IRS Withdraws Controversial Gift Proposal: A proposal introduced last fall would have allowed—but not required—nonprofits to annually file a new form with the IRS. It would have been an alternative to providing donors with written charitable gift acknowledgements to substantiate their single contributions of $250 or more. The IRS withdrew its proposed alternative in January after receiving nearly 38,000 public comments. The primary concerns related to donor privacy and identity theft. The new reporting form would have required nonprofits to keep donor taxpayer identification numbers (social security numbers) on file to report to the federal government.
Cole to Assume the Duties of Deputy DoEd Secretary: Acting DoEd Secy. John King Jr. announces that James Cole Jr., who is currently serving as department general counsel, will assume the duties of deputy secretary. In his new role, Cole will manage the department’s operations and lead its work on the president’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force. Cole will continue to be general counsel, serving as the chief legal officer for the department and as legal advisor to King.
Check Your Nonprofit’s Mileage Rates for 2016: Does your nonprofit reimburse staff for group-related mileage based on a mileage log? And, do you reimburse at the top IRS business mileage rate? If so, now is the time to adjust the reimbursement. The business mileage for 2016 is at a five-year low because of lower gas prices. Effective Jan. 1, the business mileage rate decreased from 57.5 cents to 54 cents per mile.
DoEd Publishes DACA Youth Resource Guide: In an effort to ensure that all students have access to a world-class education that prepares them for college and careers, DoEd, in collaboration with the Citizenship and Immigration Services, releases a resource guide. It will to help educators, school leaders, and community organizations better support undocumented youths in secondary and postsecondary schools. Those for whom the guide is intended also include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
Webinars Aid Planning for Farm to School Grants: USDA is offering a webinar series devoted to starting or growing a farm to school program. Guest speakers will join the webinars to share their hands-on farm to school experiences.. Can’t make it? Don’t worry, USDA is recording all the webinars and will add them to the website as soon as they are available. Preliminary results of the 2015 Farm to School Census tells the USDA that more than 1,700 school districts don’t yet have farm to school programs, but are interested in starting one. For example, the April 28 session will talk about program sustainability and what could happen if funding levels decrease or community interest lags? With this webinar, schools can plan ahead for these potential scenarios and learn about program sustainability best practices.
Vilsack Announces New Certification Standards: Agriculture Secy. Tom Vilsack announces his department would allow state agencies that administer the National School Lunch Program to use Medicaid data to certify students for free and reduced priced lunches.
This “automatic link” will allow eligible students to enroll in free and reduced meals with less paperwork for the state, schools and families, USDA says. The department plans to allow five states to begin implementing direct certification using Medicaid data during the 2016-17 school year. Over the next three school years, USDA expects to enroll 20 states in the pilot project.
White House Launches Local Food, Child Wellness Effort: The White House Rural Council and six federal agencies have joined together to announce the selection of 27 communities in 22 states that will participate in Local Foods, Local Places. This federal initiative helps communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, create vibrant places and promote childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food. Developed as a partnership between USDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Transportation Dept., the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority, this initiative help improve quality of life for children and families in rural and tribal communities.