Nonprofit Law, Taxation, and Management

Course Information

Course Number
Curriculum Level
Areas of Study
Corporate Law and Transactions, Racial, Economic, and Social Justice, Taxation
Additional Attributes

Section 001 Information


David Schizer portrait David M. Schizer Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics and Dean Emeritus

Section Description

Nonprofits play a critical role across the globe, offering a way to advance public goals which is largely independent of governments. This course explores a range of legal, tax, governance, management, and policy issues about nonprofits.

The course begins by identifying the defining features of nonprofits and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. What makes nonprofits different from for-profit firms and government agencies? What are their advantages and disadvantages in pursuing public goals?

The course then turns to regulatory and tax issues. What is the role of different stakeholders within nonprofits, including the board, donors, managers, and beneficiaries? What are their sources of legal authority? What government institutions are responsible for regulating nonprofits in the U.S.? What key tax issues arise for nonprofits and their donors? What are the relevant rules supposed to accomplish? How successful are they in achieving these goals?

The course concludes by focusing on governance and management challenges at nonprofits. How can they figure out the most efficient ways to advance their mission? How can they get key stakeholders on board to pursue these strategies? The course will consider a range if issues, including how nonprofits can run more effective planning processes, set the right priorities, run experiments, generate internal support for change, raise more money, and hold themselves accountable.

No prior knowledge of tax law is assumed in this class. Federal income tax is NOT a prerequisite.

For each class session, discussion questions are provided in advance. Students do not have to hand in answers to these questions, but should use them to prepare for class. These questions organize our class discussion and also offer guidance about which issues students should focus on in the course. Strong class participation can improve a student's grade.

School Year & Semester
Spring 2024
JGH 102a
Class meets on
  • Tuesday
  • Thursday
1:20 pm - 2:40 pm
Method of Evaluation
J.D Writing Credit?

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in state nonprofit law, the federal tax rules governing nonprofits, and the policy issues these regimes address.
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired a greater facility in statutory and regulatory analysis, including close reading of statutes and regulations, and application to facts
  • At the end of the course, students will have acquired an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of nonprofits, as well as various mechanisms to accentuate their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.
  • At the end of the class, students will have a deeper understanding of key policy issues involving nonprofits.

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
Instructor Co-Requisites
Recommended Courses
Other Limitations