UWorld is a Washington nonprofit corporation set up by the University of Washington (UW) to facilitate the University’s overseas activities. The UW fully controls UWorld and any UWorld subsidiary. UWorld can only do what the UW is legally permitted to do and cannot undertake activities that the UW cannot or does not want to undertake.
When the UW has significant operations in a foreign country, the University is often required to establish a legal status in that country. Common indicators of a significant operation requiring legal status are the need to:
- Open a foreign business bank account
- Hire local citizens
- Open an office in the foreign country
Establishing legal status abