The Internal Revenue Service in recent weeks has acknowledged that it targeted applicants for tax-exempt organization status based on their political viewpoint, in violation of basic First Amendment principles. That was, obviously and admittedly, a big mistake. But under a little-noticed provision of the Internal Revenue Code, citizens who claim that the IRS has made a mistake risk paying a large fine if it turns out that they are wrong. That provision, too, betrays a lack of concern for First Amendment values that should trouble all American taxpayers.
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