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Non-Profit Organizations

Tax Exempt Organizations and Non-profits


Carlile Patchen & Murphy’s tax exempt organizations and non-profits practice offers a wide range of tax and business services for non-profit organizations, public charities and private foundations. These organizations include museums, social services and relief organizations, recreational, sports and social organizations, scientific and research organizations, churches and other religious-purpose organizations, lobbying, campaign finance and political action organizations, museums, colleges and universities, and governmental subdivisions such as villages, townships and municipalities.

We take a multi-disciplinary team approach, integrating strong business and tax planning with employment law, real estate, dispute resolution and administrative law focuses from a variety of CPM attorneys to provide cost-effective and comprehensive legal and tax solutions to our non-profit and tax exempt entity clients.

Tax exempt organizations are, at their core, business operations, whether they focus on educational, religious, scientific, support, vocational, arts, culture or human services mission focuses. Our clients routinely face funding challenges generated by the current economic conditions and therefore seek to generate alternative revenue sources from fundraising, grant-writing, governmental and private programs and grants and operational sources.

Our lawyers are skilled at reviewing and recommending policies and procedures for the vast array of challenges faced by non-profit and tax exempt entities, including whistleblower, document retention and destruction, unrelated business income, conflicts of interest and general board governance. The imposition of scrutiny arising from the revision of IRS Form 990 (Tax Return of Tax Exempt Organization) has increased the need for these types of policies, and our planners assist clients with development, review and continuing monitoring of such policies to fit within the reach of the federal and state legal structure.

Carlile Patchen & Murphy’s tax exempt organizations and non-profits team offers planning expertise in the following general areas:


We recommend types of entities suitable for conducting non-profit and tax exempt organizations to achieve operational and investment objectives while preserving substantial operations, support and activities tests unrelated business income planning where applicable.

Regulation and Policy

We represent tax exempt and non-profit organizations in a variety of organizational, membership, and governance arenas, including fiduciary duties of directors and officers, conflicts of interest, committee responsibilities, indemnification policies and procedures, governance documents and policies, Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance and related issues.


We advise public charities and other tax exempt entities on procedures and compliance issues relating to hot button tax topics such as fundraising, lobbying and gaming activities, excess benefit and private inurement, support and activities for benefit of individuals and organizations abroad, membership organizations, services and products provided to organizations and individuals, private foundation and supporting organization excise taxes, qualified amateur athletic organizations and donor-advised funds.


We take a hands-on, pragmatic approach to preparation of Forms 1023 and 1024 (Applications for Recognition of Exemption from Taxation) and related addenda, which involves an integrated, question-and-answer-based process whereby clients are guided through these complex forms in a manner that only a firm with extensive experience in preparation and submission of such applications can provide. Our application process starts with a review of applicable tax exempt purpose laws, rules and guidance to provide a reasonable prediction as to whether the Internal Revenue Service will likely grant a determination letter before the client organization expends money on the application that it otherwise could spend on its vital mission.


We represent numerous specialized non-profit organizations that are regulated by state and federal laws and advocate on their behalf before governmental rule-making bodies such as the Ohio Division of Financial Institutions, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Internal Revenue Service.


We have assisted numerous non-profit and charitable organizations in mergers, combinations, acquisitions, consolidations and related transactions and the implementation of subsidiaries to achieve mission-specific or tax-driven goals.

Affordable Housing and Tax Credits

We have assisted private and non-profit developers in all aspects of development and financing of affordable housing projects, from assistance in applying for and obtaining tax credits from applicable governmental authorities, to financing the development and operation of the completed projects through private and public lenders and institutional investors. We also regularly represent management companies and owners before state housing finance agencies in connection with ongoing operational requirements and audits imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

Charitable Giving

Our Family Wealth Planning Practice Group offers extensive experience to individuals seeking to implement planned giving arrangements and other types of charitable gifts for benefit of nonprofits and charitable organizations such as a favorite university, church or charity. We assist client organizations in establishing pledge and endowment funds which comply with governmental rules and regulations that are specifically applicable to charitable organizations.

Trade Associations

Carlile Patchen & Murphy serves as outside general counsel for a number of national, regional and local trade associations. We provide all manner of representation with respect to association legal needs, such as tax exempt entity status, legal health check-ups and legal audits, policies and procedures, governance, member programs and benefits, fundraising and general business representation.

General Business Services

Because Carlile Patchen & Murphy is, at its core, a business law firm, our services to nonprofit and tax exempt organization clients spans a wide range of general business areas, including:

  • Negotiation and drafting of contracts
  • Leasing and acquisition of office space and program facilities
  • Licensing and intellectual property protection
  • Trademark and copyright protection
  • Insurance and indemnification issues
  • Securities issues applicable to debt and bond financing
  • Executive employment agreements
  • Staff policies and procedures
  • Research and venture agreements for development of intellectual property