OCTOBER 2018

STATE LAW

Arizona:

The Tucson news reports that Bruce Landau, the founder of the now defunct Southern Arizona Foster Kids, left town in August, having spent virtually nothing on local foster children and without accounting for more than $150,000 that was raised. The money was made primarily by placing canisters and other depositories outside of businesses in the Tucson area. The article goes on to note that Landau may have opened up a similar activity in Las Vegas just days after leaving the Tucson area. Source: Tucson.com

Michigan:

On September 26, the Michigan Office of the Attorney General issued a Notice of Intended Action and a Cease and Desist Order against a charitable organization that advocates for alternative medicine. The assertion is that in the Direct Mail Program (primarily sweepstakes) there are a number of statements that the state believes rise to the level of misrepresentation. (This is a Notice of Intended Action, which allows the organization to address the concerns and hopefully avoid the necessity of litigation.)

The Attorney General has announced a settlement with Food for the Poor over allegations of deceptive charitable solicitations that includes a payment of $300,000. The amount of $50,000 will go for investigative costs with $175,000 going to a Lansing Michigan based food bank and $75,000 going to a kitchen in Detroit to feed the homeless. The situation in this case and in the case pending in California against the organization pertains to accounting issues and joint cost allocations as well as cost and value of gifts in kind. Source: Nasconet.org

Minnesota:

The Attorney General has sued a charity that claims to help families of fallen police officers. Among the issues included in the lawsuit are questions over joint cost allocations and representations made in fundraising.

Pennsylvania:

The Pennsylvania Association of Non-profit Organizations has established a fund to honor the work of Don Kramer, who wrote the original incorporation documents for the umbrella organization in 1984.

San Francisco:

The San Francisco Examiner reported on September 26th that the city of San Francisco is proposing to raise the minimum wage to $17 dollars an hour for nonprofit and elderly care workers. Supervisor, Sandra Fewer, is quoted as saying, “Almost every nonprofit in San Francisco has a job opening because it is so hard to hire these people.” She believes that raising the minimum wage will solve a part of the problem. Source: San Francisco Examiner, September 26, 2018

New York:

The Attorney General’s office has announced that organizations required to register with the Charities Bureau may now register online at https://www.charitiesnys.com/ . The notice also provides a customer service line: (212)-416-8401.

USPS:

The United States Postal Service announced rate increases of 10% to begin on January 27, 2019, for single piece, first class letters. This means that the single piece stamp rate will go from 50¢ to 55¢.

Tax-Exemption and the Internal Revenue Service:

It was announced this month that, effective February 22, 2018, the exempt organizations side of the historic TEGE Councils reorganized into one national TEGE Exempt Organizations Council. The TEGE councils have always focused on conversations—with government and regulators and amongst the practitioner community. The consolidated TEGE Exempt Organizations Council will provide a stronger voice on a national level and better facilitate garnering the attention of and speaking to policymakers at the IRS, Chief Counsel, and Treasury. In addition to continuing existing programming, the consolidated Council will provide expanded opportunities for practitioners to interact and share ideas with other tax-exempt experts across the country. Copilevitz & Canter Partner Greg Lam currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council.

The consolidated TEGE Exempt Organizations Council has allowed for the simplification and expansion of membership. Members will continue to include attorneys, CPAs and accountants, and other practitioners in the exempt organizations industry. Initial members include current members of an existing TEGE regional council, and additional members may be accepted based on the following criteria:

(i) Expression of an interest in the purposes of the Council and in membership; and

(ii) The provision of significant professional services in or to the exempt organization community (including professionals who work within an exempt organization).

Potential members should complete a basic membership application establishing their qualifications, which can be submitted online through https://www.eocouncil.org/membership.html