Nonprofit Organizations and Associations

The attorneys in our Nonprofit Organizations and Associations Group have extensive experience advising nonprofit organizations and associations on the legal issues arising out of their special status and operations.  With backgrounds in tax, corporate law, transactions, real estate, employment, intellectual property, litigation, and other areas of practice, our attorneys are experienced in, among other things:  

  • Charitable Solicitation and Fundraising:  Including all aspects of raising revenues – e.g., planned giving, corporate and institutional giving, donor clubs, special events, licensing, paid advertising, direct mail, on-line giving and workplace giving programs – as well as meeting state and local charitable solicitation registration and reporting requirements.
  • Entity Formation:  Including drafting documents necessary to form nonprofit organizations under state law, requesting recognition of federal tax-exempt status, determination of public charity or private foundation status and qualification for exemption from various state taxes and state charitable solicitation registrations.
  • Governance / Fiduciary Duties:  Including the role of members, boards of directors, committees, officers, managers, employees and agents; legislative reform proposals and suggested “best practices” guidelines; fiduciary responsibilities and issues related to indemnification and insurance coverage; and development of effective bylaws and policies.
  • Joint Ventures and Subsidiaries:  Including joint venture and entrepreneurial opportunities, and creation of related and affiliated tax-exempt entity structures.
  • Labor and Employment Matters:  Including personnel policies, employee benefit plans, employment contracts and separation agreements, as well as representing clients on EEOC and similar discrimination matters and in Workers' Compensation, unemployment, and immigration proceedings.
  • Lobbying, Campaign Finance and Government Ethics Compliance:  Advising on, among other things, federal and state laws and regulations, 501(h) elections, registration and reporting obligations, representation before federal and state regulators, and allocation of lobbying expenses between related organizations.
  • Membership Programs:  Including the tax consequences of providing benefits to members and on issues related to membership publications, special events and convention planning, and licensing trademarks for membership identification programs.
  • Corporate Finance and Transactions:  Including a comprehensive range of commercial, financial and transactional issues, such as formation, capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations and reorganizations, corporate succession planning and liquidity events.
  • Tax-Exempt Status Recognition:  Including obtaining and maintaining recognition of tax-exempt status at the federal and state levels, as well as representation of nonprofit organizations before the Internal Revenue Service, state taxing authorities and other governmental agencies.
  • Unrelated Business Income Analysis:  Including matters connected with the unrelated business income tax, such as in connection with real estate transactions, fundraising efforts, website activities and social entrepreneurship efforts.


We serve a wide array of nonprofits and associations on a local, regional, national and international basis, including: 

  • Assisted living and skilled nursing providers
  • Certification, accreditation and credentialing organizations
  • Charitable organizations
  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • Foundations (community and private)
  • Educational, scientific, training and research organizations
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Hospitals and health care systems
  • Human services providers
  • Professional associations
  • Religious organizations and groups
  • Schools
  • Social clubs
  • Social welfare organizations
  • State and local governments and agencies
  • Supporting organizations
  • Trade associations and business leagues
  • Universities and colleges

  • Best Law Firms
  • LeadingAge Gold Designation

Resources

  • Whiteford Nonprofit Law Group

    Lawyers for Nonprofit Organizations, Professional and Trade Associations, Certification and Accreditation Bodies, Churches, Fire Departments, Political Organizations, Hospitals, Colleges, Retirement Communities, and other tax-exempt entities.

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Recent Select Matters

  • Assisted various nonprofit and political organizations with Political Law compliance issues, including lobbying registration and disclosure; government ethics; and campaign finance issues, as well as satisfying IRS requirements
  • Assisted national chemical trade association with legal compliance, administration and claims management for Federal Risk Retention Group (Vermont captive insurance company) established to insure product liability exposures of member companies. Also provided risk management and other advice designed to reduce exposure and minimize claims
  • Successfully concluded IRS audit of prominent Section 501(c)(4) welfare league that involved excess compensation charge against CEO. As part of the defense, a bipartisan coalition of nonprofit groups and their counsel was organized to implement a broadly based media and Congressional response in order to defeat an effort by the IRS to impose gift taxes on contributors
  • Assisted cancer physicians at national medical center to establish Section 501(c)(3) public charity to provide support for cancer patients and their families
  • Assisted several nonprofit organizations in incorporating and successfully applying for recognition of tax exempt status, some as public charities and others as private foundations or professional or trade associations
  • Assisted a nonprofit organization in a multimedia marketing promotion with a major soft drink company to publicize the annual worldwide volunteer activity day for the organization
  • Assisted a nonprofit organization with an automotive manufacturer's national sponsorship marketing campaign
  • Assisted a system of continuing care retirement communities obtain a private letter ruling from the IRS confirming the structure of the system and transactions between members of the system did not result in taxable income or loss of tax-exempt status
  • Assisted a nonprofit organization in identifying missing employment tax returns and completing and filing the returns
  • Assisted a nonprofit organization with a well-known alcoholic beverage distributor's national sponsorship marketing campaign focused on raising donations and recruiting volunteers
  • Domestication of a nonprofit corporation from DC to Virginia, under a statute that took effect on January 1, 2012
  • Assisted association of specialty nurses establish ownership rights of professional guidelines
  • Assisted in major litigation involving several financial service association clients in cyber security matter
  • Assisted several membership associations with state local and regional chapter issues, including development of affiliate agreements, restructuring of chapter organization, and management of intellectual property issues
  • Conducted in depth legal audit of financial services association
  • Established and obtained tax exempt status for charitable organization dedicated to patient advocacy
  • Handled trademark registrations and disputes for numerous nonprofit organizations and associations in the United States and overseas
  • Helped association that was not incorporated get incorporated and obtain tax exempt status, and also establish professional certification program
  • Helped local fire department establish charitable foundation to raise much needed funds for life saving operations
  • Helped several US associations establish/restructure/analyze legal aspects of overseas offices, including Japan, India, and Switzerland
  • Provided antitrust advice in connection with code of ethics of certification board
  • Reviewed and revised disciplinary procedures for several organizations, including a national trade association and a global certification program
  • Prepared amicus brief for medical association in state litigation
  • Assisted major association of financial institutions with structure for establishing top level domain program
  • Represented an institution of higher education in the formation and application for recognition of tax-exempt status of an affiliated nonprofit organization that will purse grants and support the promotion and delivery of research and educational programs outside of the United States
  • Act as outside general counsel for numerous groups of affiliated nonprofit organizations and associations, and in that role provide legal advice on a broad range of issues, including governance and policy matters, taxes and tax-exemptions, fundraising, fiduciary responsibilities of directors and officers, governmental inquiries and investigations, licensing and regulatory matters, joint ventures and alliances, sale and purchase transactions, contracts and agreements, intellectual property, labor and employment, and litigation
  • Successfully represented several nonprofit organizations in IRS examinations of their Forms 990 and tax-exempt status. Assessment of taxes or penalties was ultimately avoided, and tax-exempt status was maintained
  • Managed trademark registration process for organization's marks in China. Advised client on issues associated with Chinese company utilizing the organization's name
  • Advised a U.S. non-profit on intellectual property issues in connection with projects implemented in Chad and elsewhere which are funded through U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other grants
  • Assisted nonprofit certification organization in merger with another nonprofit certification organization
  • Provided advice to numerous organizations on code of ethics and disciplinary proceedings, including preparation of documentation and attendance at hearings
  • Represented a nonprofit healthcare institution in the formation of, and application for recognition of tax-exempt status for, affiliated nonprofit organizations that will support the institution's mission by delivering administrative services and holding property for the benefit of the institution
  • Represented and counseled several nonprofit organizations in considering and consummating merger and affiliation transactions with other nonprofits
  • Represented a nonprofit supporting organization and its affiliated supported organization in obtaining favorable rulings from the IRS regarding recognition of exempt status, public charity classification, and unrelated business income matters

Articles

Be Prepared for When Meetings Go Wrong

It’s not if, but when: Events beyond your control will disrupt your meeting. To minimize your association’s risk, be sure your contracts and insurance are in order, and take practical steps to fend off preventable problems.

