Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thank you to Tiffany

Today, I would like to take a minute to express my warmest wishes and sincerest thank you to my wife, Tiffany. Today marks our first anniversary. I think that if you expand that out, it rally means first of many. Tiffany is the love of my life, the drive that keeps me going forward, and the fire in my belly that keeps me warm at night. I could never thank her for all of the things that she does, for all of the sacrifices that she makes, and for all of the love and support that she showers me with. Thank you Tiffany (sposa!) I love you with all of my heart, and I look forward to many more years of marital bliss!

IRS releases several publications relating to Exempt Organizations

Generally, Publication 4630 provides for general guidance for non-profits, and provides you with a “how to” and “where to” for the information that you may be in search of.

IRS Publication 1771 , Charitable Contributions-Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements, explains the federal tax law for organizations such as charities and churches that receive tax-deductible charitable contributions and for taxpayers who make contributions.

IRS Publication 4221 - PC addresses public charities and their activities that may jeopardize a charity's exempt status; Federal information returns, tax returns or notices that must be filed; Recordkeeping -- why, what, when; Changes to be reported to the IRS; Required public disclosures; Resources for public charities. IRS Publication 4221 - PF addresses these same issues with regard to private foundations.

In Local Tax News …

The Chicago Tribune has an interesting article today about taxes levied by the city of Chicago against its residents and non-residents alike. The focus of the story are what the tribune considers those many “nagging little” taxes that seemingly go unnoticed, but are there. The article focuses on what it considers the most egregious, the proposed tax on bottled water. Why not tax bottled water? Place a tax on externalities in order to attempt to prohibit waste and wasteful behavior.

Read the full article here

New Non-Profit Law Podcast

Our friend over at the Non-Profit Law Podcast, Tim Mooney, has released another in his fine series of non-profit law podcasts. I suggest that you get over there and check it out, it can be found here

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

If a President Falls at the Nature Conservancy will Anyone Hear It?

Long time staffer and president of the Nature Conservancy, Steven J. McCormick, who has served as president of the Nature Conservancy since 2001, abruptly stepped down from his post today after a controversial tenure in which the organization came under fire for land transactions and its relationships with for-profit businesses.

Mr. McCormick said in a written statement that he believes it is time for him to move on. “I’ve reached a personal and professional crossroads and concluded that my work at the conservancy is done,” Mr. McCormick said.

The Nature Conservancy is one of the largest environmental groups and ranked No. 20 on The Chronicle’s most recent list of the charities that raise the most from private sources. The Arlington, Va., nonprofit group raised $475-million from private sources in 2005.

Read the full article at the Chronicle of Philanthropy here

YouTube and Non-Profits, quite the grouping!

YouTube has launched the “YouTube Nonprofit Program YouTube Nonprofit Program. After filling out a basic application, your nonprofit organization may be a featured on the forthcoming YouTube nonprofit channel. This seems like a great way to get a message out across one of the most popular mediums currently. YouTube Nonprofit Program

News Bites Today:

Fair Trade Coffee … all the buzz, ½ the guilt

The New York Times has an interesting article on fair trade coffee today, and about how the industry is outpacing those regular coffee suppliers of the world. Take that Juan Valdez!

Read the full article here

Tribune Gets Tax Windfall

A court yesterday granted the Chicago Tribune a substantial refund after the restructuring of their former subsidiary, Matthew Bender.

Read the tribune article here

Monday, October 1, 2007

Congress Attempts to Convene Philanthropy Group

A Congressional caucus that was formed to discuss issues that affect the charitable world now has 25 members and will start meeting this fall. The issues that the new caucus will discuss are a tax bill that Congress is expected to adopt this fall and the proposed extension of legislation allowing some people to donate money from their individual retirement accounts to charity tax-free.

The caucus is intent on focusing on “increasing communication and dialogue between government and the foundation community with a common goal of increasing philanthropy and opportunities for all of our citizens.”

The chairs of the committee are Robin Hayes, Republican from North Carolina, and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Democrat from Ohio.

The Democratic members of the caucus are: Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii; Yvette Clarke, New York; Susan Davis, California; Bob Filner, California; Rush Holt, New Jersey; Carolyn Maloney, New York; Kendrick Meek, Florida; Bobby Rush, Illinois; Jose Serrano, New York; Louise Slaughter, New York; Ellen Tauscher, California; Tim Walz, Minnesota; and Henry Waxman, California. The Republican members are: Vern Buchanan, Florida; Dan Burton, Indiana; Mike Conaway, Texas; Thelma Drake, Virginia; Phil English, Pennsylvania; Ron Paul, Texas; Jim Ramstad, Minnesota; Mark Souder, Indiana; Patrick Tiberi, Ohio; Fred Upton, Michigan.

