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Nonprofitxpress roundup – Dividend plan questioned

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* Two tax credits that have spurred the creation of affordable housing could suffer under a White House economic plan, the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation says in an opinion column published March 18 in The Wall Street Journal.

By letting shareholders get tax-free dividends only on corporate profits that are fully taxed, the plan could force companies to choose between taking the tax credit or skipping it to offer tax-free dividends to shareholders, Richard Moe says in the column, suggesting that many firms will skip the tax credit, while those willing to invest in tax-credit projects will invest less.

And the plan could have a “trickle-down” effect, he says, because more than 20 states have enacted tax-incentive plans, most of them piggybacked on the federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

That credit and the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit often are combined to spur private investment in affordable-housing, Moe says.

* With the sinking stock market hammering endowments, private schools are counting on their annual fundraising auctions, which have become highly competitive affairs among parents intent on flaunting their wealth, The New York Times reported March 16.

* City Harvest, a supplier of soup kitchens and food pantries in New York City, laid off 20 of its 100 staff members and cut delivery routes in the face of a $2.4 million budget shortfall, despite growing demand for services, The New York Times reported March 15.

* The publisher of the Internet Patent News newsletter says some companies donate bogus patents to nonprofits so they can claim deductions on their federal taxes, The New York Times reported March 17. The Internal Revenue Service recently issued new guidelines for corporate patent donations, the Times said.

* The founder of the Thornton Kidney Research Foundation, which raises money for research at the University of Southern California, pleaded guilty to defrauding donors of $147,000, The Mercury News reported March 17. Frederick Thornton of Arcadia, Calif., also admitted he charged the university nearly $500,000 in fundraising expenses. He faces 23 years in prison and fines up to $1.2 million, prosecutors said.

* Union Theological Seminary in New York City aims to raise $39 million in its largest campaign ever.

* Entrepreneurs who got rich during the dot-com boom are turning their business skills to working for what they see as global good, trying to build water purifiers, manual irrigation pumps, low-cost solar collectors, hearing aids and durable mosquito nets, The New York Times reported March 16.

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