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News & Press: General

Nonprofits and Public Policy:A special issue of the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy

Tuesday, November 19, 2019  
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Call for papers

Nonprofits and Public Policy:A special issue of the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy


Submission deadline: May 1, 2020

Nonprofit organizations occupy a space between government and business, and in exchange for pursuing a noble mission, are generally granted exemptions from paying taxes. This tax exemption has proven controversial when extremely wealthy nonprofits occupy huge swaths of prime real estate or possess sizable endowments that are tax exempt while governments have trouble funding basic needs. Nonprofit organizations have developed a number of responses to address the controversy and to defuse outrage. For example, some nonprofits have responded with PILOTs, which are voluntary payments in lieu of taxes. A further line of controversy originates from the suspicion that some nonprofits essentially operate like for-profits. While some taxing authorities force nonprofits to separate and pay taxes on their unrelated business activities, literature has suggested that nonprofits are good at avoiding taxes even on their unrelated business activities.

Potential submissions may address questions that include, but are not restricted to:

  • Are the benefits received by society sufficient to justify the tax exemption?
  • How do the requirements and incentives for organizing as a nonprofit vary by jurisdiction, and how does that variation affect the frequency and structure of nonprofits?
  • Do tax benefits provide incentive to organize as a nonprofit as opposed to a for-profit entity? Do they provide nonprofits with a competitive advantage vis-à-vis for-profits, in the marketplace?
  • What conditions lead to PILOTs? Are PILOTs real estate taxes in disguise?
  • Do nonprofits actively engage in tax avoidance? If so how?
  • Alternative source of funding such as social impact bonds.
  • Do non-profits appoint higher quality audit firms and how does this affect their tax exemption status and tax avoidance?
  • Audit quality implications of the nonprofit tax exemption and its impact on financial reporting quality.

We invite researchers from all fields both inside and outside of academia to submit their work.

Guest Editor

Steven Balsam, Ph.D., CPA

Professor of Accounting

Fox School of Business

Temple University


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