Freedom Path Revisited: Crashing on the Shoals of Standing

Freedom Path’s journey toward Section 501(c)(4) tax-exempt recognition met another roadblock last month. The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Freedom Path’s challenge to the IRS’s constitutionally dubious “facts and circumstances test” for determining whether educational issue advocacy on a variety of public policy issues crosses the line into excessive political campaign advocacy. Freedom Path has sought to invalidate the IRS’s Revenue Ruling 2004-06 regarding politically-tinged speech on grounds of vagueness, subjective evaluation of an organization’s communications, impermissible free speech deterrence, and illegal viewpoint discrimination by the IRS.  While such arguments seem compelling, the Fifth Circuit instead focused on the preliminary technical “standing” question.

Closed for Inclement Weather: Employer Best Practices

Winter weather advisory: snow, gusty winds, ice, and bitter cold are hitting much of our nation, with Chicagoans soon facing record wind chills of fifty below or worse. What should responsible nonprofits do to address inclement weather issues for their employees and program participants? And are employees entitled to pay for time missed due to inclement weather?

Volunteer Tax Deductions

Are expenses incurred for volunteer work deductible? Consider if a person is planning a church mission trip to El Salvador to help build houses, and the church will not cover the airfare. The volunteer may deduct his or her properly documented travel expenses and possibly other expenses as well. Similarly, if a person serves as a volunteer board member, his or her unreimbursed travel expenses to attend meetings and other functions may be deductible. Here are some guidelines to consider before you write off your charitable expenses.