Monday, June 22, 2020

AALS Nonprofit & Philanthropy Law Call for papers

Hereby encouraging folks to submit papers they are working on on Nonprofit or Philanthropy law to be presented at the AALS 2021

CALL FOR PAPERS

AALS SECTION ON NONPROFIT AND PHILANTHROPY LAW

SESSION 2021 ANNUAL MEETING

JANUARY 5-9

San Francisco, CA

Nonprofits & Philanthropy

The AALS Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law announces a call for papers to be presented as works-in-progress in our committee session at the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington DC from January 2-5, 2020.

The Section seeks submissions on a variety of topics and methodological approaches related to Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law. We are especially interested in receiving submissions from new and junior academics or scholars who have not previously written in the field. We are interested in all states of article development though more developed papers will be given a priority.

Eligibility: Scholars teaching at AALS member or nonmember fee-paid schools

Due Date: Sunday, August 30, 2020

Form and Content of Submission: Submissions may range from early drafts to articles that have been submitted for publication, but not articles that will have already been published by January 6, 2020.

Submission Method: please submit papers electronically to PHackney@Pitt.edu "AALS Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Submission" in the email subject line.

Submission Review: Papers will be selected for inclusion in the program after review by members of the AALS Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law.

Additional Information: Presenters are responsible for their own expenses associated with the conference. If you have any questions, please contact the chair Philip Hackney at PHackney@Pitt.edu.

By: Philip Hackney

June 22, 2020 in Conferences, Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Bird-Pollan Presents "Taxing the Ivory Tower" at IU Tax Policy Colloquium Tomorrow

191024UKLAW603 copyProfessor Jennifer Bird-Pollan (U. Kentucky) will be presenting Taxing the Ivory Tower at the Indiana University Tax Policy Colloquium at 1:15 to 2:15 pm (EDT) tomorrow. If you are interested in attending (via Zoom), please contact Professor Leandra Ledermann at llederma@indiana.edu to receive the Zoom meeting information.

Lloyd Mayer

April 15, 2020 in Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 6, 2020

AALS2020 in DC Nonprofit & Philanthropy Law Section Panel

The Section on Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law of the AALS hosted a panel at #AALS2020 on Sunday January 5 entitled Charitable Giving and the 1969 Act: 50 Years Later. Roger Colinvaux of the Catholic University of America, Columbus AALS2020 nonprofit panelSchool of Law moderated the session. Professor Colinvaux provided an excellent synopsis of the Act and the historical milieu in which it took place. He also did a nice job of presenting the stakes involved then and now.

Dana Brakman Reiser of Brooklyn Law School presented her article in progress Charity Regulation in the Age of Impact. It considers the ways in which the 1969 Tax Reform Act hinders types of investing that Professor Brakman believes are natural fits for private foundations. She explores novel ways of modifying the Act in order to allow private foundations to make more mission related investments (MRIs) and program related investments (PRIs).

Khrista McCarden of Tulane University Law School presented her article in progress on Private Operating Foundation Reform & J. Paul Getty. She argues that private operating foundations that operate as art museums are too often providing little in the way of public benefits because they tend to systematically exclude lower income and minority populations. She also believes these private operating foundations are particularly subject to self-dealing abuses that neither the IRS nor states attorney general respond to in an appropriate way.  

Finally, Ray D. Madoff, of Boston College Law School, presented her article in progress The Five Percent Fig Leaf examines some of what she perceives as the failure of the private foundation regime to ensure an appropriate payout amount of five percent from private foundations. She argues the allowance of three types of expenditures to count towards payout is too lenient: administrative expenses (that allow donor children to be paid well into the future for often little work), payments to donor advised funds, and PRIs. 

There was active questioning and participation from the audience. These issues clearly resonate at a high level of society. These papers will be published in the Pittsburgh Tax Review in Spring 2020 along with two other papers by Ellen P. Aprill and James J. Fishman  The five papers were presented at the University of Pittsburgh on November 1, 2020 as part of a symposium.

Next years AALS will be in San Francisco. I will be the chair this coming year and would be interested in any thoughts on panel ideas for next years session. The theme of the general conference is the Power of Words. Also very interested in highlighting new professors in the field. Would love to put together a new voices panel in addition to a regular panel. 

