National Taxpayers Union Hammers IRS, Calls for Reform, More Citizen Oversight in Wake of Scandal

(Alexandria, VA) -- In a statement today, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) Executive Vice President Pete Sepp responded to the situation stemming from the I.R.S.’s admitted misconduct in targeting conservative-leaning organizations for increased scrutiny on non-profit status applications:

“If the power to tax is the power to destroy, so is the IRS's power to deny, delay, and demand endless documentation. In typical Washington, DC fashion, the extent of the damage surrounding the IRS's investigative excesses of conservative organizations is still unfolding. The sooner public officials stop downplaying and start leveling with the American people about how far this abuse of power has gone, the better.

“But whether the immediate issue is nonprofit status for conservative groups, or ill-targeted audits, the underlying concern for taxpayers is the same: Congress must be ever-vigilant in ensuring the IRS exercises its powers prudently and that the tax collection system's abuses are quickly corrected.  In our system of government, compliance with our tax laws should depend more on public trust than secret coercion.

“Instead of the usual displays of righteous indignation and promises to 'get to the bottom' of this unfolding scandal; it's time for a righteous commitment to administrative reform, from the bottom up. At the very least that means additional safeguards such as those found in the Small Business Taxpayer Bill of Rights introduced by Senator John Cornyn. Other recommendations that NTU made in the late 1990s while its Executive Vice President served on the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS merit consideration today. This includes the concept of a citizen review board for IRS actions.

“Make no mistake -- this is not the first time Americans have been treated to the sorry spectacle of a tax agency accused of political bias, nor will it be the last. Unless, of course, politicians are willing to stop posturing and get serious about protecting taxpayers. Whatever type of tax system we may have in the future, it will require constant oversight as well as checks and balances against political manipulation.”