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Answer an Important Question: Are Your Directors Independent?

Posted By Celeste Viator, Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP, Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Not-for-profit organizations that file IRS Form 990 must indicate the number of independent voting members or directors of the governing body. (This is entered on Parts 1 and VI.) The IRS is not the only group interested in these facts. Two other groups also focus on the number of independent directors: state attorneys general and prospective donors. All three groups believe that independent directors are the cornerstone of good governance. In other words, they believe independent directors are less likely to cause the organization to violate prohibitions on private benefit and private inurement.

No Conflict of Interest

Independence generally requires that a director has no conflict of interest. A conflict arises when a director (or a family member) has an interest different from that of the exempt organization (EO). It may involve direct or indirect compensation from the EO, or involve a transaction between the director and the EO or a related organization.

Four Characteristics of Independence

A director is independent only if all four of the following criteria applied at all times during the year.

1. Employee Compensation. The director wasn't compensated as an officer or other employee of the exempt organization or of a related organization. In addition, the director wasn't compensated by an unrelated organization or individual for services to the organization or a related organization, if the compensation is required to be reported on Form 990 (in Part VII, Section A). However, reasonable compensation from the organization for services as a director doesn't preclude independence.

2. Services as an Independent Contractor. The director didn't receive more than $10,000 of total compensation or other payments as an independent contractor from exempt organization (or a related organization). The threshold of $10,000 is based on the organization's tax year. Note: Expense reimbursements under an accountable plan aren't included in calculating the limit of $10,000.

For example, during the exempt organization's tax year, a director received $7,500 in fees for tax and accounting services provided to the exempt organization, $3,100 for out-of-pocket expenses, and a $7,300 fee (considered reasonable) for services as director. The director is independent since the accounting and tax service fees are under the $10,000 threshold and the other items are excluded.

3. Transactions with the Organization. The director (or one of his or her family members) wasn't involved in a transaction with the exempt organization (directly or indirectly through an affiliated organization) , which is required to be reported on the organization's Schedule L, Transactions with Interested Persons, for the current tax year.

4. Related-Party Transactions. The director (or one of his or her family members) wasn't involved in a direct or indirect transaction with a taxable or tax-exempt organization, which is related to the organization — if that transaction is required to be reported on
Schedule L filed by the related organization.

For example, a director is a voting member of the governing body of both Charity A and Charity B, which are related organizations. During A's taxable year, the director's daughter received $40,000 in taxable compensation as an employee of B. The director is not an independent member of A's board because the daughter received compensation from an organization related to the director, and the compensation was of a type (compensation to a family member of a director of B) and amount (above $10,000) that would be reportable on Schedule L if B were required to file Schedule L.

Another example: A director is a voting member of Charity A's governing body. In addition, the director is also a partner with a profits and capital interest greater than 5 percent in a law firm. During A's taxable year, A paid the law firm $115,000 for litigation services. The transaction between A and the law firm must be reported on A's Schedule L because it is a transaction between A and an entity in which the director is a more-than-5% owner, and because the payment by A exceeded $100,000. Therefore, the director is not independent because A's payment of the legal fees is deemed an indirect business transaction with D.

A variation on the above example: If a director was an employee of the law firm (rather than a more-than-5-percent owner) and not an officer or director of the law firm, then A's payment of legal fees would not affect the director's status as an independent director of A.

Tax Court Rulings

The U.S. Tax Court has, in at least two cases, discussed the importance of an independent board to provide operational oversight to an exempt organization. In one case, an exemption was denied because a college scholarship fund organization couldn't show it "was operated exclusively for exempt purposes." The organization primarily raised money from the operation of bingo games at an Iowa for-profit lounge.

The organization's board of directors was comprised of five members. The court noted the initial directors, named in the articles of incorporation, were two owners of the lounge; the lounge's accountant and director, and two other persons, each described as a "bingo player."

The court stated that it appeared "that more than an insubstantial purpose of the (organization's) activities was to attract persons, by the way of the bingo games, onto the premises" of the lounge "expecting that they would purchase food and beverages while participating in the games." The court added that the activities "were, in substantial part, designed to enhance the profitability" of the lounge. (P.L.L. Scholarship Fund v. Commissioner, 82 T.C. 196)

In another case, the court upheld the IRS's determination that the organization was not tax-exempt because it did not, among other things, have an independent governing body. One individual was the organization's president, secretary, sole officer, director and employee. (The Council for Education v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2013-283)

However, in both of these Tax Court cases described above, there were other factors that were prejudicial to an exemption under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). So it's not clear how much weight the court placed on the absence of an independent board.