Philip Hackney

January 6, 2020 in Conferences, Federal – Executive, Paper Presentations and Seminars, Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 4, 2019

Pitt Symposium: The 1969 Tax Reform Act and Charities - Fifty Years Later


Tax adWhere are we on the regulation of charity fifty years after Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1969? My colleague Tony Infanti and I along with our Pitt Law Students of the Pitt Tax Review hosted six scholars and two practitioners as commenters on Friday November 1 to consider that question. The symposium was entitled The 1969 Tax Reform Act and Charities: Fifty Years Later

Natural questions arise: (1) What was that act’s goal with respect to Charity? With respect to tax? (2) Did it accomplish these goals? (3) Are those goals still relevant today? (4) What goals might suggest themselves today? (5) Do we have the ability to make those changes that are needed? In our conversations we did not answer all of those questions, but we sure tried.

Pittsburgh as a city strikes me as a fit and proper place to ask these questions. Why do I say this? Pittsburgh, city of the rust belt, but also city of Carnegie, Frick, Mellon, Heinz, city of steel, coal, banking, and ketchup and now city of higher ed, tech, and cutting edge health care. It provides the natural and social landscape for investigating private wealth and its philanthropic use. At the beginning of the 20th Century Pittsburgh generated an enormous amount of the GDP of the US particularly through its manufacture of steel. That industrial choice brought great wealth to a few, and supported the careers of many, but also caused great damage to the environment for the long term. Pittsburgh as a city crashed in the 1980s (I have heard different dates, but place it there as that is when many of the steel mills seem to have closed down), and it has struggled to come back from the loss of the steel industry ever since.

However, today the city has transformed itself with Carnegie Mellon and Pitt driving a high tech economy, UPMC engaging in cutting edge health care connected with the University of Pittsburgh, and a robust provision of higher education. It almost surely survived to another day as a result of major philanthropic capital from the robber barron days from the likes of the Mellon, Heinz, Pittsburgh, and Hillman foundations. These private foundations led an effort to clean up the city and transform it into the more vibrant place that it is today.     

Congress in the 1969 Tax Reform Act responded to a concern about the type of wealth harnessed in foundations like those in Pittsburgh. In fact, as discussed by Jim Fishman in his presentation about the history of the 1969 Tax Act the Mellon Foundation played a big role. Congress at the time was deeply concerned that wealthy individuals were abusing money put into charitable solution and decided it was important to stop those abuses. These papers consider both the origins of these rules and whether these rules still have relevance today.

The first panel considered the topic of Investing for Charity. Ray Madoff presented  The Five Percent Fig Leaf critiquing the five-percent payout rule that the 1969 Tax Act imposed on private foundations. Professor Madoff's paper was paired with Dana Brakman Reiser's contribution Foundation Regulation in Our Age of Impact. Professor Brakman considered the placement of program related investments and mission related investments within the current regulatory context and found the rules wanting in many ways. 

The second panel was entitled Origins of Private Foundation Rules and their Meaning for Today. Jim Fishman provided great historical insight leading up to the Act in  Does the Origin of the 1969 Private Foundation Rules Suggest a Match for Current Regulatory Needs?  Interestingly, Professor Fishman thinks the Act really helped in creating the positive attitude many feel towards private foundations today. He thinks there is a real problem though with smaller private foundations where compliance is likely low. Khrista McCarden focused on a category we had not yet considered that of private operating foundations, which are treated a little better than typical private foundations in her piece entitled Private Operating Foundation Reform & J. Paul Getty. She is concerned about private art museums particularly because of their lack of broad community access. 

Finally panel 3 considered Regulating Charitable Actors. Ellen P. Aprill presented  The Private Foundation Excise Tax on Self Dealing:  Contours, Comparison and Character. It usefully compares the general ethic of the different self-dealing rules that exist within the charitable context particularly that of section 4941 and 4958. However, more interestingly she considers both whether NFIB v. Sebelius might suggest that the 4941 excise tax is a penalty rather than a tax, and whether the tax might be able to serve as a Pigouvian tax. Finally, Elaine Wilson presented her paper Is Consistency Hobgoblin of Little Minds? Co-Investment under Section 4941. The paper focuses on certain PLRs that allow private foundation donors to "co-invest" with their related private foundation, seemingly in violation of the section 4941 self-dealing rule. It then shows why it is valuable from a securities regulation perspective for the private foundations to be provided this leeway from the IRS, and asks why the IRS would have twisted the seemingly clear meanings of the self-dealing exise tax.

