Sunday, April 20, 2008

IRS Continues Program on Political Campaign Activity by Charities; Stresses Education and Enforcement

On April 17, 2008, the IRS issued a news release announcing the continuation of its Political Activities Compliance Initiative for the 2008 Campaign Season.  The Initiative involves both education and compliance.  The IRS seeks to educate 501(c)(3) organizations (i.e., charities and churches) about the federal statutory ban on political activity.

The News Release is reprinted below, including appropriate links for more information:

The Internal Revenue Service's Political Activities Compliance Initiative (PACI) will remain in effect for the 2008 election season. PACI seeks to educate section 501(c)(3) organizations such as charities and churches about the federal ban on political activity.

As in previous years, the 2008 IRS Effort will include both educational and compliance components. This year's initiative will include:

Letters to the national political party committees explaining the law's ban on political campaign activity by charities and churches.

      A letter in the Federal Election Commission's monthly newsletter asking candidates to ensure that their contacts with charitable organizations do not inadvertently jeopardize the tax-exempt status of any organization.

      A news release reminding charities and churches of the ban.

      Reorganizing the IRS' Web site materials concerning the ban to make them more accessible to organizations, political candidates and parties, and the general public.

      Examinations of organizations the IRS believes may be violating the ban.

Updated: April 18, 2008

This guidance is particularly important in the 2008 Election Season in light of recent attention given to church leaders and their comments, and the increasing activity of nonprofit organizations that takes on an extra political hue during this campaign season and the heightened scrutiny by all.


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