New Option Available for Private Schools to Post Their Nondiscrimination Policy

The IRS has provided a new method for private schools to publicize their racially nondiscriminatory policy regarding students with Revenue Procedure 2019-22.

Background

Effective May 28, 2019, the guidance reflects an update to Rev. Proc. 75-50, 1975-2 C.B. 587, which requires a private school to make its racially nondiscriminatory policy known to all segments of the general community it serves.

Historically, a school only had two options to meet this requirement to make the policy public:

  • Publish the policy at least once annually in a newspaper of general circulation that serves all racial segments of its population
  • Use broadcast media, with the caveat that it must be reasonably expected to be effective in reaching the general public

A New Option

Rev. Proc. 2019-22 added a third option to account for technological advances made since the initial publication of the 1975 guidance. A school may now publish its nondiscriminatory policy on its internet homepage with the following expectations:

  • The policy is always available during a school’s taxable year.
  • The policy is visible to all website visitors, which means there can’t be a requirement to provide an email address, password, or login before the policy is visible.
  • The policy is shown in a reasonable font, size, and placement within the website.

A policy is unacceptable if it’s only visible through the following means:

  • A link on a school’s homepage that takes visitors to another page where the notice then appears
  • An option within a carousel or dropdown menu
  • An item that must be hovered over

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy to Students

The IRS also provided an example for an acceptable statement for private schools to use as their nondiscriminatory policy:

“The M school admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.”

Key Takeaways

Rev. Proc. 2019-22 is long awaited, given the technological advances available to private schools that have already been ascribed tax-exempt status or are applying to be tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(a) and described in Section 501(c)(3).

This new addition to the policy disclosure method should help enable some tax-exempt organizations that didn’t believe they met the policy disclosure requirement to answer yes to question three on Schedule E of their Form 990.

We’re Here to Help

To learn more about how to apply this information to your private school, contact your Moss Adams professional.