I hope to blog about each panel in more depth the rest of this week.

Philip Hackney

November 4, 2019 in Conferences, Federal – Legislative, Paper Presentations and Seminars, Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Pitt Tax Review - The 1969 Tax Reform Act and Charities: Fifty Years Later, Symposium

By: Philip Hackney

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Pittsburgh Tax Review hosts a symposium this Friday November 1, 2019 entitled: "The 1969 Tax Reform Act and Charities: Fifty Years Later.” It will offer experts in the taxation of charities, and those working in the nonprofit field, the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss the impact of the changes made by the 1969 Tax Reform Act 50 years after the law’s enactment. It will be held at The University Club in the Gold Room, located at 123 University Place on Pitt's campus. You can RSVP here. If you are in the area, please join us. 

The event is free and open to the public. CLE of 4.5 hours is available for $90. It will be livestreamed at this youtube link.

Here is the schedule and the speakers:

8-9 Registration/continental breakfast

9 – 9:15 Introduction

 

Panel 1: Investing for Charity 9:15 – 10:45

Ray Madoff,  The Five Percent Fig Leaf

Dana Brakman Reiser, Foundation Regulation in Our Age of Impact

Commenter: Carolyn D. Duronio, Partner, Reed Smith LLP

 

10:45 -11 Break

 

Panel 2 Origins of Private Foundation Rules and their Meaning for Today 11 – 12:30

Jim Fishman,  Does the Origin of the 1969 Private Foundation Rules Suggest a Match for Current Regulatory Needs?

Khrista McCarden, Private Operating Foundation Reform & J. Paul Getty.

Commenter: Penina K. Lieber, Partner of Counsel, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

 

12:30-1:30 lunch

 

Panel 3 Regulating Charitable Actors  1:30 -3:00

Ellen P. Aprill,  The Private Foundation Excise Tax on Self Dealing:  Contours, Comparison and Character

Elaine Waterhouse Wilson, Is Consistency the Hobgoblin of Little Minds? Co-Investment under Section 4941

Commenter: Philip Hackney, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Law

October 28, 2019 in Conferences, Paper Presentations and Seminars, Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 4, 2019

Call for Contributions: International Society for Third-Sector Research 2020

LogoThe International Society for Third-Sector Research is calling for contributions for its 2020 biennial conference, to be held in Montreal on July 7-10. The deadline is October 26th. As detailed in the Call for Contributions, submission can be in the form an individual submit an abstract for a paper or poster or in the form of a joint proposal with others for a panel or roundtable. My understanding is that panel submissions are particularly encouraged and tend to have a higher rate of acceptance than individual submissions. I am chairing the "Challenges and Opportunities of Advocacy and Campaigning in an Era of 'Fake News'" track for the conference, and so would particularly encourage submissions relating to this track. See the Call for Contributions for the other tracks.

Lloyd Mayer

October 4, 2019 in Conferences, Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Galle: Empirical Assessment of the Tax Exemption for Charitable Property

Brian Galle (Georgetown) has authorized a research paper entitled, "The Tax Exemption for Charitable Property: An Empirical Assessment," which he recently presented at Duke's Tax Policy Workshop Series.  Here is his brief abstract:

I offer the first multi-jurisdictional assessment of the balance-sheet effects of the property-tax exemption for charitable property. I combine a manually-assembled dataset of property tax rates in over 4,000 municipalities with three large samples of firm-level administrative data, as well as hand-coded variations in the legal details of different states’ exemption regimes, to assemble a panel of more than 1 million firm-years.

As expected, exemption causes charities to utilize more real property as tax rates rise. I offer new theoretical contributions showing that this effect, previously described as an unwanted distortion, may be second-best efficient in the presence of an income tax with accelerated depreciation, and confirm empirically the predictions of this new theory.

