Council of Nonprofits in the News

I.R.S. Ends Exemptions For 275,000 Nonprofits

June 8, 2011

The I.R.S. announced on Wednesday that it had revoked the tax exemptions of 275,000 nonprofit organizations after they did not meet legal requirements to file annual tax forms.

The action shrinks the nation’s growing nonprofit sector by roughly 17 percent, to about 1.3 million charities, trade associations, membership groups and labor unions.

Lois Lerner, director of the division of the Internal Revenue Service that oversees tax-exempt groups, said the agency believed most of the organizations on the list were defunct, though there was really no way to know because so many of them simply could not be reached.

“In many cases, we didn’t have a good address because the last one was many years old and they hadn’t had to file since then because they weren’t big enough,” Ms. Lerner said.

Leaders of several nonprofit groups predicted disruptions and nasty surprises as a result of the I.R.S. action, but most said it was necessary.

PILOT plan isn't flying in Lowell

June 6, 2011

David Thompson, vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits, said "bringing public pressure on the nonprofits is outrageous."

"The mayor is attempting to circumvent the state law by shaming nonprofits to do what the state law says the mayor cannot do," he said.

Nonprofits, government will need to restructure their financial relationship

June 2, 2011

Last week, the Kojo Nnamdi Show had a panel discussion on nonprofit organizations and how the economy is affecting their financial health and stable of services.
Tim Delaney, President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits in Washington DC, and also a panelist on the show, has written extensively on PILOTS and discussed a related issue on the show, the partnerships between nonprofits and government.

The Key to Capacity Building Is Funding Long-Term Health Not Short-Term Workouts

June 2, 2011

Last week, I heard representatives of a corporate foundation and two nonprofit organizations say that their attempts at capacity building had not yielded their intended results. (The National Council of Nonprofits defines capacity building perhaps best: “Whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, in order to more effectively and efficiently fulfill its mission.”)


Boston Asks Nonprofits To Shoulder Tax Burden

June 1, 2011

There’s a growing and increasingly contentious debate about Boston’s effort to compel its largest nonprofits — colleges, museums and hospitals — to pay more for city services.

Whatever you do, don’t call it a tax. Because the state Constitution exempts nonprofits from most taxes, including real estate taxes. The thinking there — which dates back more than 200 years — is that these organizations perform good works that would otherwise fall to government.

Instead, the city calls it a payment in lieu of taxes, or a “PILOT.” Most nonprofits have been making voluntary PILOT payments for years. But faced with a stubborn recession and declining tax receipts, Boston is asking its largest nonprofits to increase those payments in a big way, from roughly $15 million this year to almost $50 million within five years.

This sets up a pretty contentious debate. On one side, there are folks who point out that more than half of the city’s land is owned by nonprofits and Boston simply can’t afford not to collect taxes on all that real estate.

Nonprofit Organizations

May 26, 2011

The tough economy means charitable giving is down, and many non-profits are struggling to stay afloat. At the same time, budget cuts in states and cities are rolling back services, creating an even greater demand for the work of nonprofit organizations. We'll consider a number of new challenges non-profits are facing close to home and across the U.S.


Rosalind Helderman

Reporter, The Washington Post

Chuck Bean

Executive Director, Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington

Stacy Palmer

Editor, "Chronicle of Philanthropy"

Tim Delaney

President and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits

Squeezed Cities Ask Nonprofits for More Money

May 11, 2011

But the effort to get nonprofit institutions to contribute more comes as many nonprofits are feeling the same pinch as cities: their endowments shrank as their investments lost money, contributions from donors and governments dried up and demand for their services remained the same or rose. David L. Thompson, the vice president for public policy at the National Council of Nonprofits, said increasing calls for nonprofits to pay more money to governments have left many tax-exempt nonprofit groups feeling demonized.

“Very simply, the social compact between nonprofits and governments exists to serve the public good,” Mr. Thompson said. “Changing the rules undermines the work of the institutions, takes money out the community and out of the services provided to constituents.”

Don’t renege on bargain with nonprofits

May 10, 2011

THE APRIL 28 editorial “City’s plan to bill nonprofits puts pressure in right place’’ is based on faulty assumptions that distort the longstanding social compact between nonprofits and governments. Massachusetts law provides tax exemption to charitable nonprofits in exchange for many things, including strengthening communities and easing the burdens (and costs) of government. Boston’s plan on payments in lieu of taxes should be opposed by all who are concerned about the community’s well-being.

Boston taxpayers benefit when nonprofit salaries get spent at local businesses, and sales taxes are collected when visitors to the city’s museums eat, sleep, and shop in the city. The US Conference of Mayors found that governments see a return on investment of more than $7 in taxes for every $1 invested in educational institutions.

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