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News Summary: Conflicting laws feed IRS confusion

The Associated Press

STARTED WITH NOODLES: The uproar over the Internal Revenue Service's heavy-handed treatment of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status can be traced partly to when New York University Law School went into the noodle business.

CONTRADICTORY LAWS: The 1947 episode helped produce conflicting laws covering the kinds of activities tax-exempt organizations may conduct. The IRS' attempt to enforce those contradictory laws with vague regulations has sown even more confusion.

SOCIAL WELFARE THRESHOLD: The rules governing political activities by tax-exempt organizations are hard for everyone to follow, including the IRS: One law says some tax-exempt groups must engage "exclusively" in social welfare work, while a regulation changes the threshold to "primarily."