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Unrelated Business Income Tax on Gift of Corporate Stock

Question 1:

Corporate stock was donated to a church. How are the gains on these stocks for a not-for-profit organization reported to the IRS?

Answer 1:

Section 511 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) imposes tax on tax-exempt organizations, including churches, that earn unrelated business income. Section 512 defines income and exclusions related to the unrelated business income tax (UBIT).

IRC Section 512(a)(1) General rule. "Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the term 'unrelated business taxable income' means the gross income derived by any organization from any unrelated trade or business (as defined in section 513) regularly carried on by it, less the deductions allowed by this chapter which are directly connected with the carrying on of such trade or business."

According to IRC Section 512(b)(5) "stock [Commentary: this does not refer to corporate stock] in trade or other property of a kind which would properly be includible in inventory if on hand at the close of the taxable year, or property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of the trade or business" is subject to UBIT.

The section continues: "There shall also be excluded (my emphasis) all gains or losses recognized, in connection with the organization's investment activities, from the lapse or termination of options to buy or sell securities (as defined in section 1236(c)) or real property and all gains or losses from the forfeiture of good-faith deposits (that are consistent with established business practice) for the purchase, sale, or lease of real property in connection with the organization's investment activities."

Furthermore, IRC Section 512(b)(1) states: "There shall be excluded all dividends (my emphasis), interest, payments with respect to securities loans (as defined in subsection (a)(5)), amounts received or accrued as consideration for entering into agreements to make loans, and annuities, and all deductions directly connected with such income."

Question 2:

How will the broker record the tax-free status of the church organization?

Answer 2:

Typically, the broker will be required to record the church's federal identification number. This will facilitate issuance of Forms 1099-B and 1099-Div reporting the gross proceeds of corporate stock sales and dividends. Since the church is not required to file a return these forms will be for information purposes only and should not prompt an IRS inquiry.

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