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?

tax-468440_1920In July of 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) introduced a shorter application form to help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status more easily.  At that time, the Form 1023-EZ required a $400 user fee to be submitted with the application.

Effective July 1, 2016, the cost will drop to $275 for Form 1023-EZ filers, pursuant to recently issued Revenue Procedure 2016-32.

Continue Reading Form 1023-EZ Filers Benefit From Reduced Fee

On April 25, 2016, Joan and Sandy Weill announced their donation of $185 million to establish the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences in an ambitious effort to accelerate the development of new therapies for diseases affecting the brain and nervous system, including psychiatric disorders. This is the largest single donation in UCSF History. Learn more in the video below, or read about the donation here.