IRS finds cases of church politicking but few feel sting

Warnings but no revocations for churches
In an ongoing investigation of 2004 partisan politicking by churches and other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, the Internal Revenue Service said that it found violations in 59 of 82 cases as of last month.

Only three organizations—none of them churches—were recommended for revocation of their tax-exempt status, and in another case the IRS applied an excise tax. At the same time, however, the IRS issued new and more detailed guidelines for this year, signaling that the federal agency will treat violations seriously.

“The law does not allow charities to participate in political campaigns,” said IRS commissioner Mark W. Everson in a February 24 news release. “While the vast majority of charities, including churches, did not engage in politicking, our examinations substantiated a disturbing amount of political intervention in the 2004 electoral cycle.”

 

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