News & Insights: robert lyons

President Trump Signs Further Consolidated Appropriations Act Into Law


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  December 23, 2019

As expected, President Trump signed into law H.R. 1865 (The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020) on Friday, December 20, 2019. Two of the law’s provisions have a significant impact on nonprofit organizations.

Bipartisan Support for Repeal of Tax on Nonprofit Transportation Benefits


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  December 18, 2019

A bipartisan tax relief proposal, which includes the repeal of the tax on transportation benefits, passed the U.S. House of Representatives on December 17, 2019 and is expected to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President shortly.

Form 990-T Fiscal Year Filers: Why Did I Get This Notice?


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  October 1, 2019

Many nonprofit organizations that fell under the category of 2017 fiscal year filer are receiving an unexpected balance due or refund notices. Tax Director Magdalena M. Czerniawski examines the IRS changes responsible for these notices.

Nonprofit Alert: Change to Nondiscrimination Reporting Policy for Schools


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  May 23, 2019

After forty-four years, one of the Internal Revenue Service’s oldest requirements has passed into history, in favor of an update that recognizes how much more efficiently today’s technology allows us to communicate.

IRS Issues Interim Guidance on Excise Taxes for Nonprofit Executive Compensation


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  January 9, 2019

On Monday, December 31, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2019-09 offering interim guidance for nonprofit executive compensation under Section 4960 of the Internal Revenue Code, which imposes an excise tax of 21 percent (or current rate) on remuneration in excess of $1 million and any excess parachute payments paid by an applicable tax-exempt organization to a covered employee.

Tax Reform's Impact on Charitable Contributions


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  December 20, 2018

Almost a year ago, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brought major tax reform to individuals, for-profit businesses and not-for-profit entities. 

IRS Issues Guidance for Determining Nondeductible Parking Fringe Benefits


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  December 20, 2018

While two sections of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“the Act”) - Code section 512(a)(6) and Code section 512(a)(7) - have a direct and significant bearing on tax-exempt organizations, very little guidance has been forthcoming since the law was passed almost a year ago.

Nonprofit Alert: Cuomo Signs Bill Exempting Nonprofits from NY Transportation Tax


By Robert Lyons |  Magdalena M. Czerniawski  |  December 13, 2018

On Friday, December 7, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed into New York law the much-anticipated bill exempting nonprofits who provide pre-tax transportation and parking benefits from the New York State level transportation tax. 

Nonprofit Alert: New IRS Guidance on UBTI Silos


By Magdalena M. Czerniawski |  Robert Lyons  |  September 4, 2018

On August 21, 2018, the IRS issued a Notice about new Code section 512(a)(6), which changes the way exempt organizations calculate unrelated business taxable income (UBTI). Each line of business must now be recognized separately, resulting in significant accounting changes and unanswered questions for many exempt organizations, specifically in the areas of partnership interests and net operating losses (NOLs).

Nonprofit Employers Subject to New Tax Requirements for Transportation Benefits


By Robert Lyons  |  May 25, 2018

As nonprofit employers await final guidance from the IRS on the new 21% UBIT on transportation fringe benefits, the best preventative measure to take is in the form of quarterly estimated tax payments, starting on June 15, 2018. Our nonprofit tax directors provide guidance for organizations that are currently subject, or anticipate being subject, to the corporate level tax on transportation benefits.

Nonprofit Alert: IRS Guidance on New Rules for UBIT


By Robert Lyons  |  May 21, 2018

Our nonprofit tax professionals have been monitoring comments coming out of the IRS on the new Unrelated Business Income Tax rules created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Read more on what not-for-profits can expect in the forthcoming guidance.

NY Charities Win Big in Charitable Gaming Act of 2017


By Robert Lyons  |  March 2, 2018

Like charitable organizations across the nation, charities in New York are constantly reaching out to find new sources of income. These efforts often include raffles and other gaming incentives. In New York, the potential to raise funds through raffles has been extremely limited by a very antiquated set of gaming laws, but that is soon to change.

Using Form 990 as a Marketing Tool


By Robert Lyons  |  February 2, 2018

Unlike a tax return, Form 990 is a public document open for inspection. Currently, the only part not available to the public is Schedule B, which shows contributor information. The rest stands out in all of its glory – which can be good or bad, depending on the organization.

Lobbying vs. Education and Advocacy: What Does It Mean for Your Nonprofit Organization?


By Robert Lyons  |  November 2, 2017

Charitable organizations often find themselves in the precarious position of determining the difference between lobbying, education and advocacy. This issue revolves primarily around the determination of what constitutes a lobbying expenditure versus expenditures that may be programmatic in nature. Reporting activity falling under any of the three categories can be costly – with penalties ranging from an excise tax of 25 percent on excess expenditures to loss of exemption or the loss of the ability to attract tax deductible contributions.

“Mission Drift” and Other Potential Audit Triggers You Should Know About


By Robert Lyons  |  August 22, 2017

It is your organization’s responsibility to apply due diligence when preparing the Form 990, and ensure that you are operating in accordance with the purpose for which you were granted exemption. Manage that responsibility well. 

