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August 29, 2013

American Legion Approves Resolutions To Correct IRS Overreach

I mentioned the other day that the American Legion and other veterans organizations are concerned about IRS targeting. Kansas Sen. Moran got the ball rolling on this issue and now the American Legion convention has approved resolutions to respond.

It's like this. As a tax-exempt veterans patriotic organization, the American Legion has to demonstrate to IRS upon request that its membership complies with statutory limits. For example, at least 75% of members have to be past or present members of the Armed Forces with the rest being "cadets or. . . spouses, widows, widowers, ancestors, or lineal descendants." That last part is from statute.

According to the IRS manual that Lois Lerner's Office of Tax Exempt Organizations uses, this "other members" group that includes lineal descendants is limited to two degrees of consanguinity. IOW, IRS says only sons and grandsons count and that Legion posts can be fined if, for example, their membership includes great-grandsons, stepsons, and adopted sons. The Legion wants IRS to abide by statute, and one of the resolutions that passed yesterday was to seek congressional action on that point.

To give you another example, IRS is using a different set of dates to determine whether an individual is a wartime veteran than have been approved by Congress for the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Because of this manipulation, Legion posts that have been audited have faced the threat of fines from IRS officials who say the posts aren't complying with the IRS manual.

It should go without saying that to the extent the IRS manual deviates from statute no Legion post (or any other veterans patriotic organization) should have to comply. The Legion is working to get IRS to correct its manual or, failing that, asking Congress to step in.

Disclaimer: the American Legion arranged airfare and my hotel, as well as a per diem, so that I could attend their national convention. The American Legion had no editorial oversight of this post or any of my other coverage here or on Twitter.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:10 AM

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