26 CFR § 1.527-3 - Exempt function income.
(a) General rule.
(i) Contributions of money or other property,
(b) Contributions. The rules of section 271(b)(2) apply in determining whether the transfer of money or other property constitutes a contribution. Generally, money or other property, whether solicited personally, by mail, or through advertising, qualifies as a contribution. In addition, to the extent a political organization receives Federal, State, or local funds under the $1 checkoff provision (sections 9001-9013), or any other provision for financing of campaigns, such amounts are to be treated as contributions.
(c) Dues, fees, and assessments. Amounts received as membership fees and assessments from members of a political organization may constitute exempt function income to the political organization. Membership fees and assessments received in consideration for services, goods, or other items of value do not constitute exempt function income. However, filing fees paid by an individual directly or indirectly to a political party in order that the individual may run as a candidate in a primary election of the party (or run in a general election as a candidate of that party) are to be treated as exempt function income. For example, some States provide that a certain percentage of the first year's salary of the office sought must be paid to the State as a filing (or qualifying) fee and party assessment. The State then transfers part of this fee to the candidate's party. In such a case, the entire amount transferred to the party is to be treated as exempt function income. Furthermore, amounts paid by an individual directly to the party as a qualification fee are treated similarly.
(d) Fund raising events -
(1) In general. Amounts received from fund raising and entertainment events are eligible for treatment as exempt function income if the events are political in nature and are not carried on in the ordinary course of a trade or business. Whether an event is political in nature depends on all facts and circumstances. One factor that indicates an event is a political event is the extent to which the event is related to a political activity aside from the need of the organization for income or funds. For example, an event that is intended to rally and encourage support for an individual for public office would be a political fund raising event. Examples of political events can include dinners, breakfasts, receptions, picnics, dances, and athletic exhibitions.
(2) Ordinary course of any trade or business. Whether an activity is in the ordinary course of a trade or business depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Generally, proceeds from casual, sporadic fund raising or entertainment events are not in the ordinary course of a trade or business. Factors to be taken into account in determining whether an activity is a trade or business include the frequency of the activity, the manner in which the activity is conducted, and the span of time over which the activity is carried on.
(e) Sale of campaign materials. Amounts received from the sale of campaign materials are eligible for treatment as exempt function income if the sale is not carried on in the ordinary course of a trade or business (as defined in paragraph (d)(2) of this section), and is related to a political activity of the organization aside from the need of such organization for income or funds. Proceeds from the sale of political memorabilia, bumper stickers, campaign buttons, hats, shirts, political posters, stationery, jewelry, or cookbooks are related to such a political acitivity where such items can be identified as relating to distributing political literature or organizing voters to vote for a candidate for public office.