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Lobbying vs. Advocacy

For the purposes of reporting to the IRS, all 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations (that have taken the section (h) election on IRS Form 5768) must limit direct lobbying to 20% and grassroots lobbying to 5% of total expenses (averaged over a four-year period if yearly expenses are less than $500,000). However, these corporations are unlimited in the amount they can spend on general advocacy and education. The distinction between “direct lobbying, “grassroots lobbying” and “advocacy” is important. The distinction between “advocacy” and “education” is not important for IRS purposes, and they may be considered interchangeable.

Link to the document in PDF format.

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