Student Discipline Policies and the Dept of Ed’s Office for Civil Rights

The Guidance is clear – charter schools must have nondiscriminatory student discipline policies implemented in a nondiscriminatory manner. The Guidance draws a distinction familiar in the area of employment law: disparate treatment and disparate impact. Under Title IV and VI of the Civil Rights Act as well as under Arizona law, charter schools must create and enforce a nondiscriminatory student discipline policy.Continue Reading

What is an Arizona Charter School?

Charter schools are, without argument, public schools. Think of it this way: K-12 education is either “public” or “private”. Private schools may charge tuition, are exempt from No Child Left Behind requirements and other Federal laws including FERPA (so long as they receive no federal funding), are not eligible to receive per-pupil funding, and may establish entrance requirements so long as they do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin. Continue Reading

Choice of Domicile for Nonprofit Corporations

Over the years we have worked with organizations in many different states and have had the chance to form some opinions about choice of domicile for nonprofits. Some of the factors that have influenced our thoughts on this matter include states requiring mandatory audits, multiple agencies overseeing nonprofits, unclear statutes governing nonprofit corporations, and aggressive regulation.Continue Reading

DIY Nonprofit Law – Top Five Mistakes

The state form does not include the tax provisions that the IRS requires tax-exempt organizations to have. Would be founders that file using the state’s form Articles of Incorporation without including an attachment with the appropriate tax provisions will end up with a taxable nonprofit – a result almost no one intends. Continue Reading

Corporate Structure – One Size Does Not Fit All

I am fortunate to represent a number of established and growing nonprofits, some of which are expanding into new geographic areas and new markets or scaling up their existing operations to meet demand. I am often asked to advise them on how best to structure their organizations to accommodate growth. Invariably, my answer is the classic lawyer answer – “it depends.”Continue Reading

IRS Introduces Form 1023-EZ

The goal of the streamlined application process is to permit small charities without complex issues to get up and running more quickly. The streamlined application will also permit the IRS to spend less time reviewing applications and more time focusing its energies on monitoring compliance for organizations that have been approved.Continue Reading

Gambling with Your Nonprofit

Everyday nonprofits seek to change the world on what often seems to be pennies on the dollar. Nonprofit leaders commonly think of grant money and tax-deductible donations when fundraising, but in many states being a nonprofit allows certain nonprofits to legally conduct gambling activities that would otherwise be criminalized under state law. Inadvertently violating these gambling laws can have steep consequences so if your organization is planning an event that involves some form of gambling, it pays to do it right.Continue Reading

IRS Announces Streamlined Procedures to Reinstate Tax-exempt Status

This very helpful Procedure sets forth streamlined processes organizations whose tax-exempt status has been automatically revoked for failure to file required annual returns or notices for 3 consecutive years to regain their tax-exempt status retroactive to the date of of revocation. Continue Reading

When to Start a Nonprofit

We are used to hearing lots of folks – including yours truly – complain about the “nonprofit birth control” problem in this country. While it is true that too many nonprofits are formed for the wrong reasons – there are also many good reasons to form a new nonprofit. The trick is to learn to tell the difference. Continue Reading

Compensating Nonprofit Fundraisers

Many small nonprofits without sufficient funds to hire a fundraiser on a fee for service basis view percentage based compensation as a godsend. First, percentage based compensation permits the nonprofit to gain the assistance of a professional fundraiser without any risk to the nonprofit’s bottom line. In addition, the fundraiser is likely to be more motivated if they are paid based upon the funds raised.Continue Reading