Social Welfare Groups Beware

The IRS is proposing new regulations for groups seeking 501(c)(4) nonprofit status. This designation was the focus of a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigation of IRS handling of Tea Party-affiliated organizations seeking the preferable tax status. During subsequent congressional hearings, it was learned that more liberal, progressive groups also were targeted by IRS reviewers. The IRS is proposing limits on these so-called social welfare groups’ spending on political campaign-related activities. Expect continued debate on the groups’ activities and IRS oversight before any final regulations are issued. Also look for Congress to restart hearings into IRS activity in the tax-exempt organization area as the 2014 election campaigns heat up. And stay tuned for any changes John Koskinen, a retired corporate restructuring expert who was confirmed Dec. 20, by the Senate as IRS commissioner, might make in his new job.

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