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Lou Vlahos, Bernadette Kasnicki: TCJA Means Treating Nonprofits More Like For-Profits

January 18, 2019

Tax Law for the Closely Held Business blog authors Lou Vlahos and Bernadette Kasnicki presented yesterday, January 17, on how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects not-for-profit organizations. Their presentation–given at the 41st Annual New York State Society Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) Not-for-Profit Conference in New York City–was summarized in article format for The Trusted Professional, the NYSSCPA’s newspaper.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has a number of provisions that both directly and indirectly affect not-for-profit organizations, but tax attorneys Bernadette Kasnicki and Louis Vlahos—speaking at the Foundation for Accounting Education’s 41st Annual Nonprofit Conference today—said that the targeted provisions seem to focus on narrowing the gap between rules that govern non-profit and for-profit organizations.

For example, Kasnicki, an associate with the firm Farrell Fritz P.C., said that the TCJA imposes a 21 percent excise tax on nonprofits that pay compensation of $1 million or more to any of their five highest-paid employees, which applies to all forms of remuneration of a covered employee. She noted that, in the for-profit world, compensation of top executives cannot be deducted beyond the point of $1 million. She said that, by subjecting nonprofits to a similar rule, the TCJA is attempting to bring exempt organizations into parity with taxable ones.

Vlahos, a partner at the same firm, said that it’s actually a little worse for nonprofits under the new rules. For-profit organizations have two carveouts for the deduction limit: one is if the pay is reasonable for services rendered previously, and the other is for parachute payments that represent payment for services going forward “because we’re not firing you but keeping you.” Not-for-profits, on the other hand, have no such carveouts.

Please click here to read the full article.

 In case you missed it, you may also be interested in reading Lou Vlahos’s latest post on the blog: It’s a Business . . . No, It’s a Charity . . . Wait – It’s a Charity That Is Treated Like a Business?