One of the big campaign themes and applause lines for GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz is the Texas senator’s call to abolish the IRS. When he announced his candidacy for the party’s nomination, Cruz came down hard on the agency that has long been criticized and scrutinized for targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Bloomberg Politics reminds us of Cruz’s crowd-pleasing speech at Liberty University, when he fired the first campaign shot at the IRS: “‘Instead of a tax code that crushes innovation, that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends meet, imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a post card. Imagine abolishing the IRS,’ Cruz said.”
Naturally, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen scoffed at the idea of doing away with the agency he oversees.
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However, given what the Internal Revenue Service has just done, a greater number of Americans may find the notion of firing the federal tax collectors even more appealing…and warranted.
The Washington Times reports that an Indianapolis “church” that considers smoking marijuana to be, well, a holy sacrament has been granted the coveted status of a “tax-exempt religious organization”…and it happened in what many would no doubt consider near-record time.
Bill Levin, founder of the First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis, was notified of the approval last week, which will now allow donors to deduct contributions on their taxes….
“Somebody at the IRS loves us because we got it back in less than 30 days,” Mr. Levin told Tax Analysts’ David van den Berg.
Even as the years-old IRS scandal involving hundreds of groups targeted for extraordinary scrutiny and intimidation by the agency continues to unfold — even as Lois Lerner’s “lost” emails keep popping up — the IRS has seen fit to grant tax-exemption to the First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis, apparently without hesitation.
According to The Washington Times article: “So far, more than 600 members have paid amounts ranging from $4.20 to $1,000 to join the church, Mr. Levin said. Fundraising is being conducted partly on gofundme.com, where the church has raised over $10,800.”
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What the tax-exempt status conveyed by the IRS doesn’t do is make the use of marijuana in the state legal. So, the “church” can presumably operate with its members smoking weed and getting tax deductions, even though “the recreational and medicinal consumption of marijuana is still illegal in Indiana, posing an issue to members of the church, or “Cannabiterians,” who believe in using the drug on a daily basis as a sacrament.”
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