26 CFR § 1.528-9 - Exempt function income.

(a) General rule. For the purposes of section 528 exempt function income consists solely of income which is attributable to membership dues, fees, or assessments of owners of residential units or residential lots. It is not necessary that the source of income be labeled as membership dues, fees, or assessments. What is important is that such income be derived from owners of residential units or residential lots in their capacity as owner-members rather than in some other capacity such as customers for services. Generally, for the membership dues, fees, or assessments with respect to a residential unit or lot to be exempt function income, the unit must be used for (or the unit or lot must be expected to be used) for residential purposes. However, dues, fees, or assessments paid to an organization by a developerwith respect to unfinished or finished but unsold units or lots shall be exempt function income even though the developer does not use the units or lots. If an assessment is more in the nature of a fee for the provision of services in the course of a trade or business than a fee for a common activity undertaken by a collective group of owners for the purpose of enhancing or maintaining the value of their residences, the assessment will not be considered exempt function income to the organization. Furthermore, income attributable to dues, fees, or assessments will not be considered exempt function income unless each member's liability for payment arises solely from membership in the association. Dues, fees, or assessments that are based on the extent, if any, to which a member avails him or herself of a facility or facilities are not exempt function income. For the purposes of section 528, dues, fees, or assessments which are based on the assessed value or size of property will be considered as arising solely as a result of membership in the organization. Regardless of the organization's method of accounting, excess assessments during a taxable year which are either rebated to the members or applied to their future assessments are not considered gross income and therefore will not be considered exempt function income for such taxable year. However, if such excess assessments are applied to a future year's assessments, they will be considered gross income and exempt function income for that future year. In addition, assessments in a taxable year, such as an assessment for a capital improvement, which are not treated as gross income do not enter into the determination of whether the organization meets the source of income test for that taxable year.

(b) Examples of exempt function income. Assessments which are considered more in the nature of a fee for common activity than for the providing of services and which will therefore generally be considered exempt function income include assessments made for the purpose of:

(1) Paying the principal and interest on debts incurred for the acquisition of association property;

(2) Paying real estate taxes on association property;

(3) Maintaining association property;

(4) Removing snow from public areas; and

(5) Removing trash.

(c) Examples of receipts which are not exempt function income. Exempt function income does not include:

(1) Amounts which are not includible in the organization's gross income other than by reason of section 528 (for example, tax-exempt interest);

(2) Amounts received from persons who are not members of the association;

(3) Amounts received from members for special use of the organization's facilities, the use of which is not available to all members as a result of having paid the dues, fees or assessments required to be paid by all members;

(4) Interest earned on amounts set aside in a sinking fund;

(5) Amounts received for work done on privately owned property which is not association property; or

(6) Amounts received from members in return for their transportation to or from shopping areas, work location, etc.

(d) Special rule. Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (c)(3) of this section, amounts received from members or tenants of residential units owned by members (notwithstanding § 1.528–1(d)) for special use of an association's facilities will be considered exempt function income if:

(1) The amounts paid by the members are not paid more than once in any 12 month period; and

(2) The privilege obtained from the payment of such amounts lasts for the entire 12 month period or portion thereof in which the facility is commonly in use.

Thus, amounts received as the result of payments by members of a yearly fee for use of tennis courts or a swimming pool shall be considered exempt function income. However, amounts received for the use of a building for an evening, weekend, week, etc., shall not be considered exempt function income.
[T.D. 7692, 45 FR 26323, Apr. 18, 1980]