Nonprofit Law Matters

Tag Archives: lobbying

Nonprofits: Amplify Your Voice in the November Election with these Helpful Tips

Posted in Nonprofit Governance & Ethics, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Uncategorized, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

Our friends at California Association of Nonprofits have some creative tips for how nonprofits can make their voices heard on Election Day, and some resources to help.  Check it out!

Independent Sector Webinar, April 19, on Charities and Elections

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

Independent Sector, a leading national organization of nonprofits, will host a webinar on Tuesday, April 19, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time (11:00 a.m. Pacific) on the topic “How 501(c)(3)s Can Engage with Candidates and Voters.” On the panel, our own Greg Colvin will cover the basic do’s and don’ts, and describe nonpartisan ways that charities can… Continue Reading

Proposition C Impacts Nonprofit Organizations Lobbying in San Francisco

Posted in Nonprofit Governance & Ethics, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

The City and County of San Francisco’s lobbying ordinance (Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code §§2.100-155) currently requires any person influencing local legislative or administrative actions through contacts with city officials or their staff to register with the Ethics Commission, but the ordinance provides an exemption for certain nonprofits (all 501(c)(3)s and some smaller 501(c)(4)s). The… Continue Reading

A Smart Pitch for Nonprofit Advocacy

Posted in Grantmaking & Social Investing, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

Campion Foundation Trustee Sonya Campion recently made an intelligent pitch for private foundation directors, and their institutions, to arm themselves with knowledge about the rules governing advocacy by foundations and their grantees, and to use the powerful tools that the tax code provides for funding change.  We couldn’t agree more! Want to get started?  These free… Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on IRS and Political Tax Law

Posted in Private Foundations, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

I had the honor of testifying in Washington, D.C., on July 29, 2015, before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, chaired by Senator Ted Cruz, about the current IRS work on developing regulations to define political campaign activity for tax-exempts.  (The picture below shows us, the witnesses, being… Continue Reading

Do’s & Don’ts: Public Charities in an Election Year

Posted in Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

You’re a public charity.  Maybe you’re brand new; or maybe you’ve existed for years but suddenly have an issue your constituents need to know about on the ballot this year.  Maybe one of your Board members is a candidate for elective office.  Maybe you’d like to host a debate.  Maybe you want to register your… Continue Reading

Proposed San Francisco Ordinance Would Impose Significant New Disclosure Obligations on Nonprofits That Interact with City Officials

Posted in Private Foundations, Public Charities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

A recent proposal by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu would impose significant new disclosure obligations on nonprofits that have business with the City and County of San Francisco.  Apparently intended to target communications and expenditures made by or on behalf of certain developers seeking to influence public officials, the proposal in its… Continue Reading

Comments Due Tomorrow on 501(c)(4) Political Activity Proposed Regulations

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

You may have heard that the IRS recently issued draft regulations that would drastically change how it defines and treats political activity of 501(c)(4) organizations. The deadline for submitting comments on the draft regulations is tomorrow, February 27.  Here are two easy options for adding your voice to the discussion: Draft and submit your own comments,… Continue Reading

Just Released Proposed 501(c)(4) Regulations: A Good Start, But Rough . . .

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service released proposed regulations purporting to address the recent controversy over political activity conducted by and through organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, which are not required to disclose their donors publicly.  We’ll have more to say soon, but after an initial quick reading,… Continue Reading

Bright Lines Project Submits Legislation to Congress to Fix Tax Law on Political Activity

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

There may be a silver lining to the crisis at the Internal Revenue Service, as the news of the last two months has revealed serious defects in the IRS administration of rules on political activity by tax-exempt organizations.  Take a look at www.brightlinesproject.org. For the last four years, the Bright Lines Project, sponsored first by OMB… Continue Reading

Less Is Even More Now: Details of Tax Simplification Proposals for Exempt Organizations’ Political and Lobbying Activities

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

On May 31, we posted on this blog a summary of fourteen proposals for simplifying the Internal Revenue Code, making it easier for exempt organizations to understand and comply with their obligations, and easier for the IRS to enforce those obligations.  We know someone reads our blog, because the posting was referenced as the source of… Continue Reading

Less is More: A Proposal for Tax Simplification for Exempt Organizations’ Political and Lobbying Activities

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

Recent press coverage of the IRS’s review of exemption applications, and Washington’s reactions to it, has shone a spotlight on a problem that tax-exempt practitioners have been talking about for years:  the need to clarify standards surrounding political and lobbying activity by exempt organizations, and to make compliance with the law easier, for the IRS… Continue Reading

IRS Sends Compliance Check Questionnaire to More Than 1,300 “Self-declared” 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) Organizations

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

As part of a compliance check initiative, this week the IRS sent out letters to more than 1,300 section 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) “self-declared” exempt organizations, requesting the completion of a nine-page online questionnaire (Form 14449) regarding their activities, revenue, and expenditures.  Unlike section 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, which are required to obtain an IRS determination of… Continue Reading

Private Foundations and Many Charities Can Pull Out All the Stops to Protect the Charitable Contribution Deduction Using the “Self-Defense” Exception in the IRS Lobbying Rules

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

The debate in Congress over the “fiscal cliff” has the nonprofit sector worried for lots of reasons.  A big one  is the proposal to raise revenue by reducing, capping, or modifying the charitable contribution deduction, which is vital to most charities’ fundraising prospects. Fortunately, federal tax law lets many charities and all private foundations pull out… Continue Reading

In Honor of National Public Health Week: Advocacy and Lobbying of Public Health Organizations After Section 503 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (HR 2055)

Posted in Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

It’s National Public Health Week, which has us thinking about the good works of our many 501(c)(3) clients who, in one way or another, work to alleviate public health concerns.  We spend lots of time helping these organizations use the opportunities that the tax code provides to maximize the reach and impact of their advocacy,… Continue Reading