June 4, 2015

Encouraging signs on new rules for nonprofit political activity

From: The Hill

By Lisa Gilbert, contributor, and Greg Colvin

Nonprofits of many stripes have spent time reading the tea leaves in the year-plus that the Treasury Department and the IRS have been revising a rule that will guide them in conducting political activity. At last, they may have something solid to rely on.


While OIRA postings are not always reliable predictors of when a rule will be issued, the public declaration of a June release date is a hopeful sign for nonprofits, which have been waiting for news since the IRS announced in May 2014 that it would revise a previous draft rule. The OIRA listing demonstrates that the IRS and Treasury remain committed to better defining political intervention and replacing the vague “facts and circumstances” approach that currently governs what counts as political activity for nonprofits. (Whether an activity is political is based on all the “facts and circumstances” surrounding the case.) It shows they have been undaunted by critics in Congress who would cast aside this important exercise in careful line-drawing as an infringement on free speech.

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