Consulting Contract Do's and Don'ts

A good contract forms the basis for your collaboration with a consultant. Follow these do’s and don’ts to improve the likelihood of a good working relationship and results that meet your association’s needs.

Get Ready to Renew Your DC Tax Exemptions

The District of Columbia has established a new requirement for nonprofit organizations to renew their DC tax exemptions every five years.  If you received an exemption in 2014 or an earlier year, you can expect to receive a renewal notice in 2019 if you have not received one already.

Guidelines on the Territorial Scope of the GDPR: 5 Takeaways For U.S. Based Associations and Nonprofit Organizations

On November 23, 2018, the European Data Protection Board (the “EDPB”) published the Guidelines 3/2018 on the territorial scope of the GDPR (Article 3) (adopted on November 16), which are open to public comments until January 18, 2019. As the EDPB announced in its news release, the purpose of the Guidelines is to help provide a common interpretation of the territorial scope of the GDPR and clarify the GDPR’s application in various situations, in particular where the data controller or processor is established outside of the EU.

The IRS Determines Nonprofit Corporations Can Reincorporate Without Filing a New Exemption Application

In the new Revenue Procedure 2018-15, the IRS has indicated that it will generally no longer require a new tax exemption application from a Section 501(c) organization that changes its form or place of organization. This change will make it easier for an association or other nonprofit corporation to take advantage of the benefits of re-incorporating in a state that is either more convenient or a state that may have more favorable laws governing nonprofit corporations. 

DC Federal District Court Voids FEC Independent Expenditure Reporting Rule - Expands Donor Disclosure

In an opinion released on August 3rd, US District Court Judge Beryl Howell greatly expanded the FEC donor disclosure reporting requirements for independent groups – like Section 501(4) and 501(c)(6) organizations – that sponsor independent expenditures and other candidate advocacy communications.  The court delayed the implementation of its ruling for 45 days to give the FEC time to draft interim rules.

Stand Up and Be Heard in an Election Year

Nonprofit organizations are often overly cautious in speaking out about their causes and interacting with candidates in election years for fear of violating a complex set of laws and rules. You can and should participate in the election-year conversation. Here’s how. 

IRS Ignites Political Firestorm by Eliminating the Requirement for Most Nonprofit Organizations to Submit Confidential Donor Information to the IRS

On July 16, 2018, the IRS announced that it has eliminated the requirement for most nonprofit organizations to provide confidential donor information to the IRS on Schedule B to their annual IRS Form 990.  Although limited in scope and with no impact on public transparency, the change has significant political ramifications and has ignited a firestorm of support and condemnation across the political spectrum.  This includes a partisan Senate Finance Committee vote and delay in the Senate confirmation vote on the new IRS Commissioner.

South Dakota v. Wayfair - Opening the Door for Imposition of State Sales' Tax on Interstate Sales

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., upheld a South Dakota statute requiring out-of-state sellers of goods to collect and remit sales tax if they have significant business in South Dakota, thus rejecting the long-standing physical presence requirement that prohibited many states from collecting sales taxes on goods sold to residents of their states.  South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., 201 L. Ed. 2d 403 (2018). Forty-one states, two U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia asked the Supreme Court to uphold the South Dakota statute, which suggests that several other states may enact similar statutes in the future or move to enforce existing ones.

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Nonprofit Executive Compensation

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created Section 4960 of the Internal Revenue Code that imposes a new 21% excise tax on certain tax-exempt entities (including any organization exempt under Section 501(c), (d), 401(a) or 115) on (i) the annual compensation (including benefits and deferred compensation) paid to its five (or more) highest-paid employees in excess of $1,000,000 and (ii) excess parachute payments paid to the same class of employees.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - More Changes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”) that went into effect on January 1, 2018 significantly impacts nonprofit organizations.  The Act changes how unrelated business income to calculate UBIT must be calculated, requires employer paid excise tax on annual compensation in excess of $1 Million and on excess parachute payments paid to certain employees, and alters the tax treatment of employer paid expenses for transportation, parking expenses and athletic facilities.  We have addressed those changes in other articles in our Newsletter.  In this article, we will discuss how the Act gives rise to possible changes in charitable giving, establishes new tax withholding tables for employees and assesses an excise tax on certain university endowments.  The Act did not, however, repeal the Johnson Amendment, which was on the table for elimination in earlier versions of the Act.

Significant Changes Regarding Fringe Benefits Under The New Tax Law

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law on December 22, 2017, and went into effect for taxable years starting January 1, 2018.  Among its many changes to the tax code are certain provisions prohibiting tax exempt organizations from deducting expenses for certain fringe benefits provided to their employees.  The change puts tax exempt organizations on a level playing field with for-profit entities with regard to certain employee benefits.  

UBI Now Calculated for Each Unrelated Trade and Business Activity

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that became effective on January 1, 2018, brought sweeping changes to the way organizations calculate and report federal taxes.  Organizations exempt from federal tax were not spared from these changes.  One change that could result in significant unrelated business income tax (“UBIT”) and/or operational burdens on exempt organizations is the change in the manner in which exempt organizations must calculate certain taxable income and the resulting UBIT.

Your Fiduciary Duty: Find Missing Retirement Plan Participants

Does your association have more retirement plan participants than it does full-time staff? If so, you have a fiduciary duty to find former employees who are owed benefits—and the Department of Labor is paying increased attention to who is meeting it.

GDPR Compliance Quick Guide for U.S. Nonprofit Organizations and Associations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a privacy regulation of the European Union designed to give individuals control over their personal data. The GDPR protects the privacy of individuals regardless of their nationality when their data is collected when they are located in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway (EEA). For example, the personal data of an organization’s employee, independent contractor, or volunteer located in the EEA may be protected by the GDPR even if that individual is a U.S. citizen and resident. 

Association Liability for Harassment at Meetings

Consider this: An association employee attends the annual membership meeting. There is alcohol. A member becomes flirtatious with the employee and before anyone steps in, gropes her. Your organization cannot be held liable for conduct of a member, over whom you have no control, right?

What about this? A director makes comments at board meetings regarding his homophobic views. You have a staff member who attends these meetings who is gay. You can’t be liable for the board member’s conduct, right?

Managing and Insuring Your Biggest Risks

Most people are surprised to learn that one of the biggest risks for claims against associations involve employment practices. These range from the initial hiring decision to the final termination of employment, and include everything in between. These risks need to be identified and managed. Insurance coverage also is needed to protect against possible claims.

The Frequently Neglected 403(B) Plan - Errors May Be Costly

We previously discussed the differences between deferred compensation plans for tax-exempt employers, in particular; the tax attributes of Internal Revenue code Section 457(b) and 457(f) plans. However; participation in 457(b) and 457(f) programs is limited to a "select group of management or other highly compensated employees" and those arrangements generally serve as a supplement to the retirement programs available for all employees.

Foreign Workers in the Trump Era - Immigration Compliance and Managing Your Workforce

On the campaign trail, now President Trump spoke of getting tough on immigration violators – both those unlawfully present in the U.S. and the employers who facilitate their presence here by hiring undocumented workers. Many articles followed as to precisely what this get tough attitude would mean with respect to worksite enforcement, including I-9 compliance, as well as to those employers who currently employ work authorized aliens in lawful status.

One Toke Over The Line?

"One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,” Martin Luther King Jr. once said. But what if there are two laws – one federal, and one state – that are on opposite sides of the legal spectrum? Which one is “unjust”? Which one should we “disobey”? That is the dilemma presently facing this nation where a majority of the states now permit the possession and use of marijuana for either recreational, or medical purposes; whereas, under federal law, it remains a crime.

Parental Leave Laws And Working Parents

It is no secret that working parents sometimes struggle to balance family obligations with work commitments. While federal law provides time off for working parents for the birth or adoption of a child, the time off is unpaid. U.S. laws have been slow to provide parents paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child; however, there is new hope. The first budget proposed by the current administration proposes paid parental leave for up to six weeks for mothers and fathers for the birth or adoption of a child. If adopted, this would be the first paid parental leave law in the United States. Even if the law is not passed, now is a good time to review your association’s policies to make your association attractive to working parents, as well as help improve productivity of current employees.

