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Tax-Exempt Organization News

Massachusetts AG to Require Online Registration, Reduces Filing Burden for Small Nonprofits. Starting on September 1, 2023, all charities must register with the Attorney General via the new online portal. In addition, effective as of May 31, 2023, the Attorney General will no longer require nonprofit organizations with gross support and revenue of $25,000 or less to submit a Federal Form 990 as part of their annual filings and disclosures. Read more about these changes.

New York Further Modernizes Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. The new legislation, enacted in November of 2022, makes a number of changes including: 1. Allowing the use of digital voting portals for unanimous consent votes in lieu of a meeting; 2. Permitting replacement board members to serve out the duration of their predecessor's term; and, 3. Clarifies that a quorum is maintained even when conflicted director(s) must leave a meeting in compliance with a conflict of interest proceeding. Read more about the new legislation.

Massachusetts Reinstates Charitable Deduction. Starting in 2023, donors in Massachusetts can deduct charitable donations on their state income taxes. Read more about the charitable deduction.

Massachusetts AG Healey Issues Revised Guide for Board Members of Charitable Organizations. The new "Guide for Board Members of Charitable Organizations" emphasizes the importance of board and leadership diversity, and making sure that the mission of charitable organizations is central to all board activity. For more information, read the AG's announcement.

Massachusetts Launches Online Portal for Charities Filings. The new portal will allow charities to register with the Attorney General's office and file the annual Form PC and updated corporate documents online. For more information, read the AG's announcement.

IRS Form 1024 Updated; Must be Filed Electronically. As of January 3, 2022, all applications for recognition of exemption utilizing the newly updated Form 1024 must be filed online via Pay.gov. The IRS has provided a 90-day grace period during which the paper form will still be accepted. For more information, read the IRS announcement.

IRS prematurely revokes tax-exempt status for exempt entities. Multiple exempt organizations that took advantage of the extended Form 990 filing deadlines due to COVID-19 had their tax-exempt status prematurely revoked by the IRS. The IRS has acknowledged this error in a recent EO Update and is working to rectify the problem. If this has happened to your organization, the IRS has created a dedicated fax line, (855) 247-6123, for you to send correspondence to the IRS supporting your case for reinstatement.

All IRS Forms 990 must now be filed electronically. Effective for tax years that end July 31, 2020 and later, exempt organizations must now file their annual returns electronically, using an approved IRS 990 e-File provider. Note that some transitional relief is available to 990-EZ filers. In addition, some exceptions apply including when the organization is changing its name, filing a shortened period return due to a change in fiscal year, or has an exemption application pending. Refer to the Form 990 instructions for information on these and other exceptions. To learn more about this electronic filing requirement, read the IRS announcement. For a list of approved IRS 990 e-File providers, refer to the IRS' Modernized e-file Providers list.

On April 9th, 2020 the IRS announced extensions to Form 990 filing deadlines for tax-exempt organizations. The extensions apply to annual Form 990 returns due on April 15, May 15, or June 15. The new filing deadline is July 15 for all organizations with returns normally due on these dates. This announcement is the latest guidance from the IRS in a rapidly-evolving situation. Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, filing requirements for the Form 990 series, including 990EZ, 990PF, and 990T, may be subject to further change. For the most up-to-date information please check our Coronavirus Nonprofit Legal Resource Center webpage or the IRS Exempt Organization website.

Governor Baker Signs Law with Emergency Provisions to Ease Meeting Requirements for Nonprofit Corporations During COVID-19 Crisis. The new law will allow Massachusetts nonprofit corporations greater leeway in conducting board and member meetings during the pandemic, among other things, by authorizing virtual or "remote" participation. Included in the law is an important provision that allows nonprofit corporations to hold member meetings by remote participation, even though it may not be in the corporation's bylaws and is not specifically authorized by statute, provided that the meeting follows the requirements set forth in the new law. The Emergency Provisions will be in effect during the Governor's declared state of emergency and continuing for sixty days after the state of emergency. Read the full text of the Act.

As of January 31, 2020, the IRS requires that Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, be completed and submitted through  Pay.govApplicants must have a Pay.gov account and payment of the user fee must be made electronically. There is a 90-day grace period during which the IRS will continue to accept paper versions of Form 1023. Learn more about IRS Form 1023.