Read the full article here

All rise … today is First Monday

Seeing as today is the first Monday of October, I thought that I would list out the Supreme Court cases with a tax relevance to be heard during this term.

Kentucky Department of Revenue v. Davis, No. 06-666
Date of Oral Argument: Nov. 7, 2007
Issue: Whether a state violates the dormant Commerce Clause by providing an exemption from its income tax for interest income derived from bonds issued by the state and its political subdivisions, while treating interest income realized from bonds issued by other states and their political subdivisions as taxable to the same extent, and in the same manner, as interest earned on bonds issued by commercial entities, whether domestic or foreign.

Knight v. Commissioner, No. 06-1286
Date of Oral Argument: Not Yet Scheduled
Issue: There is a deep, irreconcilable and widely noted conflict among the Second, Fourth, Sixth and Federal Circuits about the meaning of § 67(e) — which permits trusts and estates to deduct on their income tax returns certain administrative expenses — and whether the statute permits fees for investment management and advisory services to be fully deducted on trust’s and estate’s income tax returns. This is an important and recurring question of federal tax law that involves deductions by trusts and estates that total in the billions of dollars annually. The Question Presented is: Whether § 67(e) permits a full deduction for costs and fees for investment management and advisory services provided to trusts and estates.

CSX Transportation Inc. v. Georgia State Board of Equalization, No. 06-1287
Date of Oral Argument: Nov. 5, 2007
Issue: Whether, under the federal statute prohibiting state tax discrimination against railroads, 49 U.S.C. § 11501(b)(1), a federal district court determining the “true market value” of railroad property must accept the valuation method chosen by the State.

MeadWestvaco Corp. v. Illinois, No. 06-1413
Date of Oral Argument: Not Yet Scheduled
Issue: Is the attempt by Illinois to tax the approximately $1 billion gain realized by Petitioner when it sold its investment in Lexis/Nexis in 1994 (which it acquired in 1968 for $6 million and which functioned for 26 years as an independent, nonunitary business) in direct conflict with the decisions of the Court in Allied-Signal, Inc. v. Director, Division of Taxation, 504 U.S. 768 (1992), FW. Woolworth Co. v. Taxation & Revenue Department of New Mexico, 458 U.S. 354 (1982), and ASARCO Inc. v. Idaho State Tax Commission, 458 U.S. 307 (1982) and the Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the United States Constitution?

Boulware v. United States, No. 06-1509
Date of Oral Argument: Not Yet Scheduled
Issue: Whether the diversion of corporate funds to a shareholder of a corporation without earnings and profits automatically qualifies as a non-taxable return of capital up to the shareholder's stock basis, see § 301(c)(2), even if the diversion was not intended as a return of capital."

IRS Notes

The IRS will eliminate from the summary page of a redesigned Form 990 information return for tax-exempt organizations questions on compensation percentages, fundraising percentages, and comparisons of an organization's net assets to total expenses, an IRS official said on September 28. The IRS, which last summer released a draft form of a redesigned Form 990 information return for tax-exempt organizations that includes a summary page designed to provide a concise look at an organization's mission, will eliminate from that page questions on compensation percentages, fundraising percentages, and comparisons of an organization's net assets to total expenses. Read more at Tax Analysts

IRS releases its list of organizations that either did not meet, or no longer qualify for tax exempt status as public charities, and are not considered private foundations. See the full list here

In private letter ruling LTR 200739012, the Service has ruled that an organization hired by the state to provide behavioral healthcare services to state residents will not lose its exempt status when it contracts to provide medication services to another organization nor will the provision of services to the other organization constitute an unrelated trade or business. Read the full private letter ruling here

In private letter ruling LTR 200739014, the Service has ruled that an organization managing a down payment assistance program does not qualify for tax-exempt status as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) because it failed to maintain the documents required to justify its existence. Read the full private letter ruling here

I coulda been a contender … I coulda been somebody.

“You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.” Much like when it was first uttered in On the Waterfront, the audience response to Newt Gingrich’s similar statement is, “yeah … right.” But, that’s what’s happening with Newt Right now, he’s pulling out of his bid for the Republican nod for the presidential campaign, as he would rather stay as the head of his §527 Political Action Organization. If you have any interest, you can read more here

News Notes

Intuit/Quickbooks has put out a new “non-profit” version – QuickBooks: Premier Nonprofit Edition 2007. This version combines the convenience of QuickBooks with basic nonprofit functionality to provide smaller nonprofit organizations with an easy way to track expenses, record donations and monitor pledges, as well as provide users with a solid financial product that can be up and running in hours, not days. Learn more here