Can Your Journal Protect Its Peer Reviewers?

Although associations that publish scholarly journals rely on confidentiality to ensure the integrity of their peer review system, the law has yet to definitively protect peer reviewers' identities and comments. Here's a brief look at where the courts stand on the issue.

China’s Overseas NGO Law: Next Steps for Associations

Now that China’s new overseas NGO law is in effect, nongovernmental organizations operating there have a new set of requirements to comply with. While many provisions of the law remain fuzzy, several first steps for associations have become clear. 

Legal Elements of Executive Succession Planning

A CEO's departure, whether planned or unexpected, inevitably disrupts the routine workings of staff and volunteer leaders. But the path to new executive leadership will be smoother if a solid succession plan is in place, addressing key legal issues from employment law and contracts to the board's role.

Legal Friction Points in Component Relations

Even the best families have problems, and that reality extends to relationships between associations and their chapters. Although tensions can arise in a variety of areas, from governance to public policy, most can be cured with clear communication.

The Board's Role in Strategic Planning

Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." While his words may seem misplaced, the sentiment is not: Everyone needs a plan. This principle applies not only to individuals, but perhaps more importantly, to organizations. Without it, employees do not have a definitive roadmap from their employer, articulating their true purpose and course, nor, consequently, do they know how their individual role contributes to the company's mission and performance.

FEC Adjusts Some Political Contribution Limits for 2017-2018 Cycle

The Federal Election Commission has made minor adjustments to some of the individual and PAC contribution limits for the 2017-2018 election cycle.  The amount that individuals and non-multicandidate PACs can give to federal candidates remains at $2700 per election to each federal candidate.  Since primary and general election contests are viewed as separate “elections,” an individual or a non-multicandidate PAC may contribute a total of $5400 to a federal candidate.  The $5,000 per year individual contribution limit to PACs is also not affected.

On the Horizon in 2017: Are Political Spending Restrictions on Section 501(c)(3) Organizations Going Away?

2017 is sure to bring more changes on the political law front.  In February, President Trump repeated his support for overturning the “Johnson Amendment” – a long-standing provision in the tax code that strictly prohibits churches and other Section 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from engaging in any political campaign activities.  If the law is changed, individuals and organizations may be able to support entities engaging in political speech with tax deductible deductions.  At the same time, the administration is also considering an executive order to loosen political restriction on churches. These changes could make religious organizations new vehicles for supporting and opposing candidates in 2018 and beyond.

Nonprofit Lobbying: The Rules You Need to Know

Whether your organization has a long lobbying track record or is starting fresh with a new administration, you need to know how federal lobbying, tax, and gift rules will affect your advocacy work. Here's a primer for beginners and a refresher for veterans.

Montgomery County Employers Must Provide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Effective October 1, 2016

Effective October 1, 2016, all employers in Montgomery County, Maryland with one or more employees are required to provide employees with paid sick and safe leave.  All employees must earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours an employee works in Montgomery County, up to 56 hours a year.  Employers with 5 or more employees must provide paid sick and safe leave; whereas, employers with less than 5 employees must provide 32 hours of paid sick and safe leave, as well as 24 hours of unpaid sick and safe leave per year.

The 2016 Elections and Beyond -- Last Minute Opportunities and Compliance Challenges Ahead

The final weeks of the 2016 election season continue to offer unique opportunities to drive interest and support for your industry, profession or cause. Whatever your tax status, you have a constitutionally protected right to conduct a wide range of educational, issue advocacy and lobbying activities in order to engage your members, donors, the general public, policy makers, and candidates. Trade associations and social welfare organizations can do much more to help elect their preferred candidates. Although compliance with tax, election, ethics and lobbying laws can be challenging, they also offer opportunities, not obstacles, to generate interest and support for your public policy goals in these final days of the 2016 election season and beyond. 

Contract Review For Associations

Contracts are an integral part of operations, as associations regularly enter into contracts for leases, office equipment, independent contractor services, website design, hotel and convention centers, and many more. In some instances, the contract is a simple, straight-forward document that’s easy to understand and clearly sets forth the obligations of both parties. In other instances, the contract may be dozens of pages long and written in a way that leaves execs confused and uncertain. When faced with the latter scenario, it’s easy to assume that all the details discussed with the other party are represented in the contract.

Let's Discuss Employee Probationary Periods

When advising associations on employment policies, I’m often asked, “How long should the probationary period be?” My answer:“It really doesn’t matter,” followed by, “. . . so long as it is actually utilized.” Whether a probationary period is 30 days or 6 months, whatever period is adequate to demonstrate skill acquisition and work habits, the most important issue is whether the employer actually uses the time to review the work and make a reasoned go or no-go forward employment decision. Another comment I hear when defending termination cases is, “That employee should have been terminated long ago.” Typically, the deficiencies leading to termination were observed when the individual was a new employee. Often employers create probationary periods, yet fail to reap the intended benefit.

A "Smart" Version of the Form I-9 is on the Horizon

All employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for newly hired employees to verify the employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States.  Failure to complete the Form I-9 can result in severe penalties against the employer.  To help make this process more efficient, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a new “smart” version of the Form I-9 in an attempt to reduce user error and make the form easier to complete.

Act Now on Privacy and Cybersecurity Issues!

There is no question that the newest and biggest liability risk for associations arises from online activities.  It’s not a question of ‘if’ your association will suffer a data security breach, but ‘when.’  Savvy association execs and operational professionals will get ready now for the inevitable breach – whether from a pernicious hack, phishing, or just a lost staff computer or personal device.  In fact, the laws of several states – which apply if the association has personally identifiable information (“PII”) of any residents from those states – mandate that holders of such information have in effect a written information security plan/policy (“WISP”) to protect such information NOW!

China's New Law Governing Foreign NGOs -- An Overview and Quick Compliance Guide

By: Steven Basart, Director China, Kellen & Dorothy Deng, Esq., Partner at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP

On April 28th, 2016, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) approved the PRC Law on the Management of the Activities of Overseas NGOs within Mainland China. The NPC’s approval followed a third round of review and revision by the NPC Law Committee, which included substantial changes and clarifications compared to the second draft that was released in May 2015.  

Nonprofit Communication in the Cellphone Age: Know the Rules and Risks

The proliferation of cellphones means that nonprofits can communicate with their members and donors anywhere, anytime. But the law protects consumers from unwanted "robocalls" and text messages on their mobile phones. Nonprofits need to know the rules before they implement a cellphone communication strategy.

Update for Social Welfare Organizations

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act) created the new IRS section 506. This section requires social welfare organizations (those claiming exemption under § 501(c)(4)) to provide notice to the IRS of their existence no later than 60 days after their formation.  

The PATH Act requires social welfare organizations that were in existence on or before December 18, 2015 to notify the IRS of their existence by June 15, 2016 unless they had submitted an IRS Form 1024 or Form 990 prior to December 18, 2015. 

Election 2016: Know the Rules for Supporting Candidates

Elections pose abundant opportunities for associations to support candidates aligned with members' interests. But the law governing election-related activities by associations has shifted drastically in recent years. Before your organization supports or opposes political candidates, be sure you know the rules.

The Basics of Board Committee Structure

From standing and ad hoc committees to task forces and advisory councils, a board accomplishes its work through a variety of smaller groups. Associations need to regularly evaluate their existing committee structure and be ready to adjust it based on the organization’s changing governance needs.

Why You Should Review Your Employee Classifications

Proper classification of employees is critical to avoid potential liability for unpaid overtime. 

If that did not get your attention, then consider this: In addition to unpaid overtime, misclassification of employees can result in liquidated damages, equitable relief, and reimbursement of attorneys' fees. Classification is particularly important now, in light of the proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Plan to Fail

Your association will be hacked. Are you ready?

