26 CFR § 1.501(e)-1 - Cooperative hospital service organizations.
(a) General rule. Section 501(e) is the exclusive and controlling section under which a cooperative hospital service organization can qualify as a charitable organization. A cooperative hospital service organization which meets the requirements of section 501(e) and this section shall be treated as an organization described in section 501(c)(3), exempt from taxation under section 501(a), and referred to in section 170(b)(1)(A) (iii) (relating to percentage limitations on charitable contributions). In order to qualify for tax exempt status, a cooperative hospital service organization must—
(1) Be organized and operated on a cooperative basis,
(2) Perform, on a centralized basis, only one or more specifically enumerated services which, if performed directly by a tax exempt hospital, would constitute activities in the exercise or performance of the purpose or function constituting the basis for its exemption, and
(b) Organized and operated on a cooperative basis—(1) In general. In order to meet the requirements of section 501(e), the organization must be organized and operated on a cooperative basis (whether or not under a specific statute on cooperatives) and must allocate or pay all of its net earnings within 8 1/2 months after the close of the taxable year to its patron-hospitals on the basis of the percentage of its services performed for each patron. To allocate its net earnings to its patron-hospitals, the organization must make appropriate bookkeeping entries and provide timely written notice to each patron-hospital disclosing to the patron-hospital the amount allocated to it on the books of the organization. For the recordkeeping requirements of a section 501(e) organization, see § 1.521–1(a)(1).
(2) Percentage of services defined. The percentage of services performed for each patron-hospital may be determined on the basis of either the value or the quantity of the services provided by the organization to the patron-hospital, provided such basis is realistic in terms of the actual cost of the services to the organization.
(3) Retention of net earnings. Exemption will not be denied a cooperative hospital service organization solely because the organization, instead of paying all net earnings to its patron-hospitals, retains an amount for such purposes as retiring indebtedness, expanding the services of the organization, or for any other necessary purpose and allocates such amounts to its patrons. However, such funds may not be accumulated beyond the reasonably anticipated needs of the organization. See, § 1.537–1(b). Whether there is an improper accumulation of funds depends upon the particular circumstances of each case. Moreover, where an organization retains net earnings for necessary purposes, the organization's records must show each patron's rights and interests in the funds retained. For purposes of this paragraph, the term net earnings does not include capital contributions to the organization and such contributions need not satisfy the allocation or payment requirements.
(4) Nonpatronage and other income. An organization described in section 501(e) may, in addition to net earnings, receive membership dues and related membership assessment fees, gifts, grants and income from nonpatronage sources such as investment of retained earnings. However, such an organization cannot be exempt if it engages in any business other than that of providing the specified services, described in paragraph (c), for the specified patron-hospitals, described in paragraph (d). Thus, an organization described in section 501(e) generally cannot have unrelated business taxable income as defined in section 512, although it may earn certain interest, annuities, royalties, and rents which are excluded from unrelated business taxable income because of the modifications contained in sections 512(b) (1), (2) or (3). An organization described in section 501(e) may, however, have debt-financed income which is treated as unrelated business taxable income solely because of the applicability of section 514. In addition, exempt status under section 501(e) will not be affected where rent from personal property leased with real property is treated as unrelated business taxable income under section 512(b)(3)(A)(ii) solely because the rent attributable to the personal property is more than incidental or under section 512(b)(3)(B)(i) solely because the rent attributable to the personal property exceeds 50 percent of the total rent received or accrued under the lease. Exemption will not be affected solely because the determination of the amount of rent depends in whole or in part on the income or profits derived from the property leased. See, section 512(b)(3)(B)(ii). An organization described in section 501(e) may also derive nonpatronage income from sources that are incidental to the conduct of its exempt purposes or functions. For example, income derived from the operation of a cafeteria or vending machines primarily for the convenience of its employees or the disposition of by-products in substantially the same state they were in on completion of the exempt function (e.g., the sale of silver waste produced in the processing of x-ray film) will not be considered unrelated business taxable income. See, section 513(a)(2) and § 1.513–1(d)(4)(ii). The nonpatronage and other income permitted under this subparagraph (4) must be allocated or paid as provided in subparagraph (1) or retained as provided in subparagraph (3).
