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Bryan Cave Recognized in The Legal 500

July 19, 2017

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We are very excited to announce that Bryan Cave was recognized in Legal 500 as one of the top law firms in the Nonprofit / Tax Exempt Organizations category.  This is an honor and we are delighted that our Firm has been recognized along with the other top law firms in the United States that specialize in advising nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations.

The purpose of The Legal 500 is to help corporate counsel find the right advisors through its law firm rankings and editorial, which are free of charge to access. Rankings are based on feedback from 250,000 in-house peers and access to law firms deals and confidential matters, which are independently assessed by researchers.

403(b) Pre-Approved Retirement Plans List

June 14, 2017

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We’ve recently updated the list of 403(b) pre-approved retirement plans that have received an IRS favorable opinion or advisory letter. A favorable opinion or advisory letter for a 403(b) pre-approved plan means that the IRS has determined that the plan satisfies the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) (these requirements are specifically outlined in the opinion or advisory letter).

Employers eligible to sponsor 403(b) retirement plans for their employees may want to consider adopting a pre-approved plan that has received a favorable letter instead of a having an individually designed plan.

Related resources:

Important Information on W-2/SSN Data Theft Scam

March 28, 2017

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A dangerous email scam currently is circulating nationwide and targeting employers, including tax exempt entities, universities and schools, government and private-sector businesses. The scammer poses as an internal executive requesting employee Forms W-2 and Social Security Number information from company payroll or human resources departments. They may even send an initial “Hi, are you in today” message before the request.

The IRS has established a process that will allow employers and payroll service providers to quickly report any data losses related to the W-2 scam. See details at Form W-2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. If notified in time, the IRS can take steps to prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names. There also is information about how to report receiving the scam email even if you did not fall victim.

As a reminder, tax professionals who experience

Benefactors Beware: Fake Charities Included in IRS List of Top Tax Scams for 2017

March 28, 2017

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Every year, the IRS issues its “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams list, a compilation of tactics and devices used by scam artists against taxpayers.  While the threat exists year-round, the IRS promulgates the list ahead of filing season. As susceptible taxpayers prepare their returns, they face a higher risk of being targeted.

Included in the 2017 “Dirty Dozen” list are fake charities; however, this is hardly a new occurrence. Fraudulent charities and organizations have a long-standing history of soliciting donations from unsuspecting individuals. In its 2017 report, the IRS notes three steps taxpayers should take in making charitable contributions.

One: Keep your information private. Individuals are advised against sharing their personal information, such as a Social Security Number or passwords, as this is commonly used in identity theft. The IRS reminds individuals that a legitimate charity will never ask for such information in soliciting or

IRS Notice: Conservation Easements for Charitable Giving

March 21, 2017

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In Notice 2017-10, the Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance on syndicated conservation easement transactions presumed to be used as tax shelters. This addition to the “listed transactions” under Section 1.6011-4(b)(2) requires both participants and material advisors involved in such transactions to report their activity to the IRS. Failure to report involvement in such a transaction, or to correct previously filed returns, will subject individuals to penalty under Section 6707.

Conservation easements provide a tax deduction aimed at furthering the public good. Most often, conservation easements involve historical, endangered, or otherwise valuable property. The property is contributed to a charitable organization, encumbered by a right or restriction in the form of an easement. The easement guarantees to maintain or change the current use of the land, so that it is properly conserved.  However, like many tax deductions, conservation easements are susceptible to abuse by individuals seeking to shelter large investments

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

February 27, 2017

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Two new Issue Podcasts available for viewing Go to the Stay Exempt Issue Podcast page on irs.gov to see Issue Podcasts on:

  • When are Commercial-Type Activities a Substantial Nonexempt Purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) Organization? Learn about determining when commercial-type activities further a substantial nonexempt purpose for an IRC 501(c)(3) organization
  • IRC 501(c)(3) Proposing Denial Learn about the five-step roadmap the IRS uses to determine whether proposing denial is appropriate for an organization requesting recognition of tax exemption under IRC 501(c)(3)

What is an Issue Podcast?

An Issue Podcast is a resource the IRS uses for sharing technical knowledge.

An Issue Podcast is a short (approximately 15 minute), on-demand audio and visual presentation that includes:

  • A brief summary and analysis of an issue
  • References to key resource materials

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

February 22, 2017

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IRS makes approved Form 1023-EZ data available online

The IRS announced today that publicly available information from approved applications for tax-exemption using Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption, is now available electronically for the first time.

Read news release.

Resources for 403(b) retirement plans

Review the following information.

IRS summarizes “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for 2017

The IRS recently announced the conclusion of its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. The annual list highlights various schemes that taxpayers may encounter throughout the year, many of which peak during tax-filing season.

Reminder: Filing Requirements for New 501(c)(4) Organizations

February 15, 2017

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With lobbying efforts on the rise, the IRS has issued notice requirements for new 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. These requirements follow the addition of Section 506 to the Code, where notification requirements for new 501(c)(4) organizations were outlined by the legislature.

A newly formed 501(c)(4) is required to notify the IRS within 60 days from the date it becomes a new legal entity. In providing notice, the organization must include the following information:

(1) the organization’s name, address, and taxpayer identification number;

(2) the date and state law under which the organization was formed; and

(3) a statement of the organization’s social welfare purpose.

The IRS has developed a new form – Form 8976 – that organizations should use to provide this notification. Note that continuing to file a Form 1024 is optional, and does not waive the requirement to provide notice. A Form 8976 can only be completed electronically

Understanding Effective Grant Management

February 9, 2017

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When: Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: # 202 J.C. Penney Conference Center on the UM-St. Louis North Campus

Fee: $ 25

Program Description: Come to this class to learn the basics of effective grant management and implementation, and to learn the proper accounting procedures and practices you will need to employ as you put your grant funds into action.

Instructor Dan Sise, JD, joined the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program (NPML Program) at UM-St. Louis in October, 2008, and serves as the NPML Program’s Academic Coordinator and Community Engagement Manager. A 1997 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, Dan is currently licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois. In the course of his legal career, Dan has dealt with a wide range of issues, including regulatory compliance, insurance coverage and defense, community redevelopment, and nonprofit governance and oversight. He serves on

Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others

February 3, 2017

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WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.

In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,’’ said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

When employers report W-2 thefts immediately to the IRS, the agency can take steps to help protect employees from

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