Within the past month, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has promised at least twice that religious organizations need not fear tax-exempt status revocation. Keep in mind this is the same official who told the House Ways and Means Committee that emails from former commissioner Lois Lerner, accused of improperly holding up tax-exemption applications from conservative groups, were permanently erased in an agency computer crash.
Can we rely on this man’s word? It’s not a guarantee.
A CPA who specialized in nonprofit organizations characterized Commissioner Koskinen’s statements as a “temporary assurance.” They do not establish legal authority or precedent.
The IRS is not the only regulatory body yet to officially weigh in on the issue. States, local authorities, housing, zoning, and land use officials are not bound by any position taken by the IRS.
The only real assurance offered by the IRS Commissioner is that any policy change will be preceded by an opportunity for public comment, as in any lawmaking proposal. In addition, a change of administration in Washington will surely herald a change in IRS leadership.
At the National Center for Life and Liberty, through our legislative presence on Capitol Hill, our ears are open and we are your watchmen on the wall in Congress. When and if there is any hint of a change in IRS regulations, we will be instrumental in informing and mobilizing pastors and believers across the nation to take action.