Nonprofit Organizations

Shumaker understands the legal, organizational and governance challenges that increased regulatory attention has created for nonprofit organizations.  We have the experience and focused knowledge to advise nonprofits of all sizes in a wide range of economic sectors, from healthcare to cultural organizations to private foundations.

Our lawyers are committed to helping nonprofit clients located in our key geographic areas of Ohio and Florida to secure and maintain tax-exempt status and remain in full compliance with the Internal Revenue Code while fulfilling their organizational and public-purpose objectives.  Just as important, we recognize how essential it is for our nonprofit counsel to be relationship-driven, and are always available to answer questions and provide confidential advice as a trusted colleague and not just a service provider.

What Makes Us Different

Tax issues are central to nonprofit operations, and because our lawyers work with such a diversity of exempt organizations, few tax problem are new to us.  Frequently we find that our experience in dealing with legal issues in one nonprofit sector enables us to help our clients in other sectors with tax difficulties.

Our broad focus enables us to advise on such concerns as organizational structure, transactions (particularly those that involve the combination of nonprofit and for-profit operations), qualified nonprofit retirement plans and employment law.  One Shumaker lawyer typically interacts with the family members and advisory board of small family foundations to channel the full range of our legal services, but it's not unusual for administrators in larger nonprofits to directly contact other lawyers in our firm for help as needed.

With a substantial and robust health law practice, Shumaker devotes a significant part of its work for nonprofit organizations to advising hospitals, managed care groups, physician practices, congregate living facilities, and other religious and nonprofit organizations in the healthcare sector.  We give clear guidance in structuring physician recruitment packages in order to avoid private inurement or intermediate sanctions.  Private inurement and impermissible private benefit can be concerns in joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and other arrangements with for-profit organizations, and we protect tax-exempt status in these ventures.

Our Clients

  • Nonprofit hospitals and health systems rely on Shumaker to maintain their tax-exempt status while advising them on unrelated business income concerns.
  • We assist many private nonprofit foundations, especially those formed for estate planning and charitable giving.
  • Shumaker lawyers serve as legal counsel to museums, cultural organizations, zoological societies, universities and other nonprofit entities with high public visibility.
  • Special purpose nonprofits such as technology incubators benefit from our wide-ranging counsel in everything from tax to intellectual property issues.

Why You Benefit

Shumaker fully understands the help nonprofits need with their everyday operational concerns, including governance issues (from determining executive compensation to implementing proper procedures to avoid self-dealing and conflict of interest concerns), officer and director liability as well as public trust and financial management. Our lawyers take a comprehensive approach that integrates tax planning, transactional assistance, employment law and employee benefit advice, and general business guidance.  We know that maintaining tax-exempt status is of paramount importance to our clients, and use our in-depth knowledge of the law governing tax-exempt entities to ensure both full compliance and efficient operation.

Core Services

  • Obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status.
  • Preparation and filing of Forms 990 and 990-PF with the IRS detailing mission, programs and finances.
  • Advice on issues of unrelated business income, and private benefit/private inurement and intermediate sanctions.
  • Guidance on property tax exemptions, employee benefits matters, tax controversies and audits specifically involving nonprofit organizations.
  • Issuance of tax-exempt financings.

Additional Services

  • General business and operational advice.
  • Dispute resolution representation.
  • Monetization of intellectual property assets developed by nonprofit organizations.
  • Management of executive and board of director professional liability.

What you can expect from Shumaker

State and local tax issues vary by jurisdiction, particularly the sensitive concerns over property tax exemption (for example, in a nonprofit hospital's leasing of office space to for-profit tenants), so we fully understand the variations by locale.  We routinely review nonprofit corporate documents to ensure that they accurately reflect changes in the tax laws in light of organizational needs.  And given the increased IRS focus on reporting requirements of nonprofits, particularly those in the healthcare sector, we are adept at assisting our clients with documenting community health plans and assessments of health needs.

Even as we represent nonprofits in their everyday operational concerns, our lawyers also know the special concerns that vary by type of nonprofit activity.  For example:

  • We understand the special tax and valuation concerns of museum clients.
  • We advise many private foundations and charitable trusts, making sure that that their organization and structure meet all legal requirements, securing recognition of exemption from the IRS and filing Form 990-PF to document the foundation's mission, programs and finances, and ensuring that the foundation meets estate planning objectives.
  • We counsel many nonprofits, from healthcare organizations to technology incubators, on funding research and monetizing intellectual property while maintaining exempt status.  We also help them when specialized personnel need immigration assistance.

Quick Contact


Related Industries


Related Practices