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by
Bridget Johnson

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August 28, 2013 - 7:46 am

A Kansas Republican is asking the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to audit his own agency and provide answers to Congress after reports that the tax men have been auditing veterans service organizations.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) asked Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel “at a minimum” to put a halt to the audits until a review of the practice is completed.

The IRS has reportedly been requiring veteran service organizations to provide DD-214 forms, the certificate of release of discharge from active duty, to account for every member.

“Even after they return home from war, veterans in America continue to fight battles. Many struggle to find a job, face difficulties accessing quality health care services, or wait senselessly long periods of time for their benefits claims to be processed by the federal government,” Moran said. “The last thing veterans should have to worry about is their privacy within veteran service organizations, or the ability of those organizations to endure seemingly arbitrary IRS audits and the severe financial penalties that could ensue. This news is deeply concerning to me and the thousands of veterans I represent in Kansas.”

Moran asked Werfel to provide answers to the following:

  • What legal authority does the IRS have in carrying out a mandate for personal, military service records? Was this mandate reviewed by IRS general counsel? Please provide documentation that gives the IRS the authority to collect this information;
  • Under whose leadership was this mandate initiated, for what direct purpose, and who had approving authority for this mandate?;
  • Were veteran service organizations ever specifically notified of the requirement? If so, please provide the documentation that was issued to these organizations. If not, please explain why organizations were not notified; and
  • Is it true that an organization unable or unwilling to provide this information could be charged penalty fees of $1,000 per day? Please provide clarification regarding the penalty for noncompliance.

“Given the American public’s increased frustration with the IRS and the failures of government bureaucracy at large, I am disappointed that such a policy targeting America’s servicemen and women would be a priority for the IRS,” Moran wrote.

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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