IRS Questions Groups that ‘Self-Declare’ They Are Tax-Exempt

The Internal Revenue Service has sent questionnaires to some 1,300 social-welfare groups, labor unions, and business associations seeking information on their spending, structure, political activity, and qualification for tax exemptions, says NPR.

The questionnaires target “self-declared” 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), 501(c)(6) organizations that claim to qualify for tax-exempt status but have never applied for such with the IRS.

In a statement, the IRS called the effort a “compliance check” that aims “to help us understand” the self-declared groups. The most explicit questions in the nine-page document concern political activity by 501(c)(4) groups, which have spent heavily on campaign advertising in recent years, triggering criticism from political watchdog groups and others about a lack of oversight.

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