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Tax Law

IRS official apologizes for singling out 'tea party' and 'patriot' groups

Updated: An Internal Revenue Service official apologized today for agency workers who flagged groups that used the key words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said the flagged groups were subjected to additional reviews, the Associated Press reports in a story noted by the Atlantic Wire. She said that low-level workers in Cincinnati initiated the practice.

Lerner spoke at a meeting of the ABA Section of Taxation.

Tax-exempt groups can engage in political activity, but it can’t be their primary activity, the AP story explains.

Updated of 11:50 a.m. to state that Lerner spoke at a meeting of the ABA Section of Taxation.

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