Non-profit organizations serve a number of important public interests in carrying out their missions. All too often, however, these entities are improperly set up, poorly run, and severely lacking in accountability. This can invite unwanted scrutiny that may lead to lost public trust and, in some cases, civil and criminal investigations into the nonprofit.
Now more than ever, running a non-profit requires the diligence that only an experienced law firm can provide. SederLaw works with all types of non-profit entities to ensure they are professionally organized and operated. Our Business and Corporate Law practice is ready to assist with your legal needs today.
The Types Of Non-Profits We Represent
Non-profits come in all shapes and sizes, providing valuable services to communities at home and abroad. They can provide food, medical help, shelter, education, and much more to those in need. SederLaw represents such varied non-profits as:
- 501(c)(3) organizations
- Social welfare organizations
- Trade associations
- Educational institutions
- Labor unions
- Chambers of commerce
- Homeowners associations
- Churches and religious organizations
These and other non-profits are largely defined by the Internal Revenue Code, especially with respect to tax-exempt status. It’s important to note, however, that while most non-profits are tax-exempt, not all are. And there still may be taxes that apply to your specific organization.
How SederLaw Assists Non-Profit (or Nonprofit) Entities
Our law firm is proud to be active in numerous non-profits, both as members of the community and as legal counsel. Whether you are just starting a non-profit organization or you’ve been involved with one for a while, our legal team can help with all aspects of establishing, structuring, and operating your non-profit. We provide these and other services:
- Incorporation and organization. Non-profit entities are required to file articles of organization in Massachusetts. Through this process, a non-profit will specify its exact purpose, which must meet certain criteria to make it eligible for tax-exempt status. The articles of the organization will also detail other information regarding its members, officers, resident agents, and more.
- Tax-exempt status and other tax issues. Not all non-profits will be able to receive tax-exempt designation, and the steps to do so are cumbersome. There are strict guidelines that non-profits must follow to obtain and maintain their status. We help your organization apply for federal and state tax exemption and assist with all other tax matters, including the unrelated business income tax.
- Annual reporting. Every non-profit organization in Massachusetts must timely file an annual report. The report provides updated information regarding the non-profit and notifies the state of the last time the entity held its required annual meeting. Our firm can ensure that this paperwork is filed and will handle any issues involving other documentation requirements.
- Auditing. Organizations that bring in revenue over a certain dollar amount are required to submit financial statements that must be audited by a certified public accountant. Certain types of non-profits are exempt from this requirement. These and other audits are best left in the hands of a qualified attorney who is familiar with the state’s regulations.
- Charitable solicitation registration. Before a charitable organization may solicit contributions, it must obtain a Certificate of Solicitation from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. This certificate must be renewed annually. There are limited exceptions to this rule.
- Board governance. Selecting the officers, directors, and board members of your non-profit organization is one of the most critical tasks you will need to complete. These individuals will be responsible for fundraising, running the daily tasks of the nonprofit, and other major duties. We take this step seriously because board governance will come to define your organization.
- Employment law matters. If you intend for your non-profit to hire workers, it needs to understand how to manage employees, independent contractors, and volunteers. Employment law takes on a new dimension with nonprofit entities, but our firm stands ready to work with you.
- Dispute resolution. One of the worst things that can happen to a non-profit, especially a fledgling one, is for infighting to erupt. Establishing proper dispute resolution methods will help ensure the continued smooth functioning of your organization. It can also avoid legal issues that arise when someone is improperly dismissed from a nonprofit.
- Constitutional issues. Occasionally, First Amendment and other constitutional issues arise in how non-profits, especially religious organizations, conduct their activities. As part of our multidisciplinary approach to representing clients, we rely upon our constitutional law experience to resolve these matters.
- Lobbying and political activities. These are two areas that can easily get a non-profit in hot water. 501(c)(3) organizations, for instance, are prohibited from engaging in political activities. Walking the line between acceptable and unacceptable conduct while maintaining tax-exempt status is one way our firm helps non-profit entities.
- Endowment and investment policies. We can work with your non-profit to develop an investment strategy that responsibly sets forth how endowment funds may be used. Our firm will also help your non-profit understand its legal obligations with respect to endowments.
Contact Our Worcester Non-Profit Entities Attorney Today
Our goal is to see non-profits enjoy success in carrying out the hard work they do. We have the dedication and knowledge it takes to ensure non-profit entities abide by their legal obligations and have their best interests protected. Contact SederLaw today to get started.
SederLaw helps clients with non-profit law in Worcester from their primary office as well as clients throughout MetroWest from their Westborough office.