Greetings from Washington, DC! Today kicked off the Georgetown Law: Representing and Managing Tax-Exempt Organizations conference. The opening speaker, Tamera Ripperda, Director, Exempt Organizations, provided an update on changes that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has undergone in the last year and the outlook for 2015. She noted that the Exempt Organization Division of the IRS (EO) has made dramatic and positive changes that she believes will allow them to be more efficient and consistent in the application of the law.
In 2015, EO will launch Knowledge Management, a system that will allow EO and its employees to collect, organize and share knowledge as well as preserve and protect EO institutional knowledge. She also noted that EO will be using data analysis to identify patterns and trends in reporting, flag common issues and identify and select returns for audit.
Ripperda addressed backlog of exemption applications, noting that during 2014, they closed 117,000, resulting in a 91% decrease in the backlog. According to Ripperda, this is due in large part to the success of the 1023-EZ, which represented 49% of all 501(c)(3) exemption applications. In order to confirm and validate the qualification of 1023-EZ filer during 2015 and 2016, the IRS will conduct a post-determination review to ensure these organizations are, in fact, operating as exempt organizations.
Other keynote addresses were provided by Treasury on the President’s budget proposal, Assistant Chief Counsel (Tax Exemption and Government Exception) and an update from Capitol Hill. Highlights included discussion of the America Gives More Act, which would permanently extend three temporary deductions, including the food donation tax deduction, deductions for conservations easements and the IRA charitable rollover option.
It’s been an interesting first day at the Conference with still more to come tomorrow!