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Non-Profits CAN Lobby! - Overview of IRS lobbying regulations for 501(c)(3) public charities.

New Jersey's Lobby Disclosure Law

Charities and Elections - Read this election-season fact-sheet for information about how New Jersey public charities can safely advance their missions and encourage civic participation.

About NJ's Non-Profit Community

NJ Non-Profit Facts/Trends

Just What is a Non-Profit, Anyway? 


2016 NJ Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report

2016 Trends/Outlook Press Release
2016 Trends/Outlook Full Report


2015 NJ Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report

2015 Trends/Outlook Press Release
2015 Trends/Outlook Full Report


2014 NJ Non-Profit Trends and Outlook Report

2014 Trends/Outlook Press Release
2014 Trends/Outlook Full Report


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The Center's Public Policy Archives

 

Public Policy

"Watching the Backs of New Jersey Nonprofits"
“For those of us who work in, work for, donate to and are served by nonprofit organizations in New Jersey we are fortunate to have the Center for Non-Profits watching our backs and protecting our independence.”
-- Nina Stack, President, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers


Please take two minutes to help protect non-profit nonpartisanship.
Sign on to a nationwide letter to safeguard the integrity and nonpartisanship of 501(c)(3) organizations.
 

Federal law has long permitted 501(c)(3) organizations to conduct unlimited issue advocacy and allowed 501(c)(3) public charities to engage in a limited amount of legislative lobbying. While 501(c)(3) organizations may engage their officials on important issues in these ways, the law has also long barred 501(c)(3) organizations from directly or indirectly attempting to influence the election or defeat of any candidate for public office (a provision known as the Johnson Amendment).

This prohibition against political campaign intervention – which allows 501(c)(3) non-profits to speak out on issues of the day and advocate on legislation, but insulates us from the divisiveness and financial and other pitfalls of partisan entanglements – is under imminent threat.

Learn more about how you can help preserve nonpartisan protections for non-profits.
 

Property Tax Challenges

Legislation to Protect Non-Profits from Arbitrary Tax Exemption Challenges by Third Parties Advances

Updated February 27, 2017 - Legislation that would help curtail arbitrarily challenges to non-profits' property tax exemptions by limiting the ability of third parties to appeal the property tax exempt status of other entities has been advancing in the New Jersey Legislature. The Center for Non-Profits strongly supports these bills. more information

Princeton University Settles Property Tax Lawsuit

October 17, 2016 - On Friday, October 14, 2016, Princeton University announced that it had reached a settlement with a group of Princeton residents that had filed lawsuit challenging the property tax exemption of the university. The trial in the Fields vs. Trustees of Princeton University case had been set to begin October 17. The Center for Non-Profits, joined by several other organizations, had previously filed two amicus (friend of the court) briefs in support of the University in the case.  The agreement brings this litigation to an end, but for non-profits, additional questions and vulnerabilities remain.
more information

Tax Court Rules Against Hospital in Morristown Property Tax Case; Legislative, Gubernatorial Action

Updated February 27, 2017 - In June 2015, in a property tax case with significant financial and policy implications for hospitals and possibly the broader non-profit community statewide, a Tax Court of New Jersey judge ruled that Morristown Medical Center is not entitled to tax exemption on nearly all of its property in Morristown. The Governor and legislature have proposed various measures to address the issue.  more information

"Is Non-Profit Property Tax Exemption Sound Public Policy?"  Presentation slides of Center executive director Linda Czipo to 4/15/2016 Seton Hall University School of Law conference



Help Protect Charitable Giving Incentives
 
February 27, 2017

On February 16, the Center traveled to Washington, DC, to meet with members of our Congressional delegation to discuss the importance of preserving – and enhancing – federal charitable giving incentives. Your help is needed to send a strong message to Congress that charitable giving incentives need to be protected.

The visits were part of a nationwide “Fly-In” organized by the Charitable Giving Coalition, a coalition of more than 75 organizations including our national network, the National Council of Nonprofits. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the charitable deduction, an incentive that encourages individuals to give to charitable organizations whose missions they support. Over the past century, the incentive has generated critical resources to further the work of charitable non-profits for our communities.

President Trump and U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan have both identified comprehensive tax reform as a top policy priority, and according to some reports Congress may begin to consider tax reform within the next several weeks. The President’s tax plan from 2016 includes a number of changes that could affect the operations and resources of charitable non-profits, including individual tax rates, the standard deduction, itemized deductions, the estate tax, and many more. Among many changes being proposed are possible caps on itemized deductions (mortgage interest, state and local taxes, charitable giving and others) for certain taxpayers; an increase in the standard deduction (meaning fewer taxpayers would itemize and therefore have the charitable deduction available to them); and many more.

