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Nonprofit Law

Poyner Spruill serves as counsel to numerous nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations including private foundations, public charities, hospitals, schools, social welfare organizations and trade associations.

We can help you with:

  • Formation of Nonprofit Entities
  • Application for Recognition of Exemption
  • Compliance with Private Foundation Rules
  • Maintaining Tax-Exempt Status and Avoiding Intermediate Sanctions
  • Advice on lobbying restrictions
  • Advice on conflicts of interest and reasonable compensation issues
  • Appeals of adverse determinations

We pride ourselves on our close working relationships with officers and boards of directors of nonprofit organizations. Our attorneys support these organizations by participating with officers and board members in activities in support of the mission of the organization.

Tax-Exempt Organizations

Our attorneys have extensive experience in the formation and management of tax-exempt entities. Our clients include large nonprofit corporations in health care, major foundations, community-based nonprofits and private foundations. We have organized and qualified for tax-exempt status many different types of nonprofit organizations on a broad range of corporate and tax issues including: conflicts of interest, taxable unrelated business income, lobbying, and joint ventures.

General illustrative experiences include:

  • Advice to a major nonprofit entity on organization of affiliate nonprofit entities
  • Advice to a large nonprofit on the sale of its assets
  • Organization of private foundations
  • Organization and planning for charitable remainder trusts
  • Tax advice on IRS audits of nonprofit entities

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

The group advises and represents clients on audits of tax-exempt organizations and handles appeals of adverse determinations.  We also litigate issues of unrelated business income, member dues, and other disputes with members and nonmembers of nonprofit organizations.  We have also handled enforcement and governance issues for homeowners associations, along with many other matters for a wide range of nonprofits.

Our Experience and Clients

WakeMed - Advise the hospital system on an ongoing basis on nonprofit corporate issues as well as issues involving its tax-exempt status. Issues include: how to structure decision making to conform to federal intermediate sanctions legislation and the formation of joint ventures with other nonprofit exempt entities.

The College Foundation - Represented the Foundation in successfully obtaining a private letter ruling from the IRS on a new program for saving for college tuition and in beneficially changing their status from a private foundation to a supporting organization.

Pfeiffer University - Provided advice to Pfeiffer University regarding its tax-exempt status in connection with a bond offering and on issues concerning unrelated business income. 

St. Michaels Episcopal Church in Raleigh, NC - Organized a charitable foundation and obtained recognition of tax-exempt status. 

South Eastern North Carolina Community Development Corporation - Rocky Mount Housing Authority’s nonprofit housing organization; advises with respect to North Carolina nonprofit law.

Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc. - Provided advice regarding conflicts of interest, intermediate sanctions, and in-kind donations. 

Nash County Business Development Authority (NCBDA) - Created and secured exempt status of nonprofit corporation under the aegis of Nash County for economic development; activities included acquisition and development of property for economic development and tax-exempt financing of businesses providing economic development for Nash County area. In addition, assisted in creating mechanism for financing educational facility for industry through Nash Community College.

Alternative Energy Corporation - Secured exempt status of corporation created by and funded under the aegis of the North Carolina Utilities Commission for research and development of alternative energy sources and applications.

Lincoln Medical Center - Provided corporate and tax advice to Lincoln Medical Center on its merger into Lincoln Health System.

IPAS, Inc. - Advise them on an ongoing basis on nonprofit corporate issues as well as issues concerning their tax-exempt status. Such issues include lobbying restrictions upon tax-exempt organizations and reviewing and updating corporate bylaws. Advise them on an ongoing basis on employment law and business cases involving a wide variety of claims

United Methodist Foundation - Reviewed and advised the foundation on drafting charitable giving form documents.

Carolinas Gateway Partnership

ISA - Provided advice on tax and corporate issues involving reasonable compensation and officer elections.

Poyner Spruill attorneys have created and secured tax-exempt status for the following companies.

  • Rocky Mount Arts Center, Inc.
  • Friends of Down East Public Radio, Inc.
  • Friends of Braswell Memorial Library
  • The Children’s Arts Project of Mooresville
  • The Next Level, Inc.
  • The North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • Triangle Japanese Business Association
  • BB&T Charitable Foundation


IRS -  Tax Information for Charities & Other Non Profits -

North Carolina Secretary of State -

North Carolina General Assembly -

NonProfit Times -

NonProfit Quarterly -

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