Working with your nonprofit to make our world a better place
I am an Oregon nonprofit lawyer and historian that has enjoyed serving nonprofit organizations since 1978. I provide a wide range of legal services as well as trainings and workshops on a variety of topics.
I invite you to explore the website to learn more about services I provide, get updates on current news impacting nonprofits in Oregon and access free form and policy templates.
On July 1, 2014, the IRS announced that it was changing its application for exemption under §501(c)(3). Certain smaller nonprofits are eligible to file for exemption using a new Form 1023-EZ. (The longer form is Form 1023.) The longer Form 1023 is 12 pages, plus numerous schedules that some nonprofits had to fill out. The new Form 1023-EZ is slightly more than two pages. In order to fill it out, you have to read through a long Worksheet that verifies that you are eligible to file the Form 1023-EZ.
In order to be eligible to file the Form 1023-EZ, your organization must anticipate grossing no more than $50,000 in any of the next three years and, if it’s already in operation, must not have grossed more than $50,000 in any of the last three years. In addition, your organization cannot have assets of more than $250,000. Churches, schools, hospitals and certain other organizations cannot use the Form 1023-EZ. Check the Instructions for Form 1023-EZ to see if your organization is excluded.
If you lost your tax exemption because you failed to file the Form 990N for three years, you can use the Form 1023-EZ if you otherwise qualify and if you had not previously ever been revoked. However, your exemption may or may not be retroactive to the date you lost the exemption.
Here’s a headline you may have seen as a workshop topic and, by way of confession, I’ve presented some of those workshops myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that, while this is a fetching title, it is misleading. There are some policies every organization needs but this does not mean that every board needs them. And unfortunately, many of the policies at these workshops are policies various “commentators” on the nonprofit community decided that nonprofits should have, often based on the policies developed for the corporate world in response to corporate scandals or on the IRS Form 990 (which most nonprofits in Oregon do not file). While none of these policies are “bad” policies, they are not necessarily the most important of the policies nonprofits need. If you are going to spend your precious board time developing policies, start with the most important policies.
If I were to name the three most important policies every nonprofit needs, I would name these: