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Private schools' use of website to publicize racially nondiscriminatory policy

Use of website to publicize racially nondiscriminatory

The IRS today released an advance version of Rev. Proc. 2019-22 that provides a private school may use its Internet website to publicize the school’s racially nondiscriminatory policy as to students.

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Rev. Proc. 2019-22 [PDF 16 KB] modifies Rev. Proc. 75-50 by providing an additional method—an Internet website posting—to publicize the school’s racially nondiscriminatory policy.

Background

Rev. Proc. 75-50 provides guidelines and recordkeeping requirements for determining whether a private school—applying to be or currently recognized as exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) and described in section 501(c)(3)—has adopted a racially nondiscriminatory policy regarding students and operates in a bona fide manner in accordance with that policy.

A provision of Rev. Proc. 75-50 requires a private school to make its racially nondiscriminatory policy known to all segments of the general community served by the school in one of two methods:

  • By publishing, at least once annually, a notice of its racially nondiscriminatory policy in a newspaper of general circulation that serves all racial segments of the community
  • By using the broadcast media to publicize the school’s racially nondiscriminatory policy, provided that the means by which the policy is communicated is reasonably expected to be effective

Rev. Proc. 2019-22

Today’s revenue procedure adds a third method to those two provided by the 1975 revenue procedure—the school may display a notice of its racially nondiscriminatory policy on its primary publicly accessible Internet homepage at all times during its tax year (excluding temporary outages due to website maintenance or technical problems) in a manner reasonably expected to be noticed by visitors to the homepage.

The revenue procedure defines “a publicly accessible homepage” as one that does not require a visitor to input information (such as an email address or a username and password) to access the homepage.

According to Rev. Proc. 2019-22, among the factors to be considered in determining whether a notice is reasonably expected to be noticed by visitors to the homepage include:

  • The size, color, and graphic treatment of the notice in relation to other parts of the homepage
  • Whether the notice is unavoidable
  • Whether other parts of the homepage distract attention from the notice
  • Whether the notice is visible without a visitor having to do anything other than simple scrolling on the homepage

The IRS guidance states that a link on the homepage to another page where the notice appears, or a notice that appears in a carousel or only by selecting a dropdown or by hover (“mouseover”) is not acceptable.

Lastly, if a school does not have its own website, but it has webpages contained in a website, the school must display a notice of its racially nondiscriminatory policy on its primary landing page within the website in a manner that satisfies all other requirements of the new publication method.

Rev. Proc. 2019-22 is effective May 28, 2019.

 

For more information, contact a tax professional with KPMG’s Washington National Tax practice:

Ruth Madrigal | +1 202 533 8817 | ruthmadrigal@kpmg.com

Preston Quesenberry | +1 202 533 3985 | pquesenberry@kpmg.com

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