Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Public or Private???

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Public or Private???

    Please help.....I'm confused!

    Does a non-profit volunteer association; not the actual department, which was set up for the FF's to raise money for equipment, awards, dinners and such, have to comply with the Open Records Act? Would they have to provide copies of receipts for purchased items such as a couch, TV, etc. to an individual requesting them in writing? Or monthly financial report of the association? The FD nor town financially supports this association. Funds are raised by private donations or fund-raising events.

    Please don't take me wrong, we are not trying to hide anything and are open to provide this information, but.....DO WE OPEN THAT CAN OF WORMS!?!?!?

    Thanks for in advance!

  • #2
    I think you are required to do a yearly report

    And when the IRS knocks on your door you will


    Have you asked the city attorney or state attorney responsible for open records????


    Sorry for the cut and paste job;;;

    Here is state of tx rule

    Are the books and records of a nonprofit corporation available for inspection?

    Section 22.351 of the Texas Business Organizations Code gives a member of a nonprofit corporation, on written demand, the right to examine and copy the corporation’s books and records.* The member, or the member’s agent, accountant, or attorney, may examine and copy these records at any reasonable time and for a proper purpose. Section 22.352 also requires a nonprofit corporation to maintain financial records in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles; the board of directors is required to prepare or approve an annual financial report for the preceding year.

    Additionally, section 22.353 requires certain nonprofit corporations to make all records, books, and annual reports of financial activity available to the general public for inspection and copying. However, section 22.353 does not apply to (1) corporations that solicit funds only from their members; (2) corporations that do not intend to solicit and do not actually receive contributions in excess of $10,000 during a fiscal year from sources other than their members; (3) proprietary schools; (4) religious institutions; (5) trade associations or professional associations whose principal income is from dues and member sales and services; (6) insurers; or (7) alumni associations of public or private institutions of higher education.

    Under certain circumstances, a nonprofit corporation’s books and records are also available to the public under the Texas Public Information Act (chapter 552 of the Government Code). Section 552.003(1)(A) of the Public Information Act defines “governmental body” to include the “part, section, or portion of an organization, corporation, commission, committee, institution, or agency that spends or that is supported in whole or in part by public funds.” For more information on the Public Information Act, please contact the Attorney General; the secretary of state cannot provide advice regarding the application of the Public Information Act to a particular nonprofit corporation.
    Last edited by fire49; 12-09-2010, 08:38 AM.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

    Comment


    • #3
      Our association's books are closed. We submit an annual report to the state which includes the names and contact information of the association officers.

      We also own property and a building in the center of town that the town rents from us to use as the town fire station.

      Comment


      • #4
        And.............

        This part of the World is somewhat different. Our VFD is incorporated as a Private, Non Stock Corporation under Maryland Law. The IRS Classification is a 501(c)(3). We, and other organizations incorporated the same way, raise Funds, purchase and own Buildings and Apparatus, etc. We are not part of, or obligated to, any Government entity. In this area, Towns, Villages, etc. are excluded from being involved in Fire Protection, with the County being the only level of Government that VFDs work with. How much involvement a County has in Fire/Rescue affairs varies from Urban to Rural. Everybody gets some funding from Government, and those Funds must be Audited Annually, and properly accounted for at all times. Funds raised privately are not subject to outside review, but I don't know of any VFD that doesn't have an annual Audit by an outside Accountant. Like Government Funding, private Fundraising varies from place to place, with some VFDs bringing in $25K/year while others may hit $250K or more........
        Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
        In memory of
        Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
        Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

        IACOJ Budget Analyst

        I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

        www.gdvfd18.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by sklingo View Post
          Please help.....I'm confused!

          Does a non-profit volunteer association; not the actual department, which was set up for the FF's to raise money for equipment, awards, dinners and such, have to comply with the Open Records Act? Would they have to provide copies of receipts for purchased items such as a couch, TV, etc. to an individual requesting them in writing? Or monthly financial report of the association? The FD nor town financially supports this association. Funds are raised by private donations or fund-raising events.