Minimum Distribution Requirements for Private Foundations


By Robert Lyons  |  September 18, 2015

Every year, private, non-operating foundations are faced with determining their minimum investment return in order to calculate their distributable amount. For calendar year 2014, the distributable amount is the amount that the foundation must pay out as a qualifying distribution by the end of 2015 to avoid the 30% excise tax on the undistributed portion.

In this article, director Robert Lyons provides foundation administrators with technical guidance around the appropriate timing of and planning that should go into the distributable amount’s payout.

The Definitive Guide to Income Tax Planning for Same-Sex Couples


By Robert Lyons  |  March 26, 2015

The Supreme Court’s decision in Windsor expanded the range of tax-planning considerations same-sex couples must navigate as they transition  from a tax system that disregarded their relationship to one that treats and taxes their relationship as a single economic unit.  As a result, the federal income tax ramifications of marriage may surprise some same-sex couples, particularly those who have been in relationships long before marriage was even possible.

Providing insightful guidance, The Definitive Guide to Income Tax Planning for Same-Sex Couples published in the March, 2015 issue of the Journal of Taxation  comprehensively explores these issues and opportunities The article was authored by Robert R. Lyons, tax director in the Nonprofit and Government Group at Marks Paneth LLP, Sean R. Weissbart, a trusts, estates and tax attorney with Morris & McVeigh LLP and Michael T. Meltzer, a portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management LP.

You can download a copy of the article below.

Effect of 2013 NY Non-Profit Revitalization Act on Incorporating NY-Based Charities in Delaware


By Robert Lyons  |  June 1, 2014

In December 2013, Governor Cuomo signed into law the New York Non-Profit Revitalization Act (the “Act”), which addressed, for the first time in over forty years, many of the inefficiencies in New York laws regulating not-for-profit organizations. Among the changes, the Act eliminates the requirement that many organizations with an educational purpose receive Education Department consent before they can incorporate. When this law takes effect on July 1, 2014, these organizations will be able to complete the New York incorporation process without the delays previously caused by the Education Department. This article addresses whether New York-based organizations should still continue to incorporate in Delaware.

This article by Robert Lyons, Tax Director, Marks Paneth LLP, and Sean R. Weissbart, an attorney with Morris & McVeigh LLP, is reprinted with permission from: Trusts and Estates Law Section Newsletter, Summer 2014, Vol. 47, No. 2, published by the New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207.

Marks Paneth & Shron LLP Nonprofit Group Authors Alert on Alternative Investment


By Michael McNee |  Robert Lyons  |  December 16, 2008

The most recent Marks Paneth Nonprofit and Government Group Alert discusses the tax implications that apply to common alternative investments made by exempt organizations, as well as the reporting requirements and questions organizations should consider before making investment decisions.

Nonprofit Alert: United States Investors in Offshore Hedge Funds Should Consider Filing the Report o


By Robert Lyons  |  October 30, 2008

TD F 90-22.1 is required to be filed for all accounts where a U.S. person or entity has a financial interest or signature authority in foreign financial accounts if the aggregate value of these accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. These relationships are reported on the calendar year by filing Form TD F 90-22.1 with the Department of the Treasury on or before June 30, of the succeeding year.

On June 12, three IRS personnel participated in a teleconference with a law firm that was designed to address open questions regarding the TDF 90-22.1 filing for calendar year 2008 that must be filed by June 30. It was their position (not official IRS position at this point) that an offshore hedge fund is a "foreign financial account" for this purposes and that, therefore, every U.S. investor in an offshore hedge fund should file a TDF 90-22.1 Form, whether or not the fund has any offshore bank or securities accounts. While the IRS's position on hedge funds is not official, it does carry substantial weight and should be considered.

Marks Paneth & Shron LLP Nonprofit Group Authors Alert on Campaign Intervention


By Michael McNee |  Robert Lyons  |  September 1, 2008

During election years, the Internal Revenue Service takes a keen interest in whether charitable (501(c)(3)) organizations are intervening in political activities. This is particularly relevant in Presidential campaign years. One common characteristic to most charitable organizations is a passion about their respective causes. Since candidates for office are generally "issues" oriented, it is understandable that organizations, particularly those involved in advocacy for a cause, want to support the candidate that supports their position.

Marks Paneth & Shron LLP Nonprofit Alert, June 2008


By Michael McNee |  Robert Lyons  |  June 1, 2008

On May 5, 2004 IRS issued Letter Ruling 200435020 in response to a charitable organization’s treatment of certain real estate transactions, credit cards, meals, gasoline, miscellaneous charges and cell phones.

A Brave New World for a New Form 990


By Michael McNee |  Robert Lyons  |  February 1, 2008

On February 29, 2008, Michael McNee and Robert Lyons of the Nonprofit and Government Services Group presented a webinar entitled "A Brave New World for a New Form 990." This event discussed significant IRS changes to Form 990 and what they mean for the industry.