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taxmap/pubs/p557-029.htm#en_us_publink1000200345

501(c)(4), 501(c)(9), and 501(c)(17) - 
Employees' Associations(p49)


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501(c)(4), 501(c)(9), and 501(c)(17) - Employees' Associations

This section describes the information to be provided upon application for recognition of exemption by the following types of employees' associations:
  1. A voluntary employees' beneficiary association (including federal employees' associations) organized to pay life, sick, accident, and similar benefits to members or their dependents, or designated beneficiaries, if no part of the net earnings of the association inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual, and
  2. A supplemental unemployment benefit trust whose primary purpose is providing for payment of supplemental unemployment benefits.
Both the application form to file and the information to provide are discussed later under the section that describes your employee association. Chapter 1 describes the procedures to follow in applying for exemption.
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Tax treatment of donations.(p49)


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Donations to these organizations are not deductible as charitable contributions on the donor's federal income tax return.
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Local Employees' Associations (501(c)(4))(p49)


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Local Employees' Associations (501(c)(4))

A local association of employees whose membership is limited to employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality, and whose income will be devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes. A local employees' association must apply for recognition of exemption by filing Form 1024. The organization must submit evidence that:
  1. It is of a purely local character,
  2. Its membership is limited to employees of a designated person or persons in a particular locality, and
  3. Its net earnings will be devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.
A local association of employees that has established a system of paying retirement or death benefits, or both, to its members will not qualify for exemption since the payment of these benefits is not considered as being for charitable, educational, or recreational purposes. Similarly, a local association of employees that is operated primarily as a cooperative buying service for its members in order to obtain discount prices on merchandise, services, and activities does not qualify for exemption.
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Voluntary Employees' 
Beneficiary Associations 
(501(c)(9))(p50)


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Voluntary Employees' Beneficiary Associations (501(c)(9))

An application for recognition of exemption as a voluntary employees' beneficiary association must be filed on Form 1024. The material submitted with the application must show that your organization:
  1. Is a voluntary association of employees,
  2. Will provide for payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits to members or their dependents or designated beneficiaries and substantially all of its operations are for this purpose, and
  3. Will not allow any of its net earnings to inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder except in the form of scheduled benefit payments.
To be complete, an application must include a copy of the document (such as the trust instrument) by which the organization was created; a full description of the benefits available to participants and the terms and conditions of eligibility for benefits (usually contained in a plan document); and, if providing benefits pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, a copy of that agreement.
Note.Under section 4976, the reversion of funds from a section 501(c)(9) organization to the employer who created the beneficiary association may subject the employer to a 100 % penalty excise tax on the amount of the reversion.
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Notice requirement.(p50)


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An organization will not be considered tax exempt under this section unless the organization gives notice to the IRS that it is applying for recognition of exempt status. The organization gives notice by filing Form 1024. If the notice is not given by 15 months after the end of the month in which the organization was created, the organization will not be exempt for any period before notice is given. An extension of time for filing the notice can be granted under the same procedures as those described for section 501(c)(3) organizations in chapter 3 under Application for Recognition of Exemption.
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Membership.(p50)


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Membership of a section 501(c)(9) organization must consist of individuals who are employees and have an employment-related common bond. This common bond can be a common employer (or affiliated employers), coverage under one or more collective bargaining agreements, membership in a labor union, or membership in one or more locals of a national or international labor union.
The membership of an association can include some individuals who are not employees, provided they have an employment-related bond with the employee-members. For example, the owner of a business whose employees are members of the association can be a member. An association will be considered composed of employees if 90% of its total membership on one day of each quarter of its tax year consists of employees.
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Employees.(p50)
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Employees include individuals who became entitled to membership because they are or were employees. For example, an individual will qualify as an employee even though the individual is on a leave of absence or has been terminated due to retirement, disability, or layoff.
Generally, membership is voluntary if an affirmative act is required on the part of an employee to become a member. Conversely, membership is involuntary if the designation as a member is due to employee status. However, an association will be considered voluntary if employees are required to be members of the organization as a condition of their employment and they do not incur a detriment (such as a payroll deduction) as a result of their membership. An employer has not imposed involuntary membership on the employee if membership is required as the result of a collective bargaining agreement or as an incident of membership in a labor organization.
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Payment of benefits.(p50)


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The information submitted with your application must show that your organization will pay life, sick, accident, supplemental unemployment, or other similar benefits. The benefits can be provided directly by your association or indirectly by your association through the payments of premiums to an insurance company (or fees to a medical clinic). Benefits can be in the form of medical, clinical, or hospital services, transportation furnished for medical care, or money payments.
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Nondiscrimination requirements.(p50)


