IRS Tea Party Scandal: Conservative Political Correctness in Action | New Republic But, in fact, the IRSs great conservative crackdown is even more innocent than that. It turns out that the applications the conservative groups submitted to the IRSthe ones the agency subsequently combed over, provoking nonstop howlingwere unnecessary. The IRS doesnt require so-called 501c4 organizations to apply for tax-exempt status. If anyone wants to start a social welfare group, they can just do it, then submit the corresponding tax return (form 990) at the end of the year. To be sure, the IRS certainly allows groups to apply for tax-exempt status if they want to make their status official. But the application is completely voluntary, making it a strange basis for an alleged witch hunt. ==================================================== This faux scandal is the most trumped up bunch of nonsense ever. The scandal is how right wing paranoia is given the respect and credibility is gets in the media. It certainly deserves none of it. The right wing groups flooded the IRS with 501c4 applications that weren't required, then threw a hissyfit when the IRS started to process them according to their procedures. Seriously, get over the fact that the Left destroyed the Bush Presidency, and with it the GOP's chances of keeping executive power. You're not getting payback. Your side made America worse under Bush, and the voters don't want conservatives back in the White House. This "scandal" won't make a difference.