You often hear lawyers talking about risk -- potential legal and other problems that can arise for an association. Well, there is one new risk that isn’t just a possibility: Your association will suffer a cybersecurity breach at some point in the future, and you’d better be ready.

Automatic Renewal of Membership Dues and Recurring Credit Card Payment Laws

More associations are instituting automatic membership dues renewal programs, where members’ credit cards are stored and charged periodically.  While this payment structure is very appealing to many associations, certain legal issues should be carefully considered before proceeding.

How Associations Can Protect Their Content Rights Before Going Global

Intellectual property is a crucial asset for any association. This includes content developed for members and constituents as well as the value associated with the association's brand and promotion of that brand. Intellectual property rights and laws vary by country, so it is important for all associations to take protective measures and learn the laws and regulations of their target markets before going global. 

Cybersecurity: A Big Threat

Many association employees may think that cybersecurity is a matter to be handled only by the IT staff. CFOs, however, know that nothing could be further from the truth as cybersecurity is not just an IT issue, it is also a money issue.  For instance an association that falls victim to a cybersecurity breach may spend thousands of dollars to repair its compromised computer system, may expend significant funds providing notification to those whose information was released, and be forced to pay even larger sums of money to defend or settle law suits initiated by those whose personal information was compromised.  

DOJ Issues New Guidance on Testing Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

On September 8, 2015, the Department of Justice issued technical assistance on testing accommodations under the ADA.  The document covers who is entitled to testing accommodations, what types of testing accommodations are required, what documentation may be required of the individual requesting the accommodations, prohibited flagging policies, and how test scores for those receiving accommodations should be reported.

IRS Proposes Regulation Regarding Reporting of Charitable Donations

The IRS recently issued a proposed regulation regarding the reporting of charitable donations.  Under the current law, taxpayers who donate $250 or more to a charitable organization must obtain a written receipt from the charitable organization in order to claim a charitable deduction, and the receipt must contain specified information.

Mind Your B's and F's: A Primer on Deferred Compensation Plans for Tax Exempts

Retirement programs for employees of tax exempt associations are similar in many ways to retirement programs sponsored by a for-profit business enterprise.  Both types of organizations may offer generally all of their employees qualified retirement plans (401(k) plans for both, 403(b) plans only for tax exempts) and deferred compensation plans for a “select group of management or other highly compensated employees.”  However, the tax treatment of deferred compensation arrangements is where the similarities between tax exempt and for-profit organizations end.  

Don't be Caught Off Guard with Inadequate Insurance Coverage

The work of certification organizations provides invaluable benefit to those they serve, as well as the general public, by helping to set performance and competency standards for those in specific professions and motivating certificants to increase their personal knowledge in a particular practice area. Unfortunately, the activity of certification organizations also puts them at considerable risk for legal claims due to the organization’s self-regulation of its constituents. This is especially true in the areas of antitrust and due process. Additionally, today’s business environment has become extremely litigious, and certification organizations are susceptible to  defending against legal claims initiated by allegedly aggrieved employees or third parties that were harmed by one of the certification organization’s certificants. Because there is no way for certification organizations to prevent an employee or third party from suing the organization, these organizations must ensure they have the proper insurance to protect against liability for a wide variety of claims.

The 4th Circuit Reaffirms Judicial Deference to Accreditation Agencies

On March 24, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a published opinion in Professional Massage Training Center, Incorporated (PMTC) v. Accreditation Alliance of Career Schools and Colleges, d/b/a Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), in which PMTC filed a civil lawsuit against ACCSC for alleged violation of due process after ACCSC denied PMTC’s application to renew its accreditation. As further explained below, the Fourth Circuit’s ruling is significant for both accreditation and certification organizations, as it affirms judicial deference to decision making by credentialing bodies. The opinion is available online.

Advice on Making Corporate Governance Changes

It’s not uncommon for an association’s corporate governance to become stale, a relic of the past, perhaps from the days of the association’s founding or from the last time the governance was overhauled two or three decades ago.  The governance structure that was perfect for the association in the 1950’s or 1970’s is not necessarily the right one for 2014 or 2020.  And yet many association leaders are reluctant to tackle corporate governance issues.

Be on Guard for Cybersecurity Breaches

Over the last few years, cyber attacks on businesses have become a regular occurrence. The banking, retail, gaming and health care industries have all fallen victim to cyber attacks. The news media has been replete with stories about for-profit businesses experiencing security lapses or breaches by hackers, but nonprofit certification programs can also be targeted.

Don't Send Your Association's Email Lists To Criminals

On an almost daily basis, we hear about a high profile company falling victim to a cyber-attack.  While the news media has been replete with stories about high profile, for-profit businesses falling victim to computer hackers, nonprofit associations are now also a prime target for cyber criminals.  

Travel Safe: Managing the Legal Risks that Arise from International Operations

Nonprofit organizations are becoming increasingly active in global activities, which are very complex because of cultural, linguistic, operational, and risk issues. Adding to the complexity are legal issues. When does United States law apply, and when does the law of the local country apply? And what exactly are local laws that nonprofits have to watch out for? It’s not possible to know the laws of all the countries around the world, so how does one manage some of the key legal risks?

A Brief Overview of Maryland's New Law, "Charitable Enforcement and Protection of Charitable Assets"

In 2014, Title 6.5, entitled “Protection of Charitable Assets,” was added to the Business Regulation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.  This new law went into effect on June 1, 2014. 

The new title relates to “charitable assets” that are given, received or held for a “charitable purpose,” and both terms are defined broadly.  The statute provides that the Maryland Attorney General represents the public with regard to the protection of charitable assets.  

Is Your Sick Leave Policy in Compliance with District of Columbia Law?

In November 2008, the District of Columbia enacted the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 (“ASSLA”) which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, as well as safe leave for absences related to domestic violence or sexual abuse.  Effective March 2014, ASSLA was amended by the Earned Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 which broadens the employees covered under ASSLA, provides for additional recordkeeping, and includes stronger remedies for violations of the law.  

Are You Complying with Canada's New Anti-Spam Rules?

The majority of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) went into effect on July 1, 2014, and this has many U.S. associations and nonprofit organizations concerned. We are not Canadian lawyers, but we can tell you what we know about the new law.

Are Your Membership Benefits Cutting It?

Probably the vast majority of association membership benefits are the traditional ones – a publication of some sort, access to the association’s “members only” website, discounts on conference fees and purchases, access to group insurance programs, etc. While these benefits retain their popularity with some segments of association members, are they really useful – or even interesting – to your younger members?

Is Retirement In Your Future?

Baby boomers filling association C-suite offices have begun to retire.  We can expect an increasing wave of retirements in the next 10 years as boomers trade board meetings for club meetings and move on to the next phase of their lives. Is your association ready?

The Americans with Disabilities Act: A Brief Overview of What Associations Should Know

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability in any term or condition of employment, as well as retaliate against an individual for asserting his/her rights under the ADA.  It is important to note the ADA does not prohibit an employer from hiring the most qualified candidate for a job; it only prohibits an employer from discriminating against a qualified applicant or candidate because of his/her disability.  Below is a brief summary of what else associations should know about the ADA. 

Worksite Enforcement Comes of Age

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, or “IRCA,” which made it unlawful for employers to hire or continue to employ persons not authorized for employment in the United States is approaching its thirtieth anniversary.  The law imposed a requirement on virtually all private employers to verify  that each newly hired employee is authorized to accept employment in the United States, and mandates completion of a Form I-9, together with a review of certain specified documentation verifying both identity and work authorization, within the first three days of the employee’s date of hire.  Employers who fail to complete the forms, complete them halfway, or make mistakes in entering the required information potentially face civil penalties ranging from $250 to $1100 per violation. 

Recent Antitrust Enforcement Actions

In recent years, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the two federal agencies charged with antitrust enforcement, initiated very few enforcement actions involving associations.  In 2009, however, the Obama Administration publically promised that the days of relaxed anti-trust enforcement were gone and that it would employ vigorous antitrust enforcement efforts as a necessary means of reviving the economy.  Two key cases filed by the FTC against trade associations in 2013 show that the FTC is committed to upholding its enforcement promise and that associations are not exempt from enforcement action. 

