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May 26, 2015

New IRS Rules for Political Groups Could Come Out in June

The Internal Revenue Service issued a notice last week that new draft regulations on politically active nonprofits could be released as soon as next month, reports The New York Times. Any new rules are unlikely to be in place before the 2016 election, on which nonprofit groups are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

Current regulations provide no clear guidelines on how much tax-exempt organizations can spend on electioneering and what constitutes permissible political activity. "What we really want is a good fair rule for political activity that applies to all nonprofits," said Emily Peterson-Cassin of watchdog group Public Citizen, which has urged the development of more specific rules.

Nonprofits have become popular conduits for campaign cash, as they are not required to disclose their donors. A previous attempt by the IRS to change the rules ran aground last year amid complaints from conservatives that the restrictions would stifle free speech and from left-leaning groups that they were too broad, taking in activity like voter-registration drives.