What, More Politics?: Proposed Free Speech Fairness Act Aims to Modify the Nonprofit Ban

Public charities described under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) that wish to engage in politically related speech must consider several important questions:

  • May Section 501(c)(3) organizations engage in political campaign activity at all? 
  • Just what is “political campaign activity”? 
  • Who or what determines whether speech is political?

Since 1954, 501(c)(3) organizations have been prohibited from engaging in certain politically-related speech, with the possible penalty of the loss of tax-exempt status.  This has been historically problematic, since what constitutes political speech can be hard to determine, and the IRS uses a vague “facts and circumstances” test in its assessments.  However,  Congress is considering a newly proposed law that would make it permissible for c(3)s to engage in limited politically-related speech. 

Nonprofit Financial Reporting: Changes Ahead with FASB ASU 2016-14

Numbers tell a story.  Effective nonprofit leaders understand this concept and produce accurate and up-to-date financial statements for internal board purposes, disclosures to current and prospective donors, and government reporting.  The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) newly issued standards will affect many nonprofits’ financial statements, particularly regarding asset classification and required financial disclosures.

Nonprofit Corporate Purpose Statements: Legal Compliance under 501(c)(3) and Effective Communications

Public charities and private foundations are, by definition, organized and operated for tax-exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  But where does a nonprofit organization state this information?  And to what extent – and where - should a nonprofit articulate additional details about its particular tax-exempt purpose?  The answer lies within the nonprofit’s “corporate purpose statement.” 

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