(5) Stock ownership—(i) Capital stock of organization. An organization does not meet the requirements of section 501(e) unless all of the organization's outstanding capital stock, if there is such stock, is held solely by its patron-hospitals. However, no amount may be paid as dividends on the capital stock of the organization. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term capital stock includes common stock (whether voting or nonvoting), preferred stock, or any other form evidencing a proprietary interest in the organization.
(ii) Stock ownership as a condition for obtaining credit. If by statutory requirement a cooperative hospital service organization must be a shareholder in a United States or state chartered corporation as a condition for obtaining credit from that corporate-lender, the ownership of shares and the payment of dividends thereon will not for such reason be a basis for the denial of exemption to the organization. See, e.g., National Consumer Cooperative Bank, 12 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.
(c) Scope of services—(1) Permissible services. An organization meets the requirements of section 501(e) only if the organization performs, on a centralized basis, one or more of the following services and only such services: data processing, purchasing (including the purchasing and dispensing of drugs and pharmaceuticals to patron-hospitals), warehousing, billing and collection, food, clinical (including radiology), industrial engineering (including the installation, maintenance and repair of biomedical and similar equipment), laboratory, printing, communications, record center, and personnel (including recruitment, selection, testing, training, education and placement of personnel) services. An organization is not described in section 501(e) if, in addition to or instead of one or more of these specified services, the organization performs any other service (other than services referred to under paragraph (b)(4) that are incidental to the conduct of exempt purposes or functions).
(2) Illustration. The provisions of this subparagraph may be illustrated by the following example.
(i) An organization described in section 501(c)(3) which is exempt from taxation under section 501(a),
(ii) A constituent part of an organization described in section 501(c)(3) which is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) and which, if organized and operated as a separate entity, would constitute an organization described in section 501(c)(3), or
(iii) Owned and operated by the United States, a State, the District of Columbia, or a possession of the United States, or a political subdivision or an agency or instrumentality of any of the foregoing.
(2) Business with nonvoting patron-hospitals. Exemption will not be denied a cooperative hospital service organization solely because the organization (whether organized on a stock or membership basis) transacts business with patron-hospitals which do not have voting rights in the organization and therefore do not participate in the decisions affecting the operation of the organization. Where the organization has both patron-hospitals with voting rights and patron-hospitals without such rights, the organization must provide at least 50 percent of its services to patron-hospitals with voting rights in the organization. Thus, the percentage of services provided to nonvoting patrons may not exceed the percentage of such services provided to voting patrons. A patron-hospital will be deemed to have voting rights in the cooperative hospital service organization if the patron-hospital may vote directly on matters affecting the operation of the organization or if the patron-hospital may vote in the election of cooperative board members. Notwithstanding that an organization may have both voting and nonvoting patron-hospitals, patronage refunds must nevertheless be allocated or paid to all patron-hospitals solely on the basis specified in paragraph (b) of this section.
(3) Services to other organizations. An organization does not meet the requirements of section 501(e) if, in addition to performing services for patron-hospitals (entities described in subdivisions (i), (ii) or (iii) of subparagraph (1)), the organization performs any service for any other organization. For example, a cooperative hospital service organization is not exempt if it performs services for convalescent homes for children or the aged, vocational training facilities for the handicapped, educational institutions which do not provide hospital care in their facilities, and proprietary hospitals. However, the provision of the specified services between or among cooperative hospital service organizations meeting the requirements of section 501(e) and this section is permissible. Also permissible is the provision of the specified services to entities which are not patron-hospitals, but only if such services are de minimis and are mandated by a governmental unit as, for example, a condition for licensing.
(e) Effective dates. An organization, other than an organization performing clinical services, may meet the requirements of section 501(e) and be a tax exempt organization for taxable years ending after June 28, 1968. An organization performing clinical services may meet the requirements of section 501(e) and be a tax exempt organization for taxable years ending after December 31, 1976. However, pursuant to the authority contained in section 7805(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, these regulations shall not become effective with respect to an organization which has received a ruling or determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service recognizing its exemption under section 501(e) until January 2, 1987.