Nonprofit Legal Alerts

The materials in our Resources section are for informational purposes only, without any representation that they are accurate or complete. These publications do not constitute legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and any other person, nor are they an offer to create such a relationship. These publications are current as of the date written, but laws change over time and vary from state to state. As a result, the information presented here may not be timely and/or appropriate for any state not specifically addressed in a publication. Consult an attorney if you have questions regarding the content of any publication.

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Do You Provide Parking & Marta Passes to Your Employees? – You May Owe Taxes!

Posted on May 2, 2018

Does your nonprofit organization do any of the following?

    Are you providing MARTA passes or parking to your employees? If the answer is yes, read on. If the answer is “only through a pre-tax deduction from the employees” paychecks,” read on!
    There are four scenarios we want to highlight:
    1. 501(c)(3) organization pays for MARTA passes or nearby parking for employees
    2. 501(c)(3) organization purchases MARTA passes or parking at a nearby lot and then passes those costs on to employees through a pre-tax deduction to the employee’s pay
    3. 501(c)(3) organization has parking lot spaces included in its lease and provides the parking free to its employees
    4. 501(c)(3) organization owns the parking lot and provides parking free to its employees
    All four of these situations raise tax implications for 501(c)(3) nonprofits under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Act”).

    The Act attempted to treat 501(c)(3) nonprofits the same as for-profit businesses that can no longer take a deduction for these expenses by requiring nonprofits to pay unrelated business income tax on such expenses. The law does not follow the traditional UBI rule (income derived from trade or business activities not substantially related to the tax-exempt organization’s purposes is taxable as if earned by a comparable for-profit enterprise), making it more difficult to understand.

Have You Done Your Paycheck Checkup Yet?

Posted on April 27, 2018

The IRS is launching a sweeping effort to advise taxpayers about the importance of doing a “paycheck checkup” as soon as possible to ensure that they are withholding properly from their paychecks. It is highly recommended that employers, including nonprofit corporations, share this information with their employees as soon as possible. Please see this link for an article providing additional information you should share with your employees so they can determine if they are withholding correctly from their paychecks.

Licensing Requirements for Summer and Other Childcare Programs

Posted on April 25, 2018

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) requires that “all programs providing group care for children” obtain either a license or an exemption from licensing. You cannot simply assume that your program is exempt.

If you operate a child care program in Georgia, you must either obtain a license or an official determination that the program is exempt from licensing rules. Ignoring these requirements can lead to fines or even prosecution for operating an unlicensed facility. This article provides information about Georgia licensing requirements, and how to obtain an exemption if your program is eligible to receive one.

Update – Gun Laws in Georgia: Can a Nonprofit Restrict Guns On Its Property?

Posted on April 9, 2018

Prior to 2014, many nonprofits in Georgia, particularly those that work with vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, and victims of violence, did not permit weapons on their premises. In 2014, the Safe Carry Protection Act was adopted in Georgia, and significantly limited the ability to restrict gun carrying by licensed gun owners. This law affected nonprofits that had such restrictions, and particularly those that were located in government buildings or leased property from a municipality, county or the State of Georgia. This article, which describes the rules regarding restrictions on gun carrying as set forth in the Safe Carry Protection Act, has been updated to address a 2018 decision in favor of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which may allow gun restrictions to be put in place by nonprofits leasing government property if they meet certain criteria.

Click here to read the article.

Protecting Confidential Information – Five Steps to Consider

Posted on February 28, 2018

Nonprofits, like all organizations, collect and create information that is valuable to the organization and important to maintain in confidence. Examples include client information (including personal and medical information), donor information, personal information (about board members, volunteers, or employees), as well as other business and financial information that needs to be protected. This article outlines five steps organizations should consider in protecting their confidential information.

Employees, Independent Contractors and Interns: Correctly Classifying Your Workers

Posted on February 1, 2018

Just like any workplace, a nonprofit organization has workers who aid the nonprofit in the pursuit of its goals. These workers are the nonprofit’s most valuable asset, and their performance will often determine the organization’s overall success.

The attached articles address recent legal developments and answer three important questions for the nonprofit employer:

– Is a nonprofit’s worker an employee or an independent contractor?
– Are the nonprofit’s employees classified correctly as exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act?
– Can the organization have unpaid interns?

Click here to read the articles: Guidance for Nonprofits Seeking to Use Unpaid Interns and Proper Worker Classification in the Workplace: Avoiding Misclassification Issues.

Proper Worker Classification in the Nonprofit Workplace: Avoiding Misclassification Issues

Posted on January 24, 2018

Just like any workplace, a nonprofit organization has workers who aid the nonprofit in the pursuit of its goals. These workers are the nonprofit’s most valuable asset, and their performance will often determine the organization’s overall success. However, is a nonprofit’s worker an employee or an independent contractor? Is there a difference? Does it matter?

A nonprofit will often treat paid workers as contractors – it is easier and there are less administrative and tax burdens. However, most paid workers are actually employees, and must be paid as such in order to avoid significant legal liability for the organization. This includes payment of overtime and minimum wage.

This article discusses how to determine whether to pay a worker as an employee or an independent contractor, and what the differences are under Georgia and federal law. First, we will review how employee and independent contractor classifications are interpreted by the United States Department of Labor (USDOL), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL). Then, we will examine the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to help determine whether an employee is exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Included within this article are links which lead to USDOL guidelines.

Is It Okay for Your Interns To Be Unpaid?

Posted on January 17, 2018

Guidance for Nonprofits Seeking to Use Unpaid Interns

Unpaid interns are often an asset to nonprofits, bringing with them a desire to learn and a passion for the cause of the organization. Although unpaid internships can benefit all involved and are generally permissible in the nonprofit arena, nonprofits should approach these relationships with some degree of caution, taking care to ensure that the primary benefits of the internship accrue to the intern, rather than to the organization. Care must be taken to ensure the required criteria for unpaid internships are met. If the criteria are not satisfied, interns could be employees of the organization who are covered by the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In January of 2018, the United States Department of Labor (US DOL) updated its test for determining when an internship can be unpaid. This article provides guidance about how to determine if your interns can be unpaid under the new test adopted by the US DOL.

The “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” – What it means for our small §501(c)(3) nonprofit clients

Posted on December 22, 2017

There were many proposals in the House and Senate tax reform bills that could have affected small §501(c)(3) nonprofit clients, and now that the dust has cleared and the bill has become law, here are the main changes that could affect Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta clients.

A Practical Guide to Disability Accommodation in the Nonprofit Workplace

Posted on October 31, 2017

Disability accommodation issues can be challenging in any workplace, including the nonprofit workplace. This article provides general information and guidance for nonprofits on how to identify an accommodation request under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and how to address such a request once it is received.

Because requests for accommodation can raise significant legal issues, Pro Bono Partnership clients should contact us if they have any questions about such a request, or if they are contemplating denying such a request.