Not All Activities Cause Problems

Certain transactions or activities specifically don't compromise the independence of a director. A director does not give up independent status by making donations to the exempt organization, regardless of the contribution amount. In addition, directors don't lack independence simply because they are part of the governing body of another charity that received funding from the exempt organization during the organization's tax year.

Also, a director is permitted to receive financial benefits from the exempt organization solely by virtue of being a member of the class served by the organization in the exercise of its exempt purpose, provided the financial benefits comply with the terms of membership of the organization.

Finally, a director who has taken a bona fide vow of poverty isn't considered to lack independence because he or she either:

  • Receives compensation as an agent of a religious order or a Section 501(d) organization, provided the compensation is not taxable; or

  • Belongs to a religious order that receives payments from the exempt organization that are not taxable income to the member.

    Keep in mind: An organization must make a reasonable effort to determine the independence of its directors. One way to do this is to provide a questionnaire annually to each director and reasonably rely on each person's responses. Of course, if your board knows facts that contradict a director's response, it would preclude relying on the response.


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Louisiana Hospitality Foundation Crisis Grant

Posted By Tasha L. Cooper, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Monday, January 23, 2017

The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation provides financial assistance and guidance to members of the hospitality industry during times of crisis, which is a core part of our mission. The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation is accepting crisis grant applications to assist hospitality industry workers that were impacted by the August 2016 floods.

 

The Foundation raises funds through our signature fundraising events and other contributions, manages the application process for crisis assistance, and provides the administrative and financial services necessary to support the accounting and tracking of funds distributed.

Qualified applicants must be currently employee in the hospitality industry, and also working and living in Louisiana. 

Crisis grant funding may include:

  • Temporary mortgage or rent assistance

  • Payment of medical-related bills

  • Payment of utility bills

  • Funeral service assistance

Applications are reviewed within ten business days of receipt. Please note that funds are not unlimited, therefore it is not guaranteed that each application will be approved even if it qualifies for assistance.

 

Click Here to Apply!

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Free Webinar: Be a fundraising leader in social and mobile media

Posted By Amy Warner, CausePlanet, Monday, January 23, 2017

 

 

Register now: Be a fundraising leader in social and mobile media

 

Nonprofits that are responding rapidly to situations when they arise are among the leaders in social and mobile media. If your nonprofit presents relevant responses and ways to interact, engage and support the issue, you will raise the most money.

 

Making mobile work for you


Every piece of advice in Mobile for Good is a result of Heather Mansfield’s own personal use of and experimentation with mobile and social media. Mansfield asserts that thriving in this realm is both an art and a science. This book will help you excel at both. Your staff must create and think like an artist while implementing online communications and use research about donor behavior in this realm.

 

Webinar with Heather Mansfield

 

Join CausePlanet founder Denise McMahan and Heather Mansfield Friday, January 27, at 11:00 Central Time for a webinar interview at your desk.

 

Mansfield will touch on the following topics:

 

               What are the benefits of adding social and mobile media to your fundraising plan? 

               How do you create and implement a social fundraising strategy?

               What are some ways to determine a social content strategy?

               How do you use mobile and social networks to distribute content?

 

Register

 

Register now for this FREE interview for all LANO members. (The link requires LANO network sign-in to register.)

 

See more

 

See more with the Page to Practicesummary of Manfield’s book:

 

·      Simply log in at the top right corner of CausePlanet’s home page (www.causeplanet.org) and fill in your registered email with LANO and “Password1”.

·      Click on “Summary Library” to see Mobile for Good and more titles.

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Apply for the 2017 LA SCCC Today! Deadline = March 1, 2017

Posted By Robin Taylor, Louisiana Association of United Ways, Monday, January 23, 2017
All qualified, health and human service non-profits can apply to be a part of the 2017 Louisiana State Combined Charitable Campaign (LA SCCC).

Learn more and apply today! www.lasccc.org/application


#GiveHOPELA

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Don't miss out: Mobile and social media inspire giving to your nonprofit

Posted By Amy Warner, CausePlanet, Tuesday, January 10, 2017

 

The first text-to-give campaign was launched by United Way of America in 2008, which raised $10,000. In 2010, the response to the Haiti earthquake raised an astonishing $35 million over three weeks. Learn how to create thriving text-to-give campaigns, and fully utilize mobile capabilities. 

