Political Activity Limits and Tax Exemption: A Gordian's Knot

Research Report

Political Activity Limits and Tax Exemption: A Gordian's Knot

August 25, 2014

Abstract

The article considers the correct tax treatment of political activity, examines administrative and legislative options to problems raised, and concludes that after the Citizens United decision, definitional political activity limits on noncharitable exempts should be eliminated, but only if the 527(f) tax on investment income remains vital and there are uniform donor disclosure rules. In addition, Congress should: extend the income tax to transfers of appreciated property to noncharitable exempts, take steps to prevent the laundering of independent expenditures through the charitable form, and develop a new tax baseline for political activity conducted "for profit" or outside of section 527.

Research Area: 

Cross-Center Initiative

Cross-Center Initiative: 
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