Texas C-BAR Legal Minutes
Brief information on timely legal issues affecting nonprofits and small businesses.
Bitcoin for Charity: What is bitcoin and what are potential legal issues with using bitcoin?: Spring 2016 – This Legal Minute addresses the risks and potential benefits associated with bitcoin, along with information on how to start accepting donations in bitcoin. Download: LegalMinuteSpring2016
Gun Laws in Texas: Can a nonprofit restrict guns on its property?: Fall 2015 – This Legal Minute addresses Texas gun laws, allowed restrictions, and recent legislative changes that may apply to nonprofit organizations. Download: LegalMinuteFall2015
Cybersecurity: Winter 2015 – This Legal Minute addresses how cybersecurity and basic issues surrounding data breaches cyber-attacks.
Crowdfunding for Nonprofits: Winter 2015 – This Legal Minute gives an overview of legal issues nonprofits may face when using crowdfunding to raise money.
“Tipping”: The Impact of Receiving Large Grants on Small Grantees: Summer 2014 – This Legal Minute addresses the tipping problem- the impact of large private grants on small grantees.
Registered Agents: Summer 2012 – This Legal Minute explores all domestic or foreign entities qualified to do business in Texas. All have one thing in common – they all must maintain a registered agent and registered office in Texas.
When a Volunteer Sues: How a Waiver of Liability Can Protect a Nonprofit: Summer 2010 – This Legal Minute explores the way a nonprofit can protect itself from law suits.
To Tweet or Not to Tweet: What Are the Risks?: Spring 2010 – This Legal Minute explores some issues regarding organizations using social media to communicate with clients, volunteers, donors, etc.
Debt and Indebtedness Policies for Nonprofit Organizations: Winter 2010 – This Legal Minute explores some of the issues nonprofit organizations face when facing the decision to borrow or attempting to manage debt already amassed.
Employment through Cooperation: An Introduction to Workers Co-ops: Fall 2009 – This Legal Minute discusses the issues involved in creating a workers
cooperative to promote local economic development and provide jobs.
What to Do When You Have to Lay Off an Employee: Winter 2009 – This Legal Minute provides nonprofit employers wtih information to help ensure layoffs are conducted lawfully and implemented in a manner designed to minimize the risk of litigation.
Hurricanes, Floods and Tornados: Helping Nonprofits Address Natural Disaster Related Concerns: Fall 2008 – This Legal Minute addresses some of the legal concerns raised by Texas nonprofits following natural disasters.
Charitable Donations of Real Estate: Too Good to be True?: Summer 2008 – Donations of real estate have become increasingly popular during the last few years. This legal minute reviews the rules regarding donations made to nonprofits that are 501(c)(3) public charities and not private foundations or private operating foundations.
When the Constable Knocks: How to Respond to Subpoenas: Spring 2008 – This legal minute provides information about to deal with subpoenas issued as part of civil cases in which the nonprofit is not a party. A subpoena is a court order that commands a person or an organization to appear or to produce documents at a required place and time.
Missing State Filing Requirements: The Easy Way to Lose Your Charter : Winter 2008 – Any entity transacting business in Texas has to file reports with the Secretary of STate and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Many nonprofit organizations think that simply notifying the Internal Revenue Service takes care of notification requirements to these Texas regulatory agencies, but that is not true. This Legal Minute covers what regulatory agencies need to be kept informed, how to go about informing them, the consequences of not informing them, and how to fix it if you’ve already passed a deadline.
Thinking Outside the Big Box: Community-Owned Stores and Cooperatives: Fall 2007 – Community-owned stores are financed and owned solely by members of a community. They can be important tools for community revitalization as they keep their profits circulating withing the community. They can also help fill empty downtown storefronts while also be tailored to the needs of their specific communities.
T-Shirt Sales–Go Directly to Jail (and Other Consequences of Selling Things):
What Nonprofits Need to know about Texas Sales Tax Collection: Summer 2007 – Lots of nonprofits sell items like t-shirts, food, and publications. Just because a nonprofit organization is exempt from paying sales and use tax when it buys, leases or rents taxable items DOES NOT mean that the nonprofit organization is exempt from collecting taxes on its sales. The Legal Minute introduces the ideas for when to collect sales tax, how to collect it, and the consequences for failing to collect it.
