“Lessening Government Burdens”: A Mere Hallmark of Charity, or a Sole Basis for Tax-Exemption?

When a nonprofit provides assistance instead of or alongside the government, does that qualify as “charitable activity” under Section 501(c)(3)? Think disaster assistance, affordable housing, parks and recreation facilities, drug and alcohol recovery programs, and other health care services.  The answer is seemingly obvious: yes, that all counts as charity – and rightfully so.  But is it enough that a nonprofit only lessens a government burden, but does not otherwise provide charity, to qualify for Section 501(c)(3) status?  And just what does “lessening a government burden” mean within this IRS context? 

What Not-For-Profits Need to Know About Tax Reform

Exempt organizations have a lot of digesting and analysis to do when it comes to tax reform. You’ll need to fully understand both the direct and indirect impacts of the provisions as well as how to prepare — quickly, in many cases — to minimize (or amplify) the impact.

Clergy Housing Allowance Redux and Reflections

Is the religious housing allowance constitutional or not?  For the second time in the last four years, however, Wisconsin federal district court Judge Barbara Crabb has ruled the latter clergy-owned housing allowance unconstitutional, raising enormous religious liberty ramifications as well as extremely significant potential financial implications for many religious institutions. The ruling has been stayed for now, but the battle lines are well marked and controversy surrounding the issue surely will continue.  What’s different between Judge Crabb’s two rulings, and what can religious organizations expect next?