News

INSIGHT: Decoding your exemption letter: 501(c)(3) exemption and public charity status

I frequently get questions about decoding a non-profit’s tax-exempt status because the determination letter they’ve received from the IRS has a section at the top that lists “Public Charity Status” as 509(a)…, 170(b)…, or similar, and not the anticipated 501(c)3. A closer look at the first line of the exemption

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NEWS: New Requirements for new 501(c)4 organizations

Based on legislation passed in 2015, the IRS has implemented new requirements for new entities planning to operate as 501(c)4 organizations.  These organizations are now required to file a notice of intent to operate as a 501(c)4.  You’re only required to file the notice once using Form 8976. The

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NEWS: Decreased 501(c)3 Application Filing Fees

In continuing its efforts to better serve the needs of small non-profits (previously discussed here), the IRS has decreased application filing fees for the smallest organizations.  In the past, many small non-profits that might otherwise have qualified for an exemption under 501(c)3 chose not to apply for the exemption, determining

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INSIGHT: Clarifying Brexit’s affect on European IP Rights

I’ll leave my personal position on the Brexit vote for other arenas. This post will stick to discussing how the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union could affect your intellectual property rights in the UK and the remainder of Europe. First, the good news. For all

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NEWS: Changes to Form 990-N filing for small exempt organizations

The IRS has announced that, effective February 29, 2016, exempt organizations that required to file Form 990-N will do so through the IRS website – IRS.gov . This form can only be filed online – mailing a paper alternative is not an option.  Until now, Form-990 was filed

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INSIGHT: Clarifying Benefit Corporations and B-Corps for the Social Enterprise

Although they are too often used interchangeably when discussing social enterprises, Benefit Corporations and B-Corps are not the same animal. Benefit Corporations have been in the news for severals years – from 2012, when the much-praised Greyston Bakery became the first NY Benefit Corporation, to numerous headlines

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NEWS : Supreme Court Confirms Same-Sex Marriages

The Supreme Court’s decision today confirming same-sex marriages falls well beyond my area of expertise. For that reason, I will readily leave its legal analysis to more capable colleagues. However, as a human, a concerned citizen, an active member of local, national and global communities, I am

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NEWS: Patents – Superpowers With an Expiration Date

A recent Supreme Court decision involving Marvel Comic‘s Spiderman provides a convenient opportunity to compare patents to superpowers, albeit superpowers with an expiration date. Here’s the background – an inventor creates and patents a real-life webslinger a la your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.  When Marvel began selling their own version of

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PANEL : Inside the Lawyer’s Brain – Training Attorneys

I’ve been invited by the Professional Legal Trainers Group (PLTG) to participate on a panel entitled “Inside the Lawyer’s Brain“.  The panel of attorneys and professional development experts will share valuable insights on presenting technology training to attorney audiences. Prior to entering the practice of law, Zak had a career

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deadmau5 and Disney Settle Trademark Dispute Over Mouse Ears

News sources are reporting that Disney‘s long running challenge to the use of ‘mouse ears’ by deadmau5, a world famous electronic music DJ, has been settled. The dispute started when deadmau5 applied to register his stage mask as a trademark. Trademark protection is primarily concerned with avoiding consumer confusion. It

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Accelerated IRS Review of Tax Exempt Applications

IRS efforts to accelerate review of tax exempt applications appear to be paying off. One recent report suggests the backlog, which once exceeded 60,000 pending applications, is now current. At one time, it was not unusual for an organization to wait nearly a year before receiving any inquiries

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Excellent @DanceNYC #townhall last night on NY Non…

Excellent @DanceNYC #townhall last night on NY Nonprofit Revitalization Act! Important changes for all #NfPs to keep in mind.

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Profiting from Fair Use

My office has recently fielded a flood of questions about Fair Use across a range of contexts – using a recording of a documentary subject using software on her computer; posting thumbnails on a website; sharing recipes and ingredient lists; and, most recently, artists asking whether the art they share

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NEWS: Shusterman Recognized Alongside Volunteer Attorneys

Zak Shusterman, along with colleagues committed to providing pro bono legal services to their communities, was recognized this morning at an event honoring attorneys who have volunteered with the Pro Bono Partnership.  The Pro Bono Partnership provides free business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations serving the

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LECTURE : Social Enterpreneurship Guest Lecture at the New School

I have been invited to once again guest lecture at the New School‘s course on social entrepreneurship.  Social enterprises, operated by social entrepreneurs, are business entities formed with the primary goal of doing some good in their immediate communities or affecting individuals across the globe. This innovative course guides

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ALERT: FORM 990 ONLINE FILING SECURITY BREACH

Any tax exempt organizations (e.g., 501(c)(3) nonprofits) that file their annual form 990, 990-N, or 990-EZ online should pay special attention to this security alert issued by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS).  According to the alert: “an unauthorized party or parties have gained access to the Form 990

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NEWS: IMPORTANT CHANGES FOR US DESIGN PATENTS

Important changes are coming for US design patents.  These changes will be a great boon to US applicants, making it possible to use a single application to simultaneously seek protection of their designs in dozens of countries around the world.  This change comes as the US took measures last week

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INSIGHT: Non-Profits Operating in Foreign Countries

Many non-profits are formed for charitable purposes in other countries – disaster relief, preserving native eco-systems, supporting refugees, etc. There is nothing questionable about wanting to make the world a better place, even when that part of the world is far away. However, because there are so many

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CLIENT NEWS: Award for Corbin Hill Food Project

Congratulations to client Corbin Hill Food Project on being awarded Innovation of the Year.  The award was presented to founder Dennis Derryck by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) at its 2015 Big Apple Innovation Awards on January 14, 2015.  Honored alongside Corbin Hill was Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association,

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NEWS: IRS issues revised procedures for tax exempt applications

Earlier this month, the IRS issued revised procedures for several important matters affecting exempt organizations (including those commonly referred to nonprofits).   In particular, some of these revisions address the new streamlined application for tax exempt status.  Qualifying organizations may be able to save themselves considerable time and expenses

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