The following activities are specifically excluded from the definition of unrelated trade or business. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067500
Any trade or business in which substantially all the work is performed for the organization without compensation is not an unrelated trade or business.taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067501
A retail store operated by an exempt orphanage where unpaid volunteers perform substantially all the work in carrying on the business is not an unrelated trade or business.taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067502
A volunteer fire company conducts weekly public dances. Holding public dances and charging admission on a regular basis may, given the facts and circumstances of a particular case, be considered an unrelated trade or business. However, because the work at the dances is performed by unpaid volunteers, the activity is not an unrelated trade or business. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067503
A trade or business carried on by a 501(c)(3) organization or by a governmental college or university primarily for the convenience of its members, students, patients, officers, or employees is not an unrelated trade or business. For example, a laundry operated by a college for the purpose of laundering dormitory linens and students' clothing is not an unrelated trade or business. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067504
Soliciting and receiving qualified sponsorship payments is not an unrelated trade or business, and the payments are not subject to unrelated business income tax. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067505
This is any payment made by a person engaged in a trade or business for which the person will receive no substantial benefit other than the use or acknowledgment of the business name, logo, or product lines in connection with the organization's activities. "Use or acknowledgment" does not include advertising the sponsor's products or services. The organization's activities include all its activities, whether or not related to its exempt purposes.
For example, if, in return for receiving a sponsorship payment, an organization promises to use the sponsor's name or logo in acknowledging the sponsor's support for an educational or fundraising event, the payment is a qualified sponsorship payment and is not subject to the unrelated business income tax.
Providing facilities, services, or other privileges (for example, complimentary tickets, pro-am playing spots in golf tournaments, or receptions for major donors) to a sponsor or the sponsor's designees in connection with a sponsorship payment does not affect whether the payment is a qualified sponsorship payment. Instead, providing these goods or services is treated as a separate transaction in determining whether the organization has unrelated business income from the event. Generally, if the services or facilities are not a substantial benefit or if providing them is a related business activity, the payments will not be subject to the unrelated business income tax.
Similarly, the sponsor's receipt of a license to use an intangible asset (for example, a trademark, logo, or designation) of the organization is treated as separate from the qualified sponsorship transaction in determining whether the organization has unrelated business taxable income.
If part of a payment would be a qualified sponsorship payment if paid separately, that part is treated as a separate payment. For example, if a sponsorship payment entitles the sponsor to both product advertising and the use or acknowledgment of the sponsor's name or logo by the organization, then the unrelated business income tax does not apply to the part of the payment that is more than the fair market value of the product advertising. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067506
A payment is not a qualified sponsorship payment if, in return, the organization advertises the sponsor's products or services. For information on the treatment of payments for advertising, see Exploitation of Exempt Activity—Advertising Sales in chapter 4.
- Messages containing qualitative or comparative language, price information, or other indications of savings or value;
- Endorsements; and
- Inducements to purchase, sell, or use the products or services.
The use of promotional logos or slogans that are an established part of the sponsor's identity is not, by itself, advertising. In addition, mere distribution or display of a sponsor's product by the organization to the public at a sponsored event, whether for free or for remuneration, is considered use or acknowledgment of the product rather than advertising. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067507
A payment is not a qualified sponsorship payment if its amount is contingent, by contract or otherwise, upon the level of attendance at one or more events, broadcast ratings, or other factors indicating the degree of public exposure to one or more events. However, the fact that a sponsorship payment is contingent upon an event actually taking place or being broadcast does not, by itself, affect whether a payment qualifies. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067508
A payment is not a qualified sponsorship payment if it entitles the payer to the use or acknowledgment of the business name, logo, or product lines in the organization's periodical. For this purpose, a periodical is any regularly scheduled and printed material (for example, a monthly journal) published by or on behalf of the organization. It does not include material that is related to and primarily distributed in connection with a specific event conducted by the organization (for example, a program or brochure distributed at a sponsored event).
The treatment of payments that entitle the payer to the depiction of the payer's name, logo, or products lines in an organization's periodical is determined under the rules that apply to advertising activities. See Sales of advertising space under Examples, earlier in this chapter. Also see Exploitation of Exempt Activity—Advertising Sales in chapter 4. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067509
A payment is not a qualified sponsorship payment if it is made in connection with any qualified convention or trade show activity. The exclusion of qualified convention or trade show activities from the definition of unrelated trade or business is explained later under Convention or trade show activity. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067510
A trade or business that consists of selling merchandise, substantially all of which the organization received as gifts or contributions, is not an unrelated trade or business. For example, a thrift shop operated by a tax-exempt organization that sells donated clothes and books to the general public, with the proceeds going to the exempt organization, is not an unrelated trade or business. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067511
The sale of certain items by a local association of employees described in section 501(c)(4), organized before May 17, 1969, is not an unrelated trade or business if the items are sold for the convenience of the association's members at their usual place of employment. This exclusion applies only to the sale of work-related clothes and equipment and items normally sold through vending machines, food dispensing facilities, or by snack bars. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067512
Certain bingo games are not included in the term "unrelated trade or business." To qualify for this exclusion, the bingo game must meet the following requirements.
- It meets the legal definition of bingo.
- It is legal where it is played.
- It is played in a jurisdiction where bingo games are not regularly carried on by for-profit organizations.
For a game to meet the legal definition of bingo, wagers must be placed, winners must be determined, and prizes or other property must be distributed in the presence of all persons placing wagers in that game.
