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May 15, 2013

5 takeaways from the IRS report

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

5. Some of the Cincinnati office IRS workers who were making calls on whether applicants passed the test for receiving tax-exempt status didn't fully grasp the legal distinctions between certain categories. According to the report, the front-line employees "showed a lack of knowledge in the Determinations Unit of what activities are allowed" for tax-exempt organizations.

And here's the one thing we don't know from the IG report: what inspired this effort in the first place. The timeline offered in the appendix of the report shows the heightened scrutiny began in February 2010, before the agency received a deluge of applications in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. But the report has blacked out any details in connection with the program's start. So, Tuesday's report raises several important questions, even as it answers others.

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