Missing a Filing Deadline: What Nonprofits Need to Know about
IRS Form 990: Spring 2007 – Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income TAx, is the annual information return, which the IRS requires tax-exempt organizations to file. This form is basiclaly a financial report, which provides the IRS with information about the organization’s gross income, expenses, disbursements, assets, liabilities, net worth, contributions, gifts, lobbying expenditures, and other corporation information. This Legal Minute explains the importance of this form and how to communicate with the IRS about it.
The Importance of Understanding U.S. Copyright
Law When Creating Brochures and Websites: February 2007 – Charities and microentrepreneurs should have a basic understanding of U.S. copyright law to avoid getting into trouble when developing materials like logos, brochures, or websites and to protect their copyright in the finished result. This Legal Minute highlights basic concepts that may be useful in this endeavor.
Inside the Sausage Factory: Lobbying and Political Activity by
Nonprofits: November 2006 – Federal law limits the extent to which a tax-exempt nonprofit may participate in political activity. Yet, it is important for nonprofits to have a voice with the people and organizations governing our society. This Legal Minute
discusses the ways in which a nonprofit can lobby for a political agenda without endangering their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
Getting Tax Exempt Donations Without All the Paperwork: Fiscal Sponsorship as an Alternative to Forming a 501(c)(3) Corporation : August 2006 – Donors rarely give funds to organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) tax status. However, it can take a great deal of time and resources to comply with the requirements under Section 501(c)(3). When an organization is small, temporary, or is just starting out, it may make more sense for the group to explore alternatives to forming a new nonprofit corporation, such as fiscal sponsorship.
Volunteers: A Blessing or a Burden?: June 2006 – Texas nonprofit organizations often have volunteers working with their organizations. This Legal Minute discusses various
topics nonprofit organizations should consider when using volunteers.
What Permit? Legal Issues for One-Day Fundraising Events: February 2006 – Texas nonprofit organizations often hold one-day events, such as bazaars, street fairs, sporting events, and cultural festivals,
to raise money for the organization. It is important to consider legal issues that may arise when an organization sponsors such
Got Kids? Laws Affecting Home-based Day Care Providers: November 2005 – This Legal Minute discusses the types of home-based day-care businesses: Listed Family Homes, Registered Child Care Homes, and Licensed Child Care Homes. It continues with information on the minimum standards required for this kind of business.It also includes some of the steps required to start this business and information on some of the other legal requirements involved.
Texas Hold’em, Poker Runs, and Rubber Duck Races: Creative Nonprofit Fundraising or Illegal Gambling?: August 2005 – As Texas nonprofits seek new and more creative ways to raise funds, some organizations have hosted Texas Hold ‘Em
tournaments, poker runs, casino nights, or rubber duck races in order to raise funds for their organizations. The problem with these fundraising activities is that they may violate Texas gambling prohibitions, even if the activities support charitable purposes. A recent Attorney General ….
A Seat at the Table: How Community Groups Can Use CBAs for Concessions from Developers: May 2005 – A CBA is a contract between a developer of a large-scale development project and one or more community organizations that allows the community affected by the development to reap some benefits. CBAs are powerful resources for community groups because they get a seat at the table during the planning and the permit process. CBAs are also legally binding….
What Nonprofits Need to Know about Purchasing and Operating a Vehicle for the Organization: February 2005 – Before a nonprofit purchases a vehicle, it should consider several things. First, the nonprofit needs to consider liability issues and whether it can provide adequate types and amounts of insurance to cover all risks. Secondly, the nonprofit should determine whether any specific motor vehicle tax exemptions apply. Finally, a nonprofit should insure that drivers are qualified and competent and institute policies and procedures to obtain and protect appropriate information.
Local Historic Preservation: Advantages and Disadvantages for Nonprofit Developers: August 2004 – Some nonprofit organizations working in distressed communities recognize that historic preservation may be a useful tool for revitalizing their neighborhoods. Preservation incentives may provide housing that is both affordable and respects the characteristics that make a neighborhood unique.
What Nonprofits Need to Know About the Tax Consequences of Economic Development Activities: May 2003 – This memo outlines how economic development activities can affect the status of a non profit.