MGL c. 30A provides that prior to the adoption of a proposed regulation, an agency shall file an amended small business impact statement, which considers, without limitation, whether any of the following methods of reducing the impact of the proposed regulation on small businesses would hinder achievement of the purpose of the proposed regulation:
- Establishing less stringent compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;
- Establishing less stringent schedules or deadlines for compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;
- Consolidating or simplifying compliance or reporting requirements for small businesses;
- Establishing performance standards for small businesses to replace design or operational standards required in the proposed regulation;
- An analysis of whether the proposed regulation is likely to deter or encourage the formation of new businesses in the Commonwealth; and
- Minimizing adverse impact on small businesses by using alternative regulatory methods.
As previously reported, the updated Regulations of the Director of Public Charities (the “Regulations”) enact one major change, namely excusing all organizations that have been or would be exempt from filing Form 990s with the IRS under Treasury Regulation § 1.6033-2(g)(1)(i) or (ii) or (iv) or (vii) from Chapter 12 registration and filing requirements. The updated Regulations have been proposed to ensure that determinations will be made on a known, consistent, and predictable basis using a fully developed set of criteria; this clarity will significantly reduce inconsistent determinations.
Amended Small Business Impact Statement:
To comply with the Small Business Impact requirements of M.G.L. c. 30A, the Office of the Attorney General reviewed similar regulations at the state and federal levels, and examined the regulatory burden of complying with the Regulations, especially considering such burden on small businesses. A review of all relevant regulations indicates that there are no regulations which may duplicate or conflict with the proposed changes. While the Attorney General’s Office acknowledges that many regulations fall disproportionately on small businesses, the nature of the regulatory changes proposed here actually lessen compliance requirements that most small religious organizations may face because of the updated proposed consistency with other similar regulations, most specifically the IRS Treasury Regulation that the Regulations will track. In this regard, the anticipated burden on small businesses, as well as the nature of the Regulations, did not justify putting in place separate compliance or reporting requirements specifically for small businesses.
The Regulations by their nature establish less stringent compliance and reporting requirements for most impacted small religious businesses. In fact, the Regulations absolve many small religious organizations from any reporting requirements at all. The only anticipated administrative costs that some religious organizations, both large and small, will have to bear will be those associated with ensuring compliance with the Regulations (namely, submitting the one-time initial registration fee of $100 and an annual filing fee (which fee is based on the organization’s gross support and revenue for the year and ranges from $35 to $2,000)).
Neither performance standards nor design standards are applicable to the proposed regulations.
The proposed changes to the regulations are unlikely to either deter or encourage the formation of new businesses in the Commonwealth because the costs are not significant, any new registrations and filings will not require prohibitive amounts of additional work, and, in actuality, the possibility that churches and religious organizations will have to file with the Division has always existed under the statutory authority granted the Attorney General’s Office under M.G.L. c. 12, §§ 8E & 8F, and c. 68, §§19 & 20.
Finally, because the impact on small businesses in particular is predicted to be neither burdensome nor onerous as compared with larger businesses, alternative regulatory methods for small businesses were found unnecessary.