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Congressman Cole's Statement on IRS Decision to Tax Storm Shelter Grants

December 23, 2004
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – "I was extremely upset to find in today's Daily Oklahoman a story concerning the Internal Revenue Service decision to tax the federal grant money individuals received to build tornado shelters. It makes no sense for the government to tax federal money for this purpose. Shelters save lives, mitigate damages and make sense. Taxing the very grants to make that possible does not."

"For the IRS to use it's discretionary powers to levy a new tax on Oklahomans who are trying to do the right thing, and then turn around and blame the matter on Congress is simply outrageous. This is a senseless bureaucratic decision that ought to be reversed. I have personally placed calls to Treasury Secretary John Snow and IRS Commissioner Mark Everson to protest this decision and to ask them to reverse it. I have also directed my staff to immediately begin putting together a bill to undo this unwanted Christmas present from the IRS."

"It is also my understanding that IRS has ordered local governments to do work it ought to do itself--identify taxpayers who have received these grants and send them the appropriate federal tax forms. Local governments have enough to do and surely do not have enough resources to act as surrogates for the IRS."