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N.Y. law irks funders – Rule called ‘obsolete’

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Foundation leaders are upset about a new state law in New York that will force thousands of foundations to buy legal notices in newspapers starting next year, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 6.

The foundations must publish the notices to disclose that their annual IRS returns are available for public inspection at their main offices within 180 days after the notices are published.

Critics told the Journal the new law is obsolete because a new federal law requires much easier access to foundation data throughout the year.

The state law is “harmful, wasteful and unnecessary,” Victoria B. Bjorklund, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, told the Journal.

The law, she said, “will encourage private foundations to form under the laws of states other than New York.”

Dorothy Ridings, president of the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C., says the New York law is “a deep disappointment because it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the charitable stream and puts them into advertising coffers.”

She said New York’s law is “completely unnecessary with today’s technology. It’s so easy to get this information otherwise.”

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