What Happens After You File an IRS Form 13909 on the Church of Scientology?

Okay, so you’ve filed your Form 13909 on the Church of Scientology.

What happens next? What does the IRS do? The IRS webpage details the steps it takes after it receives your completed 13909:

The Internal Revenue Service gives serious consideration to complaints made alleging the abuse of the tax exempt status granted to certain organizations.

When reviewing filed complaints, the IRS carefully follows special procedures designed to assure the public of the IRS’s objectivity in the treatment of tax-exempt organizations. These procedures ensure that the IRS operates in an unbiased and appropriate manner and that its compliance programs are not improperly influenced by outside intervention.

The responsibility for administering these procedures belongs to the Exempt Organizations (EO) function, which is part of the IRS’s Tax Exempt and Government Entities Operating Division…

…In addition to oversight by the IRS, tax-exempt organizations are subject to oversight by state charity regulators and state tax agencies. You may also want to send a copy of the referral you send to us to your state charity regulator and/or state tax agency.

Acknowledgement and Disclosure Prohibition

All referrals are sent to analysts at the EO Classifications Office in Dallas. After a referral is made, the IRS will send an acknowledgement letter to all non-IRS sources making a referral, unless it was made anonymously. To receive an acknowledgement letter, you must provide a return address. We are unable to send acknowledgement letters through e-mail.

Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits the IRS from disclosing whether it has initiated an examination or the results of any examination. Therefore, the IRS cannot communicate with the original source of a referral beyond the acknowledgement letter.

The Review Process

Upon receipt, research is done to confirm the identity of the organization in question and once this is complete, information is entered into a database to help the IRS keep track of the progress of the review.

An experienced EO revenue agent then performs a thorough technical analysis of the allegation made on the referral. The agent uses a “reasonable belief” standard to evaluate the facts and to determine whether EO should take further action. Before taking action, the revenue agent must determine that the facts create a reasonable belief that the allegations may be true when considered fairly and in light of other reliable information.

The reviewing EO agent will decide one of the following:

  • The information does not warrant further action. In this case, the agent inputs information, including rationale, into the database and closes the referral.
  • The referral relates to activities that should be considered at a future date. The agent documents the database and schedules the appropriate date to re-evaluate the information.
  • The referral contains characteristics that require it to be forwarded to a committee of career EO managers and agents. This committee evaluates referrals monthly — more often in some circumstances — and decides whether to proceed with an examination. The committee also applies the “reasonable belief” standard.
  • The information warrants an examination of the organization. The agent documents his or her decision and the reasons for it in the database. The information item then becomes part of the examination file.

If this process results in a decision to examine an organization, the Classification Office will forward the case to a field group for assignment to a revenue agent. The revenue agent will contact the organization and schedule an appointment to begin the examination. (For details on the EO examination process, see Fact Sheet 2008-14.)
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 10-Jan-2013


Bottom line: After you send the IRS Form 13909, the IRS will mail you an acknowledgement letter 3-6 weeks later. Beyond this acknowledgement, the IRS will not disclose anything else to you. If the IRS needs you they will contact you by letter. Here is an acknowledgement letter I received from the IRS after filing a 13909 on the Church of Scientology International last year:

13909.Augustine 001

One comment

  1. The Exempt Organizations Division of the IRS never answers the real question which is “Why does the IRS continue to recognize the Church of Scientology as a 501c3 organization in spite of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court said NO in 1989, the U.S. Tax Court said NO in 1997 and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said NO in 2002 and added in its finding that the proper course of action is to file a suit against the IRS forcing them to comply with those court decisions. When the Exempt Organizations Division replies something about tax payer returns they may be telling an “acceptable truth” according to Scientology language. Yes, there may be a law about tax payer privacy, but the question is NOT about tax payer privacy, it is about the IRS and why it continues to refuse to abide by the nations highest court decisions.

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