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2007 Year End Public Policy Update

Congress Allows the IRA Rollover Provision to Expire

Summary:

Shortly before the December holidays, Congress adjourned before it could complete its work on the tax extenders package that included the IRA Rollover provision. 

Our understanding is that Congress will take up the extenders package early in the New Year, possibly making the package retroactive (meaning that it would cover the gap of time between when the provisions [like the IRA Rollover provision] expire and when the new extenders package is actually enacted into law).

Action Required:

If you have not done so already, please write or call your Members of Congress. 

You can find talking points, draft letters and other instructions here

Background:

Thank you to those of you who already have written and called your Members of Congress.  Please encourage your colleagues and your organizations’ Presidents and CEOs to weigh in as well.

Despite the setback on a legislative front, it is vital to keep the issue on the forefront when Congress resumes its work in 2008 and prepares to take up the tax extenders package.

We'll continue to press forward on this issue this year.


IRS Releases New Form 990

The IRS released the redesigned Form 990 at the end of 2007.  You can view the form and supplemental documents here:

http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=176613,00.html

http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=176637,00.html

Action Required:

None at this time.

Background:

Many of the concerns enumerated in AFP's Form 990 submissions have been addressed.  Several of the raw numbers and ratios have been removed from the core form and the new Schedule G.

However, you will notice on the first page of the core form that there is now a space for "Professional fundraising expenses" (line 16a).  Yet, the current core form includes a line simply designated as "Fundraising."  It is not clear why the IRS felt compelled to include "professional" as a description in the new form.

In addition, AFP is disappointed that the IRS did not separate fundraising from gaming on the new Schedule G.

Although AFP will continue to work with the IRS to urge them to make a few more adjustments to the new Form 990, AFP is grateful for the IRS' efforts to reach out to the charitable sector for input and its willingness to make changes to the Form 990 in response to that input.

We will keep you apprised of the issue.


AFP Comments on the Accountability Reference Group’s Discussion Paper

Summary:

At the end of November 2007, AFP submitted comments to the Accountability Reference Group (ARG) regarding its discussion paper.  The discussion paper addressed transparency and public trust issues.

Action Required:

None at this time.

Background:

You can find AFP’s comments here

And you'll find the ARG’s discussion paper here

The ARG proposes some standards, including governance standards, with the hope of enhancing transparency and building public trust in the charitable sector.  However, the ARG also contemplates the creation of a third-party certification and verification process, something that AFP find disconcerting.

In its comments, AFP referenced its Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice.  It was noted that in times of increased accountability, AFP membership and adherence to the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice reinforces each individual’s commitment to ethical fundraising and bolsters confidence in donor relationships.


AFP Comments on Form T3010 Redesign

Summary:

The Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has introduced a draft Form T3010 redesign.  In response, AFP submitted comments to the Charities Directorate urging the regulatory body to make some changes to the proposed form to make it easier for charities to complete it and to reduce some of the bureaucratic burdens potentially placed on charities.

Action Required:

None at this time.

Background:

In late November 2007, Jason Lee, AFP’s Director of Government Relations, and Andrea McManus, CFRE, AFP’s Vice Chair of Professional Advancement and President of the Development Group, attended a meeting in Toronto with the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency along with several other organizations. 

One of the main topics of discussion was the redesigned Form T3010.  Much time was spent reviewing the various provision found in the proposed form. 

AFP continues to work with the CRA on this issue. 

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