Exemption also increases managerial compensation while crowding out efforts to raise revenue through donations and commercial activity. Lastly, exemption eases liquidity constraints on colleges and universities, allowing them to expand enrollment while holding per-student costs level.

[Hat tip:  TaxProf Blog]

Nicholas Mirkay

March 12, 2019 in Paper Presentations and Seminars, Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Call for Papers: Empirical Analysis of Wealth Transfer Law

The University of California, Davis School of Law (King Hall) and The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel’s Legal Education Committee are happy to announce that the 8th ACTEC academic symposium will be held on Friday, October 11, 2019. The theme is Empirical Analysis of Wealth Transfer Law. The event’s goals are to bring together established and emerging scholars and to foster discussion about empirical scholarship about wills, nonprobate transfers, intestacy, inheritance taxation, and related issues.

Articles presented at the symposium will consist of those selected from this Call for Papers and those from invited speakers. All papers will be published by the UC Davis Law Review.

If you would like to be considered to present a paper, please email an abstract of no more than two pages to Professor David Horton (dohorton@ucdavis.edu) by March 1, 2019. The Law Review will notify those selected by March 15, 2019. Please be aware that speakers must submit drafts that are ready for the editing stage of the production process by mid-November 2019.

Speakers will be reimbursed for their reasonable travel expenses (economy airfare, ground transportation, and up to two nights in a local hotel). Speakers will also be invited to dinner on Friday, October 11. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to speakers and attendees on October 11 courtesy of the ACTEC Foundation. Questions about the symposium or this Call for Papers should be directed to David at the email address above or Professor Adam Hirsch (ahirsch@sandiego.edu).

-- TLH

November 26, 2018 in Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Fidelity Charitable issues findings from survey on Tax Reform and Charitable Giving

Fidelity Charitable, one of the largest peddlers of Donor-Advised Funds, issued this interesting report about donor responses to 2017 federal tax changes (which increased the standard deduction, removing, for many people, the federal tax incentive to

Research-tax-reform_Image2
Source: Fidelity Charitable

donate). Based on a survey of prior donors who itemized in 2017, more than 60% said that they planned to maintain prior levels of giving, with 19% planning to increase.  The report also finds that 20% of those surveyed aren't sure yet whether they will itemize in future years, although the report suggests that many of the respondents might not yet realize the impact of the tax changes on their situation. Thus, the promise to continue to maintain prior levels of giving may be too optimistic. The report concludes:

[T]hese findings demonstrate taxpayers may still be on autopilot from 2017 and have not updated their tax strategy to align with tax code changes. Given the confusion around the new standard deduction, it may take until they file their 2018 taxes to completely absorb the impact of the changes and potentially adjust charitable plans. Therefore tax reform’s influence on giving at large will likely not be fully known until 2019.

October 15, 2018 in Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Zelenak: Tax-Free Basis Step-Up At Death and the Charitable Deduction of Unrealized Appreciation

Lawrence_zelenak_145Lawrence Zelenak (Duke) has made available a draft article titled The Tax-Free Basis Step-Up at Death, the Charitable Deduction for Unrealized Appreciation, and the Persistence of Error. Here are the opening paragraphs:

As every student of the federal income tax well knows, two of the system’s most glaring conceptual errors are the tax-free step-up in basis at death and the deduction for unrealized appreciation in property donated to charity. The two errors are closely related in both character and history.

As for character, both permit taxpayers to claim benefits which should be conditioned on the recognition of income, despite the absence of any recognition event. A basis step-up at death would be appropriate if gains were taxed at death, and a deduction for the fair market value of an appreciated asset donated to charity would be appropriate if the donation triggered taxation of the appreciation. The provisions are errors because the income tax does not treat either transfers at death or transfers to charity as gain recognition events.

As for history, both mistakes originated very early in the development of the modern federal income tax, and in similar ways. In each case, Congress enacted a statutory provision so vague and general that it did not address the issue, and shortly after enactment the Treasury Department promulgated a regulation introducing the conceptual error. There was no apparent intent on the part of either Congress or Treasury to subsidize bequests of appreciated property, or to subsidize charitable donations of appreciated property more heavily than cash donations; the overly-generous rules resulted from the failure of Congress to consider the issues, and from errors of tax logic made by Treasury when it addressed the issues left open by Congress.

