CINCINNATI - The IRS must produce information about tax-exempt applications for a tea party lawsuit that alleges the agency subjected conservative groups to additional, often burdensome scrutiny, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
A three-judge panel unanimously rejected a request by government attorneys to block a judge’s order to turn over information about applicants and chastised the agency for resisting such requests “at every turn.”
Judge Raymond Kethledge of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the IRS wasn’t entitled to keep secret in the name of taxpayer privacy “every internal IRS document that reveals IRS mistreatment of a taxpayer or applicant organization — in this case or future ones.” He wrote that the tax code on taxpayer return privacy “was enacted to protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers.”
U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott in Cincinnati earlier this year approved class-action status for the lawsuit filed in 2013 by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots against the IRS and some employees in Cincinnati and Washington. The group alleges IRS violation of privacy law and its constitutional rights.