When the IRS designates an organization as a charity, that organization does not pay federal taxes or property taxes and contributions are tax-deductible. CBS News looked at IRS tax-exempt charities and found that 90 of them are white supremacists groups, anti-immigration groups, anti-Muslim, or anti-LGBTQ.
One such group is the Unite the Right, which organized the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. During the last 10 years, this group and others have received more than $1 billion in tax-deductible donations.
Anyone can do it.
Designating an organization as a charity is incredibly easy. The IRS only rejected 66 out of 100,000 applications, less than 1/10 of 1%. Once an organization is given tax-exempt status, it cannot be revoked just because the IRS doesn’t agree with a viewpoint. So what exactly is a charity that should be exempt from taxation? Is a violent hate group within its rights to be tax-exempt?
“When we hear that term charitable, we think good,” Phil Hackney, a former IRS attorney who is now an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh, told CBS News. But, with these distinctions, the IRS is “endorsing hate groups with dollars.”