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

Business Fundamentals: California Corporations

A corporation is a useful way to start a new business, because as soon as you file the business’ Articles of Incorporation, the new business entity immediately becomes a separate legal entity with many of the legal rights of an individual. The choice to form a corporation, rather than conduct business as a Sole Proprietorship or Limited Liability Company, could be based on liability concerns, tax considerations, or Read More

Nonprofits: Happy New (Tax Plan) Year!

In the hundred years or so since the modern federal income tax was first established in 1913, there have been several comprehensive overhauls. Congress, seeing the need to fix problems or meet new and changing conditions, acted. The most recent significant revision of the Internal Revenue Code was in 1986 when President Reagan, the Treasury Department, and Congress worked for almost two years to develop and write a Read More

Grants to Foreign Organizations: New Guidance

Private foundations have different - more stringent -  rules and requirements than 501(c)(3) organizations that are classified as public charities. The reason for this distinction: Foundations don’t solicit or receive donations from a wide swath of the general public, so there are special rules and regulations to ensure proper oversight. This is a particular concern for United States foundations that seek to assist Read More

What Does “Lessening the Burdens of Government” Mean?

The year 2018 is shaping up to likely include dramatic cuts in government funding for social services. In order to lessen the impact on tens of millions of Americans, there will need to be a response by donors and the philanthropic community in the form of new organizations - or expansion of existing ones - to focus on the "exempt" purpose of "lessening the burdens of government."  The pivotal federal tax-exemption Read More

Charities in the Courtroom, Pt 16: Charity Wins Subpoena Challenge

Around the nation, attorneys general are the chief law enforcement officers of their states. They have wide-ranging areas of responsibility; that has become clear in national news reports recently of coalitions of these top cops banding together, for instance, to oppose new federal executive orders and regulations or to fight interstate drug and human trafficking. There have also been successful, multi-state Read More

Nonprofits Beware: Pfishing Trips

“Do you have a phish story you would like to share ….?” That’s the question the folks at the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) want to know. The APWG is a worldwide coalition of representatives from industry, government, law enforcement, and NGOs. Its purpose is to bring together the "global response to cybercrime."   In November 2016, we posted about the urgency of this subject in Nonprofits and Cybersecurity: Make Read More

Food, Faith, and Fair Labor Standards

On the spectrum of the relative excitement of various types of litigation, an employment law, wage-and-hour, case barely registers. Occasionally, though, one of them is a big deal because of the unusual circumstances - or characters - involved. Three decades ago, in 1985, the United States Supreme Court grappled with a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit brought by a colorful cult leader named Tony Alamo. The Read More