (which might be labeled as “Tea Party” affiliates) also received IRS questionnaires asking for info regarding their tax exempt status.

What’s good for the goose...

— CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISER - This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation. Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at jquinn@ashleyquinncpas.com, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at http://blog.nolo.com/taxes.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 10, 2012 10:30AM Published Jul 10, 2012 10:28AM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.