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News & Announcements

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

Tax-Exempt Organization News

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).

EU’s GDPR set to take effect May 25th, 2018. Learn how your nonprofit organization may be affected by this new data protection law. Read the guidance from the Institute of Fundraising, including a 10 Step Action Plan.

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.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R. 1. Read an analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and its impact on the nonprofit sector by the National Council of Nonprofits.


Upcoming Nonprofit Law Seminars

Multi-State Registration & Compliance for Nonprofits: When, Where and How on Tuesday, June 8 at 11am EDT. Led by Elizabeth Reinhardt and Chris Leigh-Manuell. Sponsored by G.T. Reilly & Company. Register for the webinar.

Previous Nonprofit Law Seminars

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 .

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.

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