Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Donations to political nonprofits may be subject to gift tax

By Jesse Zwick | 10.15.10 | 12:45 pm

Interesting new development in the shadowy world of 501(c)4 spending. Forbes is reporting that a Los Angeles tax lawyer is advising clients that their contributions to 501(c)4 groups, like Des Moines-based American Future Fund, could be subject to a weighty 35 percent “federal gift tax.”

In a memo, Ofer Lion, a lawyer with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp who specializes in nonprofit organizations,  writes that unlike contributions to certain other political organizations, there is no gift-tax exemption written into federal law for contributions to 501(c)(4)’s, which the IRS officially classifies as social-welfare organizations but also are often used for lobbying. And that, he says, raises the possibility that down the road the Internal Revenue Service might come calling for the tax, plus interest, plus penalties. “The IRS may well find irresistible the potential revenue to be raised from assessing gift taxes on 501(c)(4) contributors,” writes Lion.

Not every contribution qualifies for a gift tax — married couples, for instance, can give $26,000 a year to as many recipients as they want without incurring a tax, and individual taxpayers also enjoy a lifetime exemption of $1 million before incurring a tax. But if reports of multi-million dollar contributions by wealthy individuals to some 501(c)(4)s are correct, they would easily be surpassing the threshold and could be dissuaded by the tax from giving more.

Spokesmen for Crossroads GPS, a popular outside group spending heavily on behalf of Republicans this midterm cycle, and even the IRS, for that matter, appeared flummoxed by questions regarding a possible gift tax liability for contributions to 501(c)4 groups. It’s not everyday the IRS responds by saying, “That’s an interesting issue,” and asking for more time to look into the matter. To be continued, it seems.


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