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Political Campaign Intervention Rules Foggy at IRS, With Definitions Lacking

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
By Diane Freda

Nov. 15 --Significant and long-standing problems with the definition of political campaign intervention exist at the Internal Revenue Service, including that no one really knows how the term should be defined, practitioners discussing the IRS's rules on the subject--or lack of them--said.

Panelists at a Nov. 15 conference on tax-exempt organizations sponsored by the American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education and the American Bar Association Section of Taxation discussed some of the challenges practitioners face in guiding their clients through the maze of pronouncements the IRS has made on the subject of political activity.

None of these statements are particularly clear, John Pomeranz, an attorney with Harmon Curran Spielberg & Eisenberg LLP, told the audience, and the IRS doesn't have extensive regulations laying out a series of rules for what is and isn't political activity.

Rather, the Service has repeatedly said that an analysis of “all the relevant facts and circumstances” should determine whether or not a particular activity or communication constitutes prohibited political campaign intervention.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diane Freda in Washington at dfreda@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Ferguson at bferguson@bna.com

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