Amid revelations of Russian-backed Facebook ad campaigns and troublesome data leaks, Facebook has recently implemented new mandatory disclaimer labels and related requirements for advertisements deemed to be “political.” Given applicable political restrictions for Section 501(c)(3) organizations, does Facebook’s new political ad policy mean that public charities may no longer advertise on Facebook? Or could Facebook’s new ad policy lead to legal trouble for Section 501(c)(3) organizations, if the IRS should question their self-declared “political” involvement? The answer to both questions should be “No,” but the taint of identifying activities as “political” may well create some legitimate consternation among nonprofits.
It’s no surprise to pay sales tax when buying goods at stores. But what happens when a nonprofit organization sells goods, through a website, at periodic conferences, or as part of its program activities? Must the nonprofit collect sales tax too on its sales of T-shirts, books, or other items made available to others, just like a store? Aren’t nonprofits exempt from taxes? If a nonprofit’s sales are not exempt, under which state sales tax law will it owe sales tax?
Does your nonprofit organization purchase tangible goods at retail, like office supplies, furniture, or computers? If so, it may qualify for exemption from state sales tax on such purchases, with substantial resulting savings. That’s great news! Keep in mind though that sales tax exemption is state-specific. Each state has its own exemption qualification requirements, application process, and renewal aspects. So if a nonprofit buys goods elsewhere, such as for out-of-state conferences or a new program office, it may need to apply for sales tax exemptions in other states.