If you’ve ever considered starting a nonprofit organization, then you’ve probably taken a look at the IRS’ Application for Recognition of Tax-Exempt Status. IRS Form 1023 is a daunting application to say the least. At one point, the IRS estimated that for the average person to properly complete and submit the form would take more than 100 hours. It is the equivalent of getting audited before your organization even gets started. And after putting in all of that work, nearly 15% of applications never get approved.
What are some of the common mistakes that could hinder or delay your application, effectively destroying your mission-driven project before it even gets off the ground?
'The Copyright Office has a new registration option for what it is calling “short online literary works,” which includes blog posts, social media posts, and other short online articles. If your business provides content via the Internet, should you be using this new registration option to protect your work? What about online courses, podcasts, and other content?
The early days of entrepreneurship are all about proving your concept and turning that concept into a profitable business. Then you start thinking about growing and scaling and what that means both for you, the individual entrepreneur, and for your larger team. But eventually your thoughts will extend to the long term:
Whatever you might be envisioning, what do you need to consider to position your company for sale or investment? You may be surprised to learn that you need to spend a year or two getting your house in order before the business is ready for a potential sale.
In December of 2020, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (“CASE”) Act was signed into law. The CASE Act authorized the Copyright Office to create the Copyright Claims Board (“CCB”) —a voluntary, alternative forum to federal courts for resolving copyright disputes, seeking less than $30,000 in damages (so-called “small claims”). While federal court litigation certainly remains an option for copyright claims of any size, as we constantly remind clients, litigation of any size is incredibly costly and time consuming for small businesses and nonprofits. How might the CASE Act help your business or nonprofit protect its copyright?
If your product or service is built around a particular brand identity, then you probably already understand the importance of registering your trademark with the USPTO. And if you’ve already made it through the long and painstaking registration process, then congratulations! But all too often, our small business and nonprofit clients assume that receiving the registration certificate is the end of the story. How do you make sure the time and expense you just went through to get your trademark registered in the first place doesn’t go down the drain? What do you need to know to avoid losing your trademark rights?
There are many reasons why you might consider partnering with another business or nonprofit. Often, working with another business that is not a direct competitor can provide your business with some expertise that it doesn’t already have or that you may not have the resources to develop in-house. This can lead to the formation of new products, services, or even market areas that neither business could develop on its own. But if you’ve ever had to work with individual business partners or nonprofit board members with diverging interests, then you can probably imagine how much more complex it is to successfully form these relationships with another entity.
What should you be considering when discussing these types of arrangements?
You may think workplace safety policies only apply to “dangerous” environments like factories, construction, or even health care. But a variety of federal and state laws require nearly all employers to provide a safe workplace. And employer’s legal obligations have become increasingly complex in light of the ongoing pandemic. Small businesses and nonprofits in all sectors need to recognize the importance of addressing safety concerns in the workplace. In this installment of our Essential HR Policies series, we take a look at what you should consider when drafting or updating your workplace safety policies.
There is a major change on the horizon that will impact filing requirements for the vast majority of our small business clients. In January of 2021, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which amended the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA), to crack down on the use of shell companies to launder money.
You may be wondering, what does money laundering have to do with my small business? Unfortunately, shell companies are often used to hide who really owns a business and ultimately to hide assets, whether for tax evasion, to fund terrorism or other criminal activities, or to evade other financial obligations like child support. The CTA will require “reporting companies'' to provide information about the “beneficial owners” of the company to FinCEN (the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network).*
Innocent infringement is a common, though misunderstood, response when your business or nonprofit is accused of copyright infringement. Perhaps you’ve received a cease and desist letter demanding what seems like an exorbitant fee because of a picture posted on your website or music used in a social media campaign. Maybe you’ve even responded to the letter and pointed out your “innocence” and removed the offending content.
But is that enough to really solve the problem and settle the matter? In most cases, no.
It’s not unusual for nonprofit organizations to partner or collaborate with other organizations to accomplish a mutual purpose. Often, our nonprofit clients prefer to document these relationships with an MOU or Memorandum of Understanding. But just what is an MOU, and how is it different from a contract?