No clear, easy answer on 'nonprofit' raffles

info@islandpacket.comMay 23, 2013 

The headline for the May 16 editorial "Misunderstandings on raffles can be fixed" voices optimism.

Well into this editorial appear the words from recently enacted Act 011: "Nonprofit organizations must be recognized by the S.C. Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service."

A problem with this fix for our raffle problem is apparent in a story on the same front page. The lead headline shouts, "An 'angry' Obama fires acting IRS chief." Why is this occurring? Because the IRS tried to follow well-intended congressional directives in deciding who qualifies for the tax designation of a 501(c)(4) organization.

According to Act 011, the IRS and our state Department of Revenue will be required to determine that the primary purpose of an organization wishing to conduct a raffle is charitable (i.e. not political). Would politically linked organizations, such as a Republican club, a Democratic club or a tea party group, be appropriately designated charitable?

Could the Greater Bluffton Republican Club qualify for conducting a raffle of an AR-15 rifle? Changing the constitution to enacting the law in 2015 would enable South Carolina to jump into the same pot that now disturbs our national politics.

David Rice

Bluffton

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