November 2019 Policy Updates

November 2019 Policy Updates

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Federal

Fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: recently introduced federal legislation (R. 4674) would strengthen the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, among other things. PSLF allows borrowers to earn forgiveness of the balance of their student loan debt after working in public service, including at 501(c)(3) nonprofits, for at least 10 years while making qualifying payments. The new legislation seeks to improve the federal student loan system by simplifying the repayment process, making borrowing less expensive, removing penalties, and expanding the program to individuals who may have previously been denied forgiveness.

Charitable Giving Incentives Report: the Joint Economic Committee’s new report, Reforming the Charitable Deduction, shows that giving to nonprofits has declined over the past 15 years. The report suggests the decline in civil society can be reversed, in part, through charitable giving incentives reform. A reformed charitable deduction could mean a fairer tax code and a renewal of the country’s voluntary institutions.

Cryptocurrency Guidance: on October 9, 2019, the IRS released guidance on cryptocurrency for the first time since 2014. The ruling (Rev. Rul. 2019-24) addresses the taxation of cryptocurrency, including details on tax consequences of cryptocurrency transactions and basic reporting requirements for use.

IRS Priorities for Tax Exempt Organizations: The IRS Tax Exempt & Governmental Entities (TE/GE) division will focus on six areas during 2020 all of which are data driven: Compliance Strategies; Data-Driven Approaches; Referrals, Claims and Other Casework; Compliance Contacts; Determinations; and, Voluntary Compliance and Other Technical Programs.

State

State “Johnson Amendment” Protection Signed: on October 23rd, 2019 Governor Cuomo signed legislation that updates state tax law to include the current federal version of the Johnson Amendment that prohibits charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office.

Early Voting Has Begun: New York implemented early voting for the first time from October 26th through November 3rd, allowing voters to vote at early voting poll sites. Speaking of voting, upcoming federal, state, and city elections will mean nonprofits must follow certain regulations for civic engagement. Nonprofit New York will be providing a series of resources on how nonprofits can (and should!) engage in things ranging from voter registration to hosting candidate forums for constituents.

City

City Council Introduces Bill to Create an Office of Not-for-Profit Services: during the City Council Stated Meeting on October 30th, Councilmember Farah Louis introduced Intro 1784-2019 to establish a mayoral Office of Not-for-Profit Services to assist and be a resource for not-for-profit organizations in New York City. The Committee on Governmental Operations will vote on the bill November 19th.

Ballot Proposals Update: ranked choice voting, stronger Civilian Complaint Review Board, clearance for a “Rainy Day Fund”, ethics reform, and reform the land-use review application process. All five ballot proposals from New York City’s general election passed, bringing new changes to the City Charter.