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Abstract

Rural electric cooperatives (RECs) were created with government assistance in the mid-1930s as part of a campaign to bring electricity to rural areas in an effort to improve economic output and quality of living. By the early 1950s, the entirety of America had access to electricity, fulfilling the federal government’s mission. Today, these cooperatives strongly resemble their for-profit counterparts, but remain tax-exempt under § 501(c)(12) of the Internal Revenue Code. This note will argue that, in light of the changes that RECs have undergone and the environment in which they now operate, their tax-exempt status is no longer warranted and in fact works against REC member interests. This note will then explore the impact of taxing RECs as regular cooperatives, which are subject to taxation under Subchapter T of the Internal Revenue Code.

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