Proskauer’s 19th Annual Trick or Treat Seminar was held on Friday, October 31.

The Seminar discussed:

  • Charitable giving techniques
  • Labor and employment issues with using volunteers and interns
  • Recent developments in employee benefits

In her introductory remarks, Amanda Nussbaum discussed recent tax developments, including the development of IRS Form 1023-EZ, the process for reinstatement of tax-exempt status, and the proposed regulations under Section 501(c)(4), and introduced the presenters.

Here are some key points from each presentation:

Charitable Giving Techniques

 Jay Waxenberg discussed several charitable giving techniques, including an outright gift, an Inter Vivos Charitable Lead Annuity Trust (“CLAT”), a Charitable Remainder Trust (“CRT”), an IRA Charitable Beneficiary, Insurance and a Charitable Gift Annuity.  Mr. Waxenberg explained the benefits and drawbacks of each technique.

Volunteers and Interns

 Elise Bloom discussed labor and employment issues that non-profits face when using volunteers and interns.  In particular, Ms. Bloom pointed out when non-profits use volunteers and interns inappropriately, they may face liability for employee misclassification and liability for employment discrimination.  She also discussed steps that non-profits can take to minimize the risk of using volunteers and interns, including maintaining documentation regarding the volunteer’s or intern’s understanding that his or her activities are wholly voluntary and will not be compensated, tracking volunteer and internship hours, not allowing employees to “volunteer” to work extra hours without compensation and ensuring that interns get the primary benefit of the internship experience.

Employee Benefits Update

 Peter Marathas provided a reminder about the availability of IRS-blessed correction programs and IRS-blessed documentation for 403(b) plans.  He also updated those attending on the benefits implications of the changing law for same-sex marriages. Today the majority of states recognize same-sex marriage.  Mr. Marathas reviewed important rules established by the IRS regarding the taxation of benefits, including the so-called “Rule of Celebration.”  He also reminded employers that the IRS has established December 31, 2014 as the deadline for all employers to amend benefit plans to conform to the rules established for same-sex-spouses.  Mr. Marathas reminded attendees that there are many fees, taxes and reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (“Act”).  He also highlighted some strategic decisions employers may want to consider implementing in 2014 in light of the Act’s “play or pay” requirements that go into effect in 2015.  For some, reviewing “independent contractor” and “volunteer” status to ensure that these individuals are not employees is essential.   Mr. Marathas reminded employers that implementation of the Act is complex and care should be taken in working with vendors who demonstrate their ability to assist with the many complex reporting, recordkeeping and other requirements.  He highlighted that working closely with knowledgeable counsel and other advisors is essential.  For additional information on the Affordable Care Act visit our Healthcare Reform Task force page at http://www.proskauer.com/practices/health-reform-task-force/.