3 Dangers that Money-Changers Pose to Charities

"Zimbabwe Cash" by Jared_OakesIn Israel, more than in most countries, foreign currency is an integral part of every facet of the country’s daily economic enterprises – private, business, and public sectors, alike.

A recent released study showed that 53% of financial support to Israeli charities came from abroad. Thus, making foreign exchange exchange fees, rates, and processing times of the utmost importance to Israeli charities.

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Defining a Chevrah LeTo’elet Hatzibur [Public Benefit Company]

"Pumping It Out" by Wolfgang Schlegl“What do you mean that Israeli charities can be registered as companies?”

That was the question someone asked me last year that that had me thinking to myself, yet again, that Israeli charity legal/tax structure is a language onto itself and should require its own Ulpan.

Towards this end, I hope to clarify in this post the somewhat contradictory concept of a Chevrah LeTo’elet Hatzibur [Public Benefit Company]. Continue reading

The Best Way to Reach Israel’s Registrar of Charities (?)

"Hold All My Calls" by furryscalymanThe phone number is clearly listed on its site, yet no one answers when I call.

It is a complaint I have heard from Israeli nonprofits and one that I recently verified — repeatedly.  So the question remains, how can someone get in touch with Israel’s Registrar of Charities [Rasham Ha’amutot]? Continue reading

MANDATORY Compliance with the I.R.S.’ VOLUNTARY Best Practices

"Rise Above" by KaleCraneA charitable foundation’s worst fear is that its grant will be used for non-charitable purposes. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stresses that this risk increases drastically when dealing with foreign grant making and expenditures.[1] The U.S. Department of the Treasury released its third and final version of its “Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines: Voluntary Best Practices for U.S. Based Charities” (VBP) in September of 2006 to help charities implement procedures that will reduce the risk of unintended diversions of funds to terrorist causes.

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Insight Not Accuracy: Why The New York Times is Important

"Magnifying Glass" by deejaynyeA recent New York Times’ article attacked American charities that help build communities in  Israel’s West Bank and IRS policy that enables donations to these organizations to be tax-deductable.  As with any piece about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, many people have been quick to attack or defend the veracity of the article.

To nonprofit organizations, the value of the article is not the accuracy of the authors’ claims, but rather the article’s insight into current concerns and trends influencing the nonprofit sector.  These can serve as warnings and guidelines to US charities that operate internationally. Continue reading

Homeland Security Scrutinizing New Nonprofits: What Can We Expect & How Can We Adjust

You Are Not Allowed To Take Photos Here!! by TroyHoldenAnd the hits just keep on coming…

Nonprofit organizations have yet another hurdle to cross when applying for tax-exempt status.

A while back, a colleague of mine, a director of a nonprofit organization, applied for tax-exempt status in the United States. The IRS had questions for him, which was to be expected. What was not expected, however, was that after answering the IRS’ questions, his file was then forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security [DHS].

That’s right, the U.S. Government Department that oversees (no pun intended) counter-terrorism, border security, disaster response, and immigration is also an integral part of the tax-exempt approval process. Continue reading

The Real Reason Israelis Don’t Donate

There is debate raging in the United States about tax incentives and the Nonprofit Sector. The U.S. government, by allowing donations to be tax-deductible, is surrendering money “owed” to it for the sake of encouraging charity. Many believe that the two – the rate of deductions and the amount donated to charity – are directly linked. Any decrease in the rate of deductions will lead to a decrease in the aggregate amount of charity donated to nonprofit organizations.

A recent study in Israel advocates the same theory, claiming that Israel’s poor standing in charitable-giving is directly related to the Israeli Government’s comparatively lower tax-deductible incentives.

However, by placing the blame squarely on the Israeli Government – instead of sharing the burden with the nonprofit organizations operating in Israel – these researchers are causing the Israeli Nonprofit Sector to leave a huge well of potential-donors untapped. The charities in Israel are failing to engage would-be donors, and it is this lost opportunity that should really be addressed. Continue reading