Tax and Employee Benefits for Nonprofits

Tax exemption and benefits.

We provide support and legal guidance with respect to every major tax and benefit issue affecting nonprofits, including, among others:

  • recognition of tax-exempt status;
  • defense of IRS and state tax audits (in the last five years, we have handled more than 100 IRS audits of tax-exempt organizations);
  • Form 990 reporting and disclosure;
  • establishing and managing relationships with subsidiaries and affiliates;
  • unrelated business income tax planning and restructuring;
  • employee benefits;
  • retirement and deferred compensation plans;
  • executive compensation planning;
  • private inurement and private benefit issues;
  • charitable solicitation, substantiation and registration requirements;
  • public disclosure requirements;
  • tax-exempt bond financing;
  • charitable planned giving and bequests;
  • lobbying limitations, tracking and reporting;
  • sales and use taxation and exemptions; and
  • special tax rules applying to private foundations. 

We have extensive experience working with the related foundations and other tax-exempt and taxable affiliates and subsidiaries of trade and professional associations. Our work in this area includes incorporating related foundations and qualifying them for tax exemption and public charity status, counseling them on how to protect that status and avoiding impermissible private benefit, helping to define the allowable separation of responsibilities, programs and activities between the association and affiliate, structuring the appropriate corporate governance balance between the association and affiliate, and defining and drafting the contractual relationship (with respect to shared staff, office space, office services, and the like) between the two. We also have represented a number of tax-exempt organizations and their affiliates and subsidiaries in connection with IRS audits in recent years, and that experience has been invaluable in learning what the IRS' priorities and concerns are in this unique area of the law.

In the areas of tax controversy and tax policy, Venable is ripe with seasoned practitioners – attorneys formerly with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the Joint Committee on Taxation, as well as a former tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and legislation counsel for the Joint Committee on Taxation, a former tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee and a former trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division. This bench strength has proven to be tremendously helpful in navigating the intersection of tax policy and enforcement, legislation and regulation. We have extensive experience in every aspect of tax controversy work – from IRS audits to IRS appeals to litigating tax cases in court – and have had a large number of notable successes in this area.