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24 / 04 / 2009 - Irish Family Planning Association enjoys charity status despite political lobbying to smash Ireland`s pro-life laws
Did you know that the Irish Family Planning Association enjoys charity status? While Revenue rules outlaw the involvement of "charities" in political lobbying, the IFPA, who are Ireland's foremost abortion peddlers, have retained their charity status despite their ongoing efforts to smash Ireland's pro-life laws in the European Courts.
The IFPA is supporting a case against Ireland at the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg. Three women are alleging that their rights were being denied by the Government's failure to legislate on abortion - the taking of unborn human life. The IFPA hope to use this case to pressurize the government into bringing forward abortion legislation. And political lobbying is a stated strategy of the IFPA. According to the organisation's own 'Agenda for Choice', it is clear that a major purpose is to 'campaign for policy and legislative change to remove restrictions against safe abortions'.
But according to legislation, charities are only entitled to tax benefits if they have been established for charitable purposes only, and if their income is applied for charitable purposes only. The word 'only' is important. These limitations are quoted by the Revenue Commissioners on their website.
Youth Defence were told that any involvement in political lobbying would make it impossible to get charitable status, since under the legislation, such activity, and indeed, all the activities of the charity should therefore be excluded from benefit. The Revenue's website clearly states that exemption to tax will not be granted to organisations that have a mix of charitable and non-charitable purposes or where the objects of the body are considered to be either too vague or too broad.
Approved charities benefit financially from the state in a number of ways. In general, they are exempt from income tax, and other taxes, and are normally exempt from tax on bequests. The exemption from income tax can be quite beneficial, since it means that a further percentage of all donations received can be recouped by the organisation from Revenue if the donor has paid income tax.
These benefits come at a cost: they mean that the taxpayer is subsidising charities. The Revenue Commissioners are thus authorised to approve organisations as charities. They are, in effect, disbursing public money by giving charitable status. (The IFPA also enjoy the benefit of enormous amounts of taxpayer funding, but we're dealing with that issue separately).
The IFPA is openly in breach of Revenue conditions for charitable status. They cannot have it both ways. If charitable status means you are restricted from involvement in political lobbying then the IFPA must lose their charitable status.
The Revenue has responded to our queries by saying that they cannot comment "for reasons of taxpayer confidentiality." But we're not asking for any confidential information, just pointing out that the Revenue must adhere to its own rules by removing charitable status from the IFPA. The Revenue is answerable to the taxpayer not to the IFPA.
Write to the Collector General (who has responsibility for charities) and ask why the IFPA continues to enjoy charitable status from the Revenue Commissioners when they are involved in political activities:
Email : email@example.com
Postal address: Collector General's Office, Sarsfield House, Francis Street, Limerick
You can also call: Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Charities Section, on (lo call) 1890 666333 or email : firstname.lastname@example.org