Justin Elliott reports for ProPublica:
Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA did not respond to requests for comment about the proportion of their work that they classify as political. The proportion matters because if corporations are, in fact, deducting donations as business expenses, they cannot deduct the part of the donation that was used for political purposes.
So, where does all this leave us? If a company gave $1 million to Crossroads GPS or Priorities USA and claimed the donation was a business expense, that would be $1 million of the company’s revenue not subject to taxes. If the company was paying a 30 percent tax rate, that would mean savings of $300,000.
But this is entirely hypothetical because we can’t be sure whether this tax strategy is occurring. First, the social welfare groups don’t reveal their donors. So, we don’t know which companies to ask about the deduction issue. And if companies are taking the deduction, it would be detailed in tax returns that are confidential.