IRS Changes Donor Reporting Requirements for 501(c)(4) Civic Organizations, 501(c)(5) Labor Organizations, 501(c)(6) Business Leagues, and other Exempt Organizations. The IRS published Revenue Procedure 2018-38 which eliminates the need for many federally tax-exempt organizations to disclose the names of their large donors on their annual Form 990. The change, effective for fiscal years ending on or after December 31, 2018, does not apply to 501(c)(3) organizations or Section 527 political organizations. For more information, read the full Revenue Procedure 2018-38.

IRS no longer requires new application for exemption when a nonprofit restructures under an existing EIN. Read our article about this recent change and contact Attorney Anne Rosenthal for more information.

New IRS Database for Exempt Organizations. The IRS has released a new and freely available database called “Tax Exempt Organization Search”. This replaces the pre-existing “Select Check”. In addition to providing information regarding the tax-exempt status of nonprofit organizations, the new database includes copies of IRS determination letters (eventually including all letters issued since 2014) and copies of Forms 990 (990, 990-EZ, 990-PF and 990-T).

IRS reviewing comments on IRS Notice 2017-73 which would significantly change the regulation of Donor Advised Funds. Read IRS Notice 2017-73 which would impact distributions from DAFs that fulfill a pledge made by the donor or pay for tickets for the donor to attend a charity-sponsored event. It would also significantly change public support calculations for charities such that distributions from DAFs would be treated as an indirect contribution of the donor or donors who funded the DAF. Such gifts would therefore be subject to the 2-percent public support limitation.

Upcoming Nonprofit Law Seminars

Grant Agreements: Key considerations and nuances for funders and charities on May 7th from 9:00-11am. Led by Jocelyn Bishop. Sponsored by MCLE New England.

Nonprofit Law Seminars

Charitable Board Service: Board Leadership Opportunities and Skill Development on April 25th, 2024. Led by Jocelyn Bishop. Sponsored by Boston Bar Association.

Starting a Nonprofit Organization on March 21st from 8:30-10am. Led by Jocelyn Bishop. Sponsored by Massachusetts Society of CPAs.

Private Foundations – Rules of Behavior (Live webcast) on February 14th from 3-4pm. Led by Valerie Sussman and Kelly Guarino. Sponsored by Boston Bar Association.

Tax-Exempt Fundamentals Series: Board Structure, Governance, and Fiduciary Duty (Live webcast) on January 17th, 2024 from 3-4pm. Led by Jocelyn Bishop and Martha J. Nahill Frahm. Sponsored by Boston Bar Association.

Advising on Operational & Legal Landmines Small Nonprofits Frequently Encounter on November 29th, 2023. Led by Attorneys Eleanor A. Evans, Christopher B. Logue and Alyssa Rayman-Read. Sponsored by MCLE New England. Available on demand.

MNN Annual Conference Roundtable – Challenges in the Nonprofit Workplace on October 19th, 2023. Led by Alyssa Rayman-Read. Sponsored by Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

Nonprofit Board Leadership: Fiduciary Oversight on October 17th, 2023. Led by Julia Chu, Head of Philanthropy & Family Governance Advisory at Neuberger Berman, and Valerie Sussman. Sponsored by Worthy Circles.

Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action - Implications for Philanthropy on October 4th, 2023. Led by Alyssa Rayman-Read. Sponsored by Philanthropy Massachusetts.

Legal Issues for Transgender People in Daily Life - School & Work on May 24, 2023. Led by Elizabeth E. Monnin-Browder (Chair), Connor M. Barusch, Chris M. Erchull, Arielle B. Kristan, and Alyssa Rayman-Read. Sponsored by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. Access the content and recorded webcast.

Life Cycle of a Private Foundation – Succession Planning and What’s Next? on Thursday, November 10th . Led by Valerie Sussman. Sponsored by Worthy Circles.

Helping Mission Driven Organizations Select the Right Entity for Success on June 15th, 2022. Led by Janet Rickershauser and Russell Paul. Sponsored by Lawyers Clearinghouse.

Private Foundations - Rules of Behavior on March 4th, 2022. Led by Valerie Sussman. Sponsored by Boston Bar Association.

"Growing Pains" of a Private Foundation: A Case Study on October 7, 2021. Led by Valerie Sussman. Sponsored by Worthy Circles.

Multi-State Registration & Compliance for Nonprofits: When, Where and How on June 8, 2021.  Led by Elizabeth Reinhardt and Chris Leigh-Manuell. Sponsored by G.T. Reilly & Company.

COVID-19 and Vaccinations: The Emerging Legal Landscape on May 19, 2021. Led by Ann Marie Noonan. Sponsored by Country Dance & Song Society. View a recording of the presentation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YKjHX1Sb8Y) and the slides (https://www.cdss.org/images/web-chats/Vaccination_Presentation_05192021.pdf).  

