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IRS likely in for more scrutiny over alleged audit abuse

The trouble appears only to be getting worse for the Internal Revenue Service. First there were the accusations about the IRS allegedly targeting conservative political groups for deeper-than-usual tax audit scrutiny over their efforts to obtain tax exempt status.

Now, there's word that lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are concerned that audit abuse has been broader in scope. Suspicions appear to be mounting that perhaps the IRS has been going overboard in efforts to double check the legitimacy of other organizations and tax credits sought by individuals and so more congressional hearings are reportedly slated for next week.

The specific concerns reportedly center on IRS activities directed toward existing religious organizations, some pro-Israel groups, organizations focused on providing relief to victims of the Syrian civil war, and audits targeting adoptive families who claimed child tax credits in 2012.

The issue related to that last group sparked a report recently from the IRS' own Taxpayer Advocate Service. It found that 90 percent of the claims for the 2012 credit from adoptive families were tagged for audits and that the flag resulted in audits on nearly 70 percent of them.

The audits delivered just $11 million in inappropriate claims out of $668 million filed for. As a result, the advocate's report said that the audits had significantly harmed thousands of selfless parents trying to provide a better life for at-risk children.

The IRS has been vocal in its defense of its work. Officials have said that while subjecting particular groups to added scrutiny is inappropriate, the activity hasn't been politically driven. They have called on Congress to clarify the rules the IRS should be following.

And last week, an IRS official said that the adoptive family audits, were required by law to ensure that claims were legitimate. She said that such high-dollar credits have been shown to generate a lot of fraudulent claims and the IRS has a responsibility to be sure that they are delivered only when appropriate.

Source: Fox News, "Criticism of IRS grows amid allegations of targeting beyond Tea Party," May 31, 2013

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