Why All This Attention on the Senate Finance Committee?

I have posted a number of times on recent activities of The Senate Finance Committee and the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector.  If you are involved with a nonprofit organization, you should scan some of these posts and their links.  As The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports (April 14, 2005), "[l]awmakers are preparing to introduce an ambitious legislative package that they say could alter the nonprofit world more than any government action in the past three decades."

Among the items being considered:

  • limiting the tax deduction donors can take on gifts of property (e.g., to the extent of the donor’s basis, which may mean that a donor who donates property worth $1,000,000 which the donor bought 30 years ago for $50,000 could only take a $50,000 deduction);
  • reviewing the tax-exempt status of organizations every five years (e.g., by requiring organizations to file Form 1023-like applications);
  • limiting the size of nonprofit boards;
  • requiring government accreditation;
  • requiring adoption and enforcement of a conflicts of interest policy;
  • requiring a whistleblower policy.

There are several other major items up for consideration, some of which duplicate the requirements of California’s Nonprofit Integrity Act.  It will pay for your boards to know about the current legal landscape for your organizations because new laws will almost certainly impact your revenues, your budgeting, your planning and your personal exposure to liability.