Question about a 501(c)(3) organization and lobbying


N

News Subsystem

I could not find the answer to this question in IRS
Publication 557 (Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization).

In a newsletter for a 501(c)(3) organization, let's say it's
a 12-page newsletter, if you devote one page to lobbying, is
the lobbying expense then 1/12th of the expense of that
newsletter, or does the entire expense of that newsletter
have to be attributed to lobbying?

Thanks for any help.
 
P

Paul A Thomas

News Subsystem said:
I could not find the answer to this question in IRS
Publication 557 (Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization).

In a newsletter for a 501(c)(3) organization, let's say it's
a 12-page newsletter, if you devote one page to lobbying, is
the lobbying expense then 1/12th of the expense of that
newsletter, or does the entire expense of that newsletter
have to be attributed to lobbying?
I doubt that a newsletter, that may just report on the
lobbying efforts of the group, count as a lobbying effort.

But to be safe, allocate 1/12 of the cost of publishing and
distributing the newsletter as lobbying expense.
 
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S

Stuart O. Bronstein

News Subsystem said:
I could not find the answer to this question in IRS
Publication 557 (Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization).

In a newsletter for a 501(c)(3) organization, let's say it's
a 12-page newsletter, if you devote one page to lobbying, is
the lobbying expense then 1/12th of the expense of that
newsletter, or does the entire expense of that newsletter
have to be attributed to lobbying?
While I haven't had the need to research this topic, my
guess is that if you engage in improper lobbying the entire
organization can lose its nonprofit status, not just for the
improper expense.

Stu
 
W

Whit Matteson

While I haven't had the need to research this topic, my
guess is that if you engage in improper lobbying the entire
organization can lose its nonprofit status, not just for the
improper expense.
Lobbying (attempting to influence legislation) by
501(c)(3)'s is permitted as long as it's insubstantial.
Political campaign activity (participating or intervening in
a campaign on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for
public office) is forbidden. Lobbying might turn into
political campaign activity if the position on a piece of
legislation is closely tied to a candidate. The guidelines
I've seen for lobbying said less than 5% spent on lobbying
is probably OK, more than 15% is probably not. The rules
definining what constitutes lobbying or political activity
are pretty tightly defined -- a non-partisan rating of
candidates is political activity, as is a newsletter article
that indicates a bias for a candidate. Advocating a position
on an issue, even if there is no legislation pending, is
considered lobbying.

Whit Matteson
 
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G

GenFinSvcs

The guidelines I've seen for lobbying said less than
5% spent on lobbying is probably OK, more than 15%
is probably not.
This is what I was told by an attorney on a similiar
question.
 

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