Lobbying by Public Charities

Can a public charity engage in efforts to influence legislation? Yes, but not as a “substantial part” of its activities. Under IRC 501(c)(3), an organization will not qualify (or remain qualified) as tax-exempt if it carries on propaganda, or otherwise attempts to influence legislation, as a “substantial part” of its activities. What constitutes a substantial part is unclear. Neither the Code nor the regulations elaborate on this phrase. Fortunately, Congress enacted IRC § 501(h) to inject some certainty into this area. It provides a safe harbor from the substantial part rule. An organization wanting to influence legislation may make a 501(h) election by filing Form 5768 with the IRS. Thereafter, it will not be treated as substantially engaging in lobbying […]

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Charitable Giving Under the Tax Bill

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes three provisions related to charitable giving.

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501(c)(3) Electioneering Prohibition Alive and Well

Despite efforts by the House, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does NOT scale back the Johnson Amendment.

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Charitable Solicitation in Tennessee

Charities that intend to solicit donations in Tennessee should not overlook the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act.

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Distribution from Donor Advised Fund to Private Foundation

Technically, it is possible, but there would be some significant strings attached.

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Churches and 501(c)(3) Status

Must a church file an exemption application in order to be recognized as tax-exempt under I.R.C. § 501(c)(3)?

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Amateur Sports and 501(c)(3)

Can an amateur sports league qualify as 501(c)(3) organizations? Yes, but only if the organization is organized and operated for purposes that are not merely recreational and not for the sole benefit of its members. Case in point: an adult men’s baseball league applied for tax-exempt status under I.R.C. § 501(c)(3). It claimed to be exclusively charitable. The stated purposes of the organization were to: Provide strong league play Operate a quality run organization that gives back to players and provides the best experience possible (to including tracking stats, providing prizes for season leaders, playoff series, championship series and All- star game) Promote a healthy lifestyle Provide revenue support to area public high schools in the form of field rental […]

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Executive Order on Electioneering by Nonprofits

A recent Executive Order (EO) purports to ease the political speech restrictions on religious organizations, but what does it really do?  Section 2 of the EO, captioned “Respecting Religious and Political Speech,” announces the general rule:  All executive departments and agencies shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech. (emphasis added) The EO then delves into specifics: In particular, the Secretary of the Treasury shall ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that the Department of the Treasury does not take any adverse action against any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization on the basis that such individual […]

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