Election Year: Learn about Political Campaign Intervention

Article | June 25, 2024 | Atchley & Associates LLP

We are in an election year, and this is always a good time to remind 501(c)(3) organizations about the IRS restrictions of political campaign intervention.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations (which includes churches and educational institutions) are strictly prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. This applies to any campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. Contributions to political campaign funds or making public statements in favor of or against any candidate for public office (written or verbal), violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may lead to denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. 

Voter education or registration activities that show bias in favoring or opposing a candidate or group of candidates will be considered prohibited participation or intervention. However, certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the specific facts and circumstances. For example, conducting non-partisan voter education activities, such as presenting public forums and publishing voter education guides) does not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. Similarly, conducting non-partisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process would not be prohibited political campaign activity. 

The IRS has some FAQs regarding Political Campaign Intervention here. You can also reach out to us with questions regarding your 501(c)(3) organization and the restrictions on political campaign intervention.


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