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Lobbying Activity of Section 501(c)(3) Private Foundations

Private foundations that spend money on lobbying activity will incur an excise tax on those expenditures; this tax is so significant that it generally acts as a lobbying prohibition.

In addition, a private foundation does not qualify for section 501(c) (3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly referred to as lobbying).  Legislation includes action by Congress, any state legislature, any local council, or similar governing body with respect to acts, bills, resolutions, or similar items (such as legislative confirmation of appointive office), or by the public in referendum, ballot initiative, constitutional amendment, or similar procedure.

A foundation will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges members of the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the foundation advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.


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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 29-Apr-2014