Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ABA Annual Meeting Program: Representing Religious Organizations

If you will be attending the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago this week, you may be interested to know that on Saturday, August 1 there will be a CLE program: "Unique Aspects of Representing Religious Organizations" from 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM, Sheraton Towers, Ballroom I, Level Four. Expert practitioners, including Lisa Runquist, will discuss representing religious organizations regarding land use and zoning, entity structuring, tort litigation and more. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our ABA Business Law Today Articles

Lisa Runquist and I both have articles in the latest issue of Business Law Today, a publication of the ABA Business Law Section. Appropriately for Runquist & Associates, the July/August 2009 issue of the BLT has the "mini-theme" of nonprofit organizations. Lisa's article, co-authored with attorney Mike Malamut, on the revised Form 990, is The IRS's New Regulation of Nonprofit Governance. My article, on current legal developments regarding religious organizations, is The Business of Religion.

Friday, July 3, 2009

IRS Rev. Proc. 2009-32: Reliance Criteria for Supporting Organizations and Donor Advised Funds

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 subjected payments made by private foundations to excise taxes under IRC sections 4942, 4945, and 4966 if the grants are made to certain public charities exempt as supporting organizations. So that private foundations can assure themselves that grants are not subject to these taxes, the IRS this week issued Revenue Procedure 2009-32, allowing for them to rely on documentation of an organization’s status. The Rev. Prov. states that, “In determining whether a public charity is classified under 509(a)(1), (2), or (3) of the Code, a private foundation or a sponsoring organization that maintains a donor advised fund, acting in good faith, may rely on either: (1) the grantee’s current IRS letter recognizing the grantee as exempt from federal income tax and indicating the grantee’s public charity classification under § 509(a)(1), (2), or (3); or (2) information from the BMF [IRS Business Master File].” The complete Rev. Proc. is available here(PDF).

Should Charities Repay Their Madoff Money?

Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison this week for his fraudulent Ponzi scheme investment operation. While many charitable organizations lost millions upon millions of dollars by investing with him, there are some charities that, in fact, profited from their involvement with Madoff. Writing on the New York Times website Deal Book blog, “Deal Professor” Steven M. Davidoff asks two questions regarding this situation: “First, did charities on the whole benefit from Mr. Madoff’s crime? And second, do these innocent charities have a moral or legal obligation to return the money? He also suggests that, “Under the law of fraudulent conveyance, there is a six-year lookback, and they could conceivably be sued to return the money. However, traceability of the money here will be a problem, and in many cases protect the charities.” Click here to read the whole posting.