Nonprofit Law Matters

Category Archives: Public Charities

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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

CalNonprofits Releases Report on Impact of California’s Nonprofit Sector

Posted in Grantmaking & Social Investing, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Religious Institutions, Revenue Generating Activities

On August 5, 2014, CalNonprofits, a statewide alliance of nearly 10,000 nonprofit organizations promoting the interests of California’s nonprofit sector, released a report, Causes Count: The Economic Power of California’s Nonprofit Sector, “the first report of its kind to examine the nonprofit sector’s scope, activities and economic impact” in California. If you don’t have time to… Continue Reading

IRS Debuts Streamlined Form 1023-EZ Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3)

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Public Charities

In hopes of reducing the long backlog of exemption applications and ostensibly freeing up resources for more robust enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service released on Tuesday a new short-form tax exemption application, Form 1023-EZ, for certain small charities.  The release also includes instructions for completing the form. To be eligible to use the new form,… 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

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

Proposed San Francisco Ordinance Would Impose Significant New Disclosure Obligations on Nonprofits That Interact with City Officials

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

A recent proposal by San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu would impose significant new disclosure obligations on nonprofits that have business with the City and County of San Francisco.  Apparently intended to target communications and expenditures made by or on behalf of certain developers seeking to influence public officials, the proposal in its… Continue Reading

Senate Confirmation Votes Are “Specific Legislation,” so Know Your Lobbying Rules!

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

President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy, a highly regarded physician and serial entrepreneur, to be Surgeon General of the United States has become a hot topic in political circles.  Dr. Murthy has been endorsed by prestigious voices in the medical establishment, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, and mainstream media such as… Continue Reading

Update — Expedited Handling for Determination Letters Still Available

Posted in AG, IRS, FTB, & Property Tax Proceedings, Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

For the past few weeks, there has been some confusion over Revenue Procedure 2014-4’s apparent elimination of an expedited option for exempt-organization determination letters as discussed previously, since the subsequent Revenue Procedure 2014-9 still included the explanation from previous years about the IRS’s standards for granting expedited treatment of exempt-organization determination letters. Earlier today, the… Continue Reading

Reinstatement Reloaded: Revenue Procedure 2014-11 Provides Help for Organizations Whose Tax-Exempt Status Was Automatically Revoked

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

Since 2010, hundreds of thousands of tax-exempt organizations have lost their exempt status for failing to file the applicable return (Form 990, 990-PF, 990-EZ, or 990-N) three years in a row.  While exempt organizations of all types have been affected, many were smaller Section 501(c)(3) charities that never had an annual filing obligation prior to… Continue Reading

IRS Removes Expedited Handling for Determination Letters

Posted in AG, IRS, FTB, & Property Tax Proceedings, Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Private Foundations, Public Charities, Unions, Associations, Clubs & Other Tax-Exempt Organizations

*** THIS POST HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY NEW INFORMATION FROM THE IRS.  PLEASE REFER TO https://www.nonprofitlawmatters.com/2014/01/29/update-expedited-handling-for-determination-letters-still-available/. *** In Section 9.03(3) of the new Revenue Procedure 2014-4, the IRS has clarified that the option to request expedited handling is no longer available for determination letters.  The Revenue Procedure defines a “determination letter” as “a written statement… Continue Reading

New Year, New IRS Filing Requirement: Reporting Changes to “Responsible Party” on Form 8822-B

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

Effective January 1, 2014, the IRS is using a new form – Form 8822-B – for organizations to report changes to their “responsible party.”  Form 8822-B applies to all entities with a federal employer identification number (EIN), and includes a box to check if the organization is tax-exempt.  The form may also be used to… Continue Reading

Call to Participate in Survey Conducted by CalNonprofits

Posted in Private Foundations, Public Charities

The California Association of Nonprofits (doing business as CalNonprofits) is conducting a study of the economic and social impact of California’s nonprofit 501(c)(3) sector.  CalNonprofit’s CEO, Jan Masaoka, is asking charities to participate by taking a survey.  While our firm is not involved with the study, it seems a worthwhile effort.  Jan’s message, reprinted here, has… Continue Reading

Arizona, Maine, and Nevada Pass Laws affecting Charitable Solicitation Registration Requirements: Is there a trend emerging?

