Robert A. Johnson advises a variety of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, e.g., charitable (including health care organizations and private foundations), religious and scientific research organizations (IRC § 501(c)(3)); social welfare organizations (IRC § 501(c)(4)); trade associations (IRC § 501(c)(6)); social clubs (IRC § 501(c)(7)); fraternal beneficiary societies (IRC § 501(c)(8)); and voluntary employees' beneficiary associations (IRC § 501(c)(9)).
Bob's advice has encompassed a broad range of issues, including, among others, corporate organization and operation, corporate transactions, obtaining and maintaining federal tax-exempt status, IRS audits, for-profit and nonprofit subsidiaries and affiliated entities, governance and conflicts of interest, joint ventures, unrelated business income, lobbying restrictions and prohibited political activities, the rules prohibiting private inurement and provision of more than incidental private benefits, intermediate sanctions and excess benefit transactions, preparation of IRS Form 990, FIN 48 (accounting standards for disclosure of uncertain tax positions) and special issues regarding compensation and employee benefits for nonprofits. He has also provided assistance on tax-exemption issues related to tax-exempt bond financings.
Bob has also practiced employee benefits law for more than 40 years. His employee benefits practice has included pension plans, "rabbi" trusts, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and 457 plans for tax-exempt organizations, nonqualified deferred compensation, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), executive employment and change-of-control agreements, welfare plans, ERISA and related tax problems. In addition, he has decades of experience in dealing with employee benefit plan issues in business acquisitions, divestitures and major financing transactions.
Bob holds and has held numerous positions in charitable organizations, including: Pro Bono Counsel (former Director and President) of Early Music America (Pittsburgh, PA); Pro Bono Counsel and Director of Renaissance & Baroque, an early music concert series in Pittsburgh; Treasurer of the Friends of the Music Library (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh); Director, Secretary and Pro Bono Counsel of the CTC Foundation; Pro Bono Counsel (and former Director) of the River City Brass Band; Director and Pro Bono Counsel of the River City Brass Band Charitable Endowment; Director (former Co-president) of Chatham Baroque; former Trustee and Chair, Budget/Finance Committee, of the Presbyterian Association of Chautauqua, N.Y.; former Director of Pittsburgh Opera; and former Director and President of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh. He has been recognized professionally by election as a fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. His participation in professional organizations includes: Allegheny County Bar Association (member of the Audit Committee and the Exempt Organizations Committee); Allegheny Tax Society (past Chair); Pittsburgh Tax Club; American Bar Association (member of the Employee Benefits Committee and the Exempt Organizations Committee of the ABA Section of Taxation, the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the ABA Section of Business Law and the ABA Section of Health Care Law).
Bob has been active for many years in writing for and speaking to professional groups on tax-exempt organization law and on pension, employee benefits and executive compensation law, including special benefits and compensation problems faced by tax-exempt organizations. He has been a frequent lecturer/author in tax-exempt organization law seminars sponsored by National Business Institute and in both employee benefits/executive compensation law seminars and tax-exempt organization law seminars sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. Bob has also published several articles and co-authored a chapter on executive severance and change-of-control agreements for Executive Compensation (BNA Books, 2002).
Bob is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Law. He has been listed continuously for more than 25 years in The Best Lawyers in America®. He is currently listed in Best Lawyers in both the specialty of Employee Benefits Law and the specialty of Nonprofit/Charities Law. He was named "Pittsburgh Employee Benefits Lawyer of the Year" in 2011 by Best Lawyers.
A native of Camp Hill (Cumberland County), Pennsylvania, Bob joined the firm in 1969.