Staying on the straight and narrow: Tax-Exempt Organizations and Political Activity

We are knee-deep in election season! This is a stimulating time at the national, state and local levels as the November election is fast approaching. Soon, we will be heading to the polls to vote for school board members, judges, county clerks, state senators, congresspersons and President of the United States. Bearing that in mind, it’s a good time to remind our charitable nonprofit directors, officers and staff of the restrictions 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations have as it relates to political campaigns.

Bottom line: you can’t do it! IRS regulations mandate that a charitable nonprofit will lose its tax-exempt status if it participates in political campaign activity. 501(c)(3) organizations are EXPRESSLY prohibited from indirectly or directly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of and in opposition to any candidate for an elected public office. The organization cannot support or oppose a candidate for public office. This is separate and distinct from lobbying, which is permissible with SOME limitations.

Do not jeopardize your tax-exempt status! Tread lightly as you host your candidate forums and other activities while election season rages on. Stay on the straight and narrow! Questions? Concerns? Contact us today!

P: 248-395-3699 E:

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