Thanks Anyway, Uncle Sam: Churches Don’t Need Government Protection from Politics

In a letter to Congress dated February 7, 2018 (“Letter”), 145 faith-based and secular organizations raised hue and cry against the inclusion of Section 116 of House Bill H.R. 3280 within the proposed federal appropriations bill for 2018 (now incorporated into 115 H.R. 3354). Section 116 does not directly repeal the Johnson Amendment’s prohibition on political campaign involvement by churches and other Section 501(c)(3) organizations. Rather, it provides stringent measures to protect against overzealous governmental interference with constitutionally protected houses of worship, effectively preventing the IRS from revoking churches’ tax-exempt status for partisan communications during election seasons.

A New Year, a New 1023-EZ

The IRS’s recent Rev. Proc. 2018-5 included a number of updates and changes to the procedures for the IRS’ issuing of determination letters for exempt organizations pursuant to a filed Form 1023 or 1023-EZ Application for Recognition of Tax Exemption. Among the most significant and impactful changes are those related to the User Fees and to the questions asked on the streamlined Form 1023-EZ.