Hat Tip: TaxProf Blog.

Lloyd Mayer

November 14, 2016 in Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chaffee, "Collaboration Theory: A Theory of the Charitable Tax Exempt Nonprofit Corporation"

Eric C. Chaffee, Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Research & Development at the Univerity of Toledo College of Law,  presented his paper entitled "Collaboration Theory: A Theory of the Charitable Tax Exempt Nonprofit Corporation" on June 2 at the most recent Law & Society conference (Program Link here). The current draft of the paper, which is forthcoming 2016 in the U.C. Davis Law Review, is available on SSRN here - the SSRN abstract follows:

Legal scholarship regarding tax exempt nonprofit entities is meager at best. Although some excellent treatises, book chapters, and journal articles have been written, the body of scholarship relating to these entities is not nearly as healthy and robust as the scholarship relating to their for-profit companions. This is especially troubling considering that nonprofit entities help to improve our society in a myriad of different ways.

This Article seeks to fill a void in the existing scholarship by offering an essentialist theory for charitable tax exempt nonprofit corporations that helps to explain the essence of these entities. Beyond the purely academic metaphysical inquiry into what is a corporation, understanding the essential nature of these corporations is important because it helps to determine how they should interact with society, what rights they should have, and how they should be governed by the law. This discussion is especially timely because the recent opinions by the Supreme Court of the United States in Citizens United and Hobby Lobby have reinvigorated the debate over the essence of the corporation.

This Article breaks new ground by offering a new essentialist theory of the corporation, which shall be termed “collaboration theory.” The decades of debate over the essence of for-profit corporations has coalesced into three prevailing theories of the corporation, i.e., the artificial entity theory, the real entity theory, and the aggregate theory. The problem is that none of these prevailing theories fully answers the question of what is a corporation.

Collaboration theory suggests that charitable tax exempt nonprofit corporations are collaborations among the state governments, federal government, and individuals to promote the public good. Unlike the prevailing theories of the corporation, collaboration theory explains both how and why charitable tax exempt nonprofit corporations exist, which provides a fuller and more robust understanding of these corporations. Collaboration theory advances the existing scholarship by finally offering an essentialist theory for nonprofit corporations, and it shows remarkable promise for understanding the essential nature of for-profit corporations as well.

 

E.W.W.

 

 

June 8, 2016 in Conferences, Paper Presentations and Seminars, Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Foreign Funding of Charities Under Assault, Including in the US

DownloadLast month I had the opportunity to attend the NYU National Center on Philanthropy and the Law's Annual Conference.  The conference was titled Regulation or Repression: Government Policing of Cross-Border Charity and provided an eye-opening overview of restritions imposed by many countries on foreign funding of charities and other NGOs.  What made the conference particularly timely was the fact that only a month earlier a prominent member of Congress had publicly attacked foreign donations to think tanks - in the United States.  This concern led to a bipartisan legislative proposal to require disclosure of foreign funding from scholars who testify on Capital Hill.  The timing was particularly ironic, as at almost the same time the Economist ran two articles raising concerns about autocratic and illiberal governments placing limits on such funding: Donors: Keep Out and Uncivil Society.  That said, whatever concerns charities and other nonprofits may have in the United States (including members of Congress criticizing them for accepting foreign donations), they pale in comparison to the concerns that the legal restrictions on both funding and activities raise for NGOs in many other parts of the world.  

Lloyd Mayer

November 29, 2014 in Conferences, In the News, International, Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Leff: Preventing Private Inurement in Tranched Social Enterprises

h/t to our friends over at TaxProf Blog:

Benjamin M. Leff (American), Preventing Private Inurement in Tranched Social Enterprises, 41 Seton Hall L. Rev. ___ (2015):

Social Enterprises are organizations that are operated for the dual purpose of engaging in profit-making activity and furthering a social good. Because of their “hybrid” nature, social enterprises are perceived to be stymied by a legal system that is overly devoted to defining organizations as either businesses or nonprofits. Legal academics and legislatures have been hard at work trying to make room for social enterprises by experimenting with modifications the laws that constrain both businesses and nonprofits. One significant sector of this reform movement is devoted to making it easier for social enterprises to receive funding from both for-profit investors and charitable non-profits. They argue that social enterprises will not flourish until charitable non-profits are permitted make below-market investments in social enterprises for the purpose of subsidizing the return expected by for-profit investors. This combination of below-market charitable investments and market-rate for-profit investments is generally called a “tranched investment structure.” It is not impossible under current law, but reformers argue that it is unnecessarily difficult, primarily because of federal laws restricting nonprofit activities.

