Experienced Lawyers Help Set Up Your 501(c)(3)Organization
Providing effective nationwide legal assistance in establishing non-profits and securing tax-exempt status
The seasoned attorneys at Copilevitz & Canter, LLC provide legal advice and assistance in establishing 501(c)(3) and other charitable organizations throughout the country. Our lawyers have extensive experience with forming non-profits and acquiring federal tax-exempt status. We can discuss your options during a confidential consultation.
Comprehensive legal advice and guidance with establishing 501(c)(3) organizations
Every year, we establish approximately 10 to 20 new 501(c)(3) organizations. We provide guidance and representation at the inception of these organizations, including the following services:
- Insight into governance options — We educate our clients on all governance options, including methods of electing directors.
- Preparation of articles of incorporation — Our attorneys draft articles of incorporation that meet the strict requirements of treasury regulations.
- Preparation of governance documents — We prepare bylaws and other important governance documents, including records retention policies, conflict of interest policies, whistleblower policies, and accountable plans.
- Preparation of Form 1023 — Our experienced attorneys prepare the application to the Internal Revenue Service to request tax-exempt status. We follow up by responding to any queries from the IRS.
- Ongoing compliance — After you achieve tax-exempt status, our dedicated lawyers will continue to assist your organization in remaining compliant with federal laws.
- Federal Tax Law — Our services in this area include obtaining recognition of federal tax-exempt status and advice in regard to maintaining tax-exempt status. Our federal tax law services include advice regarding the IRS Form 990 (annual report of tax-exempt organization); advice as to the tax on unrelated business taxable income; advice in regard to planned giving and charitable contributions (including tax-deduction issues); advice in regard to “affinity” license agreements and similar license agreements to produce tax-exempt royalties; advice as to “qualified corporate sponsorships,” within the meaning of Code section 513(i); advice in connection with issues which may implicate the potential for “private inurement,” “private benefit,” and “excess benefit transactions” within the meaning of Code section 4958; advice as to lobbying limits and issues from the standpoints of Code section 501(h) and 4911 and the federal Lobbyist Disclosure Act , as well as advice as to avoidance (for the 501(c)(3) organization) of activities that may be considered “political” by the IRS; advice as to permissible forms of relationships with commercial entities and organizations which are tax-exempt in different sub-sections of the Code (e.g., affiliated 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations); and, compensation arrangements for tax-exempt organizations. We have represented many tax-exempt organizations in IRS audits and in administrative appeals of adverse audit findings.
- Charitable Contributions and Planned Giving — We assist the Code section 501(c)(3) organization with all aspects of planning related to state and federal tax laws governing charitable contributions, including “capital” gifts via such means as charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income funds, charitable gift annuities, and bargain sales or real estate. We prepare the necessary trusts and related instruments. We also advise as to tax aspects of charitable contributions generally. We have prepared many gift acceptance policies. We advise as to agreements for restricted gifts and “endowments,” within the meaning of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act. We also provide legal services in connection with testamentary gifts, both of real estate and other forms of property, and trusts and estates related thereto.
- Fund Raising Advice — We provide advice in connection with the full range of fund raising techniques and the “pros and cons” of each. We are familiar with direct mail marketing agreements, telemarketing agreements, “affinity” credit card plans, cause-related marketing plans, and “qualified corporate sponsorship” plans.
- United States Postal Service Law — We obtain for our 501(c)(3) clients the special bulk mail permit available only to qualified tax-exempt organizations. We advise on permissible types of mailings using this permit, including advice on avoiding “cooperative mailings” which can result in postage deficiency assessments.
- State Regulatory Compliance — Forty-one (41) states impose registration requirements on organizations which solicit contributions. These registration requirements (both initial and annual renewals) vary from state-to-state and can be burdensome. We offer comprehensive state charitable solicitation registrations services. We also defend organizations charged with violations of state statutes regulating fund raising and telemarketing. Most of these states impose additional registration requirements in connection with charitable gift annuities. We provide both charitable solicitation registration services and supplemental charitable gift annuity registrations services.
- Trademarks — We provide advice and register and protect clients' membership marks, service marks, trademarks and logos. We have registered many marks with the federal Patent and Trademark Office. We draft agreements with vendors which set forth the requisite provisions for the assignment of intellectual property rights of the tax-exempt organization.
- Corporate Services — We prepare all necessary board of directors resolutions. We advise as to all internal governance documents, such as bylaws and standing rules of the board of directors. We advise as to and prepare any recommended amendments to the articles of incorporation and bylaws. We also prepare corporate governance policies, such as records retention policies, accountable reimbursement plans, “whistle blower” protection policies, compensation guidelines, and conflict of interest policies. We also provide analysis and advice in regard to conflicts of interest, both in terms of avoidance and resolution. We advise boards of directors as to “endowments” and compliance with the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA). We have prepared many investment policies for adoption by the boards of directors of our clients.
- Executive Compensation Planning — We advise tax-exempt organizations in regard to executive compensation formats and in regard to the avoidance of conflicts of interest. We provide our clients with a conflict of interest and compensation policies that meets IRS guidelines.
- Contract Review and Preparation — We review and prepare all forms of contracts, including fund raising agreements and other types of agreements which typically pertain to tax-exempt organizations, e.g., in connection with contractors, service providers, print shops, list brokers, electronic data processing vendors, IT vendors, graphic artists, writers, direct mail agencies, telemarketers, event managers, and consultants of all types.
- Real Estate — We provide advice in connection with real estate transactions, with particular reference to charitable contributions of real estate in all formats, including outright gifts and bargain sales.
Achieving tax-exempt status for diverse types of nonprofit organizations
Our firm represents more than 250 nonprofit organizations and has helped many of them achieve tax-exempt status. Most of these organizations are 501(c)(3) organizations, which include churches, religious organizations, school, colleges and universities. Our attorneys are also knowledgeable about securing tax exemptions for these other types of nonprofit organizations:
- 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations
- 501(c)(6) trade associations and professional societies
- 501(c)(7) social clubs
- 501(c)(10) fraternal orders
- 501(c)(19) veterans organization
No matter what type of charitable organization you wish to establish or already operate, we will use our vast experience and knowledge to help you comply with the applicable laws.
Contact our Washington, D.C. office for assistance with tax-exempt status
If you are planning on starting a non-profit organization and need assistance with securing tax-exempt status, Copilevitz & Canter, LLC can provide assistance from our Washington, D.C. office. We explain the complex laws and regulations associated with these issues to clients nationwide. Please call 202-861-0740 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation with a seasoned lawyer.