Monday, August 30, 2010

Nonprofits' IRS filing: Update

In a 6/4/10 post, we discussed the problems for small nonprofits, including §501(c)(3) charities, that were not required to formally register with the IRS and might be unable to submit the e-Postcard (Form 990-N) designed for them to use to fulfill the annual reporting requirement. The post concluded by passing along IRS statements that it was working on a way to resolve the problems — and avoid the catastrophic consequence that many non-profits would automatically lose their tax-exempt status.

That resolution was announced on July 26, 2010; on its website, the IRS provides a detailed overview of the program for allowing small nonprofits to preserve their tax-exempt status. In addition, the IRS provides lists, by state, of "organizations at risk" for automatic revocation of their tax-exempt status for failing to make the required filing for three consecutive years. Not every organization listed may be eligible for the program. More crucially, not every at-risk organization is on the list. Recall that this problem arose in part because many nonprofits quite legitimately had not registered with or been identified by the IRS as nonprofits. So:
Being listed does not itself make a nonprofit eligible for the IRS program.
Not being listed does not immunize a nonprofit from losing its tax exempt status for failing to comply with the annual filing requirement.
Two types of relief are available for small nonprofit organizations: (1) a filing extension for the smallest organizations, that are eligible to file the e-Postcard, and (2) a voluntary compliance program (VCP) for small organizations eligible to file Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. The extension is to October 15, 2010, for filing the e-Postcard; for many organizations the deadline otherwise passed on May 15 of this year. The VCP involves much more paperwork and the payment of a fee (in lieu of late-filing penalties and interest), but is a mechanism for a nonprofit to "erase" any breaks in its tax-exempt status with the IRS.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Write Like ...

I read in a Wall Street Journal column about a website that would statistically analyze a text and compare it to statistics for famous writers:

I cast about for something to feed into the analyzer. The more significant things to hand were briefs. So I tried it out with two paragraphs from a recently-written, fact-intensive statement of the case. I was rewarded with:

I write like
Edgar Allan Poe

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Now ... I suspect that my paragraphs were not evocative of The Masque of the Red Death. Only that of the writers whose statistics were in the comparison database, my brief was more like something written by Edgar Allen Poe than, for example, Hemingway or Faulkner. I am, however, thrilled that my cool, dispassionate briefing style may be mysteriously dark at its tell-tale heart.