“Got milk?” This phrase may instantly bring to mind a famous campaign to promote milk consumption. This PR campaign was promoted by a trade association dedicated to—what else—selling milk! How could tax-exempt status belong to a group of businesses? The answer is through Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides exemption for “business leagues”—commonly known as trade associations—as well as chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade, and sports leagues. Here are some basics about trade associations.
Encouraging news: Two separate courts recently struck down New Jersey and New York laws requiring mandatory disclosures of donors to nonprofit organizations, affirming First Amendment rights over purported government interests in donor information. These decisions build on both the Trump Administration’s efforts to curtail Section 501(c)(4) donor disclosure requirements and Americans for Prosperity’s ongoing challenge to California’s donor disclosure law applicable to Section 501(c)(3) public charities.
On August 20, 2015, former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the “Youth Mental Health Protection Act”, the stated purpose of which is to "protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth from sexual orientation change efforts [SOCE], also known as conversion therapy.” The law, now codified at 405 ILCS 48/1, et seq. “Act”, provides that “[u]nder no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under the age of 18.” The fact that a provider may believe that such efforts are therapeutic, helpful to a patient, and otherwise good is of no legal consequence.