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US Senators Pursue Latest Tax Avoidance Tactics

by Leroy Baker,, Leroy Baker

09 March 2007

Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican member, have asked the Internal Revenue Service for an updated list of the newest, biggest tax avoidance scams - including those using nonprofit groups - that deserve the committee’s attention.

“The IRS has an important responsibility to help honest taxpayers fulfill their obligations, and also to go after the tax cheats whose only contribution is to our country’s financial woes,” explained Baucus.

“We want to know about tax avoidance scams that are hurting America’s ability to fund important priorities like health care and education. And we need to seek out and stop those who are hiding behind tax-exempt status for their own gain, in order to protect the vast majority of tax-exempt organizations that are doing so much good. The crisis of unpaid taxes should be totally unacceptable to the IRS, and they need to take this opportunity to lay out the scope of tax avoidance problems and get a game plan to fix them," he added.

Baucus and Grassley have written to both IRS Commissioner, Mark Everson, and the agency's Chief Counsel, Donald Korb, asking for an additional twenty issues of tax non-compliance to be identified on top of the IRS's annual 'Dirty Dozen' list, published earlier this year.

"For each issue, we ask that you include the number of taxpayers involved and the cumulative tax dollars at risk in each issue, the number of cases currently under examination, and the results of cases previously examined," the Senators wrote in the letter to Korb.

They also asked Everson to produce a report detailing the extent of non-compliance in the charitable and non-profit sector.

Grassley concluded: “The IRS says abuse of non-profits is one of its ‘Dirty Dozen’ tax concerns for 2007. We’ve worked to crack down on scams, but we’re not done. Until recently, there wasn’t much scrutiny in the tax-exempt area. Some people continue to use non-profits to enrich themselves We need to make sure charities serve the needy, not the greedy.”

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