Based on a series of webinars sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Nonprofit Organizations Committee, NonProfit Law: A Practical Guide to Legal Issues for Nonprofit Organizations aims to provide attorneys who may be called upon to advise or to serve on the board of a nonprofit organization with some practical information about legal issues that they may encounter while acting in that capacity. The authors begin with some basic questions that the attorney should consider, such as the form of the nonprofit, the organization’s tax status, any regulatory oversight, and the existence of alternatives to the nonprofit’s organizational scheme. The remaining chapters address the formation of the nonprofit, tax issues relating to nonprofits, governance of the nonprofit, and miscellaneous matters that may arise during the representation of the nonprofit.
The chapter dealing with the formation of the nonprofit discusses the structures that nonprofits may take, the various types of nonprofit corporations, and the organizational documents needed to create the nonprofit. The authors then move onto the issue of taxation. What are the common types and classifications of tax exemptions? How does one apply for tax-exempt status? Are there any annual forms that need to be filed with the IRS? (Hint: yes!) Now, what about governance? The authors provide an overview of the individuals that are involved in governing the organization, the fiduciary duties that are imposed upon directors as well as any liabilities directors may face, and board policies. Lastly, the authors set out some other issues that may arise relating to subsidiaries, mergers and sales of assets, and dissolution.
The appendices also have a lot of useful information, such as guidance for drafting articles of incorporation and bylaws, a tax-exempt organization reference chart, and a list of nonprofit resources.
If you are an attorney faced with providing advice to a nonprofit but have no experience doing so, have a look at NonProfit Law: A Practical Guide to Legal Issues for Nonprofit Organizations.