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managers with respect to the organization Other stages will follow, and will include looking at various kinds of insider transactions, such as loans or sales to executives and officers Filing of Form 990: The IRS will be looking at organizations that failed to, or did not fully complete, compensation information on Form 990 This information will help inform the IRS about current practices of self-governance, both best practices and compliance gaps, and will help the agency focus our examination program to address specific problem areas Collaborative Enforcement Activities with Other Federal Agencies: The IRS is working with other federal agencies in a number of areas For example, we continue to engage in information sharing with the FTC to learn more about the credit counseling industry We expect to continue this mutually beneficial relationship and find other ways to leverage our scarce resources Enhancing Nonprofit Governance: Stronger governance procedures are needed for exempt organizations The sanctions for serious lapses in governance are clear There is the possibility of revocation of exemption, along with the various excise taxes against individuals that I mentioned before But sanctions are a last resort Organizations without effective governance controls are more likely to have compliance problems [The IRS will] require disclosure of whether the organization has a conflict of interest policy or an independent audit committee, and whether additional disclosure should be required concerning certain financial transactions or insider relationships Our Form 990 revision team is working on a comprehensive overhaul of the form to provide better compliance information about these organizations to the IRS, the states, and the public Vehicle Donations: For a taxpayer, donating a car to a charity has definite appeal One can help a charitable cause, dispose of the car, and take advantage of tax provisions that are designed to support the generosity of Americans Deductions are limited to the fair market value of the property In its recent study, the GAO estimated that about 4,300 charities have vehicle donation programs In its review of returns for tax year 2000, the GAO estimated that about 733,000 taxpayers claimed deductions for donated vehicles they valued at $500 or more Highly troubling is GAO s analysis of 54 specific donations, where it appears that the charity actually received less than 10% of the value claimed on the donor s return in more than half the cases, and actually lost money on some vehicles we cannot ignore the clear implications of the study We are educating donors and charities on what constitutes a well-run donation program We will be partnering with the states to distribute the brochures to the fundraising community, as the states regulate fundraising activity (Everson, Mark W, testimony before the US Senate Finance Committee, Washington, DC, June 2004)
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IRS Commissioner s Testimony at the 2005 Grassley Hearings In his testimony at the 2005 Grassley hearings, Mr Everson made the following key points in his remarks: The Administration strongly encourages and supports donations to our charities Some entities now use their privileged status to achieve ends that Congress never imagined when it conferred tax-exemption The IRS strongly supports the Eight Guiding Principles of Accountability and Governance [from the Independent Sector s report], and commends Independent Sector and the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector for their role in encouraging adherence to these standards of excellence Good governance and accountability are important given the size and impact of the tax-exempt sector in our economy Total assets of these organizations approximated $37 trillion in 2002, with revenues of $12 trillion Collectively these organizations file more than 800,000 annual returns The IRS Strategic Plan for 2005 2009 recognizes the significance of this sector for tax administration The Strategic Plan sets out four key objectives designed to enhance tax law enforcement over the next five years One of these objectives directly addresses the charitable sector That objective is to deter abuse within taxexempt and governmental entities and misuse of such entities by third parties for tax avoidance and other unintended purposes Growth in IRS Budget Despite the importance of this sector, until recently our enforcement budget was not keeping up with its growth By September [2005] we will see a 30 percent increase in enforcement personnel for Exempt Organizations over September 2003 levels Nonprofit Compliance Issues A number of factors are impacting compliance in the tax-exempt area As might be expected, these factors do not necessarily operate independently of one another Taken together, however, they add up to a culture that has become more casual about compliance and less resistant to non-compliance These are attitudes that we must work together to change Increase in size and complexity of the tax exempt sector This sector has grown the number of exempt entities on our master-file has increased by almost 500,000 since 1995, to 18 million today In the period from FY 1998 to FY 2002 alone, the reported value of the assets of these organizations grew from approximately $2 trillion to more than $3 trillion Further, most recent figures show reported annual revenues for Internal Revenue Code (Code) Section 501(c)(3) organizations at $897 billion Lax attitudes toward governance An independent, empowered, and active board of directors is the key to insuring that a tax-exempt organization serves public purposes, and does not misuse or squander the resources in its trust
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