Report: Charities Spend Too Much Time and Money On IRS Paperwork

Philanthropy.com:  The federal government is asking big nonprofits like universities and hospitals to spend too much time and money reporting on their finances and other activities, nonprofit officials told members of Congress today at a hearing held by the House Ways and Means Committee. 

The wide-ranging hearing, the first in a series of sessions expected to be held by a Ways and Means subcommittee that oversees the Internal Revenue Service, also featured a call to change the standards for getting charity status so that groups would have to prove they are making a positive contribution, rather than giving them an exemption simply because they avoid things like lobbying and engaging in untaxed business activities.”

Three Cups of Tea Lawsuit Dismissed

thomsonreuters.com: Today in Missoula, Montana, a lawsuit against the author of Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson, was thrown out today with the judge citing “flimsy” claims by the Plaintiff:

But U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon dismissed the case for what he said was the “imprecise, in part flimsy, and speculative nature of the claims and theories advanced” by the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed in May 2011 following a critical report by CBS television’s “60 Minutes” program that challenged the credibility of biographical details in Mortenson’s memoir.

In particular, the “60 Minutes” report disputed his account of being kidnapped in Pakistan’s Waziristan region in 1996, and said his institute, founded to build schools for girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was largely being used to promote the book.

5 Legal Issues Nonprofit Boards Must Be Aware Of

Corporate Law Report:  “According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations operating in the United States, from charities to industry associations to religious institutions. But whatever their structure or purpose, such organizations need to understand – and respond to – key legal and regulatory issues that are unique to not-for-profits.

For your reference, here are five areas that require ongoing attention (and legal understanding) by nonprofits:

1. Lobbying and Political Campaigning:

“Non-profit organizations are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributing to political campaigns or public statements – verbal or written – made on behalf of the non-profit organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office, violates the prohibition against political campaign activity. Simply put, non-profit organizations are forbidden from engaging in any political campaigning activity; violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.” (Political Activities By Non-Profit Educational Institutions by Fisher & Phillips LLP)”

The Legal Guide For Association Board Members

Nonprofit Law Blog:  “The Legal Guide for Association Board Members . . . was designed for corporate directors of 501(c)(6) trade associations and business societies but holds important lessons for all board members of nonprofits. The Guide consists of four principal sections:  (1) The Association’s Legal Structure, (2) Association Liability for Programs and Activities, (3) Legal Concerns for a New Era, and (4) The Board Member’s Legal Liability.  Here are some of the important takeaways:”