Tax exemption is granted to trade associations that are groups of people with a common business interest. Trade associations don't do business for profit or perform services. Instead, to qualify as a trade association, the organization must be involved in promoting the common interest of its members. Included in this category are chambers of commerce, boards of trade, and, perhaps surprisingly, professional football leagues like the NFL. Trade association activities include:
- Promoting higher standards within an industry
- Producing a trade publication
- Encouraging the public to use the goods and services of a particular industry
As you can see, there are a variety of ways to be tax exempt but the parameters for tax exempt businesses and organizations are well-defined.