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Form 990 or 990-EZ - Schedule C Indianapolis Indiana: What You Should Know

For more information about tax-exempt status, check out the following resources: — —  2023 by ProPublica, a division of the Center for Public Integrity. See our entire ProPublica series on the IRS. The 2023 tax form from the Indian tribe in Washington has many of the same questions you answered about its tax-exempt status. Indian tribes should avoid making claims for “charitable contributions” to charities while conducting their own political affairs, IRS experts say. Many tribes have made charitable donations that appeared to have no benefit to them — or were claimed to be made out-of-pocket — but benefited the tribe's political leadership or supporters, the officials said in interviews. Under federal law, the only way a tribe can avoid a penalty for violating it is to prove that its actions did not “significantly” benefit the tribe or its members. That hasn't been possible in some instances — and the IRS hasn't decided whether to bring a case, and will likely wait until after the 2023 election season, which is just getting underway, until it does, an IRS official said. “We don't want to do anything that's going to jeopardize our ability to collect.” “It is not that we think the rules aren't good enough, but that the rules are so broad they can have unintended consequences,” said Michael Avian, a tax lawyer at Arnold & Porter. Indian tribes are allowed to make donations out of their own pockets or to charities that represent their interests with a tax return, Avian said. But if the tribe makes such donations while claiming the donations are for the benefit of the tribe's members, then it would essentially be engaging in a political activity — a claim prohibited by the tax law. Tax law allows tax-exempt non-profit organizations to engage in political activities as long as they don't “significantly” benefit someone other than the organization, said John R. Video, a partner at the law firm of Wiley Rein. “It's that there's some kind of significant benefit, so that's the kind of test that they have to meet. “ For any such donations, tribes should provide their tax form to the IRS, at no charge, Video advised. The IRS declined to comment.

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