Action Alert: Send IRS Comments on Proposal to Regulate Nonprofit Web Activities
The IRS is initiating regulation on electronic
communications by nonprofit organizations. Original proposals including making monitoring
who nonprofit organizations link to from their web sites and constituting links as
possible lobbying violations.
The IRS is considering the viability of issuing a range of "guidances" to
the nonprofit sector that would possible restrict the use of the Internet by
exempt organizations. No final decision has occurred as of yet, but a
request for comments has been issued, and interested parties have only
until the 13 February 2001 deadline to submit their opinions.
If you think this is un-important, imagine this: Your social service
nonprofit loses it's 501(c)(3) status for having a link that encourages
youth to vote, or to advocate for social justice issues. Questions being
raised by the IRS include:
To what extent are statements made by subscribers to a forum, such as a
listserv or newsgroup, attributable to an exempt organization that maintains
the forum? Does attribution vary depending on the level of participation of
the exempt organization in maintaining the forum (e.g., if the organization
moderates discussion, acts as editor, etc.)?
TechRocks (http://www.techrocks.org/) and the Alliance for Justice
(http://www.afj.org) has worked with NetVocate to develop an on-line
campaign to mobilize support on this issue which could greatly impact the
future of nonprofits. Speak out. Submitted your comments regarding this
issue at SpeakOutIRS (http://www.speakoutirs.org/).
Right now, the IRS is accepting comments on how to regulate nonprofits and
electronic communications. This could affect nonprofits in many ways - from
what web sites we can link to, to how we calculate our lobbying expenses.
And, we only have until February 13 to make our voices heard!
Please take a moment to learn more about the IRS Announcement at
Then go to http://www.speakoutirs.org/ and make your voice heard.
This comment period is critical, especially with recent changes in the
current government administration. If the IRS develops regulations that
limit the ability of nonprofits to use electronic communication forms for
advocacy, it will set the tone for the rest of this presidency, and perhaps
So speak out. Tell your friends. Tell your fellow staff members. Each voice
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