Home > posts > AARP’s Questionable Tax Reporting Merits New IRS Audit
September 28th, 2012 1:37 pm
AARP’s Questionable Tax Reporting Merits New IRS Audit

My column this week explains how AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired People, exploited its relationship with liberal politicians to reap a $2.8 billion windfall from ObamaCare.  The massive payout comes from regulatory exemptions that help AARP increase its lucrative Medigap endorsement scheme.

But it’s not like President Barack Obama’s landmark health law ushered in a new era of revenues for the premier non-profit advocate for seniors.  With $458 million in revenues for 2011, AARP would rank as the sixth most profitable for-profit health care company, according to a report by staff members to Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).

This puts AARP just behind Humana and ahead of industry giants like Coventry, Amerigroup and Health Net.

Best of all for AARP, because it designates much of its revenue as “royalty fees” instead of “commissions” for endorsing certain private Medicare plans it gets to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars in income to the Internal Revenue Service.

An investigation (pdf) by House Ways and Means Committee members has asked the IRS to investigate whether AARP’s reporting practices violate federal law, and for good reason.

The investigators note that “In 1994 AARP paid the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a one-time settlement payment of $135 million in lieu of taxes, resolving an audit over tax returns for years 1985 through 1993 for failure to fully pay unrelated business income tax (UBIT) on its commercial activities.”  And, “In 1999, the IRS and AARP once again reached a settlement to conclude tax years 1994 through 1998 with respect to the treatment of revenues AARP received from licensing and selling its name and logo to insurance companies.”

Sounds like AARP merits more scrutiny from the IRS.

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