According to the Tax Policy Center, full implementation of the President’s tax proposals could reduce charitable giving by up to 9%, or as much as $26.1 billion. We are alarmed about the devastating impact that these proposed changes could have on charitable giving and, as a result, the ability of charities to provide vital programs and services.

Actions Needed: Please add your voice to this important conversation.

1) Post messages on social media about the importance of charitable giving incentives, using hashtags #ProtectGiving or #100yearsofgiving.  If easier, search for these hashtags and retweet/share messages from the Center (@NJ_Nonprofits on Twitter) and others.

2) Contact New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez and your Congressional Representative to seek their support in protecting and expanding the charitable giving incentive as a key tool for encouraging individuals to give back to their communities through the work of charitable nonprofits. For some talking points, see one of the Center’s letters here.

3) Stay informed! Follow the Center on social media (TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn) and watch your email for updated information as it occurs.   We will keep you posted about new developments. If you have questions or comments, contact us at the Center. 



Don’t Weaken the Existing Ban on Electioneering by 501(c)(3) Organizations
Front and Center masthead 
At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2017, President Trump renewed his calls for a repeal of the 1954 Johnson Amendment which bars 501(c)(3) organizations from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The Center for Non-Profits OPPOSES repeal of the Johnson Amendment and supports retaining the current ban. Read why in our latest blog.

Update - December 11, 2016

5 Months After Freeze, Governor Releases Remainder of Funds

On December 9, 2016, Governor Christie announced the release of the remaining $12.8 million in budgeted funds previously frozen under Executive Order 209. This final release includes $5 million for vocational rehabilitation, $2 million for the New Jersey Re-Entry Corporation, and funds for the Elder Care Index, certain higher education programs, and the Legislature, and comes more than 5 months after the Governor's original executive order freezing the funds.

Under the initial EO209, issued June 30, 2016, the Governor had ordered more than $100 million in budgeted funds – roughly $50 million in funding for social programs and $54 million in transitional aid to municipalities – held in reserve until the Legislature and public employee unions could achieve $250 million in savings for public employee and retiree health care costs.

More details

Related articles:

October 4 Joint Op Ed from the Center for Non-Profits and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers urging the release of the frozen funds

July 19 Center for Non-Profits Op Ed in response to the initial funding freeze

Federal Judge Blocks Overtime Rule

Salary threshold declared invalid; “white collar duties tests” under existing law remain unaffected

On November 22, 2016, a federal district judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the Overtime Final Rule, ruling that the U.S. Department of Labor exceeded its authority in raising the salary levels below which employees must be eligible for overtime.

Non-profits need to be aware that even under the old salary threshold, employees must still satisfy other criteria, particularly the administrative, executive or professional "duties tests," in order to be exempt from overtime requirements. The recording from the Center's November 9, 2016, webinar about the duties tests is available for Center members.   

more information


NJ Charitable Giving Incentive

Charitable giving deduction dropped from Transportation Trust Fund package

The Transportation Trust Fund package negotiated by Governor Christie and Senate and Assembly Leaders and signed into law October 14, 2016, does not include a New Jersey income tax deduction for contributions to charity.  more information

Blog: Why New Jersey Needs a Charitable Giving Deduction


Non-Profit Trends and Outlook

NJ Non-Profit Survey: "Chronic Under-Funding" Cause for Concern

2016 Issues & Trends Cover

April 5, 2016 - Rising demand and tight funding continue to challenge the ability of New Jersey non-profits to provide needed programs and services, according to a new report released by the Center for Non-Profits.

Our deep thanks to all who participated in the survey.

Press Release
Full Report

Blog: Chronic Under-Funding of Non-Profits: An Unacceptable Risk


VICTORY! IRS Withdraws Gift Substantiation Proposal

January 7, 2016 - The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it is withdrawing its proposed gift substantiation regulations that would have called for the collection and reporting by charities of donors’ Social Security numbers.  As reported in previous communications, the proposed regulations would have given non-profits the option of filing a separate new information return with the IRS and individual donors by February 28 every year to substantiate contributions of more than $250.  The proposed rule would have encouraged (but not required) non-profits to collect donors’ Social Security numbers and file a report with the IRS including the Social Security numbers and the amount of the gift.

According to the National Council of Nonprofits, the U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS received 37,977 comments during the rulemaking period that ended on December 16, 2015, virtually all of them hostile to the proposal (view the Center’s comments here). The Center for Non-Profits also joined with the Council of Nonprofits and other national groups in submitting comments on behalf of the nonprofit community to stress that collection of Social Security numbers would “expose the public to increased risk from identity theft, impose significant costs and burdens on nonprofit organizations, and create public confusion and disincentives for donors to support the work of nonprofits.”