This article addresses the specific legal issues raised by a tranched investment structure. Previous scholarship (and legislative reform) has focused on specific rules that apply only to “private foundations,” a subcategory of § 501(c)(3) organizations, the general federal classification of charities. But, surprisingly, commentators have largely ignored the laws that apply to tranched investment structures involving any § 501(c)(3) organization. This article fills that gap.

This article argues that the IRS should issue guidance clarifying that the "private inurement regime" prevents a charity's insiders from investing in a for-profit social enterprise in which the charity is also an investor. At the same time, it should issue guidance clarifying that a fully independent charity investing in a for-profit social enterprise is not at risk of losing its tax exemption because of the "private benefit regime." Emphasizing the importance of independence as a check on abuses of the tranched structure will enable social entrepreneurs to innovate while the law continues to protect the interests of charitable contributors, the federal government and the charitable sector.

October 2, 2014 in Federal – Executive, Paper Presentations and Seminars, Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Should Charity Favor the Poor?

Miranda Perry Fleischer recently provided provocative food for thought regarding the efforts to reform the charitable contribution deduction.  In this week's Tax Notes (2014 TNT 54-4) she argues that charitable reform should result in something that really adds to the incentives to assist the poor rather than our own favorite projects.  She doesn't argue against the worth of a diverse civil society supportive of MOMA, Harvard and other places most often patronized by people of means.  But she does argue that assisting the truly needy should be the central focus of the charitable contribution deduction: 

A full discussion of the charitable deduction should also take into account who benefits -- not just who receives the tax benefits from claiming the deduction but who the ultimate charitable beneficiaries are. Once we recognize that most charitable giving, especially by the wealthy, does not assist the poor and disadvantaged, what should we do? First, we should stop using the poor as an excuse for not discussing reforms such as turning the deduction into a credit or instituting a rate cap or AGI floor. To truly evaluate these proposals, we need to recognize which institutions (education, arts, and health organizations) might suffer and determine whether any fiscal savings are worth potential drops in donations to those types of charities. They may not be, but that's a different question from talking about harm to the sector in general or harm to the poor from those proposals.

 

More ambitiously, we should grant larger tax benefits to contributions to organizations that provide basic needs to the poor. You want to help education? Let's provide more incentives for donations to a tutoring program in a low-income area than we do for donations to your kid's school (which you would probably do anyway). To that end, I propose that donations to organizations that provide basic services to the poor be treated more generously for tax purposes than other donations. Let's say that you donate $ 100 to a soup kitchen. If the deduction remains a deduction, perhaps you are treated as if you had donated $ 200 (thus triggering a government subsidy of $80 instead of $40). If an AGI floor is implemented, perhaps those contributions are not subject to the floor. If the deduction is changed to a credit of, say, 15 percent, maybe you would receive a 30 percent credit for those types of donations. 

 

By emphasizing donations to organizations helping the neediest, we'd be putting our money where our mouths are when it comes to charitable giving. We routinely use charity for the poor not only as a justification for continuing the tax status quo but also to excuse less government aid to the poor. For example, the bipartisan letter to Baucus argued that if the deduction were reformed, "the government would be required to step in and fund those services now being provided through private generosity. Accordingly, preserving the charitable deduction is also prudent as a matter of broad fiscal policy."  There are very valid reasons for wanting charity to do more, and government less, when helping the poor. Quite often, charities can find more efficient, more responsive, and more creative ways of assisting the poor than the government can. So let's structure the tax incentives for charitable giving to reflect these values. Perhaps it's an area in which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground.

