Photo Credit: Rio Lacanlale via Review-Journal  
NAO Public Policy Alert
The Federal Government Shutdown

The continued government shutdown, now the longest in history, is not only causing pain for over 800,000 federal workers and their families but has also impacted millions of more Americans through disrupted services. Many of these disrupted services are delivered through charitable nonprofits. Food pantries, education support groups, housing organizations and arts and culture nonprofits are all seeing the impacts of the shutdown in different ways. As usual, nonprofits are stepping into the some of the vacuum left by government programs to assist not only their normal caseload, but federal workers as well. The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently ran an article analyzing the impact of the shutdown on SNAP recipients, food pantries, and domestic-violence shelters. Some federally funded nonprofits have not been able to receive reimbursements for work already completed while others cannot fill out applications for new funding due to disabled federal web portals. The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it has stopped processing applications for tax-exempt status during the shutdown because much of the Treasury Department is shut down. Additionally, since the IRS does not have the funding to continue operating its online filing system, small nonprofits with budgets under $50,000 are unable to file their Form 990-N.

NAO joins our colleague state associations, the National Council of Nonprofits, the National Governors Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many more in calling for an immediate end to the shutdown and a resumption of these critical public services. 

Take action by contacting your representatives to voice your concerns!
The Oregon Legislative Session

On January 22, the Oregon Legislative session opened. With 1,648 bills to review, debate and vote on, the session promises to be a busy one. There are a number of bills that NAO is watching related to exempt organizations (nonprofits) and our work. Many nonprofits are directly involved in bringing important bills forward this session. These include legislation that seeks to support foster youth, improve healthcare delivery, support the homeless and work to rectify income disparities. Throughout the session, we will highlight specific initiatives led by our sector for your information and support.

Of particular interest this session are two bills that impact most or all charitable nonprofits: 
  • SB360 updates the ORS 65 code that governs nonprofits in Oregon which was enacted in 1989, and has remained largely unchanged since that time. Led by the Oregon State Bar's Nonprofit Organizations Legal Section, a committee worked for three years on the proposed language updated and contained in this bill. SB360 clarifies areas in Oregon's Nonprofit Corporation Code in which the statutory language is ambiguous or unhelpful. NAO was graciously invited to sit on this committee and give feedback on the proposed changes in SB360. NAO supports the passage of this legislation.
  • SB210 requires certain institutions seeking property tax exemption to file information return that states the basis for exemption claim in terms derived from Oregon case law. The "certain institutions" are those that would qualify for property as incorporated literary, benevolent, charitable or scientific institutions. This appears to be a return of SB181; the attempt last session to tax more charitable institutions for their property. You may recall that through a grassroots campaign and the action of many nonprofits across Oregon, that bill was defeated. NAO is committed to further investigate the intentions behind SB210, provide that information to you, and, if necessary, rally your organizations to keep charitable properties exempt.
NAO is dedicated to keeping you posted on how these and other bills progress through our legislature. Remember, you have a right to advocate and lobby for your mission and program participants. Exercise your democratic rights and be sure you are heard! For more information on how to engage in advocacy and lobbying activities click here
Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT)

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law last year, included provisions that requires nonprofits to pay a 21 percent tax on the cost of employee transportation benefits like transit and parking and to calculate unrelated income streams in a way that increases their tax burden. Today, Independent Sector released new research on tax provisions that will divert important resources from your mission to the federal government. The survey of more than 700 nonprofit organizations nationwide found that the new tax on transportation fringe benefits will divert an average of about $12,000 away from each nonprofit's mission per year. The survey also found that as a percentage of budget size, this tax is a bigger burden to smaller nonprofits.

NAO joins Independent Sector in urging Congress to repeal these onerous provisions. With your help, this research will amplify those efforts and help legislators feel the urgency of our cause. Please visit to learn more, download graphics and other materials, and urge Congress to choose #MissionNotTaxes.
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