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New (But Mostly Old) IRS and Treasury Department Priorities for the Tax-Exempt Sector

The Treasury Department and IRS released the 2014-2015 Priority Guidance Plan on August 26, 2014.  The Guidance Plan lists a total of 317 projects that are priorities for allocation of Treasury Department and IRS resources for July 2014 through June 2015.  Of these, only sixteen relate directly to exempt organizations.  Eleven of the sixteen are carryovers from the 2013-2014 Priority Guidance Plan; the remaining five projects are new, but two of these (dealing with Form 1023-EZ and related streamlined application procedures) were completed before issuance of the 2014-2015 Plan.

The new (and still outstanding) exempt organization projects consist of:

  • Final regulations on application for recognition of exemption as a qualified nonprofit health insurer under Section 501(c)(29) of the Internal Revenue Code (temporary and proposed regulations were published in February 2012);
  • Guidance under Code Section 512 regarding methods of allocating expenses relating to facilities used both to carry out exempt activities and to conduct unrelated trade or business activities (“dual use” facilities); and
  • Final regulations under Code Sections 4942 and 4945 on reliance standards for making good faith determinations that a foreign grant recipient is described in Code Sections 509(a)(1), 509(a)(2), 509(a)(3) (other than certain supporting organizations), or 4942(j)(3) (proposed regulations were published on September 24, 2012).

It is worth noting that, consistent with prior IRS commentary (see our earlier post), it looks like the new political activity regulations (slated for early 2015) likely will catch a broader universe of Section 501(c) organizations than Section 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations.  Last year’s Guidance Plan described the political activity regulations project as “Guidance under §501(c)(4) relating to measurement of an organization’s primary activity and whether it is operated primarily for the promotion of social welfare, including guidance relating to political campaign intervention.”  The current Guidance Plan, however, is not limited to Section 501(c)(4) and describes the political activity regulations project much more broadly:  “Proposed regulations under §501(c) relating to political campaign intervention.”

The Treasury Department and IRS will publish quarterly progress reports on the 2014-2015 Guidance Plan.

Related Links:

The 2014-2015 Priority Guidance Plan is available on the IRS website at:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/2014-2015_pgp_initial.pdf

The 2013-2014 Priority Guidance Plan is available on the IRS website at:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/2013-2014_pgp.pdf