Privacy Is Now A Priority

A new privacy code for apps tries to help consumers understand what is really happening with their data.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a new Short Form Notice Code of Conduct to Promote Transparency in Mobile App Practices this summer, and industry groups are busy commenting on pros and cons. The code is voluntary, but would be applicable to apps that associations and nonprofits develop.

I Got This Thing From the IRS.......

The Internal Revenue Service is now launching questionnaire projects to gather information about retirement plans, in addition to conducting random, full scope audits.  What should you do if a questionnaire is received?  First - do not ignore it and, second, ask your advisor to help with the responses.  A proactive review of your retirement plans’ operations is never a bad idea. 

Managing Risk With Technology Contractors

Tips to minimize the potential legal pitfalls in contracting for technology systems

Acquiring the right technology systems is often critical to an association’s success. Too often, however, associations rush through technology system acquisitions and sign unfavorable vendor contracts that ultimately provide little protection to the association if the system or its vendor doesn’t perform as expected. To minimize the potential legal pitfalls in contracting for technology systems, consider the following five contracting tips:

Copyrights Are Critical For Associations

Books, publications, websites, white papers, conference proceedings, magazines and newsletters constitute some of the most valuable property that associations have. These materials may be protected by the copyright laws, and it’s critical that associations maximize such protection. It’s important to make sure both that the organization owns or has adequate rights to use and publish any materials, and also that it has the ability to maintain control of them for purposes of ensuring their integrity and maximizing value to the organization.

Protecting An Association's Trademarks

When we think of trademarks, most consumers think of famous international brands, such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple. Trademarks, however, are not just for traditional “for-profit” corporations. Trademarks can be very important assets to associations and can have significant value in advancing their missions and raising funds. An association’s name, acronym and logo, among other things, can be used in a trademark sense and acquire protection as trademarks.

Cyberattacks Are Equal Opportunity Threats

You may think that most cyberattacks happen to for-profit businesses and government agencies. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security; when it comes to collecting and storing valuable data, many trade associations and nonprofits could give a like-sized corporation a run for its money.

Privacy Matters

The obligations imposed by the data breach laws enacted by almost every state and many foreign countries (particularly the European Union) and various federal privacy laws do not distinguish between for profit businesses and nonprofit organizations. Therefore, trade and professional associations must be vigilant to ensure compliance with these many laws and, when appropriate and necessary, implement a written information security program that includes appropriate technical, procedural and administrative safeguards for protecting private information.

"Old Act" DC Corporations Under the New Act

DC nonprofit corporations formed prior to 1963 have a choice to remain under DC's old nonprofit corporation act or to come under the new act. If the entity wants clearer guidance on structure, then electing to come under the new act would be an appropriate decision.   But if it prefers to stay under the old act, it must be careful to follow some new regulations or it will end up coming under the New Act.

Legal Update and Summary of The New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013

The New York State Legislature recently passed the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 (the “New Act”), which contains several amendments to the New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law.  If signed by Governor Cuomo, provisions of the New Act will become effective July 1, 2014 and will apply to nonprofit corporations that are incorporated in New York.1 

Meetings Contracts

Every association holds meetings, whether a small board meeting or a convention for thousands.  Association executives responsible for meeting planning should be aware of some of the latest trends in negotiating hotel and convention contracts to protect their associations.

New Rules for Association Foundations from the IRS

Associations with related foundations that are considered to be “supporting organizations” under Internal Revenue Code section 509(a)(3) should pay attention to a recent decision by the Internal Revenue Service.  The IRS published the final and proposed regulations for supporting organizations on December 28, 2012 in T.D. 9605 - Payout Requirements for Type III Supporting Organizations That Are Not Functionally Integrated.

What Nonprofits Don't Know About Healthcare Reform Can Hurt Them

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) enacted by Congress in 2010 will affect nonprofit organizations as much as for-profit companies.  All nonprofits should determine if they are “large employers” and are subject to the penalties imposed by the ACA if their health plans fail to provide a minimum level of coverage to their full-time employees or if benefits offered are not “affordable.”   On July 2, the Obama Administration announced it was delaying until January 1, 2015 the effective date of the employer mandate, which includes fines for employers who do not provide qualified and affordable health care and new reporting requirements.

Top 5 Issues in an Employment Agreement

The top 5 issues to address in an employment agreement will differ depending on whether you are the employee or the employer and the level of the employee within the organization.

New Travel Rules Issued by the House Committee of Ethics Became Effective on April 1, 2013

In December 2012, the House Committee of Ethics (the "Committee") issued new regulations governing privately funded, officially connected travel by House Members, officers and employees.  These new travel rules are not only applicable to House members and staff, but are also applicable to outside sponsors, including nonprofit organizations and associations.

Upgrading Your Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Procedures: Practical and Legal Considerations

A key aspect of any professional certification program is a code of ethics and the code’s accompanying procedures. A code of ethics, sometimes referred to as a code of professional conduct, is a critical feature of a certification program both for the promotion of the safety of the public and the integrity of the program’s credential. For those programs seeking or maintaining the coveted National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation, a mark of quality for certification programs, disciplinary policies and procedures are required. (See the Responsibilities to Stakeholders section of the NCCA Standards, Standard 6.)

FTC Guidelines May Require Disclosure by Conference Speakers Using Social Media

If a nonprofit organization asks its conference or meeting speaker to use social media to promote the organization’s event, the Federal Trade Commission’s "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising" may require the speaker to disclose his or her relationship with the organization.

The Group Ruling Questionnaire - What is it and what does it mean to your organization?

First of all, if your organization has no affiliates, you can skip this article entirely.

For the rest of you, especially those whose affiliates operate under a Group Exemption: You may have already received from the IRS a "Group Ruling Questionnaire" (GRQ). The IRS began sending them out at the end of 2012 to several thousand tax-exempt organizations that had obtained a Group Exemption for their subsidiary organizations.  The purpose of the GRQ is to help the IRS develop new regulations applicable to parent organizations to assure tax compliance and timely filing of IRS Form 990s by subsidiaries.

Five Legal Considerations When Negotiating Technology Contracts

Whether buying new hardware, upgrading software or implementing a million-dollar association management system solution, at some point each association is going to confront a technology contract. And whether you are drafting your own agreement or, more typically, starting with the vendor’s form of contract, there are certain key legal provisions the management of every association should consider before signing on the dotted line.

Is Your Organization Required to Pay DC Use Tax?

We have been contacted by clients who are confused by the new District of Columbia 2013 Budget Support Act and its requirement that DC employers file an annual use tax return if they are not currently filing a sales tax return.  This article is intended to answer some of the questions your organization might have about the DC use tax.

Are Associations and Nonprofit Organizations the Next Big Target for Cyber Attacks?

Like most people in our tech-inundated world, you might be a bit numb to seemingly daily reports that yet another organization has been hacked.  But, as an executive or employee of a nonprofit organization or association, you may have taken notice and some comfort in the fact that the lion’s share of those attacks appear to have been perpetrated on for-profit businesses and government agencies, like Sony, Citibank, Lockheed Martin, ADP, the FBI and the CIA.

Association Social Media -- Is Permission Required To Post User Content?

As user-generated content becomes a growing source of information on the Internet, associations should be mindful of the potential legal problems that relate to using user-generated content.  For example, if John Smith posts comments on an association’s website or social media page, can an association use John Smith’s comments in the association’s newsletter without contacting John Smith for permission? 

New Handbook On Intellectual Property For Nonprofits Is Published

“Intellectual property (IP), in the form of copyrights, trademarks, lists of members, attendees, exhibitors, and others are often an association’s most valuable property. And in this modern internet era, everything is electronic, so understanding and implementing the rules, best practices, and protections for IP of nonprofit organizations and associations is critical. We thought it was timely to help associations protect their IP by giving them a clear, concrete reference book to turn to,” says the co-author of the just published Intellectual Property for Nonprofit Organizations and Associations, Jefferson Glassie.