I second that. But I bet it won't happen and I just want to comment on and dispense with the most likely counterargument.  The big boys -- hospitals and universities -- in civil society would never stand for anything that might result in fewer contributions to their own, even if whatever it is increased the amount of charity to the poor.  I don't condemn those who would rather contribute to the Museum of Modern Art any more than would Prof. Fleischer.  But the arguments against favoring the poor above all else in IRC 170 [or 501(c)(3)] rely on or at least harken to common misinterpretations of Biblical passages:  "Man does not live on bread alone," opponents might say while also adding, "the poor will always be with us."  Math. 4:4 and Mark 14:7.  Religious scholars pretty much agree that those passages are misused to the extent they are thought to elevate every other good thing to the same level as the relief of poverty.  Tax policy makers should conclude likewise. 

dkj

March 20, 2014 in Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Columbia Law School Hosts Conference on The Future of State Charities Regulation

Columbia Law SchoolI was fortunate enough to be invited to present at a conference hosted by Columbia Law School's Charities Law Project last week.  Featuring presentations and draft papers (available on the conference website) from a who's who list of charity law experts from the academy, state AG offices and other agencies, and private practice, the conference provided an incredible opportunity to consider and discuss emerging issues in the regulation of charities.  Topics covered included:

  • Jurisdictional Boundaries: State/Federal, State/State Relationships
  • The Fundamental Role Of States In Governance Issues
  • Emerging Issue: Political Activity/Advocacy By The Sector & The States' Role
  • Transparency, Media And Technology: New Expectations, New Opportunities
  • Emerging Issue: Challenges & Interests Of States In Social Mission/Hybrid Organizations
  • Mapping The Trajectory: The Changing Role Of The State Regulators
  • Emerging Issue: State Jurisdiction Over Religious Organizations
  • Emerging Issue: Changing Landscape Of Charitable Solicitation
  • Emerging Issue: The Dynamic Role Of States In Nonprofit Healthcare
  • Federal Partners
  • Envisioning The Future: New Structures

The conference organizers also gathered an extensive set of additional resources that will be helpful to anyone interested in the conference topics.

LHM

February 15, 2013 in Conferences, Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 12, 2012

More on Conservation Easements

With h/t to our friends at the TaxProf Blog: 

Preservation Easements in an Uncertain Regulatory Future

Jess R. Phelps (Historic New England),  Preserving Preservation Easements?:  Preservation Easements in an Uncertain Regulatory Future, 91 Neb. L. Rev. 121 (2012):

While federal tax deductions are an important tool for organizations operating easement programs, recent IRS enforcement activity has called the future of this incentive into question--at least as currently constituted. Even if these incentives continue, the presence of continued regulatory uncertainty will make federally subsidized easements less viable unless enforcement activity decreases or easement-holding organizations begin to change how they protect privately-owned homes. However, these challenges provide easement-holding organizations a chance to step back and evaluate their accomplishments of the past thirty years. Many significant structures have been protected, but preservation easements lag far behind in numbers, impact, and public awareness when compared to land conservation efforts. The public has yet to fully “buy in” to the concept of preservation easements and are suspicious of efforts to provide funds to protect private residences.

For this perception to change, easement-holding organizations need to fundamentally re-evaluate the role they play within the preservation movement and determine whether a larger role is possible. There are a variety of ways that easement-holding organizations can shift their thinking and practices to expand the benefit provided through their programs. Similarly, there are clear alternatives to securing the preservation of significant historic resources via reliance on the federal tax incentives. In the end, the efforts of easement-holding organizations to respond to these challenges and reimagine the possibilities of preservation easements will go a long way toward fulfilling SPNEA's original vision of obtaining control of the most significant historic properties and “let[ting] them to tenants under wise restrictions.”  Perhaps more importantly, these efforts can also expand upon this vision to protect the underlying stories and preserve a more meaningful spectrum of our collective architectural heritage.