Private Foundations - Rules of Behavior on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 from 2-3pm. Led by Valerie R. Sussman. Sponsored by Boston Bar Association.

Soliciting, Negotiating, and Managing Restricted Gifts and Endowment Funds on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Led by Janet M. Rickershauser. Sponsored by NonprofitWebAdvisor.

Social Impact Investing: Opportunities and Risks for Nonprofits on Wednesday, October 30, 2019. Led by Janet M. Rickershauser. Sponsored by NonprofitWebAdvisor.

Raffles, Co-Ventures, Crowdfunding & Beyond: Legal Issues with Common Fundraising Methods on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Led by Elizabeth S. Reinhardt, Of Counsel and Christopher T. Leigh-Manuell. Sponsored by NonprofitWebAdvisor.

Raffles, Co-Ventures and Crowdfunding, Oh My! on Wednesday October 16, 2019. Led by Elizabeth S. Reinhardt, Of Counsel and Christopher T. Leigh-Manuell. Sponsored by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

2019 Nonprofit Bootcamp on June 6, 2019. Led by Elizabeth S. Reinhardt, Of Counsel and Christopher T. Leigh-Manuell. Sponsored by the Metrowest Nonprofit Network.

New Overtime Law: How Does This Affect My Organization? on Thursday, October 13, 2016. Led by Elizabeth S. Reinhardt, Of Counsel. Sponsored by Massachusetts Nonprofit Network and College for Social Innovation.

Issues and Pitfalls in Nonprofit Collaborations and Mergers on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Led by Jeffrey M. Hurwit. Sponsored by Tech Networks of Boston.

Starting a Nonprofit Organization on Thursday, April 14, 2016. Led by Daniel A. Hershey. Sponsored by Foundation for MetroWest.

Nonprofit Law - Current Legal Issues on Thursday, September 19, 2013. Led by Attorney Jeffrey M. Hurwit. Sponsored by Massachusetts Society of CPAs.

10 Items that Can Get Your Association in Legal Trouble on Wednesday, June 14, 2013. Led by Tracey J. Bolotnick. Sponsored by New England Society of Association Executives.

Nonprofit Law: Legal and Governance Issues for NGOs Worldwide (webcast) on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. Led by Jeffrey M. Hurwit. Sponsored by Nonprofit Webinars.

Social Entrepreneurship Series: Lawyers and their Participation in the Entrepreneurial Process on Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Sponsored by Boston University School of Law. Led by Attorney Marion Fremont-Smith with Attorneys Jeffrey Hurwit and Tobias Lederberg.

Starting a Nonprofit Organization (webcast) on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. Led by Daniel A. Hershey. Sponsored by Nonprofit Webinars.

Starting a Nonprofit Organization (webcast) on Thursday, September 15, 2011. Led by Daniel A. Hershey. Sponsored by Nonprofit Webinars.

The Top 5 Legal Trends for Nonprofits (webcast) on Tuesday, November 16, 2010. Led by Attorney, Jeffrey M. Hurwit. Sponsored by ReadyTalk.

Becoming an Established 501(c)(3) Organization in Albany, NY on Friday, November 5, 2010. Led by Attorney, Tracey Bolotnick. Sponsored by National Alliance on Mental Illness - NYS.

Starting a Nonprofit Organization in Newton, MA on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 from 7-8:30pm. Sponsored by Newton Free Library.

Nonprofit Law: Legal and Governance Issues for NGOs Worldwide (webcast) on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Sponsored by World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO).


Hurwit & Associates - Nonprofit Law Seminars

Hurwit & Associates is pleased to offer seminars on various topics pertaining to nonprofit law. Our list of seminar topics includes:

  • The Nonprofit Entrepreneur: Commercial Activities for Nonprofit Organizations
  • Liability Issues for Nonprofit Organizations: Risks, Protections and Prevention
  • Nonprofit Governance: Legal Standards and Sound Practices
  • A Common Sense Approach to Conflict of Interest Policies
  • Current Legal Issues for Nonprofit Organizations
  • Tax, Legal & Ethical Issues for Foundation Trustees and Staff
  • Starting a Nonprofit: Legal Process and Practical Considerations
  • Emerging Philanthropic Vehicles
  • Stewardship and Donor Intent: A Primer for Foundation Trustees

If your organization or association is looking for guest speakers and would like to talk with us about possible topics, please contact us.