Finding out how the IRS investigates churches

Two years ago, the atheist group the Freedom from Religion Foundation sued the IRS in order to make it enforce the law that would take away a church’s tax exemption if it got involved in politics.  The IRS settled, to the atheists’ satisfaction, by drawing up rules and procedures that it would follow in investigating churches.

But those rules have not been made public, despite Freedom of Information applications.  So some religious liberty organizations have filed a lawsuit to make the IRS disclose how it will handle churches.

From Bradford Richardson, IRS sued for refusing to release secret ‘church investigations’ procedures – Washington Times

Government watchdog groups have filed a motion in federal court to compel the IRS to reveal how it determines when to initiate “church investigations” after accusing the tax-collecting agency of “stonewalling” efforts to bring to light its procedures.

The motion, filed jointly Friday by the Alliance Defending Freedom and Judicial Watch, came in response to a legal settlement struck in 2014 with an atheist organization, which said the IRS had “resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations.”

“The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a press release.

But nobody knows what those “procedures” are for conducting “church investigations,” the watchdog groups said.

“The IRS is not above the law, and Americans deserve to know the truth about the agency’s secret deals with activists,” ADF Legal Counsel Christina Holcomb said in a press release. “The IRS has a legal obligation to explain why it is hiding things or else produce documents. Its ongoing refusal to follow the law is absurd, particularly since much of [what] we are asking for is information that the IRS has already provided voluntarily to Freedom From Religion Foundation.”

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