44 Seton Hall Legis. J. 1 (2020)

handle is hein.journals/sethlegj44 and id is 1 raw text is: 







A BROKEN VESPER: QUESTIONING THE RELEVANCY AND
WORKABILITY OF THE CHURCH AUDIT PROCEDURES ACT

                                           Benjamin W. Akins*

I. IN TR O D U CTIO N   ......................................................................................   3
II. TWENTIETH-CENTURY  EVOLUTION  .......................................................... 4
      A. The Regulatory Role of the IRS ...............................................   4
      B. The 1980s and the Passage of CAPA  ........................................ 8
      C. The 1990s and the Passage of the IRS Restructuring and
          R eform A ct  of  1998  ..............................................................  16
III. TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY PROBLEMS ............................................... 19
      A . CA PA U nder  Strain  .................................................................  19
      B . The IR S  U nder  Strain  .............................................................   26
IV . A SUGGESTION FROM HERE  .............................................................  29
      A . R epair  C A PA   ..........................................................................   29
      B . E lim inate  C A PA   ......................................................................   33
           1. CAPA & RRA 1998 Were Political Overreactions ....... 33
           2. Bring Houses of Worship into The Fold ........................... 35
V . C O N CLU SIO N   ......................................................................................   36

     Long before Senator Charles Grassley tweeted support for Brett
Kavanaugh or held hearings on the dangers of Facebook, he focused his
attention on a more pious part of society-churches. Specifically, Grassley
led a charge in the early 1980s to hamstring the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS or Service or Agency) in its ability to approach houses of
worship regarding matters related to their tax-exempt status. These efforts
resulted in the passage of the Church Audit Procedures Act (CAPA) in
1984, which requires approval from a high-level Treasury official before
the Service can so much as send a church a letter. Due to the IRS' regional
organization at the time, the statute declared that a regional official of a
certain rank would be the appropriate high-level official.
     Several years later, Congress again trained its sights on the IRS,
forcing the Service to reorganize from a regional structure to a centralized
one. As a result, CAPA immediately became unworkable as regional
officials no longer existed in the agency to approve church tax inquiries.
With no direct guidance from Congress on how to address this problem, the
IRS applied an administrative patch and designated a new official under

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