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NYS Charities Bureau

NY Charities Bureau issues new guidance on solicitation disclosure requirements

The New York State Charities Bureau’s recent guidance details some of the disclosure requirements of section 172-b of the Executive Law. This guidance does little more than restate the language already in the Executive Law. Also worth mentioning, there was an update to 174-b of the Executive Law, that became effective on March 21, 2019. This update mainly added this disclosure requirement: “a statement identifying the website and telephone number of the New York state office of the attorney general where an individual can receive information on charitable organizations.” It also seems the only thing being clarified in this guidance is the phone number of the Attorney General. (“Include the phone number of the Attorney General - (212) 416-8686 - where an individual may get information about charities.”)

In any case, this guidance may be the bureau’s way to emphasizing these requirements. Little, if any, enforcement of disclosure requirements have taken place in the past, but that may change. I would advise all charitable organizations to review the disclosure requirements with management to ensure compliance going forward.

The Items in the guidance, as stated by the bureau’s communication, are as follows:

  • Include a clear description of the programs and activities for which contributions are solicited, or include a statement that such a description may, upon request, be obtained from the organization.

  • Include a statement that a copy of the organization’s latest annual financial report may be obtained from the organization or from the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau's Website – www.charitiesnys.com – or from the organization and include the address of the organization to which a request should be addressed.

  • Include the phone number of the Attorney General - (212) 416-8686 - where an individual may get information about charities.

  • If the solicitation is conducted by a Professional Fund Raiser; or a Professional Solicitor, such as an individual employed by a Professional Fund Raiser to solicit contributions by phone or door-to-door, the solicitation must also include:

  • The name of the Professional Fund Raiser, as registered with the Charities Bureau, and a statement that the solicitation is being conducted by a Professional Fund Raiser, and

  • If applicable, the name of the Professional Solicitor, as registered with the Charities Bureau, conducting the solicitation and a statement that the solicitor is being paid to solicit contributions.

  • If a solicitation is in writing, the above disclosures must be placed conspicuously in the solicitation material in at least ten-point bold face type or, in the alternative, typeface that is no smaller than the size of the print used for most of the words in the disclosures.

You can see the original communication from the Bureau here

https://www.charitiesnys.com/pdfs/disclosure_notice.pdf

NYS: Bill signed extending effective date of the prohibition on an employee serving as board chairperson

A bill amending section 713(f) of the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law (N-PCL) was signed by the Governor on October 26, 2015.  That section of the N-PCL prohibits an employee from serving as the chair of the board of a not-for-profit corporation.  The bill extended the effective date of N-PCL section 713(f) from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017.  The text of the bill is posted here
 

Audit Committees and the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013

New Guidance was publiched by the NYS Charities Bureau.

You can find it here:

http://www.charitiesnys.com/pdfs/Audit_Committees.pdf

Excerpt:

New York’s Executive Law requires most organizations that solicit charitable contributions in New York to register with the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau.1 Organizations whose revenues exceed the thresholds described later in this guidance are required to submit audited financial statements “in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, including compliance with all pronouncements of the financial accounting standards board and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.”2 The audit must be submitted with New York’s Annual Filing for Charitable Organizations (Form CHAR500) and Internal Revenue Service Form 990. To enhance compliance with the audit requirement, the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 (“the NPRA”) added section 712-a to the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law (“N-PCL”) setting forth the audit oversight responsibilities of not-for-profit corporations and section 8-1.9 to the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (“EPTL”) setting forth the responsibilities of trusts3 that are subject to the audit requirements. EPTL section 8-1.9 specifically makes applicable to charitable trusts a number of sections of the NPRA, including the provisions addressing audit oversight, as well as related party transactions and mandatory conflict of interest and whistleblower policies. This guidance has been prepared to assist nonprofits in implementing audit oversight procedures or revising procedures already in place. It should not, however, be viewed as a substitute for advice from an organization’s attorney or accountant.