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Do I Really Need 501c3 Status? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 1/29/13

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Christa: What is something that someone starting a 501c3 non profit organization should know?

Joe Escalante: Here’s something most people don’t know:
Some nonprofit entities don’t really need to apply for 501(c)(3) status. The process is tough and draconian, so ask your self this:

Will your nonprofit bring in enough taxable income to make avoiding taxes a concern? If your organization does not bring in any income from business activities, it won’t owe any taxes. If income is from a business activity that is not related to your nonprofit purposes, that income will be taxable whether you are tax-exempt or not.

However, if you plan to have a business activity that is related to your mission (fees from clients receiving your services for instance), then being tax-exempt will save you money.

TIna: Question…I have joint custody of my granddaughter with her other grandmother. The first year I had her the majority of the time but the other grandma claimed her on her taxes. She then said I could claim her this year. Now she’s saying that conversation never happened and she’s claiming her this year because she had her more of the time (it comes down to a difference of 10 days). I already claimed her since that was our deal. What can be done at this point? Thanks!

Joe Escalante: This is a great question for Gary the tax expert who is here on Thursdays. Click the link below for more details.

LegalZoom: Here you go, Tina:

Julia: How do I go about adding a name to the deed of a house?

Joe Escalante: The normal thing to do is to put their name on a quitclaim deed and file it with the county. However, beware, you are giving away 1/2 of a giant asset. If they have creditors, a lien could be put on what used to be YOUR house. Click below for some Legalzoom info in this area.

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Julia:

Raul: How do reactive a CA corp that has been suspended? and whats the fastest way

LegalZoom: It depends on why it was suspended. It may be as simple as paying back taxes and filing out a form. Contact the Cal. Secretary of State’s office to see which process you need to follow. And be aware that while you were suspended, certain contracts and other activity may be voidable in some circumstances.

Ezella: My sons grandmother is taking me to court next Thursday. She has filed police reports on me saying I am a unfit mother. She keeps saying she has grandmother rights. Whatever. My son has to go to court with me. Her son does not want to spend time with him. I want to know does she has rights? Also am I wrong for not letting her see him?

Joe Escalante: If there is a custody order stipulating visitation rights of the father, and you don’t allow visitation. You may be in contempt of court. If there is no custody order, it’s probably time to petition the court to create one so everyone knows their rights and responsibilities with respect to raising the child. That will help the child know what’s in their future as well.
With respect to grandparents’ rights, some states recognize them, and others agree with you, “whatever.”

Mike: What are other legal ways to have a board meeting, than face to face. Some of our board members are out of state right now.

Joe Escalante: Each state is slightly different but in general you have to be able to hear each other at board meetings, simultaneously. There are ways to vote by mail after the board meeting if it was by conference call.

LegalZoom: Attorney Joe Escalante will be back on Friday for more legal Q&A. Join us then!

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January 31st, 2013 at 5:30 am