IRS Changed Criteria for Investigations

While the Internal Revenue Service first searched for key words such as “Tea Party” when deciding which groups to investigate for their tax-exempt status, the IRS then expanded the search to include the phrase “making America a better place.” According to a Reuters investigation on Sunday into a watchdog report, IRS field agents constantly changed their criteria in their quest to find which groups had improperly filed for nonprofit tax exemptions. Each year, the IRS reviews as many as 60,000 applications from groups seeking to get tax-exemption status—and if granted, those groups do not have to disclose their donors. By July 2011, the IRS had stopped targeting groups based off key words, but by January 2012, it appears the IRS was focused once again on investigating certain political organizations.