Excerpt taken from article.
The Internal Revenue Service's decision to discontinue audits of select 2010 political donations for possible application of the gift tax appears to have calmed some, but not all, concerns about politicization of the agency.
A specialist in this area of tax law told Government Executive that the agency handled the issue properly. "Unfortunately, it looks like IRS caved into partisan political pressure," said Marcus Owens, an attorney with Caplin & Drysdale who was formerly director of the IRS' exempt organizations division. "The five audits were probably triggered by media coverage, and an IRS employee did an internal referral to the relevant department, which is what he's supposed to do."
Owens said the IRS has had a clear policy on how gift taxes apply to political organizations going back to a 1982 revenue ruling.
"The implementation was not very visible," he said, surmising that either the service did not go looking for violators or that few such gifts are given, the absence of a tax incentive. Given all the exclusions that Congress has enacted for charities and political organizations, Marcus said, "They'd have to be big gifts, in seven figures," to attract IRS attention.