Tax > Tax-Exempt Organizations

Tax-exempt organizations are a growing and increasingly important part of the U.S. economy. Primarily through our tax, health law, public law and policy, employee benefits and estate planning practices, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP provides clients with a full range of legal services for a broad spectrum of nonprofit and other tax-exempt organizations, including:

  • nonprofit hospitals and other types of tax-exempt health care organizations
  • educational organizations and other public charities
  • trade associations
  • veterans and social welfare organizations
  • religious organizations
  • company foundations
  • governmental instrumentalities
  • Native American tribal governments
  • private foundations and other planned giving vehicles
  • public interest law firms.

Tax-exempt organizations are frequently faced with complex tax and regulatory problems that require careful attention from lawyers who know and understand the unique legal and business aspects of these organizations. As one of the largest law firms in the world, Akin Gump offers knowledge and experience in both the tax and non-tax issues affecting such organizations, including corporate governance, entity formation and transactions, labor and employment, litigation, antitrust, government contracts, public law and policy, general business and finance, real estate and employee benefits. Whether your organization is a small charity or a major NGO, we have the experience and resources to assist you in fulfilling your nonprofit mission in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

Transactional

Our tax-exempt clients often seek our assistance when entering into corporate transactions with third parties and internal reorganizations. Our lawyers help tax-exempt clients manage the complex tax, corporate, antitrust and other regulatory and legal aspects of acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and other affiliation arrangements with for-profit and other tax-exempt entities; lease agreements; the sale or purchase of property, business and governance relationships with subsidiaries and affiliates; and other complex transactions. We also advise nonprofit organizations in structuring their investments to avoid or minimize the impact of the unrelated business income tax and to satisfy their other business and legal concerns.

We represent various Roman Catholic men’s and women’s religious institutes in litigation, real estate, corporate and tax matters, and, over the past 14 years, we have advised more than a dozen of these clients on the development and implementation of provincial consolidations and corporate restructurings in the United States. These restructurings are designed to help the institutes have a civil structure that reflects their vision, provides maximum protection for foundational assets and control of operational liabilities, clarifies civil legal relationships with sponsored ministries and other institutions that are consistent with the institutes’ evolving demographics and protects federal, state and local tax exemptions and lay employee benefit plans.  

Counseling

Many of our tax-exempt clients also rely on us to help them comply with various federal, state and local laws and manage their day-to-day legal affairs. On their behalf, we routinely form nonprofit corporations and charitable trusts; help obtain federal, state and local tax rulings or exemption determinations; provide tax, corporate and affiliate structuring; assist with grant agreements; and provide needed legal advice on other legal, operational and compliance matters regarding charitable solicitation and planned giving.

Nonprofit organizations, their members and donors, Congress, government regulators and even lenders are increasingly focusing on the importance of good corporate governance at nonprofits, and we have significant experience advising these entities on member and affiliate structures; the composition, duties and policies of the board of directors; the composition, role and function of board committees; and the implementation of best governance practices.

We also provide our clients with ongoing counsel on tax compliance issues, including federal, state and local taxation, unrelated business income tax and tax-exemption planning and compliance, and tax information returns; private inurement and “intermediate sanctions” rules; federal tax implications of lobbying by charities, social welfare organizations and trade associations; the special tax rules applicable to company and other private foundations; and executive compensation arrangements.

Our public law and policy practice has an impressive record representing and advocating for tax-exempt clients before Congress and federal departments and agencies. The public law and policy practice also advises on trade associations and social welfare organizations regarding PAC formation, Federal Election Commission regulations and compliance with ethics and gift rules as well as federal and state lobbying registration and reporting requirements.

Our lawyers also counsel nonprofit organizations on a broad range of labor and employment and employee benefits matters, including ERISA, federal and state wage and hour laws, employment discrimination, day-to-day employment matters, health and welfare plans and various tax-qualified and non-qualified retirement plans.

We also have extensive experience counseling clients on financial issues unique to nonprofit organizations, including tax-exempt financing, charitable gift annuities, endowment policies and other fundraising issues, and grant-making and other nonprofit activities in the United States and foreign countries. We also provide U.S. tax and securities advice to a collective investment fund managed for the benefit of certain related religious institutes around the world, and to the General Administration of one of the largest Roman Catholic men’s congregations.

Tax controversy

Akin Gump also has significant experience in representing tax-exempt organizations in federal, state and local tax controversy matters, including successfully representing various tax-exempt organizations in IRS examinations (from limited issue inquiries to comprehensive Coordinated Examination Program (CEP) audits).