Nonprofit Law Matters

Category Archives: Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

Subscribe to Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations RSS Feed

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

Congress Missed a Valuable Opportunity: Greg Colvin and Others Discuss Congress’ Refusal to Fund Regulations on Section 501(c)(4)

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

On February 8, Tax Analysts published an article titled Confusion Over Judging Political Activity Still Reigns at IRS.  In the article, Paul C. Barton describes the prohibition that appeared in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act against using any fiscal year federal funds “to issue, revise, or finalize any regulation, revenue ruling, or other guidance …… Continue Reading

New IRS Notification Requirement for Section 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, IRS, IRS, FTB & Attorney General Controversies, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

UPDATE: In Notice 2016-09, the IRS indicated that the notification requirement will not go into effect until “at least 60 days from the date” it issues regulations implementing Section 506, and no penalties will be assessed against any Section 501(c)(4) organization that submits the required notice by the due date provided in those regulations.  … Continue Reading

PATH Act Provides Certainty Regarding Gifts to 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5) and 501(c)(6) Tax-Exempt Organizations and Makes Permanent Certain Tax “Extenders”

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

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the “PATH Act”).  The PATH Act contains several provisions of note for tax-exempt organizations.  This post focuses on two:  (1) gift tax consequences of contributions to 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) organizations, and (2) permanent enactment of certain… 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

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

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 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

Taxation of Exempts Publishes “Comments on Proposed Regulations Show Exempt Organizations’ Concerns” by Martha Lackritz

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

Taxation of Exempts recently published Martha Lackritz’s article Comments on Proposed Regulations Show Exempt Organizations’ Concerns.  In her article, Martha surveys a sample of the over 170,000-plus comments eventually submitted by the public to the IRS in response to its proposed regulations on candidate-related political activities of social welfare organizations.  If you have yet to… Continue Reading

Revised Rules on 501(c)(4)s and Political Activity Expected in Early 2015

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

Earlier this week, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen explained in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity that the IRS expects to complete revised proposed regulations defining political activity for 501(c)(4) (and possibly other types of 501(c)) organizations by early 2015.  The Center for Public Integrity reports that Koskinen elaborated on the nature of the… 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

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #1 — American Bar Association Section of Taxation

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

“Promulgating regulations with clear rules regarding political intervention or candidate-related political activity could help the government to avoid constitutional attacks on the grounds of vagueness. . . . Such regulations are not unconstitutional.  Quite the contrary, they help remove doubts as to the constitutionality of Service guidance in this important area.” Our countdown closes with… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #2 — Bright Lines Project

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

“We don’t want a bad political definition for 501(c)(4) organizations, rather we want a good definition for everybody.” So, we admit to a bias on this one.  Greg Colvin is chair of the Bright Lines Project (“BLP”) Drafting Committee, whose nine members include Rosemary Fei, also a principal in our firm.  Having said that, here… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #3 — Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org)

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

“Over the last four election cycles, the amount of spending by 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations in particular has grown dramatically.  In 2006, just $1.3 million in political spending was reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by 501(c)(4) organizations, while by the 2010 cycle, that total had risen to $92 million.  In 2012, the number more than… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #4 — NAACP and NAACP-National Voter Fund

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

“ . . . much of the work that the NAACP did in the early years to combat racial discrimination in the administration of our nation’s voting laws would be illegal under the proposed regulations.” The concise and eloquent comments by the NAACP and its 501(c)(3) affiliate, the NAACP-National Voter Fund, are among the most… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #5 — American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

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

“The confidence of exempt organizations, tax preparers, and the public, in the enforcement of tax laws, is diminished when the application of these laws [is] unclear or difficult to understand.” The AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 394,000 members in 128 countries and a 125-year history.  Their brief… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #6 — Independent Sector

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

“We encourage the IRS to engage tax-exempt organizations in a meaningful dialogue to address the many concerns expressed during this comment process, and provide the public an opportunity to provide input on a revised proposed rule that better defines permissible political activity while preserving the important advocacy role and vital voice of tax-exempt organizations in… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #7 — American Civil Liberties Union

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

 “ . . . we urge the Service to abandon both the approach in the proposed rule and the existing ‘facts and circumstances’ test.  We respectfully submit that the Service needs to offer a clear and easily interpreted rule on what constitutes express advocacy and a firm answer on how much such activity will result… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #8 — Alliance for Justice

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

“AFJ strongly believes that the proposal in the NPRM to redefine the meaning of ‘social welfare’ activity so as to exclude certain nonpartisan election-related activity goes beyond the statutory authority provided by Congress and will deter a wide-array of legitimate activity which has long-been recognized as promoting the general welfare of the community.” Alliance for… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #9 — Bipartisan NPRM Comments

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

“The proposed rules treat as political a host of activities that are now and should continue to be defined as non-political, rather than discarding years of IRS rulings, guidance and precedent . . . .” The variety of organizations that signed on to these brief comments attests to the widespread dissatisfaction with the proposed rules.  The comments were developed… Continue Reading

Top 25 Comments on IRS Proposed Political Activity Rules: #10 — Ottinger Foundation, The Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund, and The Woodbury Fund

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

 “[T]he proper course for the IRS is ‘to mend it, not end it.’” The comments submitted by these three family foundations (Ottinger Foundation, The Leonard and Sophie Davis Fund, and The Woodbury Fund) elegantly reflect the concerns of grantmakers that fund nonpartisan voter education, as well as charities seeking to “curb the corrupting influence of… Continue Reading