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Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status & Avoid IRS Problems Paperback – Dec 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Nolo; 1 edition (December 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413310656
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413310658
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 2.5 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,814,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“(Nolo’s)…material is developed by experienced attorneys who have a knack for making complicated material accessible.” Library Journal
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Stephen Fishman is the author of many Nolo books, including Tax Deductions for Professionals, Deduct It! Lower Your Small Business Taxes, Every Landlord's Tax Deduction Guide and Home Business Tax Deductions — plus many other legal and business books. He received his law degree from the University of Southern California. After time in government and private practice, he became a full-time legal writer in 1983.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b212eac) out of 5 stars 34 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3e2ec08) out of 5 stars Another fine, helpful entry from Nolo - a must for small tax-exempts. Feb. 3 2010
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Tax-exempt nonprofits are a big business. $3.4 trillion in assets and 9.4 million employees, about 7.2% of the total United States workforce. But not every tax-exempt nonprofit is a multi-billion dollar foundation. There are tens of thousands of nonprofits that are small, many of which work with volunteer staffs. Often legal expertise is lacking and people inadvertently do things that endanger the tax-exempt status of these organizations.

This book is designed for them, for anyone in a tax-exempt who doesn't have access to competent legal advice on their IRS Code Section 501(C)(3) tax-exempt status. It is, in a very general way, a lawyer in a book.

Attorney Stephen Fishman provides in very clear language guidance on every aspect of maintaining your Section 501(c)(3) status. He avoids convoluted legal language and uses plain English (bless him!). He begins with the Form 990 which is a disclosure of the tax-exempt nonprofits finances and is publicly accessible. He covers the importance of accounting and record keeping - something that often goes undone in volunteer organizations.

He helps the uninitiated distinguish between employees, volunteers and independent contractors. These distinctions are very important. Fail to withhold and pay employment taxes and the IRS doesn't care who you are or what you did, they go after you.

Next he moves on to contributions of goods, cash and services and how to deal with them. This is a crucially important subject.

Lots of Section 501(c)(3) raise lots of money and pay their executives very, very well. What's to stop an a aggressive fundraiser from setting up a tax-exempt and paying themselves huge salaries? Not much really, but Fishman does point out how to get caught and what happens when you do.

UBIT stands for Unrelated Business Income Tax. At one time, a tax-exempt could engage in a business and not pay taxes on the revenue. Not so much any more.

Finally, Fishman distinguishes between permissible lobbying activities and the forbidden political campaign activities.

This is a well-written, thorough examination of tax issues relating to Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. Even though the subject is narrow, the book still runs to almost 450 pages. Fishman and Nolo have done a good job here and anyone who volunteers or works for a small or medium-sized tax-exempt that doesn't have full access to specialist legal or accounting tax advice will do well to purchase, read and continually consult this book.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3e2ee54) out of 5 stars Worth it, big time Nov. 18 2010
By T.J. - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I can't even tell you how useful this book is. As someone who is just starting a nonprofit, this guide is so, so valuable. It has paid me back in spades simply due to the fact that conversations with my attorney and account are much shorter, because I'm already somewhat educated on the material... Of course, I still go to the "experts" on some things, but this has been so helpful to have, and it allows me to ask tough questions of those "experts" that I do hire.

I've been informed by my attorney that when nonprofits first start, that they oftentimes end up having to close because they don't completely understand everything that's required to maintain their tax status. One example is that you can't become politically involved. Also, you need to start showing a certain percentage of donations within a certain time frame for your new nonprofit. Many, many other things too. This is an absolute must-read for key nonprofit individuals that are in leadership positions. The IRS doesn't allow ignorance to be an excuse, so you're going to need to get educated. And, if you're a nonprofit, you probably don't have, or want, to spend a lot of your money talking to someone when you can get much of the same information in a book. Of course we can't know all the information by heart, but a good foundation of knowledge will set you up for success.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b2cad9c) out of 5 stars Great resource for non profits March 12 2012
By Sukru Tikves - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This books delivers comprehensive resources for non profit organizations. I personally volunteer in one, and I did not know our treasurer had so much paperwork to do. Actually, we have realized that there are some items, even he did not know.

Due to the exploits of some badly managed organizations, it seems like IRS has become much stricter on the review of 501(c) filings. You need to handle everything from donations, to travel refunds; from volunteer works, to paying for your employees (ours has only volunteers, even then there is a lot to file).

The book covers all these areas, that you know, and you probably do not know, in great detail, and easily followed language. It starts with a general overview of various non-profit organizations (public charities, private charities, schools, churches, etc), and then goes into describing every aspect of your IRS related paperwork: yearly 990 forms, public disclosures of them, board meeting minutes, volunteer work, expenses, and so on.

If you participate in, or manage a non-profit, this is a definite must have resource. Even if you have a professional handle your paperwork, it will allow you to keep everything in check (we have been burned by this in one occasion).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b12f2e8) out of 5 stars A Must-Have Resource for Every Nonprofit Feb. 2 2011
By John H. - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
For every nonprofit, this is a must-have desk resource to have conveniently at hand. As a minimum, every nonprofit leader, manager, and staff member with input into these issues should study this guide completely through in a weekend and then keep it available for quick reference thereafter.

Expertly organized, with an excellent search index and sample forms, this reference tells staff members, in plain English text, what pitfalls to avoid and also what to DO for the long-term betterment of the organization and its goals.

Highly recommended. I keep it at hand and refer to it regularly.
HASH(0x9b12f534) out of 5 stars One stop shop for new CFO, Treasurer, and Board of Directors of a Nonprofit Organization April 14 2010
By Sidarta Tanu - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Nolo's Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide is a very nice guide to learn everything that is needed to make your nonprofit organization compliant. With this book you will learn how to keep your tax-exempt status and avoid IRS problems. It's written in a way that is very easy to follow and understand (with examples etc, cause as you know that tax laws are very complex and very delicate). I highly recommend this book for those who are running their nonprofit for the first time (or if you have been running it for a while but don't really know much other than submitting the tax forms) and want to learn the rules and guidelines about nonprofit organization

Here are some example of the valuable information in this book (which I didn't know before reading this book):
1. How to create your legal entity and obtain tax-exempt status.
2. What do we mean when we say "Nonprofit"?
3. Explains nonprofit tax regulations and how to maintain nonprofit status (what Tax forms needs to be filed, detail filing process and the new form 990, etc)
4. What to do when someone try to harras you/your nonprofit?
5. GAAP rules and accounting method (cash, accrual, hybrid etc)
6. Detail charitable giving rules (e.g. If donation to a nonprofit is conditioned/earmarked for a particular person or small group of people, then the gift is not tax deductible for the donor, though the organization can still accept the donation. Rules on quid pro quo donation, etc)
7. Who should worry about UBIT? (i.e. tax imposed on income earned by nonprofits from business they conduct that are unrelated to their charitable mission)
8. What are prohibitive activities? (e.g. political campaign activities, endorsing candidate for public office, contributing money to political campaign, etc)
9. Which organization usually gets audited?
10. How to set your organization general ledger (asset, liabilities, net asset, income, expense)
11. Rules on paying and reimbursing employees and volunteers (e.g. value of time and services donated is never deductible, etc)
12. Rules on hiring employees and independent contractors

Sidarta Tanu