26 CFR 56.4911-5 - Communications with members.

§ 56.4911-5 Communications with members.
(a) In general. For purposes of section 4911, expenditures for certain communications between an organization and its members (“membership communications”) are treated more leniently than are communications to nonmembers. This § 56.4911-5 contains rules about the more lenient treatment. In certain cases, this section provides that expenditures for a membership communication are not lobbying expenditures even though those expenditures would be lobbying expenditures if the communication were to nonmembers. In other cases, this section provides that expenditures for a membership communication are direct lobbying expenditures even though those expenditures would be grass roots expenditures if the communication were to nonmembers. Paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of this section set forth the more lenient rules that apply for communications that are directed only to members. Paragraph (e) of this section sets forth the more lenient rules that apply for communications that are directed primarily, but not solely, to members. Paragraph (f) of this section sets forth certain definitions and special rules.
(b) Communications (directed only to members) that are not lobbying communications. Expenditures for a communication that refers to, and reflects a view on, specific legislation are not lobbying expenditures if the communication satisfies the following requirements:
(1) The communication is directed only to members of the organization;
(2) The specific legislation the communication refers to, and reflects a view on, is of direct interest to the organization and its members;
(3) The communication does not directly encourage the member to engage in direct lobbying (whether individually or through the organization); and
(4) The communication does not directly encourage the member to engage in grass roots lobbying (whether individually or through the organization).
(c) Communications (directed only to members) that are direct lobbying communications. Expenditures for a communication that refers to, and reflects a view on, specific legislation and that satisfies the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(4) of this section, but does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b)(3) of this section, are treated as expenditures for direct lobbying.
(d) Communications (directed only to members) that are grass roots lobbying communications. Expenditures for a communication that refers to, and reflects a view on, specific legislation and that satisfies the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section, but does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b)(4) of this section, are treated as grass roots expenditures (whether or not the communication satisfies the requirements of paragraph (b)(3) of this section).
(e) Written communications directed to members and nonmembers—
(1) In general. Expenditures for any written communication that is designed primarily for members of an organization (but not directed only to members) and that refers to, and reflects a view on, specific legislation of direct interest to the organization and its members, are treated as expenditures for direct or grass roots lobbying in accordance with paragraph (e)(2), (e)(3) or (e)(4) of this section. For purposes of this section, a communication is designed primarily for members of an organization if more than half of the recipients of the communication are members of the organization.
(2) Direct lobbying directly encouraged—
(i) Lobbying expenditure amount. If a written communication described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section directly encourages readers to engage individually or through the organization in direct lobbying but does not directly encourage them to engage in grass roots lobbying, the cost of the communication is allocated between expenditures for direct lobbying and grass roots expenditures in accordance with paragraphs (e)(2) (ii) and (iii) of this section. The portion of the cost to be allocated includes all costs of preparing all the material with respect to which readers are urged to engage in direct lobbying plus the mechanical and distribution costs attributable to the lineage devoted to this material (see § 1.512(a)-1(f)(6)).
(ii) Grass roots amount. The amount allocable as a grass roots expenditure for a communication described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section is the amount calculated in paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section multiplied by the sum of the nonmember subscribers percentage and all the other distribution percentage, both as defined in paragraph (f)(7) of this section. Solely for purposes of the allocation described in this paragraph (e)(2)(ii), the nonmember subscribers percentage is treated as zero unless it is greater than 15% of total distribution.
(iii) Direct lobbying amount. The amount allocable as an expenditure for direct lobbying for a communication described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section is the excess of the amount described in paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section over the amount described in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section.
(3) Grass roots expenditure if grass roots lobbying directly encouraged. If a written communication described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section directly encourages readers to engage individually or collectively (whether through the organization or otherwise) in grass roots lobbying (whether or not it also encourages readers to engage in direct lobbying), the grass roots expenditure includes all the costs of preparing all the material with respect to which readers are urged to engage in grass roots lobbying plus the mechanical and distribution costs attributable to the lineage devoted to this material (see § 1.512(a)-1(f)(6)).
(4) No direct encouragement of direct lobbying or of grass roots lobbying. If a written communication described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section does not directly encourage readers to engage in either direct lobbying or grass roots lobbying, expenditures for the communication are not lobbying expenditures.
(f) Definitions and special rules. For purposes of the regulations under section 4911—
(1) Member; general rule. A person is a member of an electing public charity if the person—
(i) Pays dues or makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount,