Posted in Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

With roughly 39 states and the District of Columbia having some form of charitable solicitation registration laws, a majority of states regulate charitable solicitation registration.  It is less clear, however, whether a trend is emerging for tighter or more relaxed regulation within those systems.  Lawmakers dealing with charitable solicitation registration laws often struggle to find the… Continue Reading

Nevada Establishes State Charitable Solicitation Registration Requirements

Posted in Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

Unlike Arizona and Maine, which recently removed certain charitable solicitation registration requirements, Nevada recently established charitable solicitation registration requirements with the enactment of AB 60.  Previously, Nevada had no charitable solicitation registration laws. Effective January 1, 2014, Nevada will require a nonprofit corporation to register with the Nevada Secretary of State before it solicits tax-deductible charitable… Continue Reading

Maine Passes an Act to Streamline the Charitable Solicitations Act

Posted in Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

Maine generally requires a charitable organization to become licensed with the state before it solicits, accepts, or obtains contributions in the state.  To become licensed, a charitable organization must file an initial registration form, certain other information such as copies of contracts with professional solicitors or professional fundraising counsel, and annual renewal applications that include… Continue Reading

Arizona Repeals the Charitable Solicitation Registration Requirement for Charitable Organizations

Posted in Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

As of September 13, 2013, charitable organizations soliciting in Arizona are no longer required to register with the Arizona Secretary of State.  Prior to this change in law, charitable organizations were required to file an initial charitable registration with the Secretary of State before soliciting their first contribution, whether through a contracted fundraiser or otherwise,… Continue Reading

IRS Recognizes Exemption for Nonprofit Community Newspaper

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

In recent years, the dramatic expansion of digital news content, and the redirection of advertising dollars away from print, has caused an equally dramatic decline in the viability of print journalism.  At the same time, the IRS has demonstrated increased skepticism about whether journalism is charitable, given the historically commercial aspect of news publication. One… Continue Reading

Reporting Organizational Changes to California State Agencies

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

Earlier this year, we described the process for reporting organizational changes to the IRS.  At the state level, nonprofit organizations often have additional reporting or notification requirements when they make organizational changes.  We take this opportunity to highlight how a nonprofit organization incorporated in California can report organizational changes to the California Secretary of State,… Continue Reading

Lots of Colleges and Universities Have Lots of Unrelated Business Taxable Income — What About You?

Posted in Public Charities, Revenue Generating Activities

Yesterday, the IRS released its final report on its compliance project on colleges and universities.  (For those who don’t remember, this started in 2008 with questionnaires sent to 400 randomly-selected exempt colleges and universities, followed by 34 not-at-all-randomly-selected audits.)  While there were other interesting findings, I’d like to focus on the widespread and substantial underreporting of (and… Continue Reading

Foreign Public Charity Equivalence Repository Launched by Council on Foundations and TechSoup

Posted in Grantmaking & Social Investing, Private Foundations, Public Charities

In the wake of new private foundation regulations, I had previously written about the concept of foreign public charity equivalence repositories.  Our client TechSoup announced yesterday that their repository, built in collaboration with Council on Foundations, is now up and running. It is always exciting to see a client’s hard work come to fruition.

New Payout Requirements for Non-functionally Integrated Type III Supporting Organizations: Comment Period for Proposed Regulations Closes March 28, 2013

Posted in Formation & Tax Exempt Status, Nonprofit Structures, Relationships & Transactions, Public Charities

On December 28, 2012, the Treasury Department issued final, temporary, and proposed regulations regarding Type III supporting organizations (“Type III SOs”), effective that day.  The final and temporary regulations, including the substantial preamble, are here.  The temporary and proposed portions of the new regulations, available here, address the calculation of the annual payout requirement for… Continue Reading