As the economic hardships of the pandemic continue to mount, many are looking for ways to help employees weather the crisis. After 9/11, the Internal Revenue Code was amended to allow employers to make direct payments to employees for qualified disaster relief under Section 139. Likewise, employee assistance funds are also commonly used vehicles to provide disaster relief and/or emergency hardship financial support for people affiliated with a particular employer. Both vehicles serve not only to protect one of your business’s most important assets — your people — by getting them back to work, but they also serve to boost morale, build community, and reduce employee turnover in the long-run.
On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) was signed into law, and it goes into effect on April 2, 2020. It is the first relief package approved by Congress and requires certain employers to provide employees with emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
On January 31, 2020, the IRS announced that it has released a new online version of Form 1023. The revised Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is reformatted for electronic filing.
On January 21, 2020, the IRS issued guidance detailing how nonprofits can apply for refunds of the repealed “parking tax.” Recall that in December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposed an unpopular and widely criticized 21% tax on employee transportation benefit expenses incurred by nonprofits. The transportation tax, or “parking tax” as it came to be known, was retroactively repealed in December of 2019. The retroactive nature of the repeal creates an opportunity for nonprofits that paid the tax to seek refunds.
A “UBIT blocker” is a for-profit corporation that is wholly owned by a tax-exempt organization, but whose activities are not attributable to its tax-exempt parent.
Does your nonprofit serve a charitable class? It matters, because, to obtain and maintain IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, non-profit corporations must serve a charitable class.
The Service announced in Rev. Proc. 2018-38 that it would no longer require most tax-exempt organizations to report the names and addresses of substantial contributors. The change did not apply to purely public charities exempt under Sec. 501(c)(3). Substantial donor information is currently reported on Schedule B, Schedule of Contributors, of Form 990, Form 990-EZ, Form 990-PF and Form 990-BL. The ruling reduced transparency with respect to substantial contributors and was widely seen as a boon to dark-money forces seeking to influence our elections.
The new Revenue Procedure was swiftly challenged in court. Montana and New Jersey filed suit to challenge the rule change on the basis that the federal data is shared with the states and they rely on the substantial-contributor information in enforcing their own laws. On July 30, 2019, a federal district court in Montana ruled that the IRS violated federal law when it adopted Revenue Procedure 2018-38.
With the market volatility of the last six months, funding sources and non-profits alike may be uneasy given memories of the 2008 recession. Although predicting future macro-economic forces may be impossible, it is always a good idea for 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations to seek to diversify revenue streams to prepare for shifts in funding.
Tax-exempt organizations must report changes to their name, address, changes to their articles and bylaws, and major operational changes to the IRS.