WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service needs legislation from Congress to combat abuse among tax-exempt charitable organizations, including a measure that would allow it to impose lesser penalties than the revocation of tax-exempt status, agency officials told a House subcommittee yesterday.

"We believe it would be useful to provide us with sanctions that are short of revocation," IRS Commissioner Margaret M. Richardson told the House Ways and Means Committee's subcommittee on oversight at a hearing on nonprofit organizations, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy.

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