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

Discussion in 'Tax' started by News Subsystem, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. 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.
    News Subsystem, Jan 12, 2004
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  2. 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.
    Paul A Thomas, Jan 13, 2004
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  3. 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.

    Stuart O. Bronstein, Jan 13, 2004
  4. 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
    Whit Matteson, Jan 14, 2004
  5. News Subsystem

    GenFinSvcs Guest

    The guidelines I've seen for lobbying said less than
    This is what I was told by an attorney on a similiar
    GenFinSvcs, Jan 21, 2004
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