The Panel on the Nonprofit Sector, a collaboration of leaders of America's charitable organizations, presented its final report to Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.The report contains more than 120 actions to be taken by charitable organizations, Congress and the Internal Revenue Service, which together would strengthen the sector's transparency, governance and accountability.If implemented, these recommendations would be the most sweeping changes to the operation and regulation of charities and foundations in three decades.Among its proposals, the panel recommended that:-- Charitable organizations adopt audit procedures and policies on travel expenses, conflicts of interest and whistleblower protection.-- Audits be required of charitable organizations with annual revenue of $1 million or more.-- Non-cash contributions support charitable causes, rather than providing improper tax deductions for donors.-- Penalties be strengthened on board members who approve and executives who receive excessive compensation."The panel report will inform the committee and its work, particularly in the important areas of governance and transparency," said Grassley. "I recognize, though, that the IRS is the one that must shoulder the burden of enforcing the law and so we will certainly look to Commissioner [Mark] Everson and his staff, as well as the Treasury, for their judgment on reforms, particularly in addressing the abusive situations that the commissioner highlighted with such candor in his April letter to the committee. My time line is to have legislation this summer for Finance Committee members to be able to review, and then to have the committee mark up legislation soon after that."
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