Thursday 22 January 2009

IRS to take a closer look at US university income

Via Tech Transfer E-News comes news that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States is to pay increased attention to the tax status of revenue-generating activities of universities -- including income from their IP licences. It appears that
"... the U.S. Internal Revenue Service is putting universities on notice that it is going to put their finances under a magnifying glass to root out any practices or revenue-generating activities that run afoul of the institutions’ tax-exempt status.

... the first step in this process is a lengthy compliance questionnaire in which about 400 universities are being asked by the IRS to answer questions related to such financial matters as executive compensation, endowments, student demographics, and handling of “unrelated business income.”

... most experts agree the questionnaire [available here] provides an opportunity to preview the IRS’s biggest concerns and clean up any sloppy accounting practices any full-scale audits begin. ... many experts are recommending that TTOs and their parent organizations work with in-house counsel to answer the questions even if they have not received them from the feds.
... Of particular interest to TTOs are questions about unrelated business income (UBI)”.
A detailed article on the IRS questionnaire, its implications for TTOs, and guidance on preparing for further scrutiny appears in the January issue of Technology Transfer Tactics.

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