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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

What a Difference an “H” Makes

March 13, 2017

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Late on Monday, House Republicans revealed, in two parts (here and here, with summaries here and here) the American Health Care Act (“AHCA”) that is designed to meet the Republicans’ promise to “repeal and replace” the ACA.  In many respects, the AHCA is less “repeal and replace” and more “retool and repurpose,” but there are some significant changes that could affect employers, if this bill becomes law as-is.  Below is a brief summary of the most important points:

  • Employer Mandate, We Hardly Knew You. The ACA employer play or pay mandate is repealed retroactive to January 1, 2016, so if you didn’t offer coverage to your full-time employees, then this is the equivalent of the Monopoly “Get out of Jail Free” card.
  • OTC Reimbursements Allowed from HSAs and FSAs, Without a Prescription. This goes back to the old rules that allowed these reimbursements.

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.

Just Push Pause: Revisiting Proposed Regulations

February 21, 2017

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On January 20, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” (the “Freeze Memo“).  The Freeze Memo was anticipated, and mirrors similar memos issued by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush during their first few days in office.  In light of the Freeze Memo, we have reviewed some of our recent posts discussing new regulations to determine the extent to which the Freeze Memo might affect such regulations.

TimeoutThe Regulatory Freeze

The two-page Freeze Memo requires that:

  • Agencies not send for publication in the Federal Regulation any regulations that had not yet been so sent as of January 20, 2017, pending review by a department or agency head appointed by the President.
  • Regulations that have been sent for publication in the Federal Register but not yet published be withdrawn, pending review by a department or agency head appointed
  • 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

    IRS Releases Updated Form 990-EZ; New Options to Help Exempt Organizations Avoid Errors, File a More Accurate Return

    January 31, 2017

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    WASHINGTON — The IRS announced today the release of an updated Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, that will help tax-exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filing their annual return.

    The updated Form 990-EZ includes 29 “help” icons describing key information needed to complete many of the fields within the form. The icons also provide links to additional helpful information available on IRS.gov. These “pop-up” boxes share information to help small and mid-size exempt organizations avoid common mistakes when filling out the form and filing their return.

    Bryan Cave’s Private Client Services Group Welcomes David Adler

    January 5, 2017

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    Bryan Cave’s Private Client Services Group welcomes a new partner in our London office:

    David Adler has joined us in the London office, and will be a member of the Private Client Group. David is a U.S. tax lawyer who advises international entities, individuals and intermediaries on planning that has a U.S. component. Along with core U.S. federal income, estate and gift tax advice, he provides a U.S. perspective on issues of wealth preservation and transfer, as well as on corporate governance and family succession for privately held businesses. He is also a highly experienced adviser on issues arising under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the OECD Common Reporting Standard. David is joining us from the London office of another large firm.

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