Gifts in Kind: CA Takes Aim, Again

“Charitable donations come in different forms; while cash is king, other types of contributions are useful, too. Among them are ‘gifts in kind,’ sometimes also called ‘in-kind gifts’ or ‘in-kind donations.’” They are a form of charitable giving where the donor doesn’t give money to buy goods and services the recipient needs but, instead, gives the goods and services themselves. In-kind gifts can be valuable to a Read More

Charity Issues of Concern to CA Attorney General

Around the nation, state attorneys general have the key oversight responsibility for charitable organizations and property held in charitable trust in their jurisdictions. Historically, the most high-profile ones are from the biggest states. California’s Javier Becerra and New York’s Eric Schneiderman are carrying on this tradition of aggressive investigation and enforcement. This, of course, is in addition to Read More

Do We Need to Have a CPA Audit Our Books?

Many small- to mid-sized 501(c)(3) organizations are often confused about their accounting and reporting duties. They may hear or read about an “independent audit” and wonder what that means and if it necessarily applies to them. The simple answer is: The IRS rules for charities do not include a requirement for an “independent audit”; Some states require them in certain circumstances; and Some grantors may Read More

A Third Way to Get Noticed by the CA Attorney General

Hint about this blog post title: It’s ironic. It’s never a good thing to get noticed by an attorney general from anywhere, like it’s never a good thing if a “60 Minutes” reporter shoves a microphone in your face. Just so we’re clear about this, check out two earlier posts: “A Recipe for How To Get Noticed by the California Attorney General,” and “A Second Way to Get Noticed by the California Attorney General.” They Read More

Smooth Transition for California’s New Attorney General

Elections have consequences. Because California’s then-Attorney General Kamala Harris was elected on November 8, 2016, to become the Golden State’s new junior Senator, a vacancy was created in her former job, which includes being this state's top charity regulator. Under California law, the governor nominates a replacement who must then be confirmed by the legislature.     What Does an Attorney General Do? The Read More

Let's Start the New Year with Good News: Progress on the Multistate Charitable Solicitation Registration

Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of the recent, bizarre, presidential campaign was that charity law - yes, charity law! - was thrust into the daily news cycle. Among the meaty issues - alleged or real - that legal analysts, anchors, and pundits tossed about is the often-overlooked requirement in about ¾ of U.S. jurisdictions that 501(c)(3) charities file state charitable solicitation registration documents.   While Read More

Court Blocks Donor List Request – Again

Federal and state regulators want charities to disclose significant amounts of information. For the most part, these organizations are on board with the notion of full transparency. There have, however, been giant battles and resistance from some quarters in connection with requests for disclosure of donor lists on annual information returns. This controversy has played out at the federal level, in connection with Read More

Charities and Embezzlement

The City of New York is host to many of the finest cultural productions in the world, but the cost of these events is out of reach for many people. The Healing Arts Initiative, a 501(c)(3) charity, fills that void for hundreds of thousands of the city’s poor, elderly, and disabled. But on May 6, 2016, a scandal enveloped this fine organization. An official had embezzled over $750,000 and, to cover up this fraud, had Read More

Audits and More Audits

Organization Do-Good, Inc. is a (hypothetical) California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation with tax exemptions in good standing from the Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board. The Do-Good staff and board know they’re in good standing with the IRS because they were just audited by the federal tax agency. So, that’s it …, right? They’re safe, aren’t they - at least for a while - from any Read More

Do We Need to Tell Anyone We’re About To ….?

California charitable corporations are poked and prodded by a maddening number of federal, state, and local government agencies.   It’s not, however, pointless meddling and duplication of effort. Each agency has its own statutory responsibilities. In Audits and More Audits, we focused on the investigatory role of the California Attorney General’s Office. By way of brief review,  “[t]he Attorney General has the duty Read More