Key Arizona Tea Party groups say IRS did not give them additional review - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Key Arizona Tea Party groups say IRS did not give them additional review

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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2013 9:04 am | Updated: 7:20 pm, Fri May 24, 2013.

The decision by the IRS to take a closer look at Tea Party finances apparently did not affect some key organizations in Arizona.

Several groups contacted Friday said they had not had their books audited. But the reason may be simple: The IRS was looking at organizations incorporated as a 501(c)(4), a particular type of nonprofit.

Trent Humphries, former president of the Tucson Tea Party, said his group took specific action to avoid such a review.

"We were warned by other groups that if you try to do type of 501 (c)(4) or anything like that, yeah, they're going to come after you, and hard,'' he said. Humphries, a co-founder of the organization, was a conscious choice not to seek that status.

Traditional charities, organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code cannot get involved at all in politics.

An organization incorporated as a 501(c)(4), generally classified as a social welfare organization, also cannot have direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. But federal law does permit lobbying on measures related to the organization's goals without losing its tax-exempt status.

Humphries said the risk of crossing the line -- and attracting IRS attention -- was not worth it.

"We just pay full taxes now because of that,'' he said.

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