Your Needs | Our Capabilities
At Hamilton | Vopelak P.C. we provide tax law advice and IRS controversy resolution services to a variety of 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 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 also advise 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 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, executive compensation, and employee benefits.
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 clients' Forms 990 and Forms 990-PF 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.
Restructurings Involving Nonprofit Organizations
We have served both as co-counsel to corporate law firms and advised clients directly with respect to corporate restructurings and acquisitions involving nonprofit organizations. Specifically, we have advised with respect to splitting up private foundations in connection with restructurings of related corporations, mergers and asset transfers between tax-exempt organizations or between tax-exempt and for-profit organizations, conversions from nonprofit to for-profit status, and the creation or acquisition of taxable subsidiaries by tax-exempt organizations.
Nonprofit Legal Advice
For our nonprofit organization clients in Texas, the District of Columbia, 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