Getting Started 102: Becoming Tax Exempt

What You'll Learn

This skills course builds on “Starting a Nonprofit 101” and provides insight into key aspects of operating a tax-exempt nonprofit. This course provides the skills to handle questions on common issues such as what level of political activity is acceptable for a 501(c)(3) organization, what may be a conflict of interest for a nonprofit, and more. Building on the foundation of the 101 course, these lessons will continue to provide you with the information you need lead effectively, preserve your 501(c)(3) status, and keep your organization in compliance with the law.

Lesson 1

How to Start a Faith-Based Nonprofit: Toolkit Phase Two

The Napa Legal Nonprofit Toolkit identifies and explains, in plain English, the steps needed to establish a faith-based nonprofit, including legal creation and federal tax-exemption. The objective of the toolkit is to clearly articulate the path to successfully establishing a faith-based nonprofit, so that those who wish to fill a need in their community through a nonprofit program or entity are empowered to do so.

Lesson 2

Steps to Success for Faith-Based Organizations: Part II, Becoming and Staying Exempt

If you are interested in forming a tax-exempt nonprofit or seeking to ensure your existing nonprofit continues to qualify for 501(c)(3) status, this webinar is for you. This two-part webinar helps nonprofit leaders, attorneys, and other supporters of religious organizations understand the key steps to starting and operating a faith-based nonprofit in compliance with the law. In this second segment, you will learn key concepts to establishing and maintaining tax-exempt status.

Lesson 3

Understanding Political Activity and Issue Advocacy: An Introduction for Tax-Exempt Nonprofits

Leaders of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations should protect their organizations’ tax-exempt statuses by revisiting the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) restrictions on political activity and ensuring their organizations remain in compliance. This whitepaper walks through the basics of political activity for 501(c)(3)s.

Lesson 4

Conflicts of Interest: Avoiding Common Mistakes

The directors of faith-based nonprofits have a duty of loyalty that requires them to put the organizations’ faith and mission ahead of personal interests, both in fact and in appearance. If the organization plans to enter a conflicted transaction, in which the organization will directly or indirectly compensate a person (such as a director or officer or a company owned by a director) who exercises authority or influence over the organization, special due diligence and approval is necessary. If the board does not conduct the required diligence, state and federal penalties may apply.

Lesson 5

Example Board Resolution Approving Conflicted Transaction

From time to time, your organization may have the opportunity to buy products or services from a director, officer, or other interested person. Because such arrangements are conflicted transactions, special diligence and board pre-approval are necessary. This example document shows the best practices for board approval of a conflicted transaction. Work with an attorney to customize this resource to reflect your organization's needs and applicable law. Also see the companion article to this resource, Conflicts of Interest: Avoiding Common Mistakes.

Lesson 6

Compliance Alert: IRS Form 990 Filing Deadline Approaches

Most organizations must file the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Form 990 or request an extension by May 15. Many organizations also have state tax filings, charitable registration forms, corporate annual reports, or some combination of these due on the same date. This blog walks you through the basics.

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