I am retiring from the practice of law at the end of 2015. You can check with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon at www.nonprofitoregon.org for referrals to lawyers who work with nonprofits.
I’m planning to take some time to transition and decide what I want to do with the next stage of my life. I think it’s very likely that I’ll decide to keep working with nonprofits in some fashion, perhaps as a consultant or historian. Or perhaps I’ll take up art and draw your building! Please check back on my website.
I will continue to offer educational materials to nonprofits. You can check www.nonprofitpublications.net for nonprofit-related educational materials, including The Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Handbook,e-files of individual chapters from the Handbook, and e-files of packets of chapters (i.e., the five chapters on the board of directors) from the Handbook.
I want to thank so many of you for your business and for all that you do for the world. You’ve truly been and are an inspiration to me.
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the Form 990N for three years, you can use the Form 1023-EZ if you otherwise qualify and if you had not previously ever been revoked.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: