Introduction On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that directs the executive branch to limit its enforcement of the “Johnson Amendment.” As previously reported, the Johnson Amendment prohibits organizations that are exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code from engaging in political campaign activities.¹ The executive order limits enforcement of the… Continue Reading
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (“PATH”) Act of 2015, enacted in December 2015, requires organizations to notify the IRS if they desire to operate under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”). (Only organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Code are required to apply for and receive recognition of their tax-exempt status;… Continue Reading
IRS Exempt Organizations group has sent out more than 1,300 questionnaires to self-declared Section 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations; 501(c)(5) labor, agricultural or horticultural organizations; or 501(c)(6) business leagues. The questionnaires are part of IRS efforts to increase voluntary compliance, learn more about self-declared exempt organizations, and determine whether self-declared exempt organizations are complying with applicable tax-exempt… Continue Reading
Two new bills recently introduced in the California State Legislature would increase the disclosure requirements applicable to certain nonprofit organizations participating in California political campaigns and would strengthen the enforcement authority of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Under current California regulations that went into effect this past May, nonprofit organizations such as Section 501(c)(6)… Continue Reading
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has issued proposed regulations that would require many nonprofit organizations to annually disclose certain information about their political spending and their donors’ identities. According to the Attorney General, the proposed regulations are in response to nonprofit organizations, in particular Section 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, that have engaged in… Continue Reading
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(4) organizations are defined by the Internal Revenue Code as “social welfare organizations.” Treas. Reg. section 1.501(c)(4)-1(a)(2) provides that the organization must be “primarily engaged in promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the people of the community.” Some members of Congress and the IRS have recently taken an… Continue Reading
In its highly divisive 5-4 opinion in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court dramatically altered the framework regulating corporate speech during federal elections. Released on January 21, 2010, the Court’s decision struck down legislative and judicial restrictions that have been in place for decades, preventing corporations and labor unions from using general treasury funds on political speech during federal elections. In addition to directly impacting for-profit corporations and labor unions, this case will have a substantial effect on the not-for-profit sector.