Can a 501(c)(3) organization provide information in its newsletter or on its website about openings on local elected boards and information about running in local elections without fear of losing its 501(c)(3) status?
Ordinarily, a charitable organization can provide information to the public about political openings and political campaigns without losing its exempt status so long as the information is nonpartisan. The Tax Court held in 1989 that the American Campaign Academy, a school for Republican candidates that taught courses on how to beat Democrats, provided substantial private benefit to the Republican Party and could not be exempt as a charity.
Revenue Service has taken the position that a charity can
be deemed to participate in an election campaign, which can
cause loss of exemption, merely by the kinds of questions
it asks candidates, or by the selective dissemination of their
Ready Reference Page: “Charities May Not Participate
in Elections.”) So if you undertake this kind of
activity, be absolutely sure that the information, or the
context in which it is provided, cannot be considered partisan.
State Charitable Solicitation Statutes: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask
Charities that seek contributions nationally must typically register in 39 states and the District of Columbia before starting to solicit. Furthermore, for-profit fundraisers are also required to register and file their contracts and other documentation with many states. Since many states are increasing their enforcement efforts to ensure that charities and fundraisers are complying with initial and annual registration requirements, it's important that charities and fundraisers abide by these statutes.
Program materials include an extensive review of the statutes and their provisions, plus a copy of the Uniform Registration Statement for multi-state filings. Purchasers will receive an e-mail receipt that includes a link that will take them to the product download. The download is a pdf file. Learn More
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