LGBT Community Centers Seeking Tax-Exempt 501(c)(3) Status: Proceed with Caution on Social or Recreational Activities

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In recent years, the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has refused to grant tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status to LGBT community centers with a more than insubstantial amount of activities that appear to be social or recreational in nature. LGBT community centers may therefore wish to exercise caution in the amount of such activities that they undertake. In addition, they may wish to avoid emphasizing such activities in the organization’s mission statement, in written materials, and on its website, as the IRS may consider these in evaluating tax-exempt status. Where activities that may appear to be social or recreational are in fact undertaken for charitable purposes, LGBT community centers may wish to make those purposes clear.