On Wednesday, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service giving the agency until next Tuesday to explain why veterans’ organizations like the American Legion are being required to prove their members are really veterans, The Army Times reported Thursday.
Specifically, Miller wants to know why these groups must provide discharge papers or members’ DD 214 forms proving their military service.
“To ask these organizations to provide materials, some of which include personally identifying information such as Social Security number and dates of birth, for, in some cases, millions of members seemingly without cause is unduly burdensome and completely unwarranted,” he said in the letter to acting IRS director Daniel Werfel.
According to rules published in a January 2011 manual, 75 percent of the membership in service organizations must be current or former service members to qualify for tax-exempt status.
Examiner’s Steven H. Ahle said the American Legion was told by the IRS they must submit the information of every member, including the character of service. The organization, he said, will be fined 1,000 dollars a day if it does not comply.
The Times also said the IRS wants to review “the group’s charter, bylaws and minutes of meetings to ensure it is a non-profit organization operating for the good of veterans.”
But Miller does not believe the information is necessary.
“Congress has provided for the tax-exempt status of veterans’ organization in recognition of both the selfless service our nation’s veterans have provided and the important role veterans’ organizations play,” he said. “Allegations that they are now being unfairly targeted by the government they sought to protect and defend is nothing short of unacceptable to me.”
Ahle said the American Legion will vote to fight the IRS’ demands and ask for a congressional review of the statutes.
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