February 10, 2009

Legal Quick Hit: Lobbying Tax Rules for 501(c)(3) Organizations - A Refresher

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Lobbying Tax Rules for 501(c)(3) Organizations: A Refresher

One of the hallmarks of achieving and maintaining tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) is a strict limitation on legislative advocacy (lobbying). While political campaign activity is completely off-limits for 501(c)(3) entities, most are permitted to engage in some degree of lobbying. How such lobbying is measured and limited varies depending on which set of rules the organization elects to be governed by. In light of the recent changes in government and new legislative agendas on the horizon, it is important for charities and other 501(c)(3) organizations to understand what they can and cannot do within the legislative arena. Thora Johnson and Yosef Ziffer, from Venable LLP's Nonprofit Practice Group, will review the applicable rules and provide some suggestions as to how 501(c)(3) organizations can go about planning and structuring their lobbying activities to avoid legal and tax problems.