310 Grant Street, Suite 1005
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412-745-1040 main line
412-745-3434 fax


Nonprofit Organizations Practice

Owen & Conley attorneys have established many types of charities and other tax-exempt organizations including nonprofits, private foundations, business-related non-profits and churches. Our depth of experience in working with the Internal Revenue Service and the Attorneys General of several states enables us to provide our clients solid advice on tax and nonprofit legal issues.
Nonprofit organizations are mostly exempt from paying federal and state income tax and many are charities able to receive tax-deductible contributions under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.  In order to maintain tax-exempt status, nonprofits must comply with certain regulations and restrictions that affect the way they can conduct their activities and operations, including the conduct of business activities.  Our firm guides our clients through the complex issues surrounding these laws and regulations.

The firm is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (“PANO”).   Committed to the nonprofit field, our attorneys serve in leadership roles with PANO, the Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council, the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, the Allegheny County Bar Association, and we frequently lecture as well as write on topics of interest as it pertains to nonprofit organizations.

The following is a representative sample of projects in which firm attorneys have been involved with tax-exempt organizations:

  • Initial formation, including incorporation and tax-exempt status applications.
  • Development of and revision of by-laws.
  • Fiduciary training of directors, orientation of new directors and training of audit committee members.
  • Establishment of social entrepreneurial ventures, including consideration of unrelated business income taxes.
  • Formation of for-profit subsidiaries.
  • Mergers and affiliations of previously unrelated tax-exempt entities.
  • Conversion of charities into for-profit entities.
  • Complete reorganization of tax-exempt organizations, including formation of supporting foundations, parent holding companies and taxable affiliates.
  • Creative deferred compensation planning for tax-exempt executives.
  • Assistance with planned giving programs, including the creation of gift annuity programs, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, endowment funds, other development vehicles and gift acceptance procedures.
  • Legal assistance with contracts and purchases or sales of real estate.
  • Obtaining real estate and sales tax exemptions.
  • Registrations and audits under various state Charitable Solicitation Acts.
  • Obtaining favorable IRS private letter rulings on unrelated business income tax matters.

Owen & Conley is also unique in providing planned giving services to support charities.  Owen & Conley will provide the services of an experienced attorney to a tax-exempt charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code for the purpose of assisting in the development of a planned giving program.  These services may include the following:

  • Assess charity’s current Planned Giving Program and the likelihood of success.
  • Assist in presentation(s) to the Board of Directors.
  • Training of the charity’s executives, development officer and/or interested Board members.
  • Consult with charity on the elements in a planned giving program which could include bequests, charitable gift annuities, life insurance, pensions, IRAs, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income funds, among others.  We also assist with the development of a Planned Giving Business Plan.
  • Development of a Gift Acceptance Policy.
  • Assist with preparation and review of planned giving communication materials, including planned giving websites.
  • Assist charity with developing criteria to help identify potential donors.
  • Attend potential donor meetings.
  • Prepare or review donor proposals. Provide technical assistance to charity.
  • Prepare or review legal documents, for or in conjunction with donor’s legal counsel.
  • Assist donor’s legal counsel in any practicable and reasonable manner in completing a gift plan.
  • Assist with third party service providers in establishing custody, tax reporting and administrative arrangements.