Tax Exempt Status: Which Organizations Qualify And Why

Tax Exempt Status: Which Organizations Qualify And Why

The Internal Revenue Service is accused of unfairly scrutinizing some conservative organizations. Understanding which groups qualify for tax-exempt status and why.

The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into reports that the Internal Revenue Service gave special and unwarranted scrutiny to tax-exempt applications made by conservative groups. According to a Treasury Inspector General report, the practice began in early 2010. The groups in question had applied for tax exempt status as 501C-4s. These types of organizations can be set up to pursue primarily social welfare objectives, but they're allowed to engage in some political activity. The agency has apologized for the incidents and says it’s taken corrective action, but more changes will probably be required.


Paul S. Ryan

senior counsel at Campaign Legal Center.

Jan Baran

head of the election law group at Wiley Rein LLP, former general counsel to the Republican National Committee and author of "The Election Law Primer for Corporations."

Richard Schmalbeck

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett professor at Duke University School of Law.

David French

senior counsel at American Center for Law and Justice.

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