Nonprofits and Political Activity

HNP Communications In the Headlines

This is a reminder from the board of the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes (NATRI).

The IRS is paying attention to political activity of nonprofits, including religious organizations. Tax law prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations from directly or indirectly participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for elective public office. Following is a short list of the most common prohibited activities examined by the IRS:

  • Disseminating printed materials that encourage people to vote for a particular candidate
  • Voicing support for, or criticism of, a candidate on the nonprofit’s Web site or through links to another Web site
  • Circulating voter guides or candidate ratings that don’t comply with regulation
  • Displaying signs that support candidates on the nonprofit’s property
  • Giving improper preferential treatment to certain candidates by allowing them to speak at your functions
  • Contributing cash to a candidate’s campaign