Donating Fund InterestsDue to increased valuation of public and private equities, coupled with the upcoming end of the sunset provision that allows hedge fund managers to defer taxation on fees earned offshore,[1] there is an increased interest among hedge fund and private equity managers to donate a portion of their fund interests to charity.  The goal is to allow a manager to avoid ordinary income or capital gains tax and/or to obtain a tax deduction while accomplishing his or her philanthropic goals.  In order to make the most of any such charitable giving plan, managers need to appreciate that the amount of any charitable deduction will vary depending on the character of the donated property and the type of organization that receives the gift.

Continue Reading Donating Fund Interests: A “Why Now?” and “How To” Primer

On November 4, 2016, the IRS updated its Conservation Easement Audit Techniques Guide (CE Audit Guide) for the first time since March 15, 2012.

According to the IRS’s introduction on its Audit Techniques Guide website, Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) are developed to help IRS examiners during audits by explaining issues and accounting methods within specific industries. ATGs are also meant to provide guidance to small business owners and tax professionals for tax planning purposes within those industries. However, each ATG contains a disclaimer that it is not “an official pronouncement of the law or position of the Service and cannot be used, cited, or relied upon as such.” This article will not explain the CE Audit Guide in depth, but rather discuss the specific updates made in November.

Continue Reading IRS Updates Conservation Easement Audit Techniques Guide

accountant-accounting-adviser-advisor-159804A new private ruling may be of great interest to clients with substantial real estate interests who wish to contribute one or more properties to a family foundation.  The ruling suggests that payment by the foundation to a property management entity controlled by the donor may be permissible under the personal services exception.

Continue Reading Private Ruling Exempts Property Management Services from Self-Dealing

voteA Brief Case Study:  Your nonprofit’s founder sends out an email in their official capacity to all of its members urging the them to vote for or against a political candidate or for or against a local proposition.

It may be a well-intended gesture, but a mistake that could result in excise taxes or the potential loss of your organization’s tax-exempt status.

Continue Reading What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know Before Advocating a Political Agenda

The case of Salus Mundi Foundation et al v. Commissioner

Transferee LiabilityOn August 15, 2016, the Tax Court decided in Salus Mundi Foundation et al v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2016-154, that two foundations were liable as transferees for a corporation’s unpaid federal tax liability after another foundation distributed to the foundations the proceeds of the sale of the corporation’s stock.

The history in this case involves a marital trust that initially owned all of the stock in a C corporation called Double-D Ranch.  Later, a portion of the stock was transferred to the Diebold Foundation in New York.  Subsequent to that, the Diebold Foundation in New York sold the stock and distributed the proceeds from the sale of Double-D Ranch stock to three foundations formed by the Diebold children, pursuant to a New York state-approved plan of dissolution.

Continue Reading Transferee Liability: The [Unlikely] Situation that your Nonprofit Receives a Charitable Gift with Expensive Tax Strings Attached

SOCAP_logoThis month more than 2,500 people gathered at the ninth Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference, billed as the intersection of money and meaning.  The conference is designed to be the place where businesses built to solve the biggest problems meet investors, peers, partners and those who make it happen.  Launched in 2008 in the midst of the economic crises, the conference has grown is size and scope. Coblentz was thrilled to have had the opportunity to sponsor, attend and speak at this event and we came away with the following takeaways:

Continue Reading Takeaways From SOCAP16: The Social Capital Markets Conference

photo-1454165804606-c3d57bc86b40Those responsible for managing a private foundation’s investment assets may not always understand the unique fiduciary and tax constraints imposed on private foundations and their managers by both state and federal law.

Why is this important? 

Running afoul of the rules can result in costly excise taxes that can be imposed on both the foundation and its managers, and in the most extreme cases, can lead to revocation of tax-exempt status.

Continue Reading Investing Private Foundation Assets: What Every Foundation Manager Should Know

photo-1446482972539-0ed52b3e9520We have all been told at one point or another that we simply “can’t have it all.”  But for owners of recreational or agricultural land who desire to preserve the land, pass it down to their descendants as a legacy property, and achieve substantial tax savings, “(almost) having it all” is a possibility.  Enter, the conservation easement – a valuable tool that can bridge the divide between these often competing interests. Continue Reading Conserve Your Land, Preserve Your Estate: The Conservation Easement as a Land Use, Tax & Estate Planning Tool

photo-1460925895917-afdab827c52fIn recent years, private foundations increasingly have sought to incorporate socially responsible investing (“SRI”) mandates.  Some SRI mandates take the form of negative screens—e.g., screening out tobacco stocks.  Other SRI approaches are more proactive—e.g., a foundation focusing on disease eradication might invest in companies that develop vaccines.  However, there has been a view—accurate or not—that some socially responsible investments yield lower risk-adjusted financial returns than traditional investments (such investments are sometimes referred to as “concessionary”).

Accordingly, when a foundation engages in an SRI program, several legal issues arise.

Continue Reading IRS Notice Provides Support for Socially Responsible Investing by Private Foundations

A promise to give is not a guaranteed charitable gift.

smartphone-586903_1920In an open letter to their newborn daughter last December, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan announced they will eventually give 99 percent of their Facebook shares during their lives to a variety of important social causes.  Over the past several months, commentators have expressed both enthusiasm and concern with the manner in which the couple chose to commit their wealth to advancing these causes.  Continue Reading What Does the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Mean for Modern Philanthropy?