Saturday, October 20, 2012

IRS Has Suspended Church Audits Until Rule Changes Are Finalized

BNA Daily Report for Executives dated 10/22/2012 (subscription required) reports that the Internal Revenue Service has temporarily suspended tax audits of churches pending final adoption of IRS rule changes to clarify which high level Treasury official has authority to make a determination under IRC Sec. 7611 that there are reasonable grounds to begin a church tax inquiry. (See prior posting.) At an American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education conference, IRS speaker Russell Renwicks, area group manager from the Mid-Atlantic region of the Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division, said the IRS has been bombarded with complaints about churches becoming involved in the elections, but it has been unable to respond even to potentially egregious cases. The rule changes are necessitated by a 2009 Minnesota federal district court ruling. (See prior posting.)