Rep. Charles W. Boustany (R-La.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Ways and Means, announced Thursday that the panel will hold a hearing examining operations and oversight of tax-exempt organizations.
The hearing has the potential to reignite the debate over the tax-exempt status of credit unions, which banks claim give the cooperatives an unfair advantage. However, representatives from both CUNA and NAFCU say credit unions are not a direct target.
Brad Thaler, NAFCU’s vice president of legislative affairs, said his team has been in touch with all 12 members of the committee since the hearing was announced, and said there doesn’t appear to be an “appetite” to bring credit unions into the debate.
Thaler said NAFCU will “remain vigilant anytime tax exemption could come up” in Congress.
CUNA spokesman Pat Keefe said his organization has been in contact with committee staff and is prepared to answer any questions they might have.
“As of now, we have received no indications that credit unions are direct targets of this hearing,” he said.
The hearing will be the first in a series by the subcommittee on the tax-exempt sector and IRS oversight of tax-exempt activities. It will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16 in Room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.
In his announcement, Boustany said, “Oversight of the tax-exempt sector is an important priority for the subcommittee, and it has been an area that both Republicans and Democrats agree needs greater attention.”
In a letter last October, Boustany asked the IRS about recent efforts to address certain concerns that have been raised regarding the operation of tax-exempt organizations, including corporate governance issues and mishandling of funds by officers.
“It is now time for the subcommittee to hear from members of the tax-exempt community for a more complete picture of the current state of affairs,” he said. “This review allows us to examine the state of the tax-exempt sector, as it currently exists today and consider this information as we continue the committee’s efforts toward comprehensive tax reform.
“In both cases the goal is the same – to ensure that the tax-exempt sector is operating in an efficient manner and that the laws governing tax-exempt organizations are being applied fairly and evenly.”