EWW

November 12, 2012 in Federal – Executive, Federal – Legislative, Paper Presentations and Seminars, Publications – Articles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Law, Society & Taxation Nonprofit Panel & Papers

The Law and Society Association's 2012 International Meeting in Honolulu earlier this month featured the following panel and additional papers relating to nonprofits:

  • Charities and Public Policy Panel
    • Nina J. Crimm (St John's) & Laurence H. Winer (Arizona State), 
    • Terri Lynne Helge (Texas Wesleyan), Reforming the Private Benefit Doctrine
    • Grace S. Lee (Alabama), Toward a More Dynamic Theory Regarding the Charitable Deduction
    • Henry Ordower (Saint Lewis), Charitable Contributions of Services
    • Miranda L. Stewart (Melborne), Doing Business to Do Good: Should We Tax the Business Profits of Not for Profits

LHM

June 18, 2012 in Conferences, Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers from Columbia Law School Charities Law Project

The Charities Regulation and Oversight Project, which is part of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, has issued a call for papers for its February 2013 conference "The Future of State Charities Regulation".  Here are the details:

The Charities Regulation and Oversight Project of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School will host the 2013 Charities Regulation Policy Conference: “The Future of State Charities Regulation and Enforcement”, to be held on February 7th & 8th, 2013, at Columbia Law School in New York City. The 2013 conference will be the third major policy conference at Columbia Law School devoted to issues regarding state regulation, oversight and enforcement of the charitable and nonprofit sector. Developed in partnership with the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute, the conference will address the complex issues surrounding the current status, and the future trajectory of, state regulation of the charitable sector.
 
The 2013 conference is intended to promote dialogue among regulators, leaders from the sector, practitioners and academics regarding challenges confronting state regulation of the sector and to develop proposals for improvement.
 
Anticipated topics include the state/federal relationship; structure and funding of state charities officials; the fundamental role of states in governance issues; challenges and interest of the states in social mission/hybrid corporate organizations; the role of states in nonprofit healthcare; changing landscape of state-based charitable solicitation; jurisdiction over religious organizations; interstate and international jurisdiction; emerging issues surrounding advocacy and political activity by the sector. The Charities Project seeks a diverse range of perspectives for the conference; paper submissions are encouraged from practitioners, regulators, leaders from the sector itself and academics. Proposal abstracts, no more than one page in length, should be sent to charities@law.columbia.edu by July 13, 2012. Drafts for final papers for the conference should be approximately 5000 words.
 
Please contact Frances Laviscount Program Coordinator, at flavis@law.columbia.edu or 212-851-1061 with any questions regarding the conference or paper submissions.
LHM

June 18, 2012 in Conferences, Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Moreno: Governance of Microcredit Article

Frede Moreno (Western Midanao State University, Philippines and Alliance for International Education, Germany) has posted a short paper on Governance of Microcredit as a Strategy for Poverty Reduction in the Philippines on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Microcredit can be an effective tool for tackling the global poverty problem. Making microcredit work better for the poor necessitates a framework that integrates the principles of good governance in the design and implementation of a microcredit program. The integration of good governance principles in microfinance is argued to have positive consequences in improving financial viability and increasing social outreach of microcredit programs as well as in widening the livelihood and economic options of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries within Third World economic and poverty conditions. Governance principles can be applied as implementation strategies of Official Development Assistance (ODA)-assisted microfinance program as a tool for poverty reduction and development. In view of the Philippine government’s limitations, economic and fiscal challenges, the financial and technical support programs of the international donor community provide a big boost to the effectiveness and impact of microfinance in reducing the incidents of poverty in Third World countries such as the Philippines. As a tool for poverty reduction, microcredit is applicable only to the enterprising poor. The use of microcredit to assist poverty groups is recommended to be based on existing livelihood activities and micro-entrepreneurial skills and capabilities. Furthermore, the program design of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) is found to be appropriate for the agrarian reform beneficiaries in Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX), Philippines. Joe Remenyi’s (1999) Poverty Pyramid reinforces BRAC’s graduated strategy for helping the poor when they are grouped into: (1) micro-enterprise operators or the less poor, (2) enterprising or moderately poor, (3) laboring or very poor, and (4) poorest of the poor and most vulnerable or the ultra-poor.

LHM

March 13, 2012 in International, Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

CORRECTED LINKS for Law, Society & Taxation Nonprofit-Related Papers

A reader alerted me that the links I previously provided for these papers were not working.  I have now corrected those postings (first set of papers and second set of papers) with updated information for accessing the abstracts and, where available, drafts of the papers.  My apologies for the problematic links.

LHM

June 7, 2011 in Paper Presentations and Seminars | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)