In its 2012 workplan, the IRS announced it will be paying closer attention to self-declared 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations. These groups include social welfare organizations; labor, agricultural and horticultural groups; as well as business leagues and chambers of commerce. Such organizations consider themselves to be tax-exempt because of the nature of their activities, but they have not filed for nor received a formal determination letter from the IRS. These groups are allowed to operate without an official IRS determination because, unlike the 27 month filing deadline for 501(c)(3) charities, they are not subject to a deadline for filing an application for exemption.
Tax-exempt organizations (other than private foundations) have the ability to influence legislation either as an insubstantial part of their activities or by making the 501(h) election and measuring their lobbying expenditures. However, state and federal laws often require principals and their lobbyists to register prior to engaging in lobbying and file expenditure reports.