Should a Hate Group Have a Tax Exemption?

Every few days or so, there’s another hate-group-fueled shooting rampage in the United States. In a long-overdue move, the FBI recently designated the white-supremacy movement as the greatest domestic-terrorism threat of our era.  Along with growing public concern about the rising death toll is a sense of outrage against the extremist organizations that promote and encourage these violent acts. And many of these Read More

The Charitable Deduction: Then and Now

There are two intriguing and important recent articles about the history of the U.S. charitable deduction and how it can - and should - evolve in the future.  The first paper is by Dr. Nicolas J. Duquette: Founders’ Fortunes and Philanthropy: A History of the U.S. Charitable-Contribution Deduction (August 27, 2019), Cambridge University Press.  Professor Duquette argues that, despite significant changes in the Read More

Disclosure of Donors: Latest Update

If you aren’t clear about whether a tax-exempt organization must disclose its donors or not, the rest of us say: “Welcome to the club.”   It’s been a roller coaster ride of twists and turns for the past 18 months or so; confusion is the new normal on this issue. But now’s a good time to sum up what’s been going on, particularly because the federal government has just issued proposed new regulations that need Read More

Mandatory e-Filing for 990s on the Way

Pending legislation in Congress will, if passed, affect tax-exempt organizations in two ways: (1) it will make e-filing the mandatory method for all exempt organizations for filing any required information returns, including the Form 990 Series, and (2) it will require the Internal Revenue Service to send a notice to organizations which have missed filing two consecutive information returns before it’s too late to Read More

The Parsonage Allowance: Constitutional, Once Again

“I assume it's not just me who checks the 7th Circuit opinion pages multiple times a day to see whether the #ParsonageAllowance decision has been issued yet. I mean, everybody's checking, right?” [Tweet 1/23/19 1:58 pm @smbrsun ] In the fall of 2018, Sam Brunson sat in the federal courthouse in Chicago watching the oral argument hearing in Gaylor v. Mnuchin.  In the following months, he eagerly awaited the Read More

Group Exemptions: New Procedure

For the many 501(c)(3) organizations around the nation that have group - rather than individual - tax exemptions, the Internal Revenue Service has announced an important, but not widely publicized, procedural change in the annual reporting requirements. The parent - or “central” - organizations should take note of, and act on, this information immediately. Group Exemptions as Administrative Convenience A Read More

Form 990: Newest Update

The federal Form 990 is the “information return” that most tax-exempt organizations -  including, but not limited, to 501(c)(3)s - must file each year. From time to time, the government updates and revises this document. The most comprehensive overhaul occurred in 2008, when Treasury and IRS officials worked with state charity regulators to beef up the Form 990, making it more useful as a source of Read More

Exempt Organizations, the IRS, and YouTube

From time to time, we pass along tips about educational resources - online and free of charge - that help folks in the exempt organizations field be aware of, and better understand, the mind-boggling maze of laws that apply. A few months ago, for instance, we posted Foundation Law: Free Online Learning about a great training site created by the legal staff at four major American foundations. It includes a Read More

More Groups Want 501(c)(4) Status

There is a discernible trend in the current political climate by liberal organizations away from the traditionally favored 501(c)(3) public-charity, tax-exempt status. More than a few academics and observers have noticed an anecdotal shift to the less beneficial - but also less restrictive - 501(c)(4) social-welfare category. Indeed, in January 2018, FPLG pal Gene Takagi, Esq, predicted that 2018 will be the year Read More

Gift Substantiation Final Regulations: At Last!

It’s taken an excruciatingly long time: almost 10 years. Treasury Regulations first proposed in 2008 are now approved and final as of July 30, 2018. They are published under the title “Substantiation and Reporting Requirements for Cash and Noncash Charitable Contribution Deductions,” designated as Treasury Regulation Sections 1.170A-15 (cash), -16 (noncash), -17 (qualified appraisals and appraisers), and -18 Read More