Luce Forward Attorney Helps Secure Future of Local Nonprofit Through Pro Bono Legal Counseling

Luce Forward Attorney Helps Secure Future of
Local Nonprofit Through Pro Bono Legal Counseling
Baja Animal Sanctuary faced having nonprofit tax-exempt
status revoked due to new tax filing laws

SAN DIEGO (January 23, 2011) – Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP, a California law firm with a national reputation, announced today that Senior Counsel Kristina Hancock successfully defended the tax-exempt status of the local nonprofit Baja Animal Sanctuary, after complicated new tax regulations led to IRS action that threatened the future of the organization.
These new tax policies are presenting significant hurdles to the nonprofit industry nationwide. As a result of complex provisions added to the Internal Revenue Code in 2006, more than 275,000 nonprofit organizations across the country recently received notice that their federal tax exempt status had been revoked. The all-volunteer Sanctuary lacked the resources to navigate the new tax rules and was stunned to learn that its tax-exempt status had been revoked, putting the survival of the organization at risk.

Baja Animal Sanctuary is an animal rescue organization in Northern Baja California. It is the only no-kill shelter of its kind in the region and has been rescuing animals from the streets of Mexico for more than a decade, providing them with food, medical care, and a safe home for the rest of their lives. Over the past decade, the Sanctuary has rescued more than 12,000 animals and it currently houses more than 400 dogs and cats who are awaiting adoption.

The plight of the Sanctuary sheds light on a law that has taken many smaller organizations nationwide by surprise. Fortunately for the Sanctuary, Hancock and a team of Luce Forward attorneys stepped in immediately, investing more than 100 hours of pro bono legal work to save the Sanctuary and ensure the safety of the animals in its care. The San Diego Foundation also provided much needed support, including ensuring that a modest income stream from one of its donor advised funds continued to make monthly distributions to the Sanctuary pending its tax-exempt reinstatement.

“We’re so pleased that Baja Animal Sanctuary will be able to continue the important work that it does and continue rescuing animals and providing them with safe homes,“ says Hancock, part of Luce Forward’s Family Wealth & Exempt Organizations (FWEO) practice group. Kristina Hancock’s efforts allowed the Sanctuary to retain its tax exempt status.

About Baja Animal Sanctuary
BAS, the only no-kill shelter in northern Mexico, provides a safe haven for dogs, cats, and presently, one beautiful horse. Rescued from the streets of Mexico, they now receive food, medical care, and love for the rest of their lives. Once the puppies are old enough, or the sick ones are well enough they are spayed/neutered. Their ultimate goal is to find each and every one of them a forever home. When this can’t be accomplished, since they are a no-kill shelter, the animals that are “un-adoptable” will make BAS their permanent home. In some extreme cases, untreatable dogs and cats are euthanized to put an end to their pain and/or suffering.

About Luce Forward
Founded in 1873, Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP is a full-service California law firm with offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel Valley/Del Mar, Orange County and Rancho Santa Fe. For more information, visit

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