Every Nonprofit’s Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status and Avoid IRS Problems

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Tax rules for your nonprofit — stay legal and keep the IRS off your back

Your nonprofit enjoys special privileges not available to other organizations — but they come at a price. Nonprofits must comply with rules and regulations that don’t apply to for-profit ventures. Every Nonprofit’s Tax
 
Guide explains these rules and what your nonprofit must do to maintain your tax-exempt status and avoid problems with the IRS.
 
This practical, thorough, and easy-to-read book explains both ongoing and annual compliance requirements for nonprofits, including:
- rules for charitable giving and cash donations
– Form 990
– unrelated taxable business income
– annual IRS filings and disclosures
– property donations
– bookkeeping basics
– working with independent contractors and volunteers
– restrictions on lobbying and political activities
 
Plus, the book also includes a chapter on the types of transactions that can get your nonprofit in hot water with the IRS.

3 thoughts on “Every Nonprofit’s Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status and Avoid IRS Problems

  1. Jerry Saperstein
    1
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Another fine, helpful entry from Nolo – a must for small tax-exempts., February 3, 2010
    By 
    Jerry Saperstein (Evanston, IL USA) –
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    Tax-exempt nonprofits are a big business. $3.4 trillion in assets and 9.4 million employees, about 7.2% of the total United States workforce. But not every tax-exempt nonprofit is a multi-billion dollar foundation. There are tens of thousands of nonprofits that are small, many of which work with volunteer staffs. Often legal expertise is lacking and people inadvertently do things that endanger the tax-exempt status of these organizations.

    This book is designed for them, for anyone in a tax-exempt who doesn’t have access to competent legal advice on their IRS Code Section 501(C)(3) tax-exempt status. It is, in a very general way, a lawyer in a book.

    Attorney Stephen Fishman provides in very clear language guidance on every aspect of maintaining your Section 501(c)(3) status. He avoids convoluted legal language and uses plain English (bless him!). He begins with the Form 990 which is a disclosure of the tax-exempt nonprofits finances and is publicly accessible. He covers the importance of accounting and record keeping – something that often goes undone in volunteer organizations.

    He helps the uninitiated distinguish between employees, volunteers and independent contractors. These distinctions are very important. Fail to withhold and pay employment taxes and the IRS doesn’t care who you are or what you did, they go after you.

    Next he moves on to contributions of goods, cash and services and how to deal with them. This is a crucially important subject.

    Lots of Section 501(c)(3) raise lots of money and pay their executives very, very well. What’s to stop an a aggressive fundraiser from setting up a tax-exempt and paying themselves huge salaries? Not much really, but Fishman does point out how to get caught and what happens when you do.

    UBIT stands for Unrelated Business Income Tax. At one time, a tax-exempt could engage in a business and not pay taxes on the revenue. Not so much any more.

    Finally, Fishman distinguishes between permissible lobbying activities and the forbidden political campaign activities.

    This is a well-written, thorough examination of tax issues relating to Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. Even though the subject is narrow, the book still runs to almost 450 pages. Fishman and Nolo have done a good job here and anyone who volunteers or works for a small or medium-sized tax-exempt that doesn’t have full access to specialist legal or accounting tax advice will do well to purchase, read and continually consult this book.

    Jerry

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  2. 2
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    CPA says boooo, November 21, 2012
    By 
    oops (Los Angeles, CA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Every Nonprofit’s Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status and Avoid IRS Problems (Paperback)

    I am a CPA who does NOT practice tax, though I have a broad knowledge. I was hoping for a guide that went into advanced to deep detail for small revenue cap nonprofits. FASB guidance is targeted at the larger cap nonprofits, so I was hoping for something somewhat in the middle.

    Nolo guides are usually very good, so I was disappointed :(

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  3. 3
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Worth it, big time, November 18, 2010
    By 
    T.J. (Texas/Italy) –
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    I can’t even tell you how useful this book is. As someone who is just starting a nonprofit, this guide is so, so valuable. It has paid me back in spades simply due to the fact that conversations with my attorney and account are much shorter, because I’m already somewhat educated on the material… Of course, I still go to the “experts” on some things, but this has been so helpful to have, and it allows me to ask tough questions of those “experts” that I do hire.

    I’ve been informed by my attorney that when nonprofits first start, that they oftentimes end up having to close because they don’t completely understand everything that’s required to maintain their tax status. One example is that you can’t become politically involved. Also, you need to start showing a certain percentage of donations within a certain time frame for your new nonprofit. Many, many other things too. This is an absolute must-read for key nonprofit individuals that are in leadership positions. The IRS doesn’t allow ignorance to be an excuse, so you’re going to need to get educated. And, if you’re a nonprofit, you probably don’t have, or want, to spend a lot of your money talking to someone when you can get much of the same information in a book. Of course we can’t know all the information by heart, but a good foundation of knowledge will set you up for success.

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