IRS Revokes Tax-Exempt Status for White Nationalist Group

Protesters at a White Nationalist conference

Protesters at a White Nationalist conference

The National Policy Institute (NPI) has lost its tax-exempt status as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. The group failed to comply with IRS criteria to maintain tax-exempt status in that it did not file tax returns for three consecutive years.

NPI is a fringe movement whose leader, Richard Spencer, received news coverage because of his support for Donald Trump during the presidential campaiagn. Ideology of the NPI is described as a mixture of racism, white nationalism, and populism. Richard Spencer popularized the term “alt-right”, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “a rebranding of white nationalism meant to make it seem more acceptable in the political mainstream.” Spencer spoke at a November 2016 Alt-Right conference and concluded with, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!”, to which many people in the audience responded with the Nazi salute.

Spencer blamed the loss of the tax-exempt status on an error by the IRS that led the NPI to believe it was unnecessary to file tax returns. According to a senior research fellow for the nonprofit watchdog Guidestar, IRS records show that in 2006 or 2007 the NPI was erroneously reclassified by the IRS as an organization that did not need to file tax returns.

NPI plans to appeal the revocation. Spencer said he felt confident the NPI could regain its tax-exempt status. “I’m assuming we can play ball with the IRS going forward,” he said. He also said the NPI had already submitted tax forms for last three years.

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