Pro bono & public service

Many have heard the words and may have an idea of what they mean. Pro bono is Latin and it means “for the public good.” When Lawyers provide pro bono work it means they provide legal services without pay. Lawyers are encouraged to undertake cases pro bono to help those that cannot afford to hire an attorney. The Tennessee Supreme …

Suggestions for effectively managing a non-profit organization

While the idea of beginning a non-profit organization is appealing to many people, running a successful organization is an entirely different story. Non-profit organizations have unique laws they must abide by and certain characteristics that are important to recognize in order to successfully operate. When people are interested in creating a non-profit, they will benefit from having a basic education …

Keeping your nonprofit legal while raising money

Starting a nonprofit takes a lot of effort–you have to file with the IRS, create articles of incorporation, set up a board of directors, enact bylaws and deal with myriad other details. But say that’s all taken care of. You’re ready to start accepting donations now, right? On to the mission! Well, not quite. Charitable fundraising is governed by state …

Starting a nonprofit: an overview

While any company in Tennessee may provide a beneficial product or service, the primary goal of the nonprofit is to benefit the public, not to make money for the owner and/or shareholders. These organizations often receive benefits such as tax exemption as they pursue their mission. There are numerous factors to consider in whether or not to incorporate the nonprofit, …

What is a 501(c)3 organization?

If you are involved with a Tennessee religious, charitable, educational or scientific organization, your organization could benefit greatly from obtaining 501(c)3 status. As the Foundation Group explains, a 501(c)3 organization is one that receives favorable treatment from the Internal Revenue Service and the state taxing authority. While nonprofit corporations make up the majority of 501(c)3 organizations, other eligible entities include the following: …

Why does it matter if you are a legal employee of your church?

Even though your Tennessee church is a tax-exempt organization, as its minister, you still have to pay income tax. Whether you are self-employed or an employee of the church may make a difference in what forms you use to pay your taxes, and what your exemptions are. However, you must pay income tax on all of your earnings. According to …

What can happen when nonprofits are noncompliant?

Starting and running a nonprofit organization is a considerable challenge. Between raising money, securing the necessary exemptions and maximizing your charitable contributions and services, there is a lot that organizers and board members need to consider. Unfortunately, no matter how well intentioned you may be, you could run into some serious issues and ultimately lose tax exemption if you do …

How (And Why) Religious Organizations Get Tax-Exempt Status

In recognition of their first-amendment rights, as well as their general importance to American culture, the U.S. government has enacted special tax laws that apply to churches and other religious organizations. Specifically, these entities are typically exempt from having to pay income tax and, likewise, are usually able to receive tax-exempt contributions. Yet obtaining this tax-exempt status is not always …

It’s almost time to vote

As the signs go up in yards, the mailers increase, and the political commercials intensify, you know it is almost time to vote. We have less than 30 days until we go to the ballot on November 4th. This year’s ballot will contain 4 proposed constitutional amendments. Amendment 1 empowers the legislature to enact, amend or repeal statutes regarding abortion. …

Caution when merging

In recent years I have seen an increase in mergers between nonprofits, including between churches, charitable organizations and educational institutions. There are a number of reasons why nonprofits merge, including the consolidation of a shared mission or purpose, combining financial resources and reducing cost, volunteers and leadership, to infuse new life and vigor into an organization, or to increase spheres …