Our deep thanks to the National Council of Nonprofits and other national advocates for leading the charge against this proposal, and especially to all of YOU who commented against it.  This significant victory is proof that non-profit advocacy works!


Specific Federal Charitable Giving Incentives Made Permanent

Comprehensive budget and tax legislation signed into law on December 18, 2015, by President Obama includes several important provisions important to charities.  As reported by the National Council of Nonprofits:

From the National Council of Nonprofits:

The massive bill addresses numerous policy issues of interest to charitable nonprofits, ranging from funding for mission-related programs to restoring and making permanent three expired incentives for charitable giving. Two bills passed the House as separate measures that were subsequently merged and approved by the Senate as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. See summaries of spending provisions and of the tax provisions for full details.

Three charitable giving incentives are restored and made permanent in the tax portion of the law, originally titled the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act):

  • The charitable giving incentives in the Act are needed to promote and ensure support for the work of charitable nonprofits, especially when demand for nonprofit services continues to rise and donations are not keeping up with demand. Each incentive has proven to be effective, yet Congress has repeatedly let them expire, creating uncertainty around giving.
  • The food donation tax deduction provision would raise the cap on giving and allow small businesses donating wholesome excess food to a qualified nonprofit to take the same enhanced tax deduction C corporations have been permitted since 1976. The provision also raises the ceiling for business donations from 10 percent to 15 percent of adjusted gross income and helps farmers and ranchers through a new special rule for valuing food inventory. (Sec. 113)
  • The enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations have helped America’s land trusts work with farmers, ranchers, and other modest-income landowners to increase voluntary land conservation by a third, to over a million acres a year when the tax incentive is in effect. (Sec. 111)
  • The IRA charitable rollover option, which allowed individual taxpayers aged 70½ and older to donate up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) directly to charitable nonprofits, has provided needed support for the work of social service programs, religious organizations, arts and cultural institutions, schools, healthcare providers, and other charitable organizations — all of which benefit Americans across the country. (Sec. 112)

More detail from the National Council of Nonprofits 


Social Innovation Legislation Conditionally Vetoed by Governor

On November 9, 2015, Governor Christie announced that he had conditionally vetoed A-2771 (Fuentes/Johnson)/S-452 (Ruiz/Cruz-Perez), “The New Jersey Social Innovation Act.” As passed by the Legislature, the bill would have piloted a “pay for success” funding model by creating a five-year social innovation loan program within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). more information


RED TAPE

Organizations Seek Relief from Contracting Burdens

2015 Recommendations to the Red Tape Review Commission

September 10, 2015 - An alliance of representing non-profit and provider organizations today asked the Red Tape Review Commission, chaired by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, to assist with developing and implementing reforms to help ease the “stranglehold” of burdensome government contracting procedures that threaten their ability to provide services in their communities.

Represented by the Center for Non-Profits, an umbrella organization serving New Jersey’s charitable community, the organizations endorsed comprehensive recommendations to streamline and improve the rules and procedures by which government contracts for services with non-profit organizations.

Press Release
Full Report



Government Grants

The OMB Uniform Guidance: What Non-Profits Should Know

In late December 2014, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published final guidance governing government grants and contracts that means good news for non-profits that receive federal grant funds, either directly or passed through state and local entities. Collective action will help make the promise of these reforms a reality. more information


State launches e-procurement portal

Vendors, including nonprofits, need to register on NJSTART.gov to do business with the State of New Jersey. For more information see the Center's NJSTART page. NJSTART Logo

 


Report: New Jersey “Worst” at Paying Non-Profits Full Cost of Services

National_Council_Report

May 15, 2014 - Although some progress has been made in the past several years, the system of contracting between governments and non-profit organizations remains rife with problems that threaten the ability of non-profits to provide services across the country, according to data released by the National Council of Nonprofits and the Urban Institute.

The National Council of Nonprofits report, Toward Common Sense Contracting: What Taxpayers Deserve, examines the causes and consequences of five recurring problem areas that involve billions of dollars. The report connects new data from the Urban Institute with the experiences of front-line non-profits that are delivering services on behalf of governments at all levels, and then outlines sixteen proven and often readily available solutions to these problems, including many proposed by New Jersey advocates.
Press Release

 


Government shutdown affects non-profits
October 8, 2013 - The Executive Director for the Center for Non-Profits spoke with Mike Schneider on New Jersey Today about the impact of the government shutdown on non-profits.


Help END the Overhead Myth!
The Center for Non-Profits and the Council of NJ Grantmakers are joining forces to ask you to support a nationwide campaign to help end the overhead myth - the misguided notion that the percentage of expenses spent on administration and overhead should be the sole criterion for judging the merits of a charity.
Learn more and spread the word!



For older articles and information see the Center's Policy Archive