Jeff and his co-authors Eileen Johnson and Dana Lynch are attorneys with the boutique law firm, Whiteford, Taylor, and Preston, in Washington, DC.

New Federal Guidance on Use of Criminal History in Hiring Decisions

The new guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the first update on the issue in more than 20 years, clarifies when and how an employer may consider job candidates' past arrest and conviction records without violating federal discrimination law.

Interns In The Nonprofit World

What’s the difference between a volunteer who delivers Meals on Wheels and wouldn’t dream of getting paid, as opposed to an intern who might in fact be deemed an employee and have to be paid? It’s not easy to tell.

Establishing an Association Foundation

Many nonprofit Section 501(c)(6) organizations set up separate foundations to carry on certain charitable or educational activities for the parent organization.  We have helped many nonprofit organizations set up subsidiary foundations--this is very common and can enhance the activities and fundraising options for the parent organization.  Provided below is background information on setting up a foundation.

Is Your Publication's Ad Revenue Taxable?

Publications that generate "circulation income," such as subscription payments, and net income from advertisements can be an important source of revenue for a tax-exempt organization. Revenues from circulation income generally are not subject to federal income tax, but net advertising income generally is taxable as unrelated business income.

Board Meeting Minutes -- Best Not To Get Too Wordy!

Many association executives have asked questions about the proper scope and content of board meetings. It’s important to keep minutes in accordance with legal and organizational governance best practices.  Here are some thoughts about keeping board meeting minutes. 

Retirement Plan Disclosure Deadline Looms

Nonprofit organizations and associations may be feeling a little more loved by the custodians of their retirement plan assets and third party administrators lately, if “love” means how many communications you’re getting about the upcoming deadline for fee and investment disclosures. 

As Technology Advances, Testing Accommodations Under the ADA Must Keep Pace

As computer technology continues to make rapid advances, the issue of what constitutes an appropriate accommodation for test-takers under Title III of the ADA is being re-examined by the courts.  Specifically, in the case of Enyart v. National Conference of Bar Examiners, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that accommodations should be evaluated under a “best ensure” standard, rather than a reasonable/effective standard.  

Could Your Association’s Chapter Program Be Considered a Franchise System?

In Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc. v. Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Inc., 646 F.3d 983 (7th Cir. 2011), the U.S. Court of Appeals for Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin held that the national Girl Scouts organization, a nonprofit incorporated by an Act of Congress, violated the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law by dissolving a local Wisconsin chapter of the national organization “without good cause.” The 2011 decision is notable both because of its author, the extremely well-known, respected and conservative Judge Richard Posner, and because of the language used by the Court in rejecting the Girl Scouts of the United States’ arguments for immunity based on its nonprofit mission. This article is designed to help the leaders of nonprofit organizations and associations identify ways to mitigate risks posed by this decision.

Construction Renovation Contracts 101: Six Key Considerations for Proactive Nonprofit Organizations and Associations

One of the challenges that nonprofit organizations and associations periodically must address is renovation contracts for either owner-occupied or leased space.  It is a fact of life that any organization must periodically perform small and large construction renovations -- everything from building or office cosmetic work to garage resurfacing, from window and roof replacements to new HVAC system installations.  Before signing a construction renovation contract, nonprofit managers and association executives should understand the potential risks and be prepared to minimize them.&nb

IRS News

The IRS recently announced that its modernized e-file system will not be available from January 1, 2012 through February 29, 2012 for electronic filing of Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF and 1120-POL information returns. The system will not be available during this time period so that certain changes can be made to IRS systems for the 2011 tax year.  However, the 990-N e-postcard filing system will not be affected by this temporary suspension.

The Importance of Legal Audits

Legal audits provide a good opportunity for nonprofit organizations and associations to prevent unexpected liability by addressing and resolving problematic issues before they escalate.  Risks of liability are a serious concern for nonprofit organizations and associations.  A legal audit is particularly important if the association or nonprofit organization has recently undergone a change in management, so that preexisting problems are not attributed to the new leadership.

Copyright Law and Your Association

What is the work-for-hire doctrine, and how does it apply to associations?

The work-for-hire doctrine is a statutory provision under the Federal Copyright Act that acts to transfer copyright ownership in certain cases. However, the doctrine is often misunderstood.

Consulting Contract Do’s and Don’ts

When working with a consultant, always hope and plan for the best but prepare for the worst by drafting a solid consulting contract.  A good contract will clearly set forth the expectations of each party, milestones, payments and expenses, and other significant terms. The following do’s and don’ts for drafting consulting contracts will improve the likelihood that you will have a good working relationship with your consultant and that the results of the collaboration will meet your association’s needs.

Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program Implemented by the IRS

Employers can save money on past payroll taxes and “get right” with the IRS under new program.

The Internal Revenue Service has implemented a new program that will allow employers, including tax-exempt organizations, to resolve past worker classification issues by voluntarily reclassifying workers as employees.  The IRS’s Voluntary Classification Settlement Program is primarily intended to increase tax compliance, but the Program will also have the effect of minimizing the reporting and financial burden on employers, as well as providing certainty for employers, workers, and the government regarding worker classification.  The Program will allow employers the opportunity to come into compliance by making a payment covering past payroll tax obligations.

Legal Issues Arising from Nonprofit Organizations’ Use of Social Media -- Part One

There is no denying that social media’s importance to organizations, including nonprofit organizations and associations, is growing exponentially.  Blogs, Listservs, YouTube.com, and social networks like Twitter and Facebook offer nonprofits a range of benefits, enabling them to market themselves in new ways, disseminate their messages and missions, educate users, connect with other nonprofits, recruit volunteers, solicit donations, and increase audience interaction.  These benefits, however, come with certain risks. 

U.S. Embargoes Can Impact Certification Programs

The United States imposes embargoes against several countries, including most prominently Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Burma.  These sanctions programs, administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), are very broad and essentially prohibit any business dealings by U.S. persons and organizations with those countries, though the Cuban sanctions are the most restrictive.  There is, however, a general exception under the law for transmission of information, which applies to many nonprofit organization and association activities. 

Board Committee Structure

This resource is provided for informational and reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Specific legal questions regarding this information should be addressed by your organization’s legal counsel.

Board Evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer

Although a compensation committee or the executive committee may be delegated the authority to set the CEO's compensation, the entire board should be involved in the CEO's annual review. A consultant can be helpful in determining what questions to ask and in gathering the responses and facilitating communication between the board and the CEO.

Board Recruitment Needs Analysis

This tool can be used to assess current strengths and weaknesses of an existing board or used to evaluate a pool of potential board candidates.  With some modification, it can also be used as a tool to track the experience and diversity of existing board members on an individual basis.

Board Responsibilities Checklist

This checklist is designed to assist boards in reviewing their activities to ensure that they are focusing on governance and not management.

Executive Compensation for Exempt Organizations

This resource is provided for informational and reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Specific legal questions regarding this information should be addressed by your organization's legal counsel.

Nonprofit Board Member's Job Description

Often board members find themselves on a nonprofit board of directors with no guidance as to what their role is or the organization's expectations of them. This "job description" is actually advice for new board members of nonprofit organizations. Following this advice can lead to a more successful board, a more successful organization and a more enjoyable experience for the new board member.

Regulating Charitable Fundraising in the 21st Century

This resource is provided for informational and reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Specific legal questions regarding this information should be addressed by your organization's legal counsel.

Responsibilities of a Nonprofit Director

This resource is provided for informational and reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Specific legal questions regarding this information should be addressed by your organization's legal counsel.

Volunteer Management

This resource is provided for informational and reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Specific legal questions regarding this information should be addressed by your organization's legal counsel.

