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Nonprofit Law Made Easy

Nonprofit Law Made Easy

Bruce R. Hopkins

ISBN: 978-1-119-21542-4

Aug 2015

275 pages



The ins and outs of law in the nonprofit sector--made easy!

Written by renowned author Bruce R. Hopkins, Nonprofit Law Made Easy is a must-read guide for executives, board members, officers, accountants, fundraisers, and others who handle legal issues that affect the way nonprofit organizations are formed and operated.

Nonprofit Law Made Easy presents in-depth discussions on such hot topics as acquiring and maintaining tax-exempt status, reporting requirements, charitable giving, disclosure requirements, unrelated business activities, fundraising, corporate governance principles, and board member liability. It also includes crucial information on avoiding nonprofit law traps and navigating governance and liability issues.

Packed with practical tips and hard-to-find, authoritative advice, Nonprofit Law Made Easy demystifies complex legal issues with plain-language explanations of laws and regulations for non-legal professionals.

Chapter 1 Forming a Nonprofit Organization.

A Philosophical Framework.

Defining Nonprofit Organization.

Purpose of Organization.

Location of Organization.

Selection of Organization Form.

Name of Organization.

Composition of Governing Body.

Officers and Key Employees.

Management Companies.


Other Documents.


Chapter 2 Acquiring and Maintaining Tax-Exempt Status.

Concept of Tax Exemption.

Eligibility for Tax-Exempt Status.

Recognition of Tax-Exempt Status.

Categories of Tax-Exempt Organizations.

Selection of Appropriate Category.

Application Process.



Notice Requirements for Political Organizations.

Preparation of Applications.

Reliance on Determination.

Maintenance of Exempt Status.

Changes in Organizational Form.

Material Changes.

Group Exemption.


Chapter 3 Public Charities and Private Foundations.

Defining Private Foundation.

Defining Public Charity.

What Difference Does It Make?

Disqualified Persons.

Determining Public Support—Tricks of the Trade.

Focus on Supporting Organizations.

Hybrid Foundations.

Rules for New Organizations.

Private Foundation Rules.

Termination of Status.

Donor-Advised Funds.


Chapter 4 Reporting Requirements.

Federal Law Basics.

A Multitude of Forms.

Form 990 Glossary.

Annual Information Return—A Law Perspective.

Law Perspective on Preparation of Returns.

State Law Requirements.

Watchdog Agencies.


Chapter 5 Charitable Giving.

Basic Concepts.

Defining Charitable Gift.

Qualified Donees.

Gifts of Property.

Limitations on Deductibility.

Deduction Reduction Rules.

Twice-Basis Deductions.

Contributions of Vehicles.

Contributions of Intellectual Property.

Partial Interest Gifts.

Gifts of Insurance.

Planned Giving.


Chapter 6 Disclosure Requirements.

Applications for Recognition of Exemption.

Annual Information Returns.

Gift Substantiation Requirements.

Quid Pro Quo Contributions.

Disclosure by Noncharitable Organizations.

Disclosure of Gifts of Property.

Dispositions of Contributed Property.

Appraisal Requirements.

Offering of Information or Services.

Tax Shelters.


Chapter 7 Unrelated Business Activities.

Statutory Framework.

Affected Tax-Exempt Organizations.

Conduct of Business.

Regularly Carried-On Businesses.

Related or Unrelated?

Unrelated Business Taxable Income.

Exempted Activities.

Exempted Income.

Exceptions to Exceptions.

Corporate Sponsorships.

Internet Activities.

Commerciality Doctrine.


Chapter 8 Fundraising Regulation.

State Regulation of Fundraising.

State Charitable Solicitation Acts.

States’ Police Power.

Constitutional Law Considerations.

Federal Regulation of Fundraising.

Fundraising by Means of the Internet.


Chapter 9 Building on the Basics.

Fundamentals of Bifurcation.

Definition of Subsidiary.

Determining Need for Subsidiary.

Legal Form of Subsidiary.

Tax-Exempt Subsidiaries.

For-Profit Subsidiaries.

Tax Treatment of Revenue from Subsidiary.

Partnerships and Joint Venture Basics.

Flow-Through Entities.

Public Charities as General Partners.

Subsidiaries in Partnerships.

Whole Entity Joint Ventures.

Ancillary Joint Ventures.

Limited Liability Companies.


Chapter 10 Nonprofit Law Traps.

Primary Purpose Rule.

Private Inurement.

Private Benefit.

Intermediate Sanctions.

Legislative Activities.

Political Activities.


Chapter 11 Still More Law.

Constitutional Law.

Postal Laws.

Federal Election Laws.

Securities Laws.

Antitrust Laws.

Management of Institutional Funds Act.

Other Laws.


Chapter 12 Governance Principles and Liability.

Basics of Corporate Governance Principles.

Emerging Concepts.

Board Member Responsibilities.

Lawsuits against Nonprofit Organizations.

Individuals as Defendants.

Protection against Personal Liability.

Management Companies Revisited.

Watchdog Agencies.