Nonprofits and Affiliated Entities

Increasingly, nonprofits are creating affiliate organizations such as entities to hold real property, taxable subsidiaries that run unrelated businesses, lobbying organizations, foundations, chapters, and even management organizations. There are myriad reasons to create affiliates but there are a number of common scenarios that we will touch in this post.

The Arizona Entity Restructuring Act

Prior to passage of AREA, an entity seeking to change its structure likely had to undergo a multi-step transaction to accomplish its goal. AREA permits direct conversions and makes clear that it applies to all entity types (corporations, nonprofits, benefit corporations, LLCs, partnerships, etc.).

Top Five Nonprofit Legal Risks

Too often, we see nonprofits signing contracts that are presented to them by vendors without appropriate legal review. Many vendors use form contracts that are extremely one sided in the vendor’s favor on the theory that many clients will sign whatever is given to them without scrutinizing the terms.

Here Comes the Arizona Benefit Corporation

Going into effect January 1, 2015, the Arizona benefit corporation statute will enable entrepreneurs to form a corporation unlike anything Arizona has seen before. Benefit corporations enable social entrepreneurs to create a corporate structure requiring the corporation to create a general public benefit. As with anything new, its details are untested and some confusion surrounds it. Below we dig into the statute and detail what you will and will not be able to do in 2015.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

Managing Conflicts of Interest

Whenever nonprofit directors, officers or staff members’ personal interests are impacted by their decision-making on behalf of the nonprofit, conflicts of interest can arise. All nonprofits encounter conflicts and all nonprofits need to understand effective conflict management.

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.