IRS issues guidelines to help nonprofits avoid campaign complications
Published: July 20, 2007
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The calendar might say that the next national elections are more than 15 months away but the Internal Revenue Service thinks it's never too early for nonprofit organizations to start worrying about how political activity might affect their tax-exempt status. A recent 13-page "revised ruling" outlines 21 situations where election-related activity by 501(c)(3) organizations -- as nonprofits are designated by the section of the tax code applying to them -- could be seen as a violation of the code's ban on participation or intervention in "any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." But the answers are far from clear-cut, according to guidance offered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of General Counsel on the USCCB Web site. "General guidance cannot anticipate every conceivable fact pattern," said the office that provides legal advice to the USCCB and its committees. "Application of the political campaign intervention prohibition is inherently fact-specific and frequently presents close questions."
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