May 09, 2012

Congressional Hearing to Examine Nonprofit Tax Issues

A Congressional hearing has been scheduled next week to examine various tax issues affecting nonprofits, including Internal Revenue Service oversight of universities and nonprofit hospitals.

Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., a Louisiana Republican, called the hearing. He told The Chronicle this winter he was concerned the tax agency had not been aggressive enough in monitoring charity abuses.

The event, which will take place May 16 at 10 a.m., will be the first in a series of hearings on tax-exempt organizations planned by the oversight subcommittee of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Mr. Boustany, the  subcommittee chairman, said in a statement that the hearing would allow nonprofits to weigh in on certain questions he had raised in a letter he sent to the IRS last October.

They include IRS audits of universities in areas including excessive compensation and unrelated business income—the money they earn for activities not related to their charitable missions—and new rules requiring the IRS to monitor the charity care and community benefits that nonprofit hospitals provide.

The hearing will also examine recent efforts by nonprofits to design good-governance standards, the redesign of the Form 990 tax return that is filed by nonprofits, and the history of recent changes to the tax code that affect nonprofits.

May 15 update: The subcommittee announced that witnesses would include Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector; Roger Colinvaux, an associate law professor at the Catholic University of America;  Joanne M. DeStefano, vice president for finance at Cornell University; Bruce R. Hopkins, a nonprofit lawyer; and Michael Regier, a senior vice president at VHA, a nonprofit-hospital cooperative.


Send an e-mail to Suzanne Perry.