(ii) Makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount of time, or
(iii) Is one of a limited number of “honorary” or “life” members who have more than a nominal connection with the electing public charity and who have been chosen for a valid reason (such as length of service to the organization or involvement in activities forming the basis of the electing public charity's exemption) unrelated to the electing public charity's dissemination of information to its members.
(2) Member; special rule. A person not a member of an electing public charity within the meaning of paragraph (f)(1) of this section may be treated as a member if the electing public charity demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Internal Revenue Service that there is a good reason for its membership requirements not meeting the requirements of such paragraph (f)(1), and that its membership requirements do not operate to permit an abuse of the rules described in this section.
(3) Member; affiliated group of organizations. For purposes of this section, a person who is a member of an organization that is a member of an affiliated group of organizations (within the meaning of § 56.4911-7(e)) is treated as a member of each organization in the affiliated group.
(4) Member; limited affiliated group of organizations. For purposes of this section, a person who is a member of an organization that is a member of a limited affiliated group of organizations (within the meaning of § 56.4911-10(b)) is treated as a member of each organization in the limited affiliated group, but only to the extent that the communication relates to a national legislative issue (within the meaning of § 56.4911-10(g)).
(5) Subscriber. A person is a subscriber to a written communication if—
(i) The person is a member of the publishing organization and the membership dues expressly include the right to receive the written communication, or
(ii) The person has affirmatively expressed a desire to receive the written communication and has paid more than a nominal amount of the communication.
(6) Directly encourages—(i) Direct lobbying—(A) In general. For purposes of this section, a communication directly encourages a recipient to engage in direct lobbying, whether individually or through the organization, if the communication:
(1) States that the recipient should contact a legislator or an employee of a legislative body, or should contact any other government official or employee who may participate in the formulation of legislation (but only if the principal purpose of urging contact with the government official or employee is to influence legislation);
(2) States the address, telephone number, or similar information of a legislator or an employee of a legislative body; or
(3) Provides a petition, tear-off postcard or similar material for the recipient to communicate his or her views to a legislator or an employee of a legislative body, or to any other government official or employee who may participate in the formulation of legislation (but only if the principal purpose of so facilitating contact with the government official or employee is to influence legislation).
(B) “Self-defense” exception for communications with members. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (f)(6)(i)(A) of this section, for purposes of paragraphs (b)(3), (e)(2)(i), (e)(3) and (e)(4) of this section, a communication that directly encourages a member to engage in direct lobbying activities that are described in section 4911(d)(2)(C) and that would not be attempts to influence legislation if engaged in directly by the organization is treated as a communication that does not directly encourage a member to engage in direct lobbying.
(ii) Grass roots lobbying. For purposes of paragraphs (b)(4), (e)(3) and (e)(4) of this section, a communication directly encourages recipients to engage individually or collectively (whether through the organization or otherwise) in grass roots lobbying if the communication:
(A) States that the recipient should encourage any nonmember to contact a legislator or an employee of a legislative body, or to contact any other government official or employee who may participate in the formulation of legislation (but only if the principal purpose of urging contact with the government official or employee is to influence legislation);
(B) States that the recipient should provide to any nonmember the address, telephone number, or similar information of a legislator or an employee of a legislative body; or
(C) Provides (or requests that the recipient provide to nonmembers) a petition, tear-off postcard or similar material for the recipient (or nonmember) to use to ask any nonmember to communicate views to a legislator or an employee of a legislative body, or to any other government official or employee who may participate in the formulation of legislation, but only if the principal purpose of so facilitating contact with the government official or employee is to influence legislation. For purposes of this paragraph (f)(6)(ii)(C), a petition is provided for the recipient to use to ask any nonmember to communicate views if, for example, the petition has an entire page of preprinted signature blocks. Similarly, for purposes of this paragraph (f)(6)(ii)(C), where a communication is distributed to a single member and provides several tear-off postcards addressed to a legislator, the postcards are presumed to be provided for the member to use to ask a nonmember to communicate with the legislator.
(7) Percentages of total distribution. With respect to a communication described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section—
(i) “Member percentage” means the percentage of total distribution that represents distribution of a single copy to any member;
(ii) “Nonmember subscribers percentage” means the percentage of total distribution that represents distribution to nonmember subscribers (including libraries); and
(iii) “All other distribution percentage” means 100% reduced by the sum of the member percentage and the nonmember subscribers percentage.
(8) Reasonable allocation rule. In the case of lobbying expenditures for a communication that also has a bona fide nonlobbying purpose and that is sent only or primarily to members, an electing public charity must make a reasonable allocation between the amount expended for the lobbying purpose and the amount expended for the nonlobbying purpose. See § 56.4911-3(a)(2)(ii).

Title 26 published on 2013-04-01

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