Internal Revenue Service

Charity Laws Face Changes
November 1, 2004

In June, the Senate Finance committee — which oversees the Internal Revenue Service’s regulation of tax-exempt organizations — released a draft staff report suggesting many drastic changes in the law that governs charities. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, announced at press time that he intended to introduce bipartisan legislation this fall to incorporate some of these changes. Here is a condensed look at some of the more wide-ranging, proposed changes.

Taking Out Life Insurance on Your Donors: A Gamble?
September 1, 2004

In the past few years, there have been numerous issues concerning the details of how a charity should benefit from a donor’s life insurance policy. A new life insurance-based plan provides a benefit to charities in the form of cash payment or significant future income — without the charity being required to invest any money.

Such plans need to be carefully evaluated by charities because they raise a significant number of tax issues. This column serves as a brief outline of the plan and the issues that should be considered by a charitable organization before going forward.

The Rules of Appraisals
July 1, 2004

Most donors know that if they want to make a contribution of property to a charitable organization, they must establish the value of the donated item in order to claim it as a deduction. And knowing what is necessary to support a claim might encourage a donor to actually make the donation.

This column is a brief review of the requirements governing donations of property, other than publicly traded securities, having a value in excess of $5,000.