Organizations Subject to the Tax
The tax on unrelated business income applies to most organizations exempt from tax under section 501(a). These organizations
include charitable, religious, scientific, and other organizations described in section 501(c), as well as employees' trusts
forming part of pension, profit-sharing, and stock bonus plans described in section 401(a).
In addition, the following are subject to the tax on unrelated business income.
Individual retirement arrangements (IRAs), including traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Coverdell IRAs, simplified employee pensions
(SEP-IRAs), and savings incentive match plans for employees (SIMPLE IRAs).
State and municipal colleges and universities.
Qualified state tuition programs.
Medical savings accounts (MSAs) described in section 220(d).
Coverdell savings accounts described in section 530.
A corporation that is a U.S. instrumentality described in section 501(c)(1) is not subject to the tax on unrelated
business income if the corporation is organized under an Act of Congress and, under the Act, is exempt from federal income
Colleges and universities.
Colleges and universities that are agencies or instrumentalities of any government or any political subdivision of
a government, or that are owned or operated by a government or political subdivision of a government, are subject to the tax
on unrelated business income. As used here, the word government includes any foreign government (to the extent not contrary
to a treaty) and all domestic governments (the United States and any of its possessions, any state, and the District of Columbia).
The tax is on the unrelated business income of both the universities and colleges themselves and on their wholly owned
tax exempt subsidiary organizations. It is immaterial whether the business is conducted by the university or by a separately
incorporated wholly owned subsidiary. If the business activity is unrelated, the income in both instances will be subject
to the tax. If the primary purpose of a wholly owned subsidiary is to operate or conduct any unrelated trade or business (other
than holding title to property and collecting income from it), the subsidiary is not an exempt organization, and this rule
does not apply.
When an exempt title-holding corporation, described in section 501(c)(2), pays any of its net income to an organization
that itself is exempt from tax under section 501(a) (or would pay such an amount except that the expenses of collecting its
income exceed the amount collected) and files a consolidated return with that organization, the title-holding corporation
is treated, for unrelated business income tax purposes, as organized and operated for the same purposes as the exempt payee
Thus, a title-holding corporation whose source of income is related to the exempt purposes of the payee organization
is not subject to the unrelated business income tax if the holding corporation and the payee organization file a consolidated
return. However, if the source of the income is not so related, the title-holding corporation is subject to unrelated business
X, a title-holding corporation, is required to distribute its net income to A, an exempt organization. During the tax year,
X realizes net income of $900,000 from source M, which is related to A's exempt function. X also receives $100,000 from source
N, which is not related to A's exempt function. X and A file a consolidated return for the tax year. X has unrelated business
income of $100,000.