Nonprofit Law

Guide to Charitable Organization Law

Nonprofit Organization is used as a broad-based term that encompasses all organizations that are known variously as charities, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private voluntary organizations (PVOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), etc. Not for Profit Organizations are regulated by local, state and federal laws. The purpose of a non-profit corporation or association is to conduct business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive. Nonprofit corporations are created according to state law. Like for-profit corporations, nonprofit corporations must file a statement of corporate purpose with the Secretary of State and pay a fee, create articles of incorporation, hold regular meetings, and satisfy other obligations to achieve and sustain corporate status.

Nonprofit corporations are different than profit-focused corporations in several ways. The most simple difference is that nonprofit corporations cannot operate for profit. Meaning, they cannot allocate corporate income to shareholders. The funds acquired by nonprofit corporations must stay within the corporate accounts to pay for reasonable salaries, expenses, and the activities of the corporation. If the income of a corporation inures to the personal benefit of any individual, the corporation is said to be profit driven. Salaries are not considered personal benefits because they are essential for the operation of the corporation. An unwarranted salary, however, may cause a corporation to lose its nonprofit status.

Nonprofit corporations are exempt from income taxes if they conduct business solely for the benefit of the general public. State laws on corporations vary from state to state, but generally states give tax breaks and exemptions to nonprofit corporations that are structured and operated exclusively for either a religious, charitable, scientific, public safety, literary, or educational purpose. Nonprofit organizations may charge money for their services, and donations to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are tax deductible. The Internal Revenue Service must approve the tax-exempt status of all nonprofit organizations except churches.

An immense number of organizations qualify for nonprofit status under the various definitions. Nonprofit organizations include churches, soup kitchens, charities, political associations, business leagues, fraternities, sororities, sports leagues, Colleges and Universities, hospitals, museums, television stations, symphonies, and public interest law firms.

For information about Nonprofit organizations, please visit the resources found below on this page. Additionally, for legal assistance related to nonprofit organizations, check our Law Firms page for a list of attorneys in your area.


Nonprofit Law Articles

  • Charitable Giving in a Will or Trust - Can Children Contest a Parent's Wishes?
    A person that leaves charitable funds to an organization may need to utilize the services of an estate planning lawyer to ensure that the funds are inaccessible to heirs of a will or beneficiaries of a trust. These funds are often not contestable as the express wishes of the estate owner, but the children or spouses surviving this person may attempt to acquire them.
  • Charitable Gift-Giving - Can the Organization Use My Gift Any Way It Wants?
    Most often, a charity can use the gifts granted by contributors in nearly any way possible as long as it relates to the charity without violating certain rules and guidelines governing over the charity in the state or city. However, the charity does not usually need to disclose this to the giver unless he or she has direct involvement with the organization.
  • Charitably Giving to Certain Groups May Cause Legal Trouble
    When a person gives to a charity, he or she should consider certain factors and issues that could become legal concerns such as engaging in charities that are scams or those that involve illegal activity either to acquire money or to disperse it.
  • Nonprofits and Workers’ Compensation
    Large corporations can afford to pay for Workers’ Compensation if an employee becomes legitimately hurt while performing a work assignment.
  • Nonprofits and Workers’ Compensation
    No one is safe from an on-the-job accident. While some occupations have far greater risks than others, that does not mean a person working in an office rather than in construction, for example, is at no risk of an injury.
  • Understanding IRS Tax Notices - Atlanta Tax Lawyers
    Receiving notices from the IRS is always unsettling, but a tax attorney can give you practical advice on the best way to deal with some common notices and get away from being audited.
  • Forming a Nonprofit Corporation or 501(c)(3) in San Diego
    Are you interested in learning more about forming a San Diego based nonprofit corporation or a 501(c)(3) business entity to advance the public, religious, scientific or charitable interests which are important to you?
  • Charitable Remainder Unitrust – What Are They
    Unitrusts are standard trusts with a trustee and monetary disbursements to the beneficiaries with an added difference once the trust term expires. Once the trust is no longer paid to the beneficiary, the assets that remain within the unitrust then go to the charity of whichever purposes the trust exist for by the person designating it.
  • How Do Non-Profits Engage in Unfair Competition Measures?
    Any type of redirecting consumer traffic and sales away from a business is part of unfair competition practices and activity, and even certain non-profit organizations engage in these situations sometimes. It is important to know when this occurs and how it affects the company so that the owner is able to pursue legal action when the offense is serious enough.
  • Non-Profits and the Establishment of the Organization
    Starting a non-profit organization is important based on the goals of the owner, benefit to the public and the services supplied to those involved in the non-profit. Establishing the entity and ensuring the creation of the organization is valid and processed correctly is important for the owner, and this may require the services of a lawyer to complete.
  • All Nonprofit Organizations Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Nonprofit Organizations.

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