Posted June 1st, 1999

In The News…

Nonprofit tax returns now easier to obtain

New rules for making nonprofits’ tax returns more accessible to the public will take effect on June 8, 1999. The new law requires charitable organizations and institutions to mail copies of their returns to anyone who submits a written request. In the past, copies only had to be made available to inquirers who requested them in person. The new rules allow organizations to charge a “reasonable fee” for copying and mailing their returns.

If an organization’s return is posted on its official Web site, the organization may direct inquirers to their site for the information. Charitable organizations and institutions that believe a request is part of a “harassment campaign” must file an application for “harassment determination” within 10 business days of the request. If the request is deemed part of a campaign to “disrupt the operations of the tax-exempt organization,” the organization does not have to fulfill that request.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 1999

Nonprofit assets growing

According to IRS’s Statistics of Income Bulletin, the total assets for charitable orgnizations reached $1.14 trillion in 1995–surpassing $1 trillion for the first time. This number is up 15% from 1994.

Total revenues grew to $663.4 billion–up 13%. Contributions, gifts, and grants rose 15% to $127.7 billion, and investment income increased almost 21% to over $31 billion.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 1999

Penny-pinching doctor leaves millions to college

He wasn’t an alumnus and he had visited the campus only once, but Dr. Joe McKibben bequeathed the bulk of his estate–now valued at $12 million-to the College of the Ozarks.

According to the college’s president Dr. Jerry Davis, Dr. McKibben grew up in the Ozarks and had read about the college in a Wall Street Journal article in 1973. He was impressed by the strong work ethic cultivated by the school. Most of the 1,500 undergraduates pay their tuition by working in one of the school’s various businesses, such as a jelly and fruitcake shop, stained-glass studio, and restaurant.

Though Dr. McKibben visited the campus only once in 1989, his relationship with the college continued throughout the rest of his life thanks to Dr. Davis. The college president visited Dr. McKibben at his home in California at least once every six months. During these visits Dr. Davis noted in amazement how Dr. McKibben lived in squalor and was so frugal that he would drink water with his K Mart submarine sandwich because he felt soft drinks were too expensive. Dr. McKibben abhorred wastefulness and often sifted through trash cans collecting items he believed were still useful.

Five years after his initial contact with the school, Dr. McKibben made his first annual gift of $100,000 in 1994. He continued to make six-figure annual gifts until his death in May 1998.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 1999

The publisher of Give & Take is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of your own counsel should be obtained. Articles in Give & Take may generally be reprinted for distribution to board members and staff of nonprofit institutions and other non-donor groups. Proper credit must be given. Call for details.

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