Making every child’s potential a reality by establishing the New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers, Inc. (NYS PTA) as the premier association for parent involvement and advocacy for all children.
The overall purpose of PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.
Charitable and education organizations 501(c)(3)s such as PTAs face some restrictions regarding their lobbying activities. PTAs also must refrain from violating PTA policies of nonpartisanship. A 501(c)(3) organization which makes a 501(h) election can expend between 5% and 20% of its total annual program expenditures according to a formula. Restrictions on grassroots lobbying (i.e., efforts to inform we the public) are more severe. If a PTA does not file an IRS form to make the Section 501(h) election, it may expend an “insubstantial amount” on lobbying activities, generally understood as no more than 5% of the organization’s total annual program expenditures.
The following are some sample PTA activities, which may be used as general guidelines in determining what constitutes lobbying efforts:
Not considered lobbying efforts:
Considered lobbying efforts, and must be counted for lobbying expenditures.
50l(c)(3)s, such as PTAs, are absolutely prohibited from participating or intervening in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for political office.
Any violation of the political campaign guidelines may result in revocation of tax-exempt status and loss of deductible contributions. Moreover, the IRS will consider complaints from the public that an educational organization is engaged in impermissible political campaign activity. During an election year, questions about IRS political restrictions for not-for-profits increase tremendously.
PTA officers, employees and volunteers may choose to participate on their own in the political process. If so, the following rules should be observed:
PTAs may not make statements (oral or written) supporting or opposing any candidate for public office. They may not encourage votes for or against any candidate for public office, via a speech, PTA bulletin, editorial position or other media. PTAs should avoid statements that indirectly support or oppose a particular candidate, such as labeling a candidate as pro-education or anti-teacher. PTAs should not host partisan political events.
A PTA may not provide financial support to any candidate, political action committee (PAC) or political party. In addition, it may not provide other forms of campaign support, such as free volunteers, facilities or mailing lists to any candidate. It may not use PTA letterhead to solicit contributions.
A PAC is a political committee whose purpose is to influence the election of any individual to public office. Generally, a 501(c)(3) may not establish or support (financially or otherwise) a PAC.
Because the political campaign activity prohibition is absolute, PTA organizations must take the prohibition on political activity seriously. Any violation of the restriction may result in revocation of exempt status and consequent loss of deductible contributions. There are additional financial penalties which may be imposed on both the association and on association managers. The financial penalties on managers can be as high as $10,000.
The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Albany, New York 12224
Temporary President of the Senate and Majority Leader
Chairman, Senate Education Committee
To find your Senator: www.nysenate.gov
Click “Find My Senator” or “Senators & Committees”
Speaker of the Assembly
Carl E. Heastie
Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes
To find your Assemblymember: assembly.state.ny.us
Click on “Assembly Members”, then use the drop-down menu or click “Search by Address”
TO CHECK THE STATUS OF A BILL:
NYS ASSEMBLY: assembly.state.ny.us/leg/
NYS SENATE: www.nysenate.gov/legislation
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