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Hands off politics – Tax-exempt status at risk

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The Internal Revenue Service will warn charities, churches and other tax-exempt groups to steer clear of political activities, The Wall Street Journal reported July 5.

In an “election-year advisory,” the IRS will say that offenders can lose their tax-exempt status, or get hit by an excise tax on funds spent on political activity.

The IRS will tell 501(c)3 organizations that they are barred from “participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.”

An IRS spokesman told the Journal that charities “cannot endorse any candidates, make donations to their campaigns, engage in political fundraising, distribute statements or become involved in any other activities that may be beneficial or detrimental to any candidate.

The anti-politicking rules also apply to the Web, the Journal says.

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