Best Practices & Nonprofits

When experts in a field get together, they like to toss around the phrase “best practices.” A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements. “Best Read More

Endowments and Offshore Tax Havens

In recent years, Congress has made no secret that it has concerns about the billion-dollar endowments of certain tax-exempt colleges and universities. A particularly troubling aspect, in the view of lawmakers and many in the general public, is the rapid jump in tuition costs at American schools at a time when the wealthiest institutions appear to have comfortable cushions of cash. Lawmakers asked pointed questions Read More

Disqualified Person: Why It’s Such a Big Deal

When an organization applies for tax exemption under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3), the IRS assumes it is a private foundation unless the group can demonstrate enough "public support" to be classified as a public charity. This classification matters because a private foundation is subject to greater scrutiny than a public charity and donors to a private foundation receive less generous tax benefits. There Read More

Behested Payments: Critics Take Aim

Behest:  (first known use: 12th century England) 1. An authoritative order, command   2. An urgent prompting One imagines Sir Guy of Gisborne galloping through the Nottinghamshire countryside announcing the Sheriff's latest behest that lord and serf alike hand over their valuables forthwith; a behested payment, so to speak. Alas, this is not a relic of the distant past. Behested payments are alive, well, and Read More

Donor Privacy Policy: Every Nonprofit Should Have One

Which documents should your organization have in that expensive, "gold-embossed," three-ring binder you ordered back in the day when you first got started? There are dividers for your articles of incorporation, your bylaws, and the minutes of the first meeting. Of course, you should keep it up to date with the minutes of each board meeting, along with formal resolutions adopted, and any amendments to the bylaws. What Read More

Tax Planning in a "Post Tax Cuts & Jobs Act" World

We've covered in great depth the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on nonprofits, both big and small - here, here and here. But what about businesses, individuals and philanthropists? Significant Changes to Business Taxation If you own a business or are thinking about starting one, it's never been more important to consult with an experienced attorney and CPA. Relying on old rules of thumb or ignoring this Read More

MacArthur Announces $100-Million Contest Winner

Photo Attribution and Source: The MacArthur Foundation, What if $100-million suddenly fell out of the sky to tackle a “critical problem affecting people, a place, or the entire planet?” The folks at the International Rescue Committee and the Sesame Workshop (of  “Sesame Street” fame) will now have the chance to find out. Their joint proposal to help traumatized Read More

Johnson Amendment Stays … For Now

In mid-December 2017, when the GOP Congressional leadership was scrambling to get a tax-overhaul bill in final form - one that would meld the quite different House and Senate versions - an issue that could have gone either way, in or out, was the thorny matter of 501(c)(3)s dabbling or plunging headlong into the political arena.    History of Johnson Amendment Under the 1954 Johnson Amendment to an earlier Read More

Tax Legislation: What was Left Out (Nonprofits)

In Nonprofits: What’s in the New Tax Law, we reported on the items of interest to nonprofits that had made their way into the final version of H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law at the White House. Other proposals in the legislative package dropped off, especially in the December 2017 rush to put together a tax overhaul that would pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The final Read More

Nonprofits: What's in the New Tax

In Nonprofits: Happy New  (Tax Plan) Year! , we caught up to date with a general overview of the whirlwind tax law changes proposed, adopted, and made effective by the federal government in late December 2017.   Some of the key concerns expressed by nonprofit organizations, experts, and advisers focused on the major changes to the standard deduction and to the federal estate tax which - many believe - will have a Read More