Dark Money in Nonprofits Gets Darker

In the third week of July 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an appropriations bill that - if passed by the Senate - would effectively repeal the Johnson Amendment for political activity by churches. Many in the philanthropy community oppose this move as do many religious organizations. The fear is that it could open the door to an enormous amount of political “dark money” flowing in and through houses Read More

What’s New in Latest TE/GE Program Letter

Each year, the Tax Exempt and Government Entities (TE/GE) Division of the Internal Revenue Service publishes a “Program Letter” for the fiscal year. This gives nonprofit organizations, professional advisers, academics, consultants, and all other interested parties a snapshot look at what these IRS officials believe are the most important developments and pressing needs to address. The agency published its TE/GE Read More

Surprise Tax Hits Churches, Other Nonprofits

In the final months of 2017, the GOP majorities in the House and Senate rushed to throw together and pass tax legislation before the end of the year.  What became the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017 (“TCJA”) was a hodge-podge of items that had been on various Republican taxation wish lists for some time. The legislation was written, rewritten, revised, and amended at break-neck speed with no Democratic input and Read More

Federal Action – and Inaction

Before the end of September, the U.S. House of Representatives had already recessed until after the November 6th election. The Senate will also recess for a certain amount of time in October and until November 7th. There are lots of unfinished pending and proposed federal legislative items that will languish until at least the lame-duck session; that is, November and December. Depending on the outcome, it’s unclear Read More

IRS Announces New 501(c)(3) Databases

A scenario repeated many times each day around the United States: A prospective donor is ready to sign a huge check to a favorite 501(c)(3) but wants assurances that the group is still eligible for tax-deductible contributions. Similarly, a foundation wants to award a grant to a worthy organization and needs confirmation of that group’s exempt status. Particularly since 2006, this matter has taken on a new sense Read More

New Unrelated Business Income Rules

In last December’s overhaul of the federal tax code, lawmakers included four provisions directly affecting certain nonprofits. One of the new laws makes dramatic changes to Internal Revenue Code section 512(a), the unrelated business income tax (UBIT) rules.    Multiple Unrelated Businesses The key change affects those groups that have more than one unrelated trade or business. Before the Tax Cut and Jobs Act Read More

Expenditure Responsibility: A Primer

Over the 100 years or so that the United States has had a federal income tax, Congress has, from time to time, stepped back, evaluated the existing laws, and made significant revisions to the Internal Revenue Code. The Tax Reform Act of 1969 was one such occasion of major tax law changes. For the philanthropy community, it marked the first time there was a distinction within the 501(c)(3) tax-exemption category Read More

IRS Asks for Priority Guidance Suggestions

The Internal Revenue Service’s primary mission is the administration of the federal tax laws. Part of that responsibility is guidance and education of individuals and entities that are subject to these tax provisions. Each year, well in advance of the beginning of the upcoming fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), the IRS, in coordination with Treasury Department officials, produces a document called the Priority Read More

Exempt Organizations: What’s New From the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service has recently announced substantive changes to application forms and procedures for tax-exempt status under sections 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS will reject applications on older - now obsolete - forms.    Form 1023 The changes to Form 1023 are fairly minor. They include revisions consistent with new IRS procedures on public-charity status and on Read More