After the news broke that Internal Revenue Service agents in Cincinnati had been giving extra scrutiny to applications from conservative groups for tax-exempt status, I immediately downloaded IRS Form 14449, the "Self-Declarers Questionnaire IRC 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) Organizations."
I've been wanting in on this sweet tax dodge for years. Until now, I've been afraid that agents easily would know I was a fraud. But now, with the heat on, I figure that agents will be bending over backward to prove that they're totally nonpartisan. The more rabidly conservative I can make my organization sound, the more likely it is that I'll get 501(c)(4) status.
I'm filling out Form 14449 right now.
Part I, Line 1: Name of your organization
Patriotic Tea Party United for Taking America Back from the Commies, Liberals, Immigrants, Gays, Feminists and Soccer Fans Who are Sending it Straight to Hell (PTPUTABCLIGFSFWSSH).
Part I, Line 2: Employer Identification Number
Don't have one, don't want one. Why would I want to be a number in your computer? I get an employee ID number and the next thing I know, your jack-booted government thugs will be at my door, demanding my guns, my farm animals and my copy of "Going Rogue."
Part I, Question 9: Is your organization claiming tax exemption as described in Section 501(c)(4)? Check the box that best describes your organization.
Hmmm. I'm not a volunteer fire department or a religious organization. I'm not a veterans organization. I don't do recreation facilities/activities. I think I'll check "cultural organization" since PTPUTABCLIGFSFWSSH is trying to restore America's culture back to where it was in 1955.
I'm tempted to apply under Section 501(c)(6) as a professional sports league. After all, who deserves a tax exemption more than a league full of billionaires and millionaires? But I'll stick with (c)(4), as a social welfare organization, because it's so vague nobody knows what it means.
Part II, Question 12: Enter the percentage of your organization's revenue, expenses and staff/volunteer time dedicated to each of the following activities ...
Hold it right there. I don't have any revenue to declare because I'm not tax-exempt yet. The whole purpose of this exercise is to attract revenue from rich people, spend it on fancy offices, travel, consultants, big staffs and high salaries, and if there's anything left over, buy an attack ad on local cable.
I'm trying to use the tax code to enrich myself so I have plenty of leisure time to complain about the deficit and high taxes. Sure, it makes things tough for legitimate social welfare organizations, but people ought to stand on their own two feet and not bother us good, hard-working, non-taxpaying Americans.
Part III, Question 21: For each calendar year below, list the total amount of contributions over $50,000 your organization received.
Actually, none so far. But we live in hope that corporations and fat cats will continue to be so desperate to maintain their privileges that they will fund fake grassroots outfits like PTPUTABCLIGFSFWSSH. They get to maintain their anonymity, and all I have to do is get a bunch of people carrying misspelled signs, and the press will slurp it up. The first $50,000 that comes in, I'm going to lease a Lexus and buy one of those chopped-up snake flags. If I get a whole bunch of $50,000 contributions, I will hire Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin to come in and pump up the crowd.
Part III, Question 23 (d): List the five unrelated business activities that resulted in the largest losses shown on line 30 of your organization's Form 900-T.
Frankly, these questions are getting pretty darned intrusive, Mr. IRS-Smartypants, to say nothing of really complicated. I'd need a whole bunch of accountants and lawyers to keep track of stuff like that, and then where's the money for me? Why don't you just go ahead and approve my application for tax exemption without being so nosy?
Part III, Question 24: List the total expenses your organization incurred during the most recent tax year.
Again, we're going to have some trouble here. I'm not really an officially recognized nonprofit organization that has to file a Form 990. I'm just a guy trying to run a scam, and you're making it very hard.
But for purposes of discussion, let's just say compensation for key employees like me is going to be somewhere north of $500,000, or 90 percent of all donations, whichever is higher. Throw in some office expenses, travel and lobbying to cover the rest, OK? Now get off my back.
Part IV, Question 28: Check the appropriate boxes if your organization provided any of the following to or for a person listed in question 27.
That person you're speaking of is me. So check first-class airfare, travel for companions, tax gross-up payments, discretionary spending account, housing allowance, social club dues and personal services, i.e., maid, chauffeur, chef.
Again I want to say how intrusive this is. If PTPUTABCLIGFSFWSSH, which is me, wants to treat its key people, who is me, like a Saudi sheikh, no IRS agent in Cincinnati is going to stop me. Doggone it, I'm worth it. And I believe that taxpayers will agree.
Kevin Horrigan writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.