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Venable partner Ron Jacobs was quoted in a May 17, 2013 CEO Update article on how tax-exempt associations report their lobbying activity to the IRS. There are varying definitions of what qualifies as lobbying activity, ranging from broad IRS definitions to similar, but not identical, definitions held by 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) organizations.

Jacobs said “there’s still a little bit of wiggle room, I would say, in what different groups count as lobbying or influencing regulation.” Groups may determine their lobbying costs based on either the IRS definitions or the Lobbying Disclosure Act definitions. Regarding the two approaches, Jacobs said there is no trend of groups altering reporting methods, but they are, however, “paying more attention to the differences between the two, and making the decision based on what’s best from a public relations standpoint.”