Meet CapinCrouse Tax Counsel Ted Batson
Ted began his career by serving as an accountant at CapinCrouse for five years, starting in 1988. We recently spoke with him about his expertise, how he is assisting clients, and what he’s looking forward to in his new role.
CapinCrouse: Tell us about the expertise and insight you bring to the tax counsel role.
Ted: I’ve had first-hand experience with nonprofit organizations my whole life. I’m a missionary kid from Honduras — my parents served with World Gospel Mission and I attended Academia Los Pinares, a bilingual Christian school in Honduras.
Professionally, my deepest subject matter expertise is in charitable giving, including charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, charitable gift annuity programs, donor-advised programs, and private foundations. At CapinCrouse, I can use that background to advise clients on charitable giving considerations and help them make sure their donors are getting the right advice, so that gifts are structured in a way that is mutually beneficial to the nonprofit and the donor.
I’m also enhancing my expertise in the broader topic of tax-exempt organizations as it relates to their operations and tax reporting, and how that can assist the organizations we serve. In addition, I’m polishing my understanding of payroll tax reporting, employee benefit plans, and executive compensation plans.
CapinCrouse: What led you to be interested in this type of work?
Ted: Like a lot of things in life, various connections and opportunities came along and led to this particular path. I didn’t have a master plan in college for how I was going to end up where I am today. That said, I believe God’s plan was to take my skill set and gifts and put me in the position I am in now.
I am always enthused by what I do. Because CapinCrouse works with ministries, churches, and other nonprofit organizations that are focused on the common purpose of advancing the Kingdom, we have the opportunity to be part of the mission and ministry of multiple organizations. That’s an exciting and rewarding element of our work and service.
CapinCrouse: What types of tax issues do you assist clients with?
Ted: I work with tax-exempt organizations of all sizes, large and small, on a variety of issues. That ranges from general tax questions and issues to unrelated business income tax (UBIT), charitable solicitation, missionary employment structures, payroll tax reporting, and compensation planning and reporting.
My work includes consulting on various tax and employee benefit matters and representing clients before state and federal tax authorities. I also assist on the firm’s audit and advisory engagements, as needed, to counsel on key operating and tax issues.
CapinCrouse: What types of issues have you helped clients with so far?
Ted: One example is a church client that had to acquire more property than it needed as part of a land acquisition. The church borrowed to purchase the property and is doing some site development to prepare the excess property for sale. The combination of those two activities led to some tax issues that we’re helping the client navigate.
Another interesting project has been helping a college assess its payroll withholding requirements for faculty members who live out of state. I’m also assisting an organization with reinstating its charitable status, helping a client apply to the IRS for recognition as a church, and working with another client on minister compensation considerations.
CapinCrouse: What would you say are the most challenging aspects of nonprofit tax right now?
Ted: One issue is revenue-hungry governments, from the federal government down to the local level. These governments are increasingly examining whether exempt organizations are really delivering on what makes them eligible for exemption. That’s most clearly evidenced in the property tax world, where nonprofits are now being asked to pay property tax when 25 years ago they had an understood exemption. Now local authorities are being more exacting about what is tax-exempt.
And in a broad sense, our ministry clients are facing an increasingly challenging environment in the U.S. This is particularly true for organizations that receive federal or even state funding. They will being seeing more challenges in continuing to operate the way they always have, in a world where same-sex marriage has been legalized and gender identity issues are increasingly respected in the law. Some of those issues are tax issues.
CapinCrouse: What are you looking forward to in your new role?
Ted: What particularly suits me in this role is the fact that we’re constantly being called on to do research and be very thoughtful in crafting our responses, so we can help our clients be in the best possible position. We’re always considering how we can help clients achieve the results they want to achieve while adhering to the letter and the spirit of the law.
Ted is based in our Indianapolis office and serves clients nationwide. You can learn more about his professional expertise here.