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Church and Not-for-Profit Law

Our Hoffman Estates Law Firm Provides Legal Support for Charitable, Religious, Educational and Service-Oriented Organizations

Churches and other not-for-profit organizations encounter legal questions, as well as administrative and judicial proceedings, just like everyone else. Much like major corporations, churches and not-for-profit organizations are challenged with land use and property issues, tax and auditing concerns, liability issues, governance problems and various employment matters. With the experience necessary to represent churches and not-for-profit organizations, Hoffman Estates attorneys James H. Pluymert and Tempia A. Courts at Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, Ltd. have a successful history protecting the welfare of organizations like yours. Whether you are just starting or have been operating for several years, our staff of qualified attorneys can provide the legal counsel you need.

Formation

Why is it important for a church or other not-for-profit organization to seek legal counsel? Start at the beginning. In the formation process, churches must implement proper governance procedures to form a solid legal ground upon which the church can rely, just like corporations. However, churches and other not-for-profit organizations often overlook important details during this crucial stage. Our attorneys can provide advice, guidance and a plan for your future.

Internal Governance

The IRS recently published a “Governance Check Sheet” that will be used to gather information about the governance practices of not-for-profit organizations, including churches and ministries.

This checklist can help your not-for-profit organization make wise governance decisions, develop key policies and follow important procedures:

  • What types of policies and procedures have been enacted to ensure that assets are properly used for exempt purposes?

  • Does the organization follow a conflict-of-interest policy?

  • Do any directors have business relationships with other directors, officers, employees or the organization itself?

  • Have compensation procedures for all high-level employees been established in advance by an uninterested party?

Tempia A. Courts is here to counsel your not-for-profit organization in implementing important policies and following these governance procedures.

Child Protection Plans

A major priority for most churches and not-for-profit organizations today is the safety and well-being of the children entrusted to their care. Such organizations must develop, establish and maintain a child protection plan in order to ensure parents that they are leaving their children in a safe, nurturing environment. James H. Pluymert is a renowned advocate, speaker and respected advisor on child protection issues, and he can help prepare a child protection plan that will reduce the risk of child abuse in your organization.

Tax-Exempt Status Issues

The main benefits for not-for-profit organizations include tax-exempt status and the eligibility to receive tax-deductible gifts, contributions and grants. But what happens to an organization that loses its exemption? In 2010, the IRS began revoking the tax-exempt status of not-for-profit organizations that failed to file three consecutive annual information returns. As of June 8, 2011, the IRS announced that approximately 275,000 organizations have lost their federal tax-exempt status for failure to meet this annual reporting requirement. Is your organization’s tax-exempt status secure? Tempia A. Courts is ready to help your not-for-profit organization maintain its eligibility as a tax-exempt organization.

Clergy Confidentiality and Privilege

Counseling is a crucial part of pastoral ministry. People in crisis often turn to the pastor, priest or other spiritual advisor for mental, emotional or spiritual help. Yet the world of pastoral counseling can be more complicated than some might think. Your ministry matters to our family of attorneys. Attorney James H. Pluymert will provide guidance to help you safeguard your clergy and your church.

Operational Issues

Just like for-profit businesses, not-for-profit organizations face many operational issues, such as acquiring real estate, constructing or leasing buildings, working with financial institutions, contracting with third parties for services or dealing with employee and independent contractor issues. These matters may be particularly troublesome to a not-for-profit organization focused on its mission rather than the business aspects of its operations. Our family of attorneys is expert in helping to guide your organization through the maze of regulations and potential pitfalls.

Your Mission Matters

Whether you are a church or other not-for-profit organization, regardless of size, your mission and ministry matter to us. Contact our Hoffman Estates lawyers to discuss how we can help you successfully achieve your mission. Protect yourself and the future of your organization by calling Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, Ltd. today.

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