Newsletters

Nonprofit Report - September 2018

The IRS Determines Nonprofit Corporations Can Reincorporate Without Filing a New Exemption Application

Stand Up and Be Heard in an Election Year

Nonprofit Report - July 2018

South Dakota v. Wayfair - Opening the Door for Imposition of State Sales' Tax on Interstate Sales

IRS Ignites Political Firestorm by Eliminating the Requirement for Most Nonprofit Organizations to Submit Confidential Donor Information to the IRS

Nonprofit Report - June 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - More Changes

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects Nonprofit Executive Compensation

Nonprofit Report - May 2018

Significant Changes Regarding Fringe Benefits Under the New Tax Law

UBI Now Calculated for Each Unrelated Trade and Business Activity

Nonprofit Report - February 2018

Your Fiduciary Duty: Find Missing Retirement Plan Participants

GDPR Compliance Quick Guide for U.S. Nonprofit Organizations and Associations

Nonprofit Report - January 2018

Three Questions to Ask When Designing a Severance Package

Maryland General Assembly Overrides Governor's Veto: Paid Sick Leave Law to Take Effect in February

Nonprofit Report - October 2017

Foreign Workers in the Trump Era - Immigration Compliance and Managing Your Workforce

The Frequently Neglected 403(B) Plan - Errors May Be Costly

Nonprofit Report - July 2017

Erika E. Cole, The Church Attorney® to Launch Church and Faith-Based Organization Practice at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP

Can Your Journal Protect Its Peer Reviewers

Nonprofit Report - June 2017

China's Overseas NGO Law: Next Steps for Associations

Legal Elements of Executive Succession Planning

Nonprofit Report - March 2017

What Do New Marijuana Laws Mean for the Workplace?

FEC Adjusts Some Political Contribution Limits for 2017-2018 Cycle

On the Horizon in 2017: Are Political Spending Restrictions on Section 501(c)(3) Organizations Going Away?

Nonprofit Report - October 2016

The 2016 Elections and Beyond -- Last Minute Opportunities and Compliance Challenges Ahead

Montgomery County Employers Must Provide Paid Sick and Safe Leave Effective October 1, 2016

Nonprofit Report - June 2016

Act Now On Privacy And Cybersecurity Issues!

A "Smart" Version Of The Form I-9 Is On The Horizon

Nonprofit Report - May 2016

Nonprofit Communication in the Cellphone Age: Know the Rules and Risks

New Department of Labor Overtime Regulations

Nonprofit Report - December 2015

How Associations Can Protect Their Content Rights Before Going Global

Automatic Renewal of Membership Dues and Recurring Credit Card Payment Laws

Nonprofit Report - November 2015

Cybersecurity: A Big Threat

DOJ Issues New Guidance on Testing Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

European High Court Invalidates Safe Harbor for Transfer of Personal Data

Nonprofit Report - September 2015

Finance and Audit Committees

Use of Criminal Background Checks in the Hiring Process

IRS Proposes Regulation Regarding Reporting of Charitable Donations

Nonprofit Report - August 2015

Mind Your B's and F's: A Primer on Deferred Compensation Plans for Tax Exempts

Check Your Policies To Ensure They Are In Compliance With Current D.C. Employment Laws

Nonprofit Report - July 2015

The 4th Circuit Reaffirms Judicial Deference to Accreditation Agencies

Don't be Caught Off Guard with Inadequate Insurance Coverage

Nonprofit Report - March 2015

How Simple is that Simple Retirement Plan, Really?

Social Media & Employment Law

Hat Fight: NLRB Ruling Against Company Hat Policy Rejected by D.C. Circuit

Check Your Policies - They May be Unlawful

Nonprofit Report - February 2015

Don't Send Your Association's Email Lists to Criminals

Travel Safe: Managing the Legal Risks that Arise from International Operations

Non Profit Report - December 2014

A Brief Overview of Maryland's New Law, "Charitable Enforcement & Protection of Charitable Assets"

Ex-Officio Directors Get Voting Rights in California

Non Profit Report - November 2014

Terminating Employees: A Checklist for Minimizing Risk

The Americans with Disabilities Act: A Brief Overview of What Associations Should Know

Non Profit Report - September 2014

Is Your Sick Leave Policy in Compliance With District of Columbia Law

Federal Trade Commission Cracking Down on Professional Associations that Inhibit Competition

Non Profit Report - May 2014

The Federal Trade Commission Takes Aim at Professional Regulatory Boards

Disciplinary Proceedings: Due Process and Fair Report to Avoid Liability

Non Profit Report - April 2014

Association Chapter Insurance Policies: What Coverage Do You Need?

Recent Antitrust Enforcement Actions

Non Profit Report - January 2014

I Got This Thing From the IRS...

Managing Risk With Technology Contractors

Lessons Learned: The Importance of Effective Financial Governance and Internal Controls in the Wake of Reported Embezzlements at Prominent Nonprofits

Non Profit Report - December 2013

Protecting An Association's Trademarks

Copyrights Are Critical For Associations

Maine Gets Ride of CCV Requirements

Non Profit Report - October 2013

Top-7 Social Media Issues for Associations

IRS Self-Declarers Questionnaire Raises Interesting Question in Wake of EO Unit Scandal Print Article

Non Profit Report - September 2013

Affordable Care Act Requirements for Employers: Although Mandate Delayed, Action Still Required

Meetings Contracts

Non Profit Report - August 2013

Legal Update and Summary of the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013

"Old Act" DC Corporations Under the New Act

Non Profit Report - July 2013

What Nonprofits Don't Know About Healthcare Reform Can Hurt Them

New Rules for Association Foundation from the IRS

Non Profit Report - June 2013

Top 5 Issues In An Employment Agreement

D.C. Circuit Nixes NLRB Posting Requirement

Employers Now Required to Use Revised Form I-9 When Verifying Employment Eligibility

Non Profit Report - April 2013

New Travel Rules Issued by the House Committee of Ethics Became Effective on April 1, 2013

Upgrading Your Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Procedures: Practical and Legal Considerations

Non Profit Report - March 2013

The Group Ruling Questionnaire - What is it and what does it mean to your organization?

FTC Guidelines May Require Disclosure by Conference Speakers Using Social Media

Non Profit Report - January 2013

Minimizing Risk: The Importance of Conducting Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Training

The Right Coverage

Five Golden Rules for Committees

Non Profit Report - November 2012

Is Your Organization Required to Pay DC Use Tax?

Five Legal Considerations When Negotiating Technology Contracts

Non Profit Report - September 2012

Are Associations and Nonprofit Organizations the Next Big Target for Cyber Attacks?

DC Employers Subject To New Use Tax Filing Requirement

Non Profit Report - August 2012

New Federal Guidance on Use of Criminal History in Hiring Decisions

Association Social Media -- Is Permission Required To Post User Content

Non Profit Report - July 2012

Interns In The Nonprofit World

The New Generic Top-Level Domain Names: What Trademark Owners Should Do To Prepare

Non Profit Report - May 2012

Board Meeting Minutes -- Best Not To Get Too Wordy!

Recent Court Decision Finds that Directors of a Maryland Corporation can be Sued in Maryland, with no other Connections to the State

Non Profit Report - April 2012

Retirement Plan Disclosure Deadline Looms

Fourth Circuit Holds That Internal FLSA Complaint Can Support Retaliation Claim

Non Profit Report - March 2012

Could Your Association’s Chapter Program Be Considered a Franchise System?

