Political Activities and 501(c)(3)s: What’s Allowable, Part 2

The absolute ban in section 501(c)(3) of political campaign activities takes on special importance now that we’re in the middle of an election season with hotly contested, emotionally charged, and divisive races at all levels of government. For a bit of background on the how this rigid prohibition came about, see “The Political Ban in 501(c)(3): Its Odd History.” There are a few types of politics-related activities Read More

Political Activity and 501(c)(3)s: What’s Allowable, Part 1

Two years ago, during the midterm election season, we wrote about the strict ban in the federal tax code on political campaign activities by 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, organizations. See It’s That Time of Year Again (August 1, 2014). Well ... it's that time of year again, albeit in the (always) more volatile context of making the choice for the next president of the United States.   The Political Ban Interpreting Read More

Politics, 501(c)(3)s, and the Clergy

Now that we’re in full-swing presidential-election season, the absolute ban in section 501(c)(3) on political campaign activities moves to center stage. One of the trickiest parts of this rule is distinguishing when someone associated with a 501(c)(3) organization is acting in his or her individual capacity alone, and not as a representative of the group.  We raised this point in “Whose Opinion is It, Anyway?”: It’s Read More

Senate Review of Private Museums Ends With a Whimper

Early in 2015, the New York Times published a lengthy article about the proliferation of so-called “private museums.”  The feature piece begins with a description of The Brant Foundation Art Study Center - a picturesque gallery space inside a converted 1902 stone barn — … just down the road from the Greenwich, Conn., estate of its creator, Peter M. Brant, the newsprint magnate and avid art collector. There are no Read More

Machine-Readable Form 990 Launched!

On June 16, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service made it happen: the long-awaited introduction of the machine-readable Form 990 (Modernized E-file, “MeF”):   …[T]he publicly available data on electronically filed Forms 990 will now be available for the first time in a machine-readable format through Amazon Web Services (AWS). Of course, IRS was pushed into this new age of sunshine and transparency, but the agency came Read More

Private Foundations: New Program-Related Investments Guidance

Recently, the directors and managers of private foundations read some good news in the Federal Register.  On April 25, 2016, The U.S. Treasury Department issued its long-awaited, final regulations on program-related investments, commonly known as “PRIs.” What are program-related investments? They are an important, useful, and socially beneficial exception to the general rules that foundations must follow in managing Read More

The Political Ban in 501(c)(3): Its Odd History

We in the philanthropic community are - along with the rest of the nation - deep in the muck of perhaps the most bizarre election season in recent memory. There’s an added dimension to our bewilderment; namely, how to skirt the quicksand of the absolute ban in Section 501(c)(3) on political activities; that is: [not] "participat[ing] in, or interven[ing] in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), Read More

When the Revenue Agent Comes Calling: Nonprofit Executive Compensation

In “When the Revenue Agent Comes Calling,” we explained that the Enron and Worldcom scandals in the early 2000’s had a profound effect on charity regulators at all levels of government. They have doubled-down on the scrutiny of 501(c)(3) organizations (and public charities, specifically) on issues of governance, organizational control, and conflict of interest as well as on compensation and financial Read More