Here's How the IRS Treated Me Because I'm a Conservative
Then the process became Kafkaesque -- not American.
We called as instructed. We were told we were not assigned an agent yet. We were told we could not be told when we would be assigned an agent. We were told to call back. We did. We were sent a form saying there were problems with the application.
We asked what kinds of problems. We were told that we could not be told. They would assign us an agent. When would we be assigned an agent? The IRS woman impatiently said she did not know.
We waited, long past the three-month mark. And past our opportunity to hold a 2013 year-end fundraiser. I continued to post and speak, and I published three educational guidebooks.
But over a year passed. I called my senator’s office. After several correspondences, we were told we had been assigned an agent.
On May 16, 2014, our – ahem -- Cincinnati-based agent sent an “Information Request” consisting of seven multi-part objections -- with a two-and-a-half week deadline to respond. I was floored. She ended up granting us several extra days.
The IRS had three types of objections to our application: minor paperwork, a financial inquest, and ideological accusations.
The paperwork, involving a signature and a confusingly worded line on the application, could have been handled quickly by telephone.
The other categories were clearly intended to harass.
One amounted to an audit. An audit not on an existing organization, but on one still applying for status.
In the standard 501(c)(3) application, the IRS only asks for projected expenses, not exact amounts or names of vendors.
But now, still in the application process, we were asked to account -- down to the penny -- for such things as office supplies, honoraria to bloggers (ranging from $0 to $25), and professional fees. They wanted names of bloggers, contributors to guidebooks, and vendors -- how much each was paid, for which project, and what purpose. They wanted percentages of “time and resources” spent on named activities.