Non-Profit & Tax Exempt
Our attorneys have experience in helping individuals and groups who have a vision about ways in which they can help make the world a better place. Perhaps they want to form a civic group to benefit their communities, or wish to use their individual expertise by forming a charitable organization to help and heal others.
Many organizations whose primary goals are charitable, educational, religious, and civic qualify for tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code. Obtaining and maintaining that status can be a complex endeavor. We can help you navigate the process.
Whether you and your family want to establish a private foundation with millions of dollars and realize significant tax benefits while supporting your own cherished causes, or whether you and your friends want to join together to preserve, beautify and maintain a local park, we can help. There are many, many different kinds of non-profit and tax-exempt organizations. To give just a few examples, our attorneys have helped groups whose varying purposes are: to promote the study of Latin in schools; to treat burn victims in Third World countries; to help young figure skaters train for national and international competition; and to form a school that helps at-risk children improve their study and learning skills.
Our attorneys have experience in helping established non-profits, such as hospitals and schools, as well as businesses having charitable components, in complying with and taking advantage of the ever-changing laws related to non-profit and tax-exempt status.
Perhaps your organization, whether non-profit or for-profit, wants to form a tax-exempt subsidiary to carry out certain functions such as medical research or scholarship awards, or to hold title to certain property. Or perhaps you are forming a new organization to promote the arts or youth sports, to provide child care, or to improve business conditions for those in your line of business, and you believe your organization may qualify for tax-exempt status. We can help you navigate the complex process of forming your organization or subsidiary, applying to the IRS for tax-exempt status, and maintaining that status once it is achieved
A steadily growing area of the law of tax exempt organizations in Virginia is church incorporation. This topic may well have already come up in discussion at your church amid discussions about childcare, summer camps, schools, or other sources of liability for your church, or because of difficulties with a real estate or other business transaction. Until 2002 churches were not allowed to incorporate in Virginia. Previously a church’s real property was held for its benefit by a set of trustees, and the church itself was what is known in Virginia as an “unincorporated association,” with little legal existence separate from that of its members to shield its officers and members from the church’s liabilities However, following a 2002 United States District Court opinion invalidating a portion of the Virginia constitution which had prohibited church incorporation, and certain further changes in Virginia law, churches can now be incorporated in Virginia. This brings with it a number of benefits. Incorporation offers a substantial potential limitation of liability for the pastor(s), board, and members, subject to certain limitations. Incorporated churches may also have an easier time buying, selling, or encumbering real estate, or engaging in other business transactions. Furthermore, incorporation of a church can allow the church to pursue its own separate 501(c)(3) tax exemption. A church is not required to file for a separate tax exemption in order to be a tax exempt organization, and many, if not most, churches may be covered by an “umbrella letter” issued to their larger denominational organization. However, churches often wish to pursue a separate 501(c)(3) determination for their particular church in order to qualify for various grants or fundraising opportunities. Our attorney’s have assisted churches of all different sizes and numerous denominations regarding church incorporation, be it a basic incorporation of a very small church because of concerns regarding liability, up to incorporation of large churches and creation of related subsidiary entities in the course of complicated real estate or tax credit transactions. If you or your church have questions regarding incorporation or their church’s tax exempt status, we are happy to speak with you or your church congregation or business meeting to review this new opportunity for Virginia churches.
|Christine H. Buchanan||D. Rossen S. Greene|
|H. Alexander Johnson|
|Kristen R. Jurjevich|
Opinions & Observations Columns