Tax Exempt Organizations: The Identity of Applicants for Tax-Exempt Status is Not Confidential Return Information Protected Under the Internal Revenue Code

teapartyIn 2013, a major scandal broke over the treatment of “Tea Party” groups that applied for tax-exempt status, as the public learned that the IRS had singled out certain groups for special scrutiny that created long delays in processing their applications. Shortly after the scandal broke, a class action was filed against the United States, seeking damages. Complaint, NorCal Tea Party Patriots v. IRS, No. 1:13-cv-00341-SJD (S.D. Ohio).

On March 22d, the Sixth Circuit addressed a discovery dispute over the confidentiality of the names of the groups that were members of the plaintiff class, denying a mandamus petition filed by the government and ordering it to comply with the district court’s prior orders to produce the information.… Read More