Skip to comments.IRS Warns Churches Against Campaigning
Posted on 07/18/2006 2:58:24 PM PDT by aceintxEdited on 07/18/2006 3:04:41 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Internal Revenue Service has been warning churches and nonprofit organizations that improper campaigning in the upcoming political season could endanger their tax-exempt status.
In notices to more than 15,000 tax-exempt organizations, numerous church denominations and tax preparers, the agency has detailed its new enforcement program, called the Political Activity Compliance Initiative, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Under the initiative, the IRS plans to expedite investigations into claims of improper campaigning, no longer waiting for an annual tax return to be filed or the tax year to end before launching a probe. A three-member committee will make an initial review of complaints and then vote on whether to pursue the investigation in detail.
"While the vast majority of charities and churches do not engage in politicking, an increasing number did take part in prohibited activities in the 2004 election cycle," IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in a statement. "The rule against political campaign intervention by charities and churches is long established. We are stepping up our efforts to enforce it
Since 2004, the IRS has investigated more than 200 organizations, including All Saints Church in Pasadena.
Two days before the 2004 presidential election, the Rev. George F. Regas, the church's former rector, delivered a guest sermon that pictured Jesus in a debate with George W. Bush and John Kerry. Although Regas didn't endorse a candidate, he said Jesus would have told Bush that his pre-emptive war policy "has led to disaster."
The church drew national attention when the Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints, disclosed the IRS investigation and later said the agency believed the church had violated federal tax code barring tax-exempt organizations from intervening in political campaigns and elections.
Church leaders have not heard from the IRS since October, when the agency said the investigation was being taken to a higher level, according to Regas. The IRS has not confirmed whether the investigation is still ongoing.
Of the 62 organizations determined by the IRS to be in violation, three lost their nonprofit status and 59 received warning letters. The three who lost their status were not churches, and some of those warned were ordered to pay an excise tax.
Federal law prohibits the IRS from releasing the names of those under investigation, but the agency said it has more than 100 cases pending and 40 of them are churches.
This month, OMB Watch, a Washington-based nonprofit government watchdog group, issued a report criticizing the IRS enforcement program and said the program could prompt retaliatory and harassment complaints unless the agency develops clear guidelines.
"I don't think this is a case of bad faith," said Kay Guinane, author of the report. "I just think it's a poorly structured program."
Relax. There will be zero enforcement against mosques and black liberal churches.
Looks like the IRS trumps the first ammendment to the constitution. One can dream that the Supreme Court members are able to read (and write).
P.S. Interested in a Freeper in Congress? Keep in touch with me.
You're wrong. If churches want to maintain their tax exceptions they need to stay out of politics. That's the law.
The difference now seems to be that for a change it's going to be enforced. This will cripple black churches if it's enforced evenly.
The great abuser --- the First AME Church. It is nothing but a political arm of the Rat party.
Churches where Revrund Jackson and Revrund Sharpton, or any churches where Democrats are campaigning, need not worry.
This ruling only applies to conservatives and churches that believe the Bible.
And the 4th and any other they deem necessary to "enforce" tax compliance.
Just another reason to abolish and demolish the IRS.
I saw this. I always found it interesting how the IRS (and yes, liberal bed wetters) treat the church as an independent being that exists in some sort of vaccuum. Last I heard a church's membership is comprised by persons who already presumably pay taxes, and whatever funds a church acquires is from those persons.
There is this matter of a little bit of law that gets in the way. If you want to maintain your tax-free status; you must be non-political. Now, if you want to become a political entity, and accept or solicit funds for political causes; knock yourself out. However, in keeping with the laws on the books; you can not do this and remain in the tax-free status.
Why not? they already trump the 14th. Why not others as well?
Given that you probably meant to say "exemption" instead of "exceptions", I would agree only if Federal Funding to ANY school where teachers OR professors encourage DEMOCRAT/LIBERAL/SOCIALIST views and votes also LOSE THEIR FEDERAL FUNDING
What do you think ?
Black southern baptist churches have for years been used as a recruiting platfotm for liberal democrats.
With no enforcement of these laws.
Do you know how the limitations on the political activities of non-profits came about?
From the website: Renew America
"Approximately half a century ago, then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson (D-T.X.) successfully attached a restriction on the partisan activity of non-profit groups to that year's tax bill. At the time, no one recognized the seemingly minor attachment as a major development in the American political or religious communities. Yet, the relationship between God and government had been significantly altered. After the sea change, churches were prohibited from engaging in partisan activities such as endorsing candidates. Violators can lose their tax exempt status.
Congressman Jones accurately labels Lyndon Johnson's law as politically motivated. Many Texas-based non-profits opposed Johnson's reelection bid for the U.S. Senate, and he had no intention of allowing them to interfere for a second time. Using his position as majority leader, Johnson was able to effectively legislate his opposition out of existence."
The Texas-based non-profits were Baptist churches, or should I say Baptist preachers who were warning their congregations of Johnson's bad character. LBJ didn't like their "meddling" so the used legislation to silence his opponents.
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