Friday, May 10 2013, 02:58 PM MDT
IRS Admits Mistakes Following Tea Party Complaints
By Ashley Killough
(CNN) Responding to a flurry of complaints from conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service admitted Friday it made "mistakes" in the last few years while trying to process those requests.
Multiple tea party groups reported significant delays and excessive questioning from IRS officials while trying to obtain 501(c)(4) status.
"The IRS recognizes we should have done a better job of handling the influx of advocacy applications. While centralizing cases for consistency made sense, the way we initially centralized them did not," the IRS said in a statement.
However, the agency maintained the errors were not spurred by political reasons.
"Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale," the statement read.
The IRS said it saw the number of applications seeking such status double from 2010-2012. To handle the influx, local "career employees" in Cincinnati "sought to centralize work and assign cases to designated employees in an effort to promote consistency and quality."
Acknowledging the system did not work, the IRS said it fixed the situation last year and has processed more than half the cases. New rules were issued last year, as well, to "ensure that these mistakes won't be made in the future."
"The IRS also stresses that our employees - all career civil servants -- will continue to be guided by tax law and not partisan issues," the statement read.