Nonprofit & Tax Exempt Organizations

In today’s increasingly complicated, regulated and competitive environment, nonprofit organizations are no longer the exception to the rule. Instead, they face many of the same challenges as for-profit companies and enterprises. The nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations team at McGuireWoods provides comprehensive counsel and a full array of legal services designed to help nonprofits operate successfully.

Our clients include universities, schools and other educational institutions, hospital and healthcare organizations, medical research organizations, publicly supported charities, supporting organizations, museums, trade associations, churches and religious organizations, political organizations, family foundations, corporate foundations and community foundations.

The team consists of a core group of experienced lawyers whose practices focus on the special legal needs of nonprofit, tax-exempt and charitable organizations. In addition to their work on behalf of clients, our lawyers are committed to developing and communicating best practices within the nonprofit sector. Our group includes a member of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Advisory Board for Tax Exempt Organizations and Government Entities, a Tax Notes publisher and member of the board of the Exempt Organizations Tax Review, a member of the advisory board and North American editor for the International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law (IJNL), and a former tax law professor at both the University of Richmond School of Law and the American University Washington College of Law.

We advise organizations on corporate governance, internal policies and procedures, conflicts of interest and risk management, and tax compliance and reporting. We provide guidance on endowment and investment management practices, including compliance with the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA).

Drawing on the resources of our full-service firm, we also counsel clients on issues involving fundraising and development, grantmaking, labor and employment, executive compensation, employee benefits, intellectual property, software and technology, and lobbying and political campaign practices. Our corporate and finance attorneys represent clients in related party structures and joint ventures, bond financing, and other major transactions.

The nonprofit sector is a growing segment of the U.S. economy. With increasing pressure to raise revenues at the national, state and local levels, nonprofits are likely to continue finding themselves in the government’s crosshairs. Our lawyers have closely followed the legislative scrutiny exempt organizations have faced in recent years. In addition to the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which contained a number of reform provisions aimed at charitable giving and public charities, the IRS has also examined executive compensation practices of public charities. These examinations resulted in the collection of significant tax revenue under the excess benefit transaction rules applicable to public charities, which are likely to see more IRS compliance and enforcement initiatives in this area.

Other initiatives already undertaken by the IRS, for which we provide guidance, include new regulations to implement the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), dramatic changes to IRS Form 990, and proposed regulations for program-related investments of private foundations. In recent years, the IRS has also issued a range of questionnaires, governance checksheets and guidesheets for reporting by exempt organizations and for use by its agents during examinations, as well as reports and recommendations on improving tax rules governing international grantmaking, retirement plans in cross-border transactions, tax-exempt bonds, and employment tax issues. Given the extraordinary range of the IRS’ recent revenue-raising initiatives (and those of other taxing bodies), nonprofits need effective legal counsel more than ever.

Experience

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Unitrust beneficiaries

    Representation of unitrust beneficiaries in the commutation of charitable remainder trusts and IRS filings associated with acts of self-dealing resulting from overpayment.

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Public charitable organizations and fiduciaries

    Represented public charitable organizations and fiduciaries in connection with suit to construe bequest or trust provisions for the benefit of the charitable organizations.

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Nonprofit preservation trust

    Attained a bench win in a partition suit for a non-profit preservation trust.

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Nonqualified charitable remainder trusts

    Handled the reformation of 20 nonqualified charitable remainder trusts in a $500+ million estate to qualify the remainder interests for the federal estate tax charitable deduction.

  • REPRESENTATIVE MATTER

    Secured precedent setting victory on North Carolina statutes of limitations

    John Doe 1K and John Doe 2K v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, NC, 775 S.E.2d 918 (N.C. Ct. App. 2015). McGuireWoods obtained a significant victory for a Roman Catholic diocese. Several plaintiffs alleging sexual abuse by priests in the 1970s and 1980s filed suits against the Diocese. The lawsuits were designed to advance novel rules for tolling of statutes of limitation. In August 2015, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in its first decision addressing the application of statutes of limitations in cases alleging decades-old abuse by clergy, ruled in favor of the Diocese. The Court of Appeals declined to adopt the tolling theories urged by the plaintiffs, all of whom admitted that they had always known of the alleged abuse but had made no effort to pursue potential claims for decades.

Team Leaders

Full Team
Back to top