The CU tax exemption has been reaffirmed several times by Congress, including in 1935, 1936, 1937, 1951 and 1998. One of the core reasons for the continued tax exemption is the movement’s not-for-profit cooperative structure. Today, nearly 96 million credit union members benefit from lower rates on loans, lower fees on services and higher returns on deposits. Nonmembers also benefit because the focus on service by CUs keeps competitive pressure on banks.
With a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate of $500 million in unrealized government revenues in 2012 from the CU tax exemption, CUNA estimates CUs gave $8 billion back to their members in the form of low fees, low rates and other benefits. CUNA noted the economic benefits from the CU tax exemption far outweigh any funds that would be brought in by imposing a federal income tax on credit unions. MCUL & Affiliates and Michigan CU leaders discussed the CU tax exemption earlier this spring with House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, R-Midland, during the annual GAC fly-in. The MCUL government affairs staff continues to communicate on a regular basis with Rep. Camp’s office and his staff on the importance of our exemption.
In order to assist in educating our members about our tax exempt status, CUNA recently updated its Tax Advocacy Toolkit. The toolkit is intended to help leagues and especially credit unions communicate directly with credit union members. It features a plethora of resources, including sample articles for credit union newsletters, sample op-eds for submission to local newspapers, statement stuffers and print advertisements.
In addition, the toolkit includes a wealth of background economic and policy data underpinning the credit union tax exemption, state-level membership data, a radio ad for leagues that wish to use it, and sample state league communication materials.