It is a clone of this request.
|Submitted||April 15, 2015|
MuckRock users can file, duplicate, track, and share public records requests like this one. Learn more.
To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
A copy of the file indices for ROI No. 8-9801-0002, listing the documentation contained therein, for the TIGTA investigation report into the Church of Scientology's tax exemption that was granted with a final agreement settlement in 1993.
Please note, I am not asking for the actual investigative documentation in this ROI file at this time. I am merely seeking the index pages that summarize the contents in the applicable investigation file(s).
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest due to the unique aspects of the Church of Scientology's controversial tax exemption and the undetermined reasons behind why special tax privileges were granted to this organization. Moreover, the topic of why Scientology's tax exemption was granted is receiving intense public scrutiny and media coverage in the wake of the documentary "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief" currently airing to over 114 million subscribers on HBO. For examples, please see:
Additionally, the requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, and is not being made for commercial usage.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.
Ms. R. M. Seibert
To Whom It May Concern:
This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to a response I received dated April 30, 2015 on case #2015-FOI-00173. This appeal is in regards to the reasons given for denying disclosure of public records that was stated as follows:
"Your request seeks access to documents which would constitute the return information of third parties pursuant to I.R.C section 6103(a). Therefore, TIGTA can neither admit nor deny the existence of responsive records (5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) and 26 U.S.C. § 6103). This response should not be taken as an indication that such records exist; rather it is a standard response to requesters seeking these types of records."
My request is seeking an administrative record, which outlines the contents of an administrative report. This does not constitute return information of third parties. If by chance third party return information is referenced in passing in the file index document I am seeking, then I hereby exert my right to receive a redacted version of the document with the confidential tax return information removed.
Under FOIA, if part of a document may be withheld, the rest of the document still may have to be produced after redaction. In statutory terms, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) defines that any reasonably segregable portion of a record must be produced after deletion of the exempt portion. IRS regulations under 26 C.F.R. § 601.701(b)(1)(iii) and (b)(3) also require the agency to disclose “any reasonably segregable portion of a record” after deleting exempt matters, including § 6103 return information.
Furthermore, in November of 2001 TIGTA confirmed and admitted the existence of the responsive document to my request. In a response to a FOIA request for the entire ROI 9-9801-0002 report that was received on September 18, 2001 from Mr. Frederic L. Rice (see: http://bit.ly/1Ia1jmm ) your agency specifically stated:
"A review of the TIGTA indices revealed that one (1) file is responsive to your request for a copy of TIGTA report 8-9801-0002.
"TIGTA Report Of Investigation (ROI) # 8-9801-0002 consists of one hundred and twenty-three (123) pages. Sixty-two (62) of these pages constitute information which originated with the IRS; we are therefore referring those pages to the IRS for a release determination and a direct reply to you."
Therefore, the reasons I was given on my request is unacceptable. I am not seeking tax return information that can be legitimately withheld in its entirety. I am seeking an administrative record that TIGTA has previously confirmed exists in another public record. As such, I hereby appeal this decision and request that the file indices for ROI 8-9801-0002 be disclosed with any appropriate redaction applied.
Ms. R. M. Seibert
Dear Ms. Seibert,
I have attached TIGTA's response to your FOIA request.
Diane K. Bowers
Government Information Specialist
TIGTA/Chief Counsel/Disclosure Branch
The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.