As Election Day approaches, many Section 501(c)(3) organizations may need a reminder about their permissible activities during an election season. Section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for elective public office. However, Section 501(c)(3) organizations are permitted to conduct limited voter education activities within certain parameters. A common example is the creation or distribution of a voter guide. The compliance requirements for voter guides focus on whether the questions and any other description of the issues on the voter guide are clear and neutral in both their structure and content. A voter guide should include all candidates running for the office at issue without exhibiting any preference for a particular candidate. Importantly, even when a Section 501(c)(3) organization does not create its own voter guide, it would assume compliance responsibility for another organization's voter guide by distributing it. Therefore, if a certain voter guide is not neutral, a Section 501(c)(3) organization would be exposed to the risk of engaging in impermissible political campaign intervention by becoming a point of distribution for that voter guide. Potential consequences of impermissible campaign activity include the revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of excise taxes.
**UPDATED LINK: Latsha Davis & Marshall, P.C. is pleased to announce that Kevin M. Marshall, Esq. will be hosting an NBI national teleconference http://www.nbi-sems.com/Details.aspx/R-70676ER%7C?ctname=SPKEM on Charter School Law on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 (Eastern time). For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Kevin M. Marshall at: [email protected].
Latsha Davis & Marshall, P.C. is pleased to announce an important victory on behalf of charter schools and cyber charter schools. On August 25, 2015, the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas entered an Opinion and Order in In Re: Appointment of a Receiver for the Chester Upland School District that prevents the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Chester Upland School District from implementing portions of a proposed Amended Financial Recovery Plan aimed at decreasing charter school and cyber charter school subsidies. After a two-day hearing in which our office participated on behalf of several charter schools and cyber charter schools, the court disapproved the arbitrary and capricious proposed reduction in cyber charter school tuition rates and held the initiative on special education funding to be wholly inadequate.
Nonprofit organizations that own real estate in Philadelphia must complete and file the Non-Profit Application for Exemption of Real Estate Taxes with the Office of Property Assessment by March 31, 2015 to certify their continued right to real estate tax exemption for 2016 pursuant to City Council Ordinance 130123.
By Order.pdf dated August 29, 2014, Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Opinions.pdf of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and Union County Court of Common Pleas, through which our Firm successfully obtained real estate tax exemption for Albright Care Services' CCRC located in Union County. In its Order, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the taxing authorities' Petition for Allowance of Review, effectively ending the case, and confirming exemption for Albright's CCRC under the decisions of the lower courts. Kimber Latsha tried the case for our Firm.
By Opinion dated January 29, 2014, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court upheld the October 15, 2012 decision of the Union County Court of Common Pleas, through which our Firm successfully obtained real estate tax exemption for Albright Care Services' CCRC located in Union County. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court concluded that Albright (a) first satisfied the constitutional HUP Test requirements, and then met the statutory Act 55 demands for tax exemption; (b) donated a substantial portion of its services through its CCRC, nursing and personal care facilities, Meals on Wheels Program, and LIFE operations; (c) benefitted a substantial and indefinite class of persons by serving the needs of the elderly; and (d) was properly viewed as a single corporate entity for purposes of determining tax exemption. Further, the Commonwealth Court made it clear that once an organization satisfies the requirements for exemption, the HUP and Act 55 Tests are not to be separately applied to the individual parcels at issue; rather, at that point, the only question is whether those parcels are actually and regularly used in support of the organization's charitable mission. A copy of the Commonwealth Court's opinion can be found here.pdf. Kimber Latsha tried the case for our Firm.
On Friday, May 9, 2014, Nicole D. Snyder, Esq., [email protected] and York Williams, Ph.D. at West Chester University, will be presenting at the Lehigh University's 42nd Special Education Law Conference at Lehigh University's Mountaintop Campus. The name of the session will be Chartering Cyber Territory: FAPE, LRE, and Related Services in Charter and Cyber Schools.
On Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 8:15 to 9:45 a.m., Kevin M. Marshall, Esq., [email protected], Nicole D. Snyder, Esq., [email protected] and York Williams, Ph.D. at West Chester University, will be presenting at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center, 100 Level, 118A. The name of the session will be American Educational Research Association (AERA).
On Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 1:00 PM, Nicole D. Snyder, Esq. will co-present a Webinar through Education Law Association entitled "Bullying Issues Impacting Students with Disabilities."
On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, from 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., EST, Nicole D. Snyder, Esq. will present a webinar through LRP Publications entitled "Shortened School Day: Avoiding Discriminatory Practices That Jeopardize FAPE."