Roberts continues to tighten screws on IRS

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) got tough on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing, asking direct questions regarding the agency’s enforcement of the gift tax specifically against individuals who donated to certain tax-exempt organizations.

The policy has raised further concerns about the IRS’ targeting of taxpayers based on their political party.

“For nearly 30 years, the IRS did not apply the gift tax to contributions made to charitable organizations of any type,” Roberts, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance, said. “Beginning in 2011, at the same time it began targeting 501 (c)(4) applicants, the IRS began gift tax audits of individuals who had made contributions to various tax-exempt organizations.”

In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal and the recent investigation of inappropriate bonuses and performance awards paid to IRS employees who owe outstanding federal tax debt, the hearing is another example of Roberts’ quest to clean up the IRS and its questionable practices.

In January, Roberts presented two bills targeting the IRS:  the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act and the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act.

“I want to know what the IRS or the Congress can do to ensure the agency will not further intimidate taxpayers based on political ideology with the selective enforcement of the gift tax,” he concluded.