Your Needs | Our Capabilities
At Hamilton | Vopelak P.C. we provide tax law advice and IRS controversy resolution services to tax-exempt organizations, including: company-sponsored and family-endowed private foundations; public charities; private schools and other educational organizations; supporting organizations; social welfare organizations, trade associations; political organizations (PACs); and churches, ministries, and other religious organizations.
Substantive Tax Law Advice
Substantively, our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of the tax laws applicable to tax-exempt organizations. For all of our private foundation clients, we provide advice on how to avoid self-dealing transactions, comply with the expenditure responsibility rules applicable to grants to organizations other than public charities, and avoid potential liability for other private foundation excise taxes. We assist company-sponsored foundations with properly structuring employee-assistance and matching-grant programs, and designing and seeking pre-approval of employee scholarship programs.
For all of our section 501(c)(3) organization clients, we provide advice on international grantmaking, excess benefit transactions (or "intermediate sanctions"), lobbying, prohibited political activities, private benefit and private inurement, and the unrelated business income tax (UBIT).
We advise all of our tax-exempt clients regarding the requirements for the deductibility of charitable contributions and compliance with the charitable contribution substantiation requirements under the IRC. We also provide advice to all types of tax-exempt organizations regarding the application of payroll or employment taxes, withholding requirements (including exemptions available to churches and ministers), and trust fund penalty taxes.
IRS Controversy Resolution Services
Our attorneys have extensive experience in favorably resolving IRS audits of tax-exempt organizations, either at the examination stage or at IRS Appeals, including audits involving churches that are subject to the special "church tax inquiry" examination provisions under the IRC. We have also been successful in assisting clients who have received penalty notices from the IRS in obtaining penalty abatements (waivers).
Although we prefer to resolve issues for our clients short of litigation, when necessary we are prepared to litigate tax issues before the U.S. Tax Court and U.S. District Courts (including section 7828 declaratory judgment proceedings).
Obtaining and Maintaining Tax-Exempt Status
We assist new tax-exempt organizations with applications for tax-exempt status and existing tax-exempt organizations with obtaining new determination letters (for example, indicating a change in public charity classification or identifying them as a functionally integrated Type III supporting organization). For tax-exempt clients wanting reassurance that a proposed transaction complies with applicable tax laws, we either prepare tax opinions or prepare IRS private letter ruling requests. When clients take a specific interest in proposed tax regulations, we prepare and submit regulation comments to Treasury and the IRS on behalf of our clients. We also perform legal reviews of our client's Forms 990, Forms 990-PF, and FBARs prior to filing.
Assisting Clients with Self-Correction
Often we assist clients in identifying and correcting compliance issues before they are identified by the IRS on audit. Depending on the extent of non-compliance that needs to be addressed, we will conduct either a tax-compliance check, governance audit, or an internal investigation. In certain situations, we are able to proactively approach the IRS on our client's behalf to negotiate an IRS closing agreement resolving any self-identified tax-compliance issues.
Nonprofit Legal Advice
For our nonprofit organization clients in Texas, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Arkansas, New York, and Virginia, we also provide non-tax legal advice in the following general nonprofit law areas:
- Articles (Certificates) of Incorporation & Bylaws
- Board Resolutions
- Conflict of Interest Policies and Certifications
- Drafting Operational Policies and Procedures
- UPMIFA-Compliant Investment Policies