Nonprofit organizations are impacted by the legal issues faced by for-profit businesses, and they must also be aware of the many additional laws that are special to nonprofit organizations. What legal structure should a nonprofit organization have? How do you register your charitable organization? How does your nonprofit organization obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS, and once achieved, comply with the laws that permit your organization to maintain that status? Do your leases and contracts protect your organization’s interests? Are your employment policies and practices legal? Are you handling your funds in compliance with the law? What fundraising methods are available to your organization? We can help you understand these issues and give you the advice and legal tools you need to make your nonprofit organization run smoothly.
Structure and Governance
When starting a new nonprofit organization, there are many considerations. Should it have voting members? How large should the board of directors be? What committee structure is appropriate? We work with our clients to answer these questions and help the new organization get started.
Registration and Licensing
If you are starting a charitable organization, we will help you get it properly registered with the State of Michigan and help you get a solicitation license so that you can raise funds legally.
Obtaining Tax-Exempt Status
If your nonprofit organization desires tax-exempt status, we work with you to be sure your organization meets IRS requirements and we can prepare the appropriate application for filing with the IRS.
Most new organizations need a home. If you are considering leasing space, we can help you negotiate and prepare a lease that protects your interests and meets your needs.
Employment matters are perhaps the greatest source of legal exposure to your organization. We can ensure you have the policies and procedures in place to reduce risk for your business, as well as assist with all issues surrounding employee terminations.
Do your organization’s activities present special liability issues? We can prepare releases, contracts, and other legal documents that minimize your risk.
We work with you to identify important considerations in contracts and negotiate terms that are favorable to your organization. We can help your organization develop forms that provide consistent terms for multiple transactions.
Believe it or not, taxes can be a major issue for tax-exempt organizations. We can guide you through the intricacies of complying with IRS requirements that allow your organization to obtain and retain tax-exempt status, such as the public support test and minimum distribution requirements for private foundations. We can help you understand the unrelated business income tax and avoid it when possible. We can also help you obtain tax exemptions for your real estate.
We can help you develop gift programs and guide you through the intricacies of gift agreements such as charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, donor advised funds, and other gift arrangements.
We can help your organization comply with the legal requirements for endowment funds, and help you develop investment policies and endowment spending policies that provide for your organization while honoring donor intent. We work with our clients to develop fund agreements and solicitation materials.
Ending the Nonprofit Organization
Good things may come to an end. We can help your organization comply with the laws regarding ending a nonprofit organization, whether by ending its existence or merging it with another nonprofit.