The American Fraternal Alliance — a group for 59 not-for-profit fraternal benefit societies in the United States and Canada — is asking Congress to confirm that it supports the fraternals’ U.S. federal income tax exemption.
The alliance is working to line up votes in the House and Senate for two fraternal support resolutions, House Concurrent Resolution 27 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 9.
Both H. Con. Res. 27 and S. Con. Res. 9 would express congressional support for Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(8).
The alliance said last week, in a blog entry, that it will be “laser-focused on efforts to recruit cosponsors” for the resolutions from now through the end of the year.
Congress added Section 501(c)(8) to the Internal Revenue Code in 1909.
IRC Section 501(c)(8) provides a tax exemption for a fraternal benefit society, order or association that has a fraternal purpose, operates a lodge system, and provides the payment of life, sick, accident or other benefits to members, or to members’ dependents.
Today, the list of fraternals includes a number of large, high-profile carriers, such as Thrivent, Knights of Columbus, and Modern Woodmen of America.
Alliance member societies represent the interests of about 8 million fraternal members, according to the alliance.
The alliance points to a 2014 study, by researchers affiliated with the University of Maryland. Those researchers found that Section 501(c)(8) costs the federal government only about $50 million per year in lost revenue, and that fraternals generate about $3.8 billion in charitable and voluntary activities value per year.