Monthly Archives

May 2016

1023-EZ fee going down July 1st

By | Nonprofit

The IRS just announced today, via Revenue Procedure 2016-32, that it will be reducing the user fee (filing fee) for the 1023-EZ from $400 to $275, effective July 1st.  While it is cheaper, faster, and easier — I still continue to caution users of the 1023-EZ. For my real inital thoughts (the snarky ones), please contact me privately (or perhaps read about it on Twitter).

Minnesota’s amended architectural barrier law

By | business

Minnesota’s Human Rights Act (Minnesota Statutes 363A) duplicates and often expands rights protected under federal laws. One provision that has garnered attention recently is 363A.11 – public accommodations. This provision parallels federal protections found in the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically addressing architectural barriers that prevent persons with disabilities equal access to public accommodations.

Under the ADA, a person excluded from a business due to an architectural barrier can bring a lawsuit seeking an injunction – an order that the business remove the barrier. While the plaintiff could recover attorneys’ fees, damages are not available under the federal ADA. Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, though, a plaintiff may recover damages.

Although these laws have been in place for more than a quarter century, they’ve come under scrutiny recently because a group used the state law as means to leverage monetary settlements from businesses without actually requiring the businesses they sued (or threatened to sue) to remove the architectural barriers. This had the unique effect of uniting business groups and disability advocates. Read More

EO Update Opportunity – TEGE Gulf Coast

By | Nonprofit

I am happy to announce that I, along with Heidi Christianson at Nilan Johnson Lewis, will be co-hosting a remote viewing/participation opportunity on June 10th.  The TEGE Council Gulf Coast Area will be putting an an Exempt Organization Update and is allowing remote locations to participate via Web-Ex.  This is a great opportunity to hear speakers you normally only hear at larger, national conferences!  For more information about the agenda and to register, please visit their website here.

Nilan Johnson Lewis is generously offering bagels and coffee for attendees that morning starting at 7:30.  Lunch will be on your own at some of the wonderful food trucks that populate the area, or in the skyway.  Nilan Johnson Lewis will not validate parking.

I have been told by the TEGE Gulf Coast folks that CPE has been applied for and approved for this program.  Currently there is no CLE credit provided (however that may change).

The corporate shield and its limits

By | business

Owning and operating a business is full of risks, and one important job of a business owner is to limit those risks. Some small businesses are sole proprietorships or are individuals operating under an assumed name. Doing so may provide your business some branding benefits, but it does not protect you. Under these circumstances, the company’s debts and liabilities are your debts and liabilities. If a creditor brings a lawsuit against your business, the lawsuit is against you personally and all your personal assets are potentially in jeopardy.

It is very simple to limit this risk. Read More

trademark

Multi-Time Machine, Inc. v. Amazon.com

By | Copyright & Trademark

It often seems like Amazon.com sells just about everything. But sometimes it doesn’t have the one thing you’re looking for. Instead, when you search for that one special thing, Amazon shows you a list of similar items it does sell. Maybe you decide to buy one of those instead (ordering from Amazon being so convenient), or maybe you look elsewhere (because you really wanted that one special item).

A company that sells one of those products you won’t find on Amazon didn’t like the fact that Amazon searches pulled up a list of competing products, and so it sued for trademark infringement. It lost. Then it kind of won. And then it lost again. Read More