As Technology Advances, Testing Accommodations Under the ADA Must Keep Pace

District of Columbia Two-Year Report Filing Deadline: April 2nd

Non Profit Report - February 2012

Copyright Law and Your Association

Construction Renovation Contracts 101: Six Key Considerations for Proactive Nonprofit Organizations and Associations

Non Profit Report - December 2011

The Importance of Legal Audits

Tips on Investigation Discrimination and Harassment Complaints -- What Every Association Should Know

Non Profit Report - October 2011

Legal Issues Arising from Nonprofit Organizations' Use of Social Media -- Part Two

Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program Implemented by the IRS

How Trademark Owners Can Prevent Their Marks From Becoming .XXX Domain Names

Non Profit Report - September 2011

U.S. Embargoes Can Impact Certification Programs

Legal Issues Arising from Nonprofit Organizations' Use of Social Media: A two-part article

Non Profit Report - August 2011

What Your Association Needs To Know About Job Boards

Organization Failed to Qualify as a Public Charity because its Supported Organizations were not Easily Identifiable

Animal-Rescue Group Volunteer Allowed to Take Charitable Deduction

Non Profit Report - July 2011

Jeff Glassie Joins WTP

State Franchise Law Applied to Girl Scouts Raises Issues of Applicability to Other Nonprofits

IRS News

Megan Spratt & Eric Nastasi Join WTP

Non Profit Report - May 2011

IRS Proposes Regs on Disclosure of Exempt Organization Information to State Officials

The Golden Rules for Committees

Non Profit Report - October 2010

Social Media in the Workplace: Part 2

Enforcing Board Member Responsibilities

Attention Employers with DC Employees: Final Regulations for Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act Issued

Non Profit Report - September 2010

Social Media in the Workplace: Part 1

IRS Releases Revised Publications on Charitable Contributions and Gaming Activities

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Form Released by the IRS

Non Profit Report - Summer 2010

Small Tax-Exempt Organizations: Don't Lose Your Exempt Status

Corral Your Contracts

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit Available to Tax-Exempt Organizations

Non Profit Report - Spring 2009

The Price of Getting Personal

Virginia Legislative Wrap Up

COBRA Health Continuation Coverage Under the Economic Stimulus Act

Non Profit Report - Winter 2009

Do You Have Time For Twice As Much Work?

Schaefer, Benson and Schaefer Join WTP

Which Form 990 Should My Organization File?

Think Before You Type

Is a Merger a Good Idea for Our Association?

Non Profit Report - Summer 2008

Does Your Organization Need A Compensation Committee?

Pension Protection Act Revisions

Beware of Cybersquatting and Other Domain Name Abuse

Non Profit Report - Spring 2008

Payout Of Accrued But Unused Leave At Termination: The Rules Change -- Yet Again!

Charitable Immunity in Virginia

Non Profit Report - Fall 2007

Updates from the IRS and Capitol Hill

Q&A

10 Lobbying Do's for Nonprofit Organizations and Staff

IRA Charitable Giving Conundrum

Eileen Morgan Johnson Named to ASAE Council

Attorney Spotlight: Kevin Kernan

Non Profit Report - Summer 2007

IRS on Governance

Protecting Volunteers From Liability in Maryland

Board Evaluation of the Chief Executive Officer

Virginia Sales Tax Law Change, Effective July 1, 2007

Non Profit Report - Winter 2007

What Does the Legislative Horizon Hold for Tax-Exempt Entities?

Executive Compensation Avoiding Excise Taxes on Deferred Compensation

Nonprofit Report - Fall 2006

Charitable Organization Reform Legislation Becomes Law

Fax Advertising and Nonprofit Organizations

Fundraising Regulations in the 21st Century

Non Profit Report - Summer 2006

IRS Issues New Guidance on Political Activities

Are Charitable Giving Tax Incentives and Reforms a Possibility This Year?

Nonprofit Report - Winter 2006

What Does the Legislative Horizon Hold for Tax-Exempt Entities?

Executive Compensation: Avoiding Excise Taxes on Deferred Compensation

Events

Nonprofit Law Group Happy Hour

The Whiteford Nonprofit Law Group invites you to join us for good wine, food and live music by our lawyers, including Eric Schlam and Jeff Glassie.

Association of Corporate Counsel - WTP Speaking

Eileen Johnson will present on "Non-Profits and Associations Forum: Gift Acceptance Policies and Practices – What Do You Do With [fill in the blank]?” for the Association of Corporate Counsel, National Capital Region.

News

U.S. News Awards Top-Tier Rankings to 46 Whiteford Practices, Including 18 Nationally

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to announce that U.S. News and World Report - Best Lawyers ® “Best Law Firms” has awarded the firm exemplary rankings for 2019.  Eighteen of the firm’s practices are ranked at the national level, including two practices with national Tier 1 rankings:  Litigation and Bankruptcy.  At the state level, an additional forty-six practices have been ranked in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and VA.

Corporate Attorney Kellie L. Newton Joins Whiteford's Nonprofit Law Group

Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP announced today that Kellie L. Newton has joined the firm as a Partner in its Washington, D.C., office.  An accomplished corporate attorney, Ms. Newton has a sophisticated practice representing nonprofit organizations and privately held companies.  

“We are delighted to welcome Kellie to the firm,” said Managing Partner Martin Fletcher.  “Her reputation as general counsel and trusted business advisor to both nonprofits and private companies adds significantly to our growing presence in DC.”

Erika E. Cole, The Church Attorney® to Launch Church and Faith-Based Organization Practice at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP announced today that Erika E. Cole, a preeminent non-profit organization attorney with a significant reputation among churches and faith-based organizations, has joined the firm as a Partner as of July 1, 2017.  Mrs. Cole is one of only a handful of attorneys in the U.S. practicing exclusively in the area of church law.  Over the course of the past 12 years, she has built a national reputation as The Church Attorney®. 

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Recognized as National Tier 1 by U.S. News and World Report

The 2017 edition of U.S. News and World Report - Best Lawyers ® “Best Law Firms” has awarded Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP exemplary ratings in its seventh annual rankings of law firms.

Twenty of the firm’s practices were ranked at the national level, as well as thirty-seven in Maryland, ten in Washington, D.C., and two in Roanoke, VA.

Jefferson Glassie Recipient of 2015 ICE Award

On October 29, Jeff Glassie received the 2015 volunteer service award from the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) at its annual educational conference in Portland, Oregon. The award is given annually to an individual who has displayed exemplary service and commitment to the organization, who has been instrumental in facilitating the achievement of the organization’s goals, and who has demonstrated a history of volunteer service in ICE.

Jefferson Glassie Chosen for ASAE's 2014 Class of Fellows

Whiteford Taylor & Preston is delighted to announce that Jefferson Glassie, co-chair of the firm’s Nonprofit Organizations & Associations practice, has been named an ASAE Fellow, one of only 250 in the nation. This recognition is bestowed on leaders in the field, in light of their “innovation, leadership and commitment to the profession,” and is indeed a signal honor.

New Book On Intellectual Property Authored By Whiteford Lawyers

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston lawyers have written a new book titled Intellectual Property for Nonprofit Organizations and Associations, which is now the definitive publication in the field. 

Jeff Glassie, Eileen Morgan Johnson, and Dana Lynch, partners with WTP, are co-editors of the new book, published by the American Society of Association Executives and released at the ASAE convention in Dallas, August 11-15, 2012.  

Two More Nonprofit Lawyers Join Whiteford Taylor & Preston

Whiteford Taylor & Preston announced today that Jeffrey P. Altman and Eric M. Altman have joined the firm’s Nonprofit Organizations and Associations group in the Washington, D.C., office. 

Jeffrey Altman, who joins from McKenna Long & Aldridge, commented, “It is great to be able to join Whiteford's nonprofit organizations and associations group, which is really one of the preeminent practices anywhere.  They are a great bunch of attorneys, with tons of nonprofit and association experience, and we look forward to being part of the team.”

Jeff Glassie Joins Whiteford, Taylor & Preston

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is delighted to announce that Jefferson C. Glassie has joined the firm’s Nonprofit Organizations Group as a partner. He is based in the firm’s Washington office and will Co-Chair the firm’s nonprofit practice. Accompanying him in his move to the firm is an associate, Megan Spratt.

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston Increases Its Number of Falls Church Attorneys and Expands Its Northern Virginia Location

Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP (WTP) has expanded its Falls Church office - by increasing the number of attorneys and enlarging its office space. Glenn R. Bonard, Eileen Morgan Johnson, Thomas Mugavero, Christy Richardson, and Andrew J. Terrell have joined Raymond J. Diaz, Michael Gartner, Christopher A. Jones, Katherine McCarthy, Edward J. O'Connell, and Eric A. Vendt in WTP's offices at 3190 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 300, Falls Church, VA 22042.