Last week, on June 22, 2005, the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector presented to Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Baucus (D-MT), ranking chairs of the Senate Finance Committee, its final report outlining recommendations to strengthen the transparency, governance and accountability of foundations and charitable organizations nationwide.  This report expands upon an interim report released earlier on March 1, 2005. 

Nine months ago, Senators Grassley and Baucus wrote to Diana Aviv, President of Independent Sector, calling upon Independent Sector to convene a blue-ribbon panel of charity leaders to respond to rising concerns about illegal and unethical activities allegedly perpetrated by trustees and executives for various nonprofit organizations.  In turn, Independent Sector called upon more than 100 leading foundation executives, agency directors, lawyers, academics, journalists and other interested citizens to serve on a Panel on the Nonprofit Sector.  Following months of deliberations, this Panel drafted a comprehensive response to the concerns outlined by the Senate Finance Committee.

The panel's final report addresses matters ranging from IRS reporting to donor-advised funds to executive compensation.  In fact, the final report offers more than 120 recommendations. 

Importantly, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee (which, in April, held separate hearings about tax-exempt organizations) have been tracking the work of the Panel on the Nonprofit Sector and now seem poised to introduce legislation that may bring about the most sweeping changes for nonprofit organizations since the 1969 tax laws.

If you serve as a trustee for a nonprofit or are employed by a tax-exempt organization, we encourage you to monitor possible changes and the potential resulting impact for your organization - large or small.

Of course, please call upon the attorneys and professionals at Buchanan Ingersoll PC should you need any assistance.  We know that your schedule may not permit you to review the hundreds of pages of relevant information published not only by the panel but also by the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint Tax Committee.

TAX ADVICE DISCLAIMER:  Any federal tax advice contained in this communication (including attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and it may not be used, by you for the purpose of (1) avoiding any penalty that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.  If you would like such advice, please contact us.