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1. Form 990: Late filing penalty abatement  

BY Vani Murthy, CPA
Many small and medium-size not-for-profit organizations are mostly run by volunteers, and the staff of these charities may forget or inadvertently fail to timely file Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, or even Form 990-N, Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations, which is a postcard-size information return that is electronically filed.

2. Exemption from PFIC regime for indirect ownership expanded  

BY Dahlia B. Doumar, J.D., LL.M. and Carl A. Merino, J.D., LL.M.
The IRS clarifies that shares held through a variety of tax-exempt organizations, plans, and accounts are generally excluded.On April 14, Treasury and the IRS announced they will amend the regulations under Sec. 1291 to provide that a U.S. person who indirectly owns stock of a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) through a tax-exempt organization or account will not be treated as a U.S.

3. Streamlined tax-exempt application process introduced   WebExclusive

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
The IRS introduced on Tuesday a streamlined application process for small organizations that want tax-exempt status under Sec.

4. Sec. 501(c)(4) regulations will be reproposed following outpouring of public comments   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS received an overwhelming flood of comments in response to proposed regulations it issued last November on the rules governing the political activities of Sec. 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. As a result, the IRS announced that it will repropose the regulations, after taking the comments into account, and will not hold a public hearing on the new rules until they are reproposed.

5. New procedures for reinstatement of tax-exempt status are introduced   WebExclusive

BY Alistair M. Nevius, J.D.
Tax-exempt organizations that have had their tax-exempt status automatically revoked because they failed to file required annual returns for three consecutive years have new procedures for getting their exempt status reinstated, under guidance issued by the IRS on Thursday (Rev. Proc. 2014-11). Earlier guidance providing methods for reinstating exempt status (Notice 2011-44) is modified and superseded.

6. IRS proposes curbing political activities of Sec. 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
The IRS announced its intention on Tuesday to amend the regulations governing social welfare organizations, a topic that has recently created an enormous amount of political controversy, especially during the recent scandal over how the IRS was mishandling applications from groups that had “tea party” and other terms in their names.

7. Recycling charitable dollars: IRS gives green light to more program-related investments   CPEDirect

BY Allison L. Evans, CPA, Ph.D., and Christine M. Petrovits, CPA, Ph.D.
Private foundations lost more than 20% of their assets during the economic crisis, according to the Foundation Center (see Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, available at At the same time, the demand for charitable services—and foundation dollars to support those services—increased significantly. The combination of these dynamics prompted many private foundations to consider new strategies to do more with less.

8. Interim IRS chief issues initial report on Sec. 501(c)(4) controversy   WebExclusive

BY Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.
On Monday, acting IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel issued his report, Charting a Path Forward at the IRS: Initial Assessment and Plan of Action, on the plans to reform the IRS to avoid inappropriate targeting of taxpayers applying for Sec. 501(c)(4) social welfare organization status. In the first section of the report, the IRS explained that its actions were two-pronged: first, it was identifying the individuals in the IRS responsible for the mismanagement outlined in the TIGTA report (“Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review,” TIGTA Rep’t No.

9. 15 policies for sound not-for-profit governance   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
CPAs nodded their heads in sympathy as stories of governance mistakes were told during a session at the AICPA Not-for-Profit Industry Conference in Washington on Thursday. One organization accepted a gift of a cattle ranch that had nothing to do with its mission, creating huge administrative headaches. Another organization did not immediately sell a gift of $500,000 in securities that were donated to finance an endowment.

10. IRS controversy could cause tax-exempt processing slowdown   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
CPAs need to be prepared for a slowdown in certain work handled by the IRS Exempt Organizations Division in the wake of the recent controversy involving the processing of certain applications for tax exemption under Sec. 501(c)(4), the division’s former head said Thursday. “Probably the whole system is frozen in time right now, like it was a mastodon stuck in a glacier,” said Marcus Owens, a member in the law firm Caplin & Drysdale’s Washington office and the former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division.
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