Nonprofit Law Matters

Gregory L. Colvin

Posts by Gregory L. Colvin

IRS Commissioner Hints at Timing for New Political Regulations, Summarizes Thousands of Public Comments

Posted in AG, IRS, FTB, & Property Tax Proceedings, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

We looked at IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s written statement to the Senate Finance Committee, with attached documents, submitted with his testimony on Tuesday, October 27, at http://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/27OCT2015Koskinen.pdf. Here’s what’s newsworthy: First, from the Commissioner’s oral testimony and from his prepared statement, the IRS and Treasury have not been intimidated by Republican calls to discontinue the… Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee Hearing on IRS and Political Tax Law

Posted in Private Foundations, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

I had the honor of testifying in Washington, D.C., on July 29, 2015, before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, chaired by Senator Ted Cruz, about the current IRS work on developing regulations to define political campaign activity for tax-exempts.  (The picture below shows us, the witnesses, being… Continue Reading

IRS Postpones Summer Hearings on Political Rules, Will Do Second Draft

Posted in Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

On May 22, 2014, the IRS announced that “it is likely that we will make some changes” to the heavily-criticized regulation proposed last November by Treasury and the Service to govern 501(c)(4) political activity.  The announcement continued:  “Given the diversity of views expressed and the volume of substantive input, we have concluded that it would be… Continue Reading

Bright Lines Project Submits Legislation to Congress to Fix Tax Law on Political Activity

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

There may be a silver lining to the crisis at the Internal Revenue Service, as the news of the last two months has revealed serious defects in the IRS administration of rules on political activity by tax-exempt organizations.  Take a look at www.brightlinesproject.org. For the last four years, the Bright Lines Project, sponsored first by OMB… Continue Reading

A Bad Week for the IRS: Improper Scrutiny of Organizations Applying for Tax-Exempt Recognition

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

Five of our attorneys, Rob Wexler, Ingrid Mittermaier, Susan Dawson, and the two of us, were in the audience at the American Bar Association Exempt Organizations Committee meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 10. We heard the remarks from Lois Lerner, head of Exempt Organizations at the IRS, apologizing for how the exemption applications of… Continue Reading

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Hearings on Candidate Activity by Section 501(c)(4) Organizations

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

I had the honor this week of testifying in Washington, D.C., before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.  The topic was political campaign activity by 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that signed IRS tax filings stating that they would not intervene, or had not intervened, in candidate elections. The point of the hearing was… Continue Reading

Private Foundations and Many Charities Can Pull Out All the Stops to Protect the Charitable Contribution Deduction Using the “Self-Defense” Exception in the IRS Lobbying Rules

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

The debate in Congress over the “fiscal cliff” has the nonprofit sector worried for lots of reasons.  A big one  is the proposal to raise revenue by reducing, capping, or modifying the charitable contribution deduction, which is vital to most charities’ fundraising prospects. Fortunately, federal tax law lets many charities and all private foundations pull out… Continue Reading

Colvin Questions on Issue Ads, IRS/Treasury Answers: the Oral Exchange

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

On Friday, September 14, 2012, the Tax Section of the American Bar Association met in Boston. The Exempt Organizations Committee held a panel entitled “News from the IRS and Treasury,” including Lois G. Lerner, Director, EO Division, TE/GE, IRS, and Ruth M. Madrigal, Attorney-Advisor, Office of Tax Policy, Department of Treasury.  What follows is the… Continue Reading

Colvin Letter to IRS Requests Answers on Criteria for Nonprofit Issue Ads Broadcast during Elections

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

On August 24, I wrote to Lois Lerner, director of Exempt Organizations at the Internal Revenue Service, with the following message: You’ll recall my May 7, 2012, letter suggesting that the IRS clear up the confusion surrounding how to use the two existing Revenue Rulings to determine, for instance, whether a (c)(4) has done too… Continue Reading

The IRS Should Consolidate Its Two Rulings on Political Issue Ads

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

The political campaign activity of some 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations is in the news a lot lately, because the donors whose money is used for campaign attack ads are usually not disclosed.  Non-charitable 501(c) organizations, which also include (c)(5) unions and (c)(6) business associations, could lose tax exemption if they allow political intervention to become their primary activity.  It doesn’t help that… Continue Reading

Doing Right by the Projects: Fiscal Sponsorship after IHC

Posted in IRS, FTB & Attorney General Controversies, Nonprofit Governance & Ethics, Public Charities

Recent news in the nonprofit press about the reported collapse of International Humanities Center (IHC), a fiscal sponsor organization based in California, has raised real concerns in the philanthropic world.  Projects sponsored by IHC received correspondence from IHC indicating that it was unable to make disbursements in response to their check requests for money to… Continue Reading

Fiscal Sponsorship Handouts Available from COF Community Foundations Conference in San Francisco, September 20, 2011

Posted in Public Charities

Over 100 attended our fiscal sponsorship presentation at the Community Foundations Conference sponsored by the Council on Foundations – attendees from Delaware, Iowa, Alaska, the Outer Banks, San Diego, everywhere.  Even the Ocean (Foundation).  With the large unexpected audience, we ran out of handouts.  But they are available now at www.fiscalsponsorship.com:  (1)       the basic PowerPoint on… Continue Reading

The IRS Moratorium on Section 501(c)(4) Gift Tax Enforcement Was The Right Thing To Do

Posted in Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

Recently, news stories appeared in the New York Times and on Huffington Post, indicating that former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Marc Owens had written to Treasury on behalf of clients unhappy with the IRS July 7 announcement on section 501(c)(4) gift tax enforcement. I agree with Marc that it would have been better for the IRS to… Continue Reading