 

Making mobile work for you


Every piece of advice in Mobile for Good is a result of author Heather Mansfield’s own personal use of and experimentation with mobile and social media. Mansfield asserts that thriving in this realm is both an art and a science. This book will help you excel at both. Your staff must create and think like an artist while implementing online communications and use research about donor behavior in this realm.

 

Webinar with Heather Mansfield

 

Join CausePlanet founder Denise McMahan and Heather Mansfield Friday, January 27, at 11:00 Central Time at a webinar interview at your desk.

 

Mansfield will touch on the following topics:

 

               What are the benefits of adding social and mobile media to your fundraising plan? 

               How do you create and implement a social fundraising strategy?

               What are some ways to determine a social content strategy?

               How do you use mobile and social networks to distribute content?

 

Register

 

Register now for this FREE interview for all LANO members. (The link requires LANO network sign-in to register.)

 

See more

 

See more with the Page to Practicesummary of Manfield’s book:

 

·      Simply log in at the top right corner of CausePlanet’s home page (www.causeplanet.org) and fill in your registered email with LANO and “Password1”.

·      Click on “Summary Library” to see Mobile for Good and more titles.

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2017 LANO Annual Conference

Posted By Emilie E. Bowman, Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2017

LANO is celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2017 and we want to make sure this a year to remember for our members!

 

We are overjoyed to share with everyone that the 2017 LANO Annual Conference will be a one-day intensive held on Thursday, August 17th! Joan Garry, the host and author of the popular blog and podcast, Nonprofits are Messy with Joan Garry, will lead the 2017 LANO Annual Conference morning keynote session on Leadership!

 

For nearly a decade, Joan Garry served as the Executive Director of GLAAD, one of the largest gay rights organizations in the country, where she launched several successful media campaigns, including GLAAD’s successful campaign to lobby the New York Times to include same sex wedding announcements in its Style section. She later acted as the co-chair of Barack Obama’s LGBT Finance Committee during his 2008 presidential campaign.

 

Joan now works with nonprofit leaders, assisting with crisis management, executive coaching and the building of strong management teams to support the work of the CEO. She also teaches nonprofit media strategy as a professor at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a blogger for The Huffington Post.


Joan’s nonprofit work began after 14 years in executive positions in corporate entertainment, including her role as a member of the management team that launched MTV in 1981.

 

Register by February 28th to reserve your spot at the EARLY BIRD RATE!

 

-          LANO Members use Discount Code 17EarlyBird for the $99 Early Bird rate (Members must be signed into the system to be eligible for the $99 rate).

 

-         Non-members use Discount Code 17EBNM for the $130 Early Bird rate (Friends of LANO and non-members are eligible for the $130 rate). 

Tags:  LANO conference  Leadership 

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15% Off for LANO Members! Nonprofit Workshop: Creating a Powerful Fundraising Plan

Posted By Nora Ellertsen, The Funding Seed, LLC, Friday, January 6, 2017

January Nonprofit Workshop:

Creating a Powerful Fundraising Plan

Thursday, January 19

1:30-4:30 p.m.

Ashe Cultural Arts Center

1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans

Details and Registration

LANO Members Use Code LANO2017 for 15% Off!

 

 

Start the new year right with a powerful fundraising plan!

 

What would happen at your organization if you never had to worry about your funding?  If you knew how much you needed to raise, and how you were going to raise it?

This workshop will help you make that a reality.  You'll learn ways to assess your resources, to set fundraising goals, and to create a calendar that will keep you on track.  Participants will receive tools they can take back to their organizations and put to work immediately.   

Attendees will receive a Certificate of Participation for completing the workshop.

Click to register

Registration $40.  Discounts available for students, AmeriCorps members and organizations registering two or more people.

For questions, to inquire about discount codes or to reserve your seat and pay at the door, email info@thefundingseed.com.  To learn more about workshops and other services offered by The Funding Seed, visit www.thefundingseed.com.

Tags:  board  board of directors  boards  development  donations  donor management  donor retention  donors  events  fund  fund development  fund raising  funding  Fundraising  funds  grant  grant writing  grants  grantwriting  leadership  louisiana  Member Event  New Orleans  nonprofit  nonprofit sector  non-profits  online fundraising  social fundraising  social media  sustainability  training  volunteers  workshop  workshop. grants 

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2017 Louisiana State Combined Charitable Campaign (LA SCCC) Application now Available!