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An organization that is part of a plan will not be exempt unless the plan meets certain nondiscrimination requirements. However, if the organization is part of a plan that is a collective bargaining agreement that was the subject of good faith bargaining between employee organizations and employers, the plan need not meet these requirements for the organization to qualify as tax exempt.
A plan meets the nondiscrimination requirements only if both of the following statements are true.
  1. Each class of benefits under the plan is provided under a classification of employees that is set forth in the plan and does not discriminate in favor of employees who are highly compensated individuals.
  2. The benefits provided under each class of benefits do not discriminate in favor of highly compensated individuals.
A life insurance, disability, severance pay, or supplemental unemployment compensation benefit does not discriminate in favor of highly compensated individuals merely because the benefits available bear a uniform relationship to the total compensation, or the basic or regular rate of compensation, of employees covered by the plan.
For purposes of determining whether a plan meets the nondiscrimination requirements, the employer can elect to exclude all disability or severance payments payable to individuals who are in pay status as of January 1, 1985. This will not apply to any increase in such payment by any plan amendment adopted after June 22, 1984.
If a plan provides a benefit for which there is a nondiscrimination provision provided under Chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code as a condition of that benefit being excluded from gross income, these nondiscrimination requirements do not apply. The benefit will be considered nondiscriminatory only if it meets the nondiscrimination provision of the applicable Code section. For example, benefits provided under a medical reimbursement plan would meet the nondiscrimination requirements for an association, if the benefits meet the nondiscrimination requirements of Code section 105(h)(3) and 105(h)(4).
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Excluded employees.(p50)
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Certain employees who are not covered by a plan can be excluded from consideration in applying these requirements. These include employees:
  1. Who have not completed 3 years of service,
  2. Who have not attained age 21,
  3. Who are seasonal or less than half-time employees,
  4. Who are not in the plan and who are included in a unit of employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement if the class of benefits involved was the subject of good faith bargaining, or
  5. Who are nonresident aliens and who receive no earned income from the employer that has United States source income.
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Highly compensated individual.(p50)
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A highly compensated individual is one who:
  1. Owned 5 percent or more of the employer at any time during the current year or the preceding year,
  2. Received more than $110,000 in 2009 (the amount is adjusted annually for inflation – in 2010 the amount remains at $110,000) in compensation from the employer for the preceding year, and
  3. Was among the top 20% of employees by compensation for the preceding year.
But the employer can choose not to have (3) apply.
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Aggregation rules.(p50)
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The employer can choose to treat two or more plans as one plan for purposes of meeting the nondiscrimination requirements. Employees of controlled groups of corporations, trades, or businesses under common control, or members of an affiliated service group, are treated as employees of a single employer. Leased employees are treated as employees of the recipient.
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One employee.(p50)


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A trust created to provide benefits to one employee will not qualify as a voluntary employees' beneficiary association under section 501(c)(9).
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Supplemental 
Unemployment Benefit 
Trusts (501(c)(17))(p50)


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Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Trusts (501(c)(17))

A trust or trusts forming part of a written plan (established and maintained by an employer, his or her employees, or both) providing solely for the payment of supplemental unemployment compensation benefits must file the application for recognition of exemption on Form 1024. The trust must be a valid, existing trust under local law and must be evidenced by an executed document. A conformed copy of the plan of which the trust is a part should be attached to the application.
To be complete, an application must include a copy of the document (such as the trust instrument) by which the organization was created; a full description of the benefits available to participants and the terms and conditions of eligibility for benefits (usually contained in a plan document); and, if providing benefits pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, a copy of that agreement.
Note.Under Code section 4976, the reversion of funds from a section 501(c)(17) organization to the employer who created the supplemental unemployment benefit trust may subject the employer to a 100% penalty excise tax on the amount of the reversion.
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Notice requirement.(p51)


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An organization will not be considered tax exempt under this section unless the organization gives notice to the IRS that it is applying for recognition of exempt status. The organization gives notice by filing Form 1024. If the notice is not given by 15 months after the end of the month in which the organization was created, the organization will not be exempt for any period before such notice is given. An extension of time for filing the notice is granted under the same procedures as those described for section 501(c)(3) organizations in chapter 3 under Application for Recognition of Exemption.
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Types of payments.(p51)


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You must show that the supplemental unemployment compensation benefits will be benefits paid to an employee because of the employee's involuntary separation from employment (whether or not the separation is temporary) resulting directly from a reduction-in-force, discontinuance of a plant or operation, or other similar conditions. In addition, sickness and accident benefits (but not vacation, retirement, or death benefits) may be included in the plan if these are subordinate to the unemployment compensation benefits.
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Diversion of funds.(p51)


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It must be impossible under the plan (at any time before the satisfaction of all liabilities with respect to employees under the plan) to use or to divert any of the corpus or income of the trust to any purpose other than the payment of supplemental unemployment compensation benefits (or sickness or accident benefits to the extent just explained).
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Discrimination in benefits.(p51)


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Neither the terms of the plan nor the actual payment of benefits can be discriminatory in favor of the company's officers, stockholders, supervisors, or highly paid employees. However, a plan is not discriminatory merely because benefits bear a uniform relationship to compensation or the rate of compensation.
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Prohibited transactions and exemption.(p51)


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If your organization is a supplemental unemployment benefit trust and has received a denial of exemption because it engaged in a prohibited transaction, as defined by section 503(b), it can file a claim for exemption in any tax year following the tax year in which the notice of denial was issued. It must file the claim on Form 1024. The organization must include a written declaration that it will not knowingly again engage in a prohibited transaction. An authorized principal officer of your organization must make this declaration under the penalties of perjury.
If your organization has satisfied all requirements as a supplemental unemployment benefit trust described in section 501(c)(17), it will be notified in writing that it has been recognized as exempt. However, the organization will be exempt only for those tax years after the tax year in which the claim for exemption (Form 1024) is filed. Tax year in this case means the established annual accounting period of the organization or, if the organization has not established an annual accounting period, the calendar year. For more information about the requirements for reestablishing an exemption previously denied, contact the IRS.