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

Charity Naming Rights: A Provocative Idea

Philanthropic naming rights “...are the charitable cousin of corporate - commercial - naming rights.” In Naming Rights: It's a Philanthropic Jungle Out There, we explained that “...huge amounts of money - donated, of course, instead of invested - swirl around the rights to have one’s name catapulted into philanthropic super-stardom. Billionaires jostle for the privilege of contributing to society and being publicly Read More

Guidance on Excess Compensation Rules for 501(c)(3) Execs

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was enacted at the end of December 2017. It was a rushed effort, with little or none of the usual thoughtful drafting and committee hearings. Voting was so rushed that many lawmakers candidly admitted they had not had a chance to read much of the legislation before it came up for a vote. What emerged is a comprehensive overhaul of the federal tax code that is - frankly and generally Read More

Johnson Amendment: Backdoor Repeal on the Table

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Republican nominee fired up his evangelical supporters with a promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment, the brief phrase at the end of Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) that bans any political-campaign activity.   At the first National Prayer Breakfast of the new Administration, he told the gathered group that he would “get rid of and totally destroy” it.  In the Read More

Supreme Court Vacancy and 501(c)(3)s: What are the Rules?

Washington, D.C. is brutally hot in the summer. This year in the nation’s capital, the months of July and August - and perhaps several beyond - will sizzle more than usual, now that pivotal Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has suddenly announced his retirement and President Trump has named his nominee to succeed him, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This will be no run-of-the-mill Supreme Court confirmation battle - if Read More

Nonprofits to Congress: Ditch Form 1023-EZ

In March and April 2018, the House of Representatives took up and passed legislation, the Taxpayer First Act, H.R. 5443,  to modernize certain aspects of the IRS’s operations. Included in this bill is a provision for mandatory electronic filing of the information returns of exempt organizations.  During the regular period for public comment, nonprofit leaders expressed support for the electronic-filing aspect of Read More

Form 990: Important Processing Changes

For many nonprofit organizations that operate on a calendar fiscal year, the due date for the annual Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, was yesterday - May 15, 2018. Of course, an organization may choose to file Form 8868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File an Exempt Organization Return, to obtain an automatic extension for six months to file a Form 990. In light of some Read More