Property Tax Exemptions: The New Battlefield

In “Local Governments Eager to Snag Revenue from Nonprofits,” we discussed an important trend that should be grabbing the attention of the nation’s 501(c)(3)s: local governments’ myriad attempts to vacuum up loose dollars - or even nickels and dimes - from nonprofits in their communities. Favorite methods include: imposing (or asking for voluntary) “payments in lieu of taxes” (PILOTs), and renaming “taxes” as “fees” Read More

Alzheimer's Association Tries to Consolidate, But Splits Apart

Recently, the Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association embarked on a strategic change of course to fully integrate its independent chapters nationwide into a single charitable organization. There were some unexpected consequences, though, that may have lessons for other affiliated groups. Instead of uniting - as the national board planned - chapters are starting to peel off and go it alone. Merger Plan Read More

Navigating the Tax Maze: California Sales Tax Obligations for Nonprofits

Two friends enter a deli in downtown San Diego for some take-out. One orders a ham and cheese sandwich and is charged $5.95. The other orders the same, but her sandwich is toasted. She’s charged $6.43. Same food, same store - but the hot sandwich costs more than the cold one. That’s an example of the inscrutable sales tax laws encountered by every Californian who has ever ordered food to go. “What does any of this Read More

A Second Way to Get Noticed by the California Attorney General

Great news! You’ve formed your nonprofit organization in California and you've just sent in your application for federal tax exemption. So you rush right out and ask for donations, right? Wrong. That’s the second way that your organization can get an invitation from the California Attorney General’s office to explain yourself. What’s the first way? Take a look back at two earlier posts. In “The Charitable Read More

Attorneys on Nonprofit Boards

Sometimes, it boils down to a question of hats. Two hats, to be exact. And understanding that wearing both of those hats at once can lead to big trouble. Should Attorneys Serve on Charity Boards? “We already have legal counsel because we have an attorney sitting on our board," we were told by several organization executives at a recent nonprofit governance symposium. Attorneys on nonprofit boards? It happens all Read More

Naming Rights: It’s a Philanthropic Jungle Out There

Even having a basement bathroom named after you at a major cultural institution can cost a big chunk of change. In 2007, wealthy New York businessman Jerome L. Stern offered the New Museum of Contemporary Art a major gift reported to be in the six figures.  As a thank you, the institution suggested naming rights to a space in the building.  Mr. Stern, then 83, injected some humor, saying he “wanted to see his name Read More