The Internal Revenue Service announced its Political Activities Compliance Initiative (PACI) once again will be in effect for the 2008 election season. The PACI program seeks to educate churches and other public charities about the federal law concerning political campaign activity and to enforce the law in this area.
Churches and other charities exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code may not "participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."
"We take very seriously our obligation to ensure that tax-exempt organizations have the information they need to make the right decisions about political campaign activities," said Steven T. Miller, Commissioner of the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division. "The vast majority of organizations want to do the right thing, and as in past years, we will continue our efforts to make sure they have the information they need."
The prohibition against political campaign activity has been in effect for more than half a century and bars certain tax-exempt organizations from intervening on behalf of or in opposition to political candidates. However, these organizations can engage in advocating for or against issues and, to a limited extent, ballot initiatives or other legislative activities. IRS News Release IR- 2008-61.
Permitted Political Campaign Activities by Churches
An analysis of selected activities