A large part of the practice involves representation of non-profit organizations exempt from tax under section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(6), and other sections of the Internal Revenue Code. The firm helps organizations obtain and maintain tax-exempt status and deal with issues relating to the unrelated business tax and other tax issues.
In a typical year, the firm creates dozens of non-profit organizations and files and shepherds through the Internal Revenue Service applications for recognition of tax-exempt status for each of them. The process involves the preparation of exemption applications (IRS Form 1023 or 1024) and answering questions raised by Internal Revenue Service agents examining the applications.
With respect to section 501(c)(3) and section 501(c)(4) organizations involved in public policy activity, the firm constantly advises such organizations concerning the applicable limits on lobbying and electoral activity, including review of client mailings and review and advice with respect to websites and other communications. It also advises clients about the proper relationship among affiliated section 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations and political action committees.
Webster, Chamberlain & Bean advises all types of for profit and non-profit organizations with respect to tax questions such as inurement, mergers, excess benefits transactions, unrelated business income tax, the tax on advertising income, establishment of non-profit and for-profit subsidiary organizations to carry out certain activities, and other issues that frequently arise in the operation of non-profit organizations.
Because the Internal Revenue Service and state attorney generals have recently taken an increased interest in corporate governance of non-profit organizations, the firm often advises clients with respect to governance issues, such as adoption of conflict of interest, records retention and whistleblower policies; revision of articles of incorporation and bylaws; conduct of meetings of boards of directors and committees; fiduciary responsibility; and board liability.
The firm is very familiar with issues involving the various tax forms filed by non-profit entities and regularly advises with respect to the completion of the applicable forms, often conducting a final review after completion of tax returns by the client’s tax return preparer.
Many firm clients receive donations through planned giving programs such as charitable remainder trusts, charitable annuity trusts, and charitable annuities. The firm is experienced in the creation of such vehicles and in advising organizations and donors concerning them.
Finally, the firm represents for profit and non-profit clients and individuals who are examined by the Internal Revenue Service, from the beginning of the audit process through the issuance of a no-change letter, a closing agreement or litigation in the United States Tax Court, District Courts or Claims Court.
In short, Webster, Chamberlain & Bean is experienced in all areas of tax law affecting non-profit organizations and has advised clients concerning these issues for almost fifty years.