On June 8, 2011 the Internal Revenue Service announced the names of 275,000 non-profit organizations that lost their tax-exempt status because they did not file legally required forms for three consecutive years. That means about 14% of existing non-profits lost their tax-exempt status. Most of the organizations that lost exempt status are charities but some

The beleaguered Hershey Trust Company is much in the news.  On February10, 2011, former Hershey Trust board member Robert Reese filed a petition in the Dauphin County Orphan’s Court asking the court to compel current and former members of the trust company’s board of directors to redress "breaches of trust."  Reese filed the petition on February

If my father promises to give me money to buy a grand piano for my birthday and then reneges, can I sue him for the money? Is a promise to make a gift legally enforceable? In general, no, I cannot sue him to force him to give me the money for the grand piano.


Tax cheaters will try anything.

"There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government."

                                                                                                              Benjamin Franklin

Here are a few charitable deduction scams that the IRS and Justice Department officials have been focusing on:

Kickbacks. A charity solicits

The goings on at Hershey Company are always of great local interest here in Central Pennsylvania. But of more than local interest is the litigation surrounding the management of the Milton Hershey School Trust and the attempt to sell the company.

Jonathan Klick of Florida State University College of Law and Robert H. Sitkoff of

Yesterday’s New York Times carried an op-ed piece by Professor Ray D. Madoff  of Boston College Law School criticizing the tax policy that provides a charitable deduction, and therefore a government subsidy, for Leona Helmsley’s  $8 billion trust for the care of dogs.  

Ms. Madoff points out:

" While some choose to contribute to broad public goals,

Taxing authorities are increasingly challenging the tax-exempt status of nonprofits. More and more nonprofits look like businsses. They charge fees and sell products and services to raise money. As state and local govenrments face declining tax revenues, exempting these institutions from taxation makes less and less sense.

James D. Miller, an Economics professor from Smith