Nonprofit Legal Audit Checklist: Understanding & Complying with the Law

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1 Nonprofit Legal Audit Checklist: Understanding & Complying with the Law Thursday, May 28, 2015, 10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. ET The Foundation Center, Washington, D.C. Speaker Carrie Garber Siegrist, Esq., Venable LLP

2 Agenda Background: Regulatory Authorities Legal Audit Checklist 1. Good Corporate Governance 2. Maintaining Federal Tax-Exemption 3. Protecting Intellectual Property 4. Operating Affiliates, Subsidiaries, and Joint Ventures 5. Advocacy, Lobbying, and Political Activities 6. Charitable Solicitations Registrations 7. Executing Effective Contracts 8. Employment Considerations 9. Protecting Regular Revenue 10. State and Local Law Considerations 2 Questions

3 Scope of Presentation Public Charities

4 Regulatory Authorities Federal Government State & Local Governments Board of Directors Constituents / Community Donors Public Third-party watchdog agencies

5 1. Good Corporate Governance Policies and procedures for basic corporate governance matters Corporate records current, accurate, and organized Board and committee meeting minutes Orientation on fiduciary duties, policies, and procedures for board and senior leaders Annual legal update for board and senior leaders Bylaws and other governing document review Financial oversight

6 2. Maintaining Federal Tax-Exemption Annual filing requirement: IRS Form 990 Variety of IRS Form 990s available Permissible activities Structuring related vs. unrelated activities Scope of operations International activities Unrelated business income Sponsorships, royalties, trade shows, and advertising Private benefit and private inurement

7 3. Protecting Intellectual Property Register, manage, and protect trademarks and service marks Secure content rights for digital media, publications, and educational materials Data security and operational redundancy in vendor agreements Corporate records and governance documents Key services Donor lists Financial data and management Operational systems

8 4. Operating Affiliates, Subsidiaries, and Joint Ventures Corporate structures for relationships with related entities Agreements with related entities that provide services or products to membership and others Cost-sharing agreements Operating Section 501(c)(3) and Section 501(c)(4) organizations Allocation of resources Tax considerations Ventures and transactions with for-profit entities For-profit subsidiaries

9 5. Advocacy, Lobbying, and Political Activities Advocacy: furthering your exempt mission Permissible lobbying activities: direct v. grassroots lobbying Lobbying registration and reporting compliance, and lobbying tax compliance Federal: lobbying disclosure and FEC filings (public documents) State: separate reporting requirements Prohibited political activities

10 6. Charitable Solicitation Registrations Compliance with initial state registration requirements States have varied requirements Unified Registration Statement Ongoing annual reporting requirements Online charitable solicitations Commercial co-ventures and cause-based marketing

11 7. Executing Effective Contracts Maintain internal policy for contract review Contract renewal and compliance Contracts with related parties; compliance with conflicts of interest policy Leases Trade show contracts Publishing contracts for educational materials Long-term critical contracts for core services and functions (e.g., payroll, data source hosts, etc.)

12 8. Employment Considerations Human resources policies Hiring processes Performance management Preventing discrimination and harassment Termination processes Training board, management, and staff Volunteer policies, agreements, and training Key vendor agreements Payroll Benefits providers 1

13 9. Protecting Regular Revenue Policies for receipt and control of revenue for revenue from various sources Membership dues Donations: individual, corporations, and foundations Government grants and contracts Royalties, sponsorships, trade shows, and educational programs Service fees Taxable income (e.g. advertising) Jurisdiction of revenue sources Agreements for major income 1

14 10. State and Local Considerations State and local business registration and licensing (and international, if operating overseas) State tax-exempt status determination letter, initial filings, and annual filings Tax authorities (Franchise Tax Board) Sales, privilege, excise, and franchise taxes Employment taxes and workers compensation PILOTs 2014 Venable LLP

15 Bonus: Growth and Innovation New products and services Joint ventures and partnerships New forms of revenue Vetting business partners International activities New branding efforts Property damage and personal injury risk Industry standards, accreditations, and certifications Be creative

16 Questions Carrie Garber Siegrist, Esq., Venable LLP t To view an index of Venable s articles and presentations or upcoming seminars on nonprofit legal topics, see or 1 To view recordings of Venable s nonprofit programs on our YouTube channel, see

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