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Nonprofit Law/Mission statement accuracy

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QUESTION: Hello,
I would like to know, is it legal for a 501 c 3 nonprofit, after using it's mission statement to help secure it's 501 c 3 status, to turn around and actively work in a direction that is 180 degrees opposite of it's stated mission? If you need additional information, I will gladly provide it.

Thank you,

ANSWER: You appear to be referring to an organization that applied to the IRS for a determination letter that it is exempt from federal income taxes.  In such IRS Application for Exemption, the organization would have given a description of its activities and proposed activities along with a proposed budget. It is did not lie or make any material misrepresentation, then later, according to IRS regulations, it could change its activities but it must then advise the IRS, in the next Form 990 filing, of the change.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f990.pdf (on page 2 at Part III, line 2 which continues onto Schedule 0).

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Harvey108@hotmail.com

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The organization in question has been around for 6 or 7 years and still professes to follow it's original mission statement, and it's public image would suffer if it were known that it changed course.

Answer
If it does not file accurate Form 990s then the organization may have issues with the IRS, but other than that, under State law it may be engaged in material misrepresentation, for example if it is soliciting funds for certain projects but not using those funds for certain projects.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Harvey108@hotmail.com

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

Nonprofit Law

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Harvey Mechanic

Expertise

I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at Harvey108@hotmail.com I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "site:allexperts.com/q/nonprofit" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.

Experience

I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.

Education/Credentials

B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.


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