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http://ssrn.com/abstract=626862
 
 

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Rediscovering Vulgar Charity: A Historical Analysis of America's Tangled Nonprofit Law


Thomas A. Kelley III


University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law

November 29, 2004

UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 04-05

Abstract:     
Charitable organizations in the United States find themselves in a double bind these days. On one hand, our free-market American culture expects them to be entrepreneurial and bottom-line oriented, adopting many of the methods and practices of commercial enterprises. On the other hand, courts and governmental agencies, the IRS in particular, threaten and punish charities when they become too commercial. Charities live in fear of being ensnared by confusing and contradictory legal doctrines such as the operational test, the commerciality doctrine, the unrelated business income tax, and the commensurate in scope doctrine. This paper takes a historical approach to explaining why we find ourselves in this vexing bind, then proposes in broad outline a possible legislative fix.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 86

Keywords: charitable organizations, charity, history

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Date posted: November 29, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Kelley, Thomas A., Rediscovering Vulgar Charity: A Historical Analysis of America's Tangled Nonprofit Law (November 29, 2004). UNC Legal Studies Research Paper No. 04-05. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=626862 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.626862

Contact Information

Thomas A. Kelley III (Contact Author)
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law ( email )
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
919-843-9909 (Phone)
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