Friday, October 29, 2004
Following up on Tuesday's post on the intersection of tax, politics and religion:
• Today's New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post report on an October 8 letter from the IRS threatening to revoke the NAACP's tax-exempt status in light of NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond's speech this summer condemning the policies of President Bush. Tax Prof Frances Hill (Miami) is critical of the IRS's action in a Newsday article on the subject:(Thanks to Jeffrey Kahn, Steven Sholk, and Linda Sugin for the tips.)Frances Hill, a University of Miami law professor and an expert on the political rights of tax-exempt organizations, read Bond's speech and said it was indeed critical of President George W. Bush. But she added that Bond was probably on safe legal ground because his speech was broadly conceived, didn't focus solely on Bush and touched on a range of issues that have long been trademarks of the NAACP, such as equality and justice. "You can be passionate and still have a tax-exempt status," Hill said. "If the IRS thinks that this speech is sufficient to trigger an audit, then I think we have quite a new standard and they must be planning to audit hundreds of other groups."
• Votelaw reports that Catholics for a Free Choice sent two letters this week to the IRS seeking the revocation of the tax-exempt status of the Archdiocese of Denver and the Archdiocese of St. Louis for giving "clear directions to Catholics to oppose candidates that support positions opposed by the archdiocese."