In our experience, the most successful tax-exempt organizations are generally the product of our client’s very personal vision and commitment. Accordingly, we believe that part of our responsibility is to help the client make the proper choices to ensure that the organization will fulfill those objectives.
Whenever possible, our preference is to provide early assistance to tax-exempt organizations, starting from the ground up. Typically, we work closely with our client to identify his or her goals, both financial and personal, and to determine whether the establishment of a tax-exempt organization is consistent with those intentions. If the answer is yes, we then identify the various challenges associated with establishing and maintaining a tax-exempt organization.
Once the client has settled upon a plan, we prepare the various corporate documents and the trust and tax exemption applications required to establish and qualify the entity as a tax-exempt organization.
In recent years, taxing authorities and other regulating government agencies have responded to concerns about corporate negligence and malfeasance by increasing the administrative responsibilities of operating a tax-exempt organization. One result of these measures has been to underscore the value of working with knowledgeable counsel to prepare the submissions to taxing authorities, the Attorney General and other charitable regulators. We believe that there is no substitute for experience during these critical and formulative stages of a tax-exempt organization.
If the taxing authorities approve an organization’s tax-exempt status, we then provide guidance on continuing reporting obligations, recordkeeping responsibilities and operational requirements.
In many cases, we continue to work closely with our clients in organizing and conducting their board meetings, establishing their administrative committees and developing their grant programs. In other cases, once we have provided our client with the basic operational guidelines, we remain available for counseling on an “as needed” basis.
We also have experience in establishing and counseling mutual benefit corporations, such as homeowners associations and business associations. We work with clients to determine whether the income tax and organizational advantages of establishing a mutual benefit corporation outweigh the expenses of establishing and administering such an entity.
Our tax-exempt organization clients also benefit from the comprehensive legal coverage provided by our full-service law firm. Our Real Estate Group is able to assist in the acquisition, leasing or sale of real property. Our Employment Law Group works with our tax-exempt clients on employment agreements and other employee relations issues. And our Intellectual Property and Technology Groups assist clients in navigating complicated issues involving trademarks, copyright and use of the Internet.
For more information, please contact Darryl W. Cluster.