The IRS has recently fallen under criticism for more than being a financial nuisance. We’ve always known that the IRS isn’t the first metaphorical kid we’d ask to be our friend on the playground, but did we know that the IRS sometimes acts as the playground bully? According to Nina Olson’s report to Congress, the IRS isn’t following proper playtime rules with the nonprofit sector.
Understaffed and facing technical malfunctions, the IRS division responsible for nonprofit oversight made some serious mistakes. They improperly revoked the tax-exempt status of thousands of nonprofit organizations. And for organizations looking to enter the nonprofit world? They face a 66,000 backlog of organizations who are waiting for their tax-exempt status to be approved or reinstated (yes, including the thousands they revoked irresponsibly).
Now do we think the IRS is maliciously attacking the sector? No. We’ll leave more talented conspiracy theorists to address those notions. But we do believe that the nonprofit sector is not an IRS priority: AND IT SHOULD BE! If we improved the organizations that soothe societal hardships, we would universally feel the positive benefits. Giving organizations tax exemption contributes to their success. So how do we change this trend?
We make the sector a priority in our own lives. We make nonprofit organizations an integral part of our lives. Then we allow that social movement to dictate our larger national values. It’s a slow change, yes. But it’s a change worth looking forward to, and a change that’s possible with a collective effort: from without the sector and within.