Virginia Beach, Virginia — The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), founded and headed by Pat Robertson, recently paid an undisclosed fine to the Internal Revenue Service for violating the IRS's rules concerning the political activities of nonprofit organizations. CBN also surrendered its tax-exempt status for the years of 1986 and 1987, and agreed to make a "significant payment" in back taxes for those two years.
The IRS audited CBN in 1986 because of the network's "intervention in political campaigns." The audit focused on three now-defunct affiliates of the network, the Freedom Council, the National Perspectives Institute, and the National Freedom Institute. CBN claimed the groups were set up to "encourage Christians to participate in government and fight religious injustice," and were a proper part of CBN's mission, but the IRS disagreed.
The settlement with the IRS covers only 1986 and 1987. CBN still retains its tax-exemption. However, the tax-exempt status of Robertson's Christian Coalition is still undecided. The Coalition has not paid taxes since its inception in 1989, claiming it is exempt. The IRS has never ruled on the Christian Coalition's application for tax-exemption.