It’s Carnival season in parts of the world, a time for celebration, color, dancing and revelry. Did you know that the organizations that run the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans are called “Krewes” and are known for their charitable work when they aren’t donning masks and dancing in the streets? Before letting the good times roll, we invite you to check out five stories from this week in nonprofit news.
1. IT AIN’T EZ
The IRS recently released public data on all organizations that have been approved for tax-exempt status using the new 1023-EZ form. The Nonprofit Blogger at the Law Professor Blog Network combed through the data and discovered that some 600-plus churches received tax-exempt status with the 1023-EZ. Churches are specifically forbidden from filing with the 1023-EZ, as clearly delineated in the 1023-EZ pre-questionnaire. Read more about this and other concerns with independent verification of the 1023-EZ at the link.
The Johnson Amendment, that is. The President recently promised at the National Prayer Breakfast that he would "destroy" the Johnson Amendment. Named after then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, the Johnson Amendment prevents charities from endorsing or opposing a political candidate. While the President went on to clarify that he intended this specifically to allow faith-based organizations speak on political matters, the Johnson Amendment covers all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. In their blog post, Law Professor Phillip Hackney and Accounting Professor Brian Mittendorf examine the ways the Trump Administration could tweak or outright repeal the Amendment and the potential consequences. Read more at the link.
We don't know if you've stopped writing the old years on your checks yet, but it's already 2017. May Harris and Linda Rosenthal at the For Purpose Law Group think that it's the perfect time to take a look at your governance policies. Some of them may no longer be necessary, while you may find that adding a few might be a good idea. In the end, there's nothing like a new year to engage in a little self-reflection. Learn more, including some suggestions on how you might structure your review, at the link.
In 2015, the Charities Aid Foundation ranked China just above Yemen in their "World Giving Index", a distressing showing for the world's second largest economy. Writing at Alliance Magazine, Karla Simon and Holly Snape tell a different story. A recently enacted Charity Law brings up to three million "gray area" NGOs into the official light, allowing for greater transparency and accounting of charities that had been operating in the dark the whole time. Learn more about the other ways charitable giving in China is changing at the link.
If a for-profit corporation wants to make the switch to a nonprofit entity, they have a lot of considerations to make. They might have even more considerations than they realize, and that can lead to trouble further down the line. If you’re a for profit corporation thinking about making the switch, it behooves you to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Michele Berger lays out some of the necessary changes at the Nonprofit Law Blog.
That's the Friday Five this week. Laissez les bon temps rouler, and we'll see you next week!