Taxes for excess benefit transactions are to deter insiders otherwise known as disqualified persons from using a nonprofit for unreasonable compensation. Recent tax court cases underscore that apart from those named in the law as disqualified persons who were obvious targets—such as directors and certain officers, members of their families, and certain affiliated entities—there may be others who qualify as “disqualified persons.” The question whether an individual is a disqualified person generally “depends upon all relevant facts and circumstances.” The same guidance that goes for nonprofits goes for every legal entity: keep the entity separate. It may be obvious, but you should not use the nonprofit’s funds to buy groceries for the officers or directors or other insiders. You should not pay unreasonable compensation for the officers. In short, you should not use a nonprofit tax-exempt organization, which is subsidized by US taxpayers, as a personal piggybank for officers, directors, their families, or other insiders.
This article discusses recent developments in nonprofit law in private inurement and private benefits. Private inurement issues typically arise in connection with an IRS proceeding seeking to revoke the tax-exempt status of the organization. The IRS will not tolerate even a little private inurement. In short, insiders may not unjustly enrich themselves at the organization’s expense. The other side of the tax-exempt requirement is in the purpose of the organization. Under the private benefit doctrine, an organization is not operated for an exempt purpose unless it serves a public rather than private interest. The IRS recognizes that private benefits to third parties may incidentally arise from the nonprofit’s activities consistent with its proper purpose. Any transaction will result in some benefit to a third party, but what the IRS is concerned about is excessive private benefits.
Employers have become increasingly emboldened to stick it to their employees. Employees with little negotiating leverage or without legal counsel have been saddled with some egregious restrictions. Courts over the years have thrown out the most unreasonable restrictions, creating various tests whether to enforce the agreement. But the employee would need the resources to fight back in court. The District of Columbia has recently banned non-compete agreements, which is the trend throughout the country. If you have employees who reside or work in states that have banned non-competes, then you have precious few alternatives except to eliminate non-competes from your employment agreements with those protected employees. In the District of Columbia, that means eliminating non-compete provisions not only from your agreements with low-wage employees, but also agreements with even executive level employees.
Many small businesses are government contractors. They seek the services of a small business attorney to navigate the difficult landscape of government contracting. One significant lever to allow these small businesses to compete in the government contracting arena is to qualify for one of the contracting assistance programs, such as women owned small business program, administered through the Small Business Administration. There are several advantages if your small business qualifies for one of these certifications, including set asides and sole source contracts. A WOSB is also attractive to a government agency or prime contractor trying to meet its targets. Previously, women owned small businesses were able to self-certify, but as of last year, there are new restrictions on self-certification. This article explores the criteria for a business to qualify as a women owned small business.
You will remember that difficult discussion with your small business attorney about how you wanted your limited liability company to be treated for purposes of taxation. If you do nothing, then your multi-member LLC is taxed as a partnership. And in this article, when we refer to a “partner” or a “partnership,” we are generally referring to a member in a LLC that is taxed as a partnership. If you want to be taxed as a corporation, you need to file an election. This article highlights the new audit rules and whether you may want to consider making changes to your multi-member LLC.
Some owners of small businesses want to keep their ownership anonymous for various reasons. That just got a lot harder. The trend in many states is to require disclosure. Just last year, the District of Columbia joined other states in enacting legislation requiring the disclosure of beneficial ownership. Other states like Delaware have resisted the change. Now the federal government has entered the fray with the enactment of the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). If you are a small business or if you are a small business lawyer assisting a small business, you definitely want to familiarize yourself with the CTA. Under the CTA, small business will have to submit beneficial ownership information to the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crime Enforcement Network. The information will not be available to the general public. The new CTA accelerates that trend and it will become increasingly difficult to shield beneficial ownership information from government authorities and eventually the public at large.
Most entrepreneurs are constantly looking for money to support their small businesses. Startups have three major options for funding: self-funding; loans; equity. In this article, we discuss seed financing, when owners give up equity in their small businesses in exchange for funding from third parties. Article discusses Simple Agreements for Future Equity (SAFEs), convertible notes and preferred shares.
The DOJ on June 1, 2020 issued a revision to its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs. The new DOJ Guidance provides companies general principles and elements to consider when designing, implementing, and updating their compliance policies and procedures. The DOJ explains that the purpose of the new guidance is to assist prosecutors in making informed decisions whether and to what extent the company’s compliance program was effective at the time of the offense, and is effective at the time of a charging decision or resolution. Prosecutors can then use the guidance to determine the appropriate (1) form of any resolution or prosecution; (2) monetary penalty, if any; and (3) compliance obligations contained in any corporate criminal resolution.
- Published in Corporate compliance
If you own a foreign company and are thinking of opening up for business in the United States then you should read this article. Despite the challenges, foreign businesses continue to flock to the United States. This article gives an overview of the major decisions that foreign businesses must make as they explore entering the U.S. market. They usually set up a subsidiary not a branch, and confront issues of where to form the new entity. They consider issues dealing with tax, immigration, CFIUS reviews, corporate structure and other issues as they enter the U.S. market.
The small business of all stripes cheered when the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The CARES Act provides some relief to small businesses through providing economic injury disaster loans; easing payments on current SBA loans; and then the Mother lode, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP provides huge incentives to small businesses to keep workers on their payroll. There are undoubtedly many government programs in which the bureaucratic obstacles overwhelm the efficacy of the program. The PPP loan program does not appear to be one of them, although the jury is still out. Nevertheless, all small businesses should apply for a PPP loan as soon as possible.
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