Nonprofit Law Matters

Category Archives: Public Charities

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CalNonprofits Seeking Input on California Raffle Laws by June 30

Posted in AG, IRS, FTB, & Property Tax Proceedings, IRS, FTB & Attorney General Controversies, Nonprofit Governance & Ethics, Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

CalNonprofits recently announced that new raffle regulations are being proposed and discussed this year in California.  CalNonprofits is asking nonprofits to weigh in on this discussion through a short survey, as explained in their announcement (reprinted in part below): In California, only nonprofits can conduct raffles. And raffle laws are under discussion for changes. To help… Continue Reading

Every Nonprofit with a Website Needs to Know: New Requirements to Gain and Keep Online Copyright Infringement Liability Protections

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Nonprofit Governance & Ethics, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Religious Institutions, Uncategorized, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

Does your nonprofit have a website?  Does the website include a blog that allows viewers to post comments?  Does it include a discussion forum or other online community component where people can post videos, pictures, or other text or media?  Do you have social media channels?  If your nonprofit uses this type of online outlet… Continue Reading

Nonprofits: Amplify Your Voice in the November Election with these Helpful Tips

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

Our friends at California Association of Nonprofits have some creative tips for how nonprofits can make their voices heard on Election Day, and some resources to help.  Check it out!

Coming Changes to Federal Overtime Rules Will Affect Nonprofit Employers

Posted in Private Foundations, Public Charities, Religious Institutions, Uncategorized, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

The US Department of Labor has issued new regulations, effective for most employers in December 2016, that will affect how employers, including nonprofits, determine which employees are exempt from certain wage and hour rules. Since we’re not employment lawyers, these new rules fall outside of our areas of expertise, but our friends at California Association… Continue Reading

New Year, New Ventures: Keeping Up With Charitable Sales Promotions

Posted in IRS, FTB & Attorney General Controversies, Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

Readers may remember our blog post from 2012, Are You in a Commercial Co-Venture?, in which we described common scenarios that trigger state requirements for charities and companies engaged in commercial co-ventures (also known as charitable sales promotions, or cause marketing).  Over the years, we have seen the popularity of such ventures continue to rise,… Continue Reading

New York College Cannot Change Its Name in Return for a Proposed Donation

Posted in Charitable Gift Planning, IRS, FTB & Attorney General Controversies, Public Charities

Paul Smith’s College, “the College of the Adirondacks,” was established in 1937 and remains the only baccalaureate-degree-granting institution in Adirondack Park, New York.  Paul’s son, Phelps Smith, bequeathed the bulk of his estate to create a college in his father’s name, and his bequest required that the college “be forever known” as Paul Smith’s College of… Continue Reading

Proposition C Impacts Nonprofit Organizations Lobbying in San Francisco

Posted in Nonprofit Governance & Ethics, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

The City and County of San Francisco’s lobbying ordinance (Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code §§2.100-155) currently requires any person influencing local legislative or administrative actions through contacts with city officials or their staff to register with the Ethics Commission, but the ordinance provides an exemption for certain nonprofits (all 501(c)(3)s and some smaller 501(c)(4)s). The… Continue Reading

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

Good News on the Investment Front!! California Passes AB 792, Harmonizing Investment Standards for Nonprofits in California

Posted in Charitable Gift Planning, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Religious Institutions

The stock market may be in shambles, but California charities have reason to celebrate.  Historically, charities formed as California nonprofit public benefit corporations have had to satisfy two state law investment standards:  Corp. Code Section 5240 and UPMIFA (found at Probate Code section 18501 and following).  Corp. Code Section 5240(b) provides that in making investments, a… Continue Reading

A Smart Pitch for Nonprofit Advocacy

Posted in Grantmaking & Social Investing, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

Campion Foundation Trustee Sonya Campion recently made an intelligent pitch for private foundation directors, and their institutions, to arm themselves with knowledge about the rules governing advocacy by foundations and their grantees, and to use the powerful tools that the tax code provides for funding change.  We couldn’t agree more! Want to get started?  These free… Continue Reading

California Tax Lawyer Publishes “Proposed Guidance for Donor Advised Funds”

Posted in AG, IRS, FTB, & Property Tax Proceedings, Charitable Gift Planning, Nonprofit Structures, Relationships & Transactions, Public Charities

The California Tax Lawyer recently published Proposed Guidance for Donor Advised Funds, a policy paper co-authored by Adler & Colvin associate attorney Jorge Lopez and Courtney Nash of Farella, Braun + Martel.  The authors describe the history of DAFs, and explain the changes made with adoption of new rules as part of the Pension Protection… 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

FASB Proposes Significant Changes to Nonprofit Accounting Standards

Posted in Charitable Gift Planning, Private Foundations, Public Charities

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) recently issued a Proposed Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) specific to Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958) and Health Care Entities (Topic 954).  The ASU seeks to improve net asset classification reporting requirements, as well as require expanded information on liquidity, financial performance, and cash flow.  The full scope of proposed changes… Continue Reading

