SOURCE: Tax Revolution Institute

Tax Revolution Institute

March 01, 2016 10:18 ET

IRS Poised to Step Up Efforts to Limit Free Speech, New Tax Watchdog Warns

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - March 01, 2016) -  Tax Revolution Institute (TRI) launched on Presidents' Day with a research and education project, Tax Watch, that will promote transparency, accountability and integrity in the U.S. tax system. To this end, Tax Watch will inform the public about the activities of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), their Congressional oversight, and tax enforcement policies that directly affect American taxpayers.

The first Tax Watch white paper, Will the IRS Silence Free Speech in 2016?, warns that non-profit organizations such as advocacy groups, educational institutions, labor unions, and business leagues are in danger of losing their free speech protections.

A new rule proposed by the IRS could redefine protected speech such as news reporting and issue advocacy as "electioneering," effectively gagging many non-profit organizations.

Despite the bright-line test established by the Supreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo, this proposed rule threatens the tax status of nonprofit organizations that engage in constitutionally protected activities, such as voter registration drives, hosting candidate forums, or producing candidate report cards.

TRI warns that the rule is likely to be finalized once a provision in H.R. 2029, which prohibits the IRS from using any of its funding to finalize standards for approving 501(c)(4) nonprofit status, expires on September 30, 2016.

The Institute's report concludes that without a permanent Congressional remedy that affirms the meaning of political activity for nonprofit organizations, free speech could be compromised as soon as October 1st, 2016.

"Even in the Citizens United case, the meaning of political activity was not in dispute. This new rule, however, would be a legal nightmare for the more than 1 million non-profit organizations in America, and it could protect incumbent politicians from the important public scrutiny that nonprofits can provide," said Dan Johnson, Executive Director of the Tax Revolution Institute.

The complete report is available to the public at www.TaxRevolution.us, where TRI will host further research, news, and commentary. Additionally, TRI will canvass the public landscape to gather first-hand accounts of IRS misconduct and engage directly with citizens through seminars, conferences, town halls, policy papers and community meetings. "We want to empower people who feel that they have no voice," said Johnson. "They will finally be heard."

About the Tax Revolution Institute

TRI is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3)-pending organization dedicated to promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity at all levels of the U.S. tax system. The Institute will research and develop nonpartisan, simple, and innovative tax reform solutions to advance freedom and prosperity for all Americans.

For more information, contact Alejandro Vidal at alex@taxrevolution.us or visit the Website at http://www.TaxRevolution.us.

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