Posted By Robin Taylor, Louisiana Association of United Ways, Friday, January 6, 2017

 

APPLY TODAY
to be a part of the

2017 Louisiana State Combined Charitable Campaign (LA SCCC)!

 


Since 2014, state employees have raised over $675,000 through the Louisiana State Combined Charitable Campaign (LA SCCC), with proceeds benefiting over 90 Louisiana charities. We will soon complete the 2016 campaign and are eager to confirm our final results.  

 

Louisiana is already gearing up for the 2017 State Combined Charitable Campaign! Once again, state employees will be given the opportunity to contribute, through payroll deduction, to approved health and human service non-profit organizations. The Louisiana Association of United Ways will continue to serve as the Principal Combined Fundraising Organization (PCFO) and will be working in coordination with the Office of State Uniform Payroll (OSUP).

 

 Don’t miss your chance to be part of the 2017 LA SCCC! All qualifying health and human service non-profits operating within the state of Louisiana are encouraged to apply to be a participating charity. The application is available at www.lasccc.org/application and is due by March 1, 2017. All charity applications will be reviewed and notified of eligibility no later than June 30, 2017.

Tags:  development  fund development  fund raising  Fundraising  louisiana  nonprofit 

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New webinar: Create and maintain mobile content for fundraising success

Posted By Denise McMahan, CausePlanet, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

 

 

Any doubts you may have that social networks aren’t powerful or don’t need to be a priority in your communication and fundraising efforts can now be put to rest, according to Mobile for Good author Heather Mansfield.

 

Making mobile work for you


Every piece of advice in Mobile for Good is a result of Mansfield’s own personal use of and experimentation with mobile and social media. Mansfield asserts that thriving in this realm is both an art and a science. This book will help you excel at both. Your staff must create and think like an artist while implementing online communications and use research about donor behavior in this realm.

 

Webinar with Heather Mansfield

 

Join CausePlanet founder Denise McMahan and Heather Mansfield Friday, January 27, at 11:00 Central Time for a webinar at your desk.

 

Mansfield will touch on the following topics:

 

   What are the benefits of adding social and mobile media to your fundraising plan? 

   How do you create and implement a social fundraising strategy?

   What are some ways to determine a social content strategy?

   How do you use mobile and social networks to distribute content?

 

Register!

 

Register now for this FREE interview for all LANO members. (The link requires LANO network sign-in to register.)

 

See more

 

See more with the Page to Practice™ summary of Manfield’s book:

 

·      Simply log in at CausePlanet’s home page (www.causeplanet.org) and fill in your registered email with LANO and “Password1”.

·      Click on “Summary Library” to see Mobile for Good and more titles.

 

 

Tags:  fundraising  mobile media  social media  webinar 

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Fifth Circuit Grants DOL’S Request for Expedited Briefing of Preliminary Injunction Ruling

Posted By Tasha Cooper. By Jackson Lewis P.C., The National Law Review, Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thursday, December 8, 2016 In a December 8, 2016 Order, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the DOL’s request for expedited briefing of its appeal of the preliminary injunction issued by a district court judge that had enjoined the DOL from implementing its regulation raising the salary level for the white collar exemptions.

The Court even set a quicker briefing schedule than DOL had requested in its Motion.

 

The briefing schedule is as follows:

  • DOL’s opening brief is due by December 16, 2016.
  • Amicus briefs in support of the DOL are due on or before December 23, 2016.
  • Appellees’ response brief us due by January 17, 2017.
  • Amicus briefs in support of Appellees are due on or before January 24, 2017.
  • The DOL’s reply brief is due on or before January 31, 2017. The Court further ordered that oral argument would be set for the first available sitting after the close of briefing on January 31, 2017.

 

Based on this schedule, the DOL’s Reply Brief is not due until after President-Elect Trump’s inauguration. This means that in advance of this reply deadline, the DOL could withdraw its appeal. This schedule also guarantees that the new Trump Administration and/or the new Congress will at least have the opportunity to determine the fate of the salary basis increases before the Fifth Circuit issues a decision, though the timing will be tight.

 

 

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2016

 

Source URL: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/fifth-circuit-grants-dol-s-request-expedited-briefing-preliminary-injunction-ruling? mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTVRCbU1tWmtaak13TWpBeSIsInQiOiJyTG52S28zN0ZOM0VYQ1NNTlwvN3lPQndyQkxCck5VQ0hqRURVenZENFBsZmxjbW5CUCt2RDdWN0lXMXh3aU13TmVOMHBcL3c2SmdEVlg5SmJJV3I5XC85VEl

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