Monday, May 17, 2004

Charities May Not Engage in Political Campaign Activities

Much as I would love to see a cardinal or two take one in the shorts for this, the chances of the IRS going after the Catholic Church (or at least after their profits) are just about zero unless Il Papa has Kerry excommunicated ...

Charities May Not Engage in Political Campaign Activities:

IR-2004-59, April 28, 2004
WASHINGTON пїЅ Charities should be careful that their efforts to educate voters comply with the Internal Revenue Code requirements concerning political campaign activities, the tax agency said today in a presidential election-year advisory.
Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) of the Code that are exempt from federal income tax are prohibited from participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. Charities, educational institutions and religious organizations, including churches, are among those that are tax-exempt under this code section.
These organizations cannot endorse any candidates, make donations to their campaigns, engage in fund raising, distribute statements, or become involved in any other activities that may be beneficial or detrimental to any candidate. Even activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate on the basis of nonpartisan criteria violate the political campaign prohibition of section 501(c)(3).
Whether an organization is engaging in prohibited political campaign activity depends upon all the facts and circumstances in each case. For example, organizations may sponsor debates or forums to educate voters. If the debate or forum shows a preference for or against a certain candidate, however, it becomes a prohibited activity."

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