IRS Determines NAACP Should Retain Tax Exempt Status

Investigation concludes Association did not violate tax laws or commit undue political intervention

The Internal Revenue has informed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that it has concluded its examination of NAACP activities and determined the Association did not violate conditions of its tax exempt status.

"We have determined that you continue to qualify as an organization described in IRC section 501c(3)," the IRS wrote in a letter to the NAACP dated Aug. 9. IRS official Marsha A. Ramirez said that a review of video footage of the Bond speech and other information indicated "that political intervention did not occur."

The IRS launched an examination of the NAACP on October 8, 2004 after receiving complaints from several Republican members of Congress who said their constituents believed NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond crossed the line of non-partisanship in a speech at the NAACP 2004 National Convention critical of Bush administration policies.

"The good news is that we are vindicated," said Bond. "The bad news for us and other freedom loving Americans is that it was initiated for partisan purposes to threaten our right to free speech. We’ll continue to speak truth to power."

The IRS initiated an audit of the NAACP just one month before the 2004 presidential election and nearly three months before the end of the NAACP’s tax year. The IRS refused to explain the basis of its investigation for more than a year. The NAACP learned the basis for the examination only after filing four Freedom of Information ACT requests (FOIA).

The documents included complaints filed by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), then-Senator Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Representatives JoAnn Davis (R-Va.) and Larry Combest (R-Texas), then-Representatives Robert Ehrlich (R-Md.) and Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) and political donor Richard Hug. In the interest of ensuring transparency, integrity and fairness in the administration of the tax law, the NAACP will release copies of all the documents provided thus far by request.

Source: NAACP