Author Archives: Joel Berry

Alert: Compliance Change for Nonprofits Incorporated in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has issued a completely revised nonprofit corporation act that will take effect January 1, 2012.  The law firm of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP has written an article here to describe the new law and recommendations that all nonprofits incorporated in DC should review their articles of incorporation, bylaws, and governance practices to ensure compliance with the new statute.  The areas in which the new code differs from the prior code include maintaining records, member rights, indemnification of officers and directors, conflicts of interest, and officer positions.

 In addition, the new code now has an April 15th deadline for DC biennial reports, instead of the previous deadline of January 15th.

Google for Nonprofits

Google has recently released a new website – http://www.google.com/nonprofits/  that offers exclusive products and resources to non-profits in order to help organizations expand their impact.

 There are three main areas in which Google seeks to assist:

  • Reach and engage supporters
  • Improve your operations
  • Raise awareness for your cause

 Here is an excerpt from a March 16th blog entry :

 “If you work for a nonprofit, this program provides you with several new benefits. Instead of applying to each Google product individually, you can sign up through a one-stop shop application process. If approved, you can access our suite of product offerings designed for nonprofits: up to $10,000 a month in advertising on Google AdWords to reach more donors, free or discounted Google Apps to cut IT costs and operate more efficiently, and premium features for YouTube and our mapping technologies to raise awareness of your cause. We’ve also developed other online resources such as educational videos, case studies and better ways for you to connect with other nonprofits.”

 We encourage all our blog readers to check this out!

Accounting for Leases –A Problem Area

Accounting for Leases

 Lease accounting has historically been a troublesome area of accounting for companies.  In early 2005, partly in response to a letter by the then-Chief Accountant of the SEC, Donald Nicolaisen, over 200 companies have restated or amended their financial statements due to improper lease accounting, including Starbucks, Wendy’s, Cingular Wireless and others.  As recent as 2007, other companies have had to restate their financial statements due to lease accounting issues.

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Does FIN 48 Apply to Not-for-Profit Entities?

 For better or for worse, the fact is that FIN 48 (FASB Interpretation No. 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes) does apply to not-for-profit entities.  In fact, the IRS now requires each not-for-profit to include on its Form 990 a copy of the FIN 48 accrual footnote presented in its audited financial statements.

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Cautions related to the L3C

A new state law is emerging as a potential business model for organizations.  The “L3C” or “low-profit limited liability company” is a new form of the LLC, first signed into law by the Governor of Vermont on April 30, 2008.  According to the Americans for Community Development (see link here) The L3C “combines the best features of a partnership (flexibility, ease of organization, and simplified taxation) with the best features of a corporation (liability protection and easier transferability of ownership.)”  

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