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IRS probes nonprofits

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Here are the week’s top nonprofit stories:

* About 60 unnamed nonprofits, one in three of them churches, are under investigation by the IRS for possibly violating laws that prohibit tax-exempt groups from participating in political activities such as endorsing candidates or contributing to campaigns, the Associated Press reported Nov. 1.

* The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the seventh-largest U.S. charity, says contributions have risen 13 percent this year, and new accounts are up one-third, pointing to possible increases in giving during the holiday season, Investor’s Business Daily reported Nov. 1.

* Moody’s Investors Service says debt ratings for nonprofit hospitals fell in the third quarter of this year, with downgrades outnumbering upgrades two to one, with the credit outlook for the sector remaining negative, AHA News reported Oct. 27.

* One in four British charities are likely to employ additional staff next year, a new study by the National Council for Voluntary Organizations says, up from a quarter of charities that predicted such increases last year, the Guardian reported Nov. 3.

* Large conservation groups working with land populated by Native Americans often have agendas that conflict with the goals and needs of the people who live on those lands, Rebecca Adamson, head of First Nations Development Institute, said in the November issue of Alliance Magazine.

* United Way of Ventura County has agreed to distribute $65,000 among more than 50 local nonprofits to settle a lawsuit brought by two donors alleging the group gave charities less than 85 percent of the funds collected during its 2001-02 campaign, an amount it had advertised in fundraising materials, the Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 29.

* New tax benefits, including tax relief during a person’s lifetime on money to be donated at their death, would encourage an “American-style culture of philanthropy,” Tina Roche, head of the Community Foundation for Ireland, said in eircom.net Oct. 27.

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