Exempt Organizations Can Redact Donor-Identifying Information From IRS Form 990, Schedule B Before Public Disclosure

Posted in Private Foundations, Public Charities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

Last week, a political-spending watchdog group sent a potentially misleading written request to many exempt organizations (they say over 100) involved in political activities, seeking copies of Form 990, Schedule B for past tax years, including filings that are more than three years old. The request does not explicitly acknowledge the exempt organizations’ right to… Continue Reading

New Domain Names Available for Nonprofits

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, International Charitable Transactions & Operations, Nonprofit Governance & Ethics, Nonprofit Structures, Relationships & Transactions, Private Foundations, Public Charities

As of May 7, 2015, nongovernmental organizations that meet certain eligibility requirements can purchase two new web domains – “.ngo” and “.ong.” Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit that manages the .org web domain, launched the new domains exclusively for nonprofits, unlike the .org domain which is available to both nonprofits and for-profits.  The new domains… Continue Reading

Fiscal Sponsorship Survey Seeks Responses by May 8th

Posted in Grantmaking & Social Investing, Nonprofit Network Affiliations, Nonprofit Structures, Relationships & Transactions, Public Charities

The National Network of Fiscal Sponsors (NNFS) has released a new field survey designed to gather current, relevant information on organizations engaged in fiscal sponsorship.  Click HERE to complete the survey no later than May 8, 2015. We encourage all fiscal sponsors to participate in the survey to ensure that the resulting report represents a… Continue Reading

Mexico’s Anti-Money Laundering Law Affects U.S. Donors

Posted in Grantmaking & Social Investing, International Charitable Transactions & Operations, Private Foundations, Public Charities

A number of our clients have asked about Mexico’s Ley Federal para la Prevención e Identificación de Operaciones con Recursos de Procedencia Ilícita (Mexico’s Anti-Money Laundering statute or the “AMLL”), which became effective July 17, 2013.  The AMLL identifies specific transactions that require a Mexican entity that engages in these activities to identify and verify the identity… Continue Reading

IRS FY 2014 Data Book Reveals Dramatic Increase in Exempt Organization Approvals

Posted in AG, IRS, FTB, & Property Tax Proceedings, Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Public Charities

Last week the Internal Revenue Service released its Fiscal Year 2014 Data Book, reporting on IRS operations, enforcement, revenue collection and related activities during the period of October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014, (the IRS fiscal year).  The Data Book included a table on “Closures of Applications for Tax-Exempt Status, by Organization Type and… Continue Reading

Hundreds of Thousands of Nonprofits Affected by Security Breach Related to Electronic Filings

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, IRS, FTB & Attorney General Controversies, Public Charities

The Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics (“NCCS”) reported this week that hackers tapped into its online filing system for Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, and 8868 (Application for Extension), as well as state filings for Hawaii, Michigan, and New York.  According to the report, information including e-mail addresses, usernames, passwords, individual names, and IP… Continue Reading

New Year’s Treasure? AB 1712 Clarifies that Nonprofits May Claim Unclaimed Property of Certain Dissolved Affiliates in California

Posted in Nonprofit Structures, Relationships & Transactions, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

This past August, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1712, which amends the California Code of Civil Procedure to clarify that certain nonprofit organizations whose affiliates have dissolved may claim the unclaimed property of those dissolved entities under the state’s unclaimed property system. Unclaimed Property Law in California California’s Unclaimed Property Law provides a… Continue Reading

New Political Rules for 501(c)s in March 2015?

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

We daren’t get our hopes up, but… We heard through the grapevine that March 2015 is the release date for a second round of proposed rulemaking concerning Section 501(c) regulations relating to political campaign intervention.  Indeed, an online calendar at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget now… Continue Reading

Date of Gift Rules for Charitable Contributions

Posted in Charitable Gift Planning, Private Foundations, Public Charities

The end of the year is nigh, and timing is crucial to determining the year of a donor’s income tax deduction, the value of a donor’s fluctuating asset, and the characterization of the donor’s asset as short-term or long-term.  In general, a gift is complete when the donor relinquishes control over the asset and delivers… Continue Reading

Do’s & Don’ts: Public Charities in an Election Year

Posted in Public Charities, Tax Treatment of Lobbying & Political Activities

You’re a public charity.  Maybe you’re brand new; or maybe you’ve existed for years but suddenly have an issue your constituents need to know about on the ballot this year.  Maybe one of your Board members is a candidate for elective office.  Maybe you’d like to host a debate.  Maybe you want to register your… Continue Reading

South Carolina Creates New Requirements for Commercial Co-Venturers; Deadline Tomorrow (October 4, 2014) for Commercial Co-Venturers Currently Running Solicitation Campaigns

Posted in Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

Earlier this year, South Carolina enacted House Bill 3367 (H. 3367), a bill aimed at addressing concerns of the community and enforcement issues with the state’s Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act (the “Act”). H. 3367 amended the Act, including adding new requirements for commercial co-venturers. As of March 13, 2014, the effective date of H…. Continue Reading