Internal Revenue Service
Tax-exempt advocacy groups that played an aggressive role in this year's election are coming under increasing scrutiny from state regulators, who are cracking down on organizations seeking to engage in campaigns without revealing their financial backers. The pressure in states with stringent campaign finance rules contrasts sharply with the federal level, where nonprofits that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence races this year have not been required to disclose their donors.
Nonprofits are stepping up the pressure on Congress and President Obama to protect the charitable deduction as elected officials continue to debate spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the national deficit. More than 225 nonprofit leaders are scheduled to arrive in Washington on Tuesday to begin a two-day lobbying effort to warn Congress about what they say will be great harm to their organizations if the charitable deduction is reduced.
The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday that American employees could donate, through payroll deductions, their vacation, sick and personal leave days to organizations helping with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The IRS has allowed such donations before, after the Sept. 11 attacks and again after Hurricane Katrina. Under the temporary rules, employers give cash to charitable organizations in exchange for leave time employees agree to forgo. The money must be donated by Jan. 1, 2014.
Nonprofits need a single organization to spearhead a national advocacy network to champion public policies that help charities and foundations, especially as Washington seems poised to consider an overhaul of the federal tax code, says a new report.
A two-year study involving more than 100 interviews with experts and studies of 500 advocacy efforts was released Wednesday by Independent Sector, a coalition of charities and foundations. The report estimated that it would cost $20 million over four years to establish a national organization to push a nonprofit agenda.
After a two-and-a-half year wait, the San Francisco Public Press has won tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, the group said. While the IRS decision sends a positive signal to backers of nonprofit journalism, other news organizations that have applied for charity status are still awaiting word from the tax agency.
The San Francisco Public Press, a local news website and print newspaper, first filed for tax-exempt status in January 2010.
The data in this special report, “How America Gives,” come from a comprehensive study The Chronicle of Philanthropy conducted to examine giving data by ZIP code and by income level in every city and town in the United States.
The study is based on exact dollar amounts released by the Internal Revenue Service showing the value of charitable deductions claimed by American taxpayers. It is not based on extrapolations from spot surveys or statistical models.
A California state Senate committee is discussing issues about nonporfit hospitals at a hearing as part of the debate over whether nonprofit hospitals do enough to justify their tax-exempt status. California law requires most tax-exempt hospitals to submit information annually on their "community benefits" through free or partial charity care and other means.
But state law doesn't require nonprofit hospitals to deliver specific amounts of uncompensated care and other community benefits in order to qualify for their tax-exempt status, according to state auditors.
The Federal Election Commission told political advocacy groups Friday that it would enforce new disclosure rules for some nonprofits under a recent court ruling, but many key groups have taken steps to evade the requirements. Legal experts said the FEC guidance makes it clear that nonprofit groups will have to reveal some of their major donors if they pay for electioneering communications — also known as “issue ads” — that name political candidates but stop short of urging viewers to vote for or against them.
Senate Republicans blocked a bid by Democrats on Monday to require political fundraising groups to reveal their anonymous contributors who are fueling negative television advertisements ahead of the November election.
By a 51-44 party line vote, supporters of the Disclose Act of 2012 fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear a Republican procedural hurdle.
Women are exerting a greater influence on how philanthropy is done as they accumulate wealth and use their clout to change the way funds are raised and distributed. Roughly 1 million women in the United States each have assets of at least $2 million, according to 2007 Internal Revenue Service data, the most recent available. Wealth controlled by charitably minded women can be expected to grow as they build careers and inherit money from their parents and their husbands.