          Please don't take me wrong, we are not trying to hide anything and are open to provide this information, but.....DO WE OPEN THAT CAN OF WORMS!?!?!?

          Thanks for in advance!
          Asking for legal advice on here is sort of like asking for pointers on how to perform open heart surgery - lots of answers by well meaning people, but nothing that is going to get the job done.

          That said, why not? Why not comply with the basic requirements of an open records act?

          Be 100 percent above question, and then you will never have to worry about it. Not complying just raises questions.

          But above all, contact your local attorney that handles this kind of thing for advice, not here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LVFD301 View Post
            But above all, contact your local attorney that handles this kind of thing for advice, not here.
            THIS RIGHT HERE, is absolutely, positively the best advice you can get.
            "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

            Comment


            • #7
              If you have nothing to hide, then why would this even be an issue ???

              Comment


              • #8
                Asking for legal advice on here is sort of like asking for pointers on how to perform open heart surgery - lots of answers by well meaning people, but nothing that is going to get the job done.


                We sure can give that advice too.

                As well marriage, raising children and how to cope in the fire house.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you for all the advise. From my experience with the association I believe the records have been kept in order and compliant. The association has nothing to hide and believe all legal things with the association is in order. Would have to turn this into a month long chat session to explain the question at hand. LOL

                  The best way I can explain for the question is... It seems no matter what organization a person is involved in, whether it is little league sports, school activities, etc... there always seems to be that one person or group with the negative attitude that try to cause disruption. Just trying to research for my own knowledge in an attempt to help keep this civil and cooperative to put an end to the fuss.

                  HONESTY and INTEGRITY is a part of my life.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I served as president of my association for several years, based on what I went through I'll answer how I approached your questions.

                    Open Records Act - Not entirely. You want to ensure if you're filed as a Non-Profit in your state, what exactly your Purpose Statement says on your Articles of Incorporation. Be sure to not have anything "fire department" related mentioned. That keeps you clear. My organization was not required to post any minutes, meeting notices, etc. However if I was asked, I usually provided that information in the best interest of good public relations.

                    Copies of reciepts - if an individual who donated asks, yes. Especially if they gave over $75 (last time I read the tax law pertaining to non-profits under 501.c.3). If they gave over that amount, you're required to provide them with a receipt plus let them know what the money was done with. The purpose behind all that is they are donating to a "charity" and writing it off on their taxes. When Mr IRS comes to their door for an audit, they need that receipt. Also, if you're under that code for a non-profit, you want to be sure you're donating to the various interest groups that are required. We were required to donate to religious, educational, scientific and a couple others. Really isn't that hard when you sit down and look over who you help out.

                    Monthly Financial - Depends who's asking. If its members of the organization, then yes. If its just Tom or Harry off the street, then you can state you release that yearly in most cases. In the case of my organization, our state law changed where we are required to provide that information to the city we are in IF we donate anything towards the FD or city itself. I can't recall all the specifics but I definately recall the "nice" letter I received from my state when I initially baulked at providing the information for my city's audit. In the end, I gave them what they needed/requested. Afterall, what was there to hide? My issue was in just the manner the original demand was worded. Once we all understood each other, it was a pretty simple exchange.

                    Best advice I can offer is to seek out a lawyer who specializes in tax law and non-profit groups in your state. Be open and honest with them, let them know what you're trying to accomplish and what your groups goals are. Also, remember to file your state and federal reports and tax filings. Just because you're non-profit doesn't exempt your group from filing a tax report.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nearly every state has "Sunshine Laws" that require open public records. As stated by previous posters, acquire an attorney's opinion whether you are required to "open the books".

                      If your organization has a charitable gaming license (bingo, raffles, casino events, etc.), you may be required to "open the books" for that. So if your organization has a gaming license, mention that to the attorney, too.

                      Comment

                      300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)

                      Collapse

                      Upper 300x250

                      Collapse

                      Taboola

                      Collapse

                      Leader

                      Collapse
                      Working...
                      X