A wagering game that does not meet the legal definition of bingo does not qualify for the exclusion, regardless of its name. For example, "instant bingo," in which a player buys a pre-packaged bingo card with pull-tabs that the player removes to determine if he or she is a winner, does not qualify. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067514
This exclusion applies only if bingo is legal under the laws of the jurisdiction where it is conducted. The fact that a jurisdiction's law that prohibits bingo is rarely enforced or is widely disregarded does not make the conduct of bingo legal for this purpose. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067515
This exclusion applies only if for-profit organizations cannot regularly carry on bingo games in any part of the same jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is normally the entire state; however, in certain situations, local jurisdiction will control. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067516
Tax-exempt organizations X and Y are organized under the laws of state N, which has a law that permits exempt organizations to conduct bingo games. In addition, for-profit organizations are permitted to conduct bingo games in city S, a resort community located in county R. Several for-profit organizations conduct nightly games. Y conducts weekly bingo games in city S, while X conducts weekly games in county R. Since state law confines the for-profit organizations to city S, local jurisdiction controls. Y's bingo games conducted in city S are an unrelated trade or business. However, X's bingo games conducted in county R outside of city S are not an unrelated trade or business. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067517
Any game of chance conducted by an exempt organization in North Dakota is not an unrelated trade or business if conducting the game does not violate any state or local law. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067518
The term unrelated trade or business does not include qualified pole rentals by a mutual or cooperative telephone or electric company described in section 501(c)(12). A qualified pole rental is the rental of a pole (or other structure used to support wires) if the pole (or other structure) is used:
- By the telephone or electric company to support one or more wires that the company uses in providing telephone or electric services to its members, and
- According to the rental, to support one or more wires (in addition to the wires described in 1) for use in connection with the transmission by wire of electricity or of telephone or other communications.
For this purpose, the term rental includes any sale of the right to use the pole (or other structure).
The term unrelated trade or business does not include activities relating to the distribution of low cost articles incidental to soliciting charitable contributions. This applies to organizations described in section 501 that are eligible to receive charitable contributions.
A distribution is considered incidental to the solicitation of a charitable contribution if:
- The recipient did not request the distribution,
- The distribution is made without the express consent of the recipient, and
- The article is accompanied by a request for a charitable contribution to the organization and a statement that the recipient may keep the low cost article regardless of whether a contribution is made.
An article is considered low cost if the cost of an item (or the aggregate costs if more than one item) distributed to a single recipient in a tax year is not more than $5, indexed annually for inflation. The maximum cost of a low cost article is $9.50 for 2009. The cost of an article is the cost to the organization that distributes the item or on whose behalf it is distributed. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067520
The exchange or rental of member or donor lists between organizations described in section 501 that are eligible to receive charitable contributions is not included in the term unrelated trade or business. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067521
The providing of certain services at or below cost by an exempt hospital to other exempt hospitals that have facilities for 100 or fewer inpatients is not an unrelated trade or business. This exclusion applies only to services described in section 501(e)(1)(A). taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067522
An unrelated trade or business does not include a qualified public entertainment activity. A public entertainment activity is one traditionally conducted at a fair or exposition promoting agriculture and education, including any activity whose purpose is designed to attract the public to fairs or expositions or to promote the breeding of animals or the development of products or equipment.
A qualified public entertainment activity is one conducted by a qualifying organization:
- In conjunction with an international, national, state, regional, or local fair or exposition;
- In accordance with state law that permits the activity to be operated or conducted solely by such an organization or by an agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision of the state; or
- In accordance with state law that permits an organization to be granted a license to conduct an activity for not more than 20 days on paying the state a lower percentage of the revenue from the activity than the state charges nonqualifying organizations that hold similar activities.
For these purposes, a qualifying organization is an organization described in section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(5) that regularly conducts an agricultural and educational fair or exposition as one of its substantial exempt purposes. Its conducting qualified public entertainment activities will not affect determination of its exempt status. taxmap/pubs/p598-005.htm#en_us_publink100067523
An unrelated trade or business does not include qualified convention or trade show activities conducted at a convention, annual meeting, or trade show.
A qualified convention or trade show activity is any activity of a kind traditionally carried on by a qualifying organization in conjunction with an international, national, state, regional, or local convention, annual meeting, or show if:
- One of the purposes of the organization in sponsoring the activity is promoting and stimulating interest in, and demand for, the products and services of that industry or educating the persons in attendance regarding new products and services or new rules and regulations affecting the industry; and
- The show is designed to achieve its purpose through the character of the exhibits and the extent of the industry products that are displayed.
For these purposes, a qualifying organization is one described in section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), or 501(c)(6). The organization must regularly conduct, as one of its substantial exempt purposes, a qualified convention or trade show activity.
The rental of display space to exhibitors (including exhibitors who are suppliers) at a qualified convention or trade show is not an unrelated trade or business even if the exhibitors who rent the space are permitted to sell or solicit orders. For this purpose, a supplier's exhibit is one in which the exhibitor displays goods or services that are supplied to, rather than by, members of the qualifying organization in the conduct of these members' own trades or businesses.
Certain Internet activities conducted by a trade association described in section 501(c)(6) will be considered qualified convention and trade show activity if conducted on a special supplementary section of the association's website in conjunction with a trade show conducted by the association. The trade show itself must be a qualified convention and trade show activity. The supplementary section of the website must be ancillary to, and serve to augment and enhance, the trade show, as when it makes available the same information available at the trade show and is available only during a time period that coincides with the time period that the trade show is in operation. Conversely, Internet activities that are not conducted in conjunction with a qualified convention and trade show activity and that do not augment and enhance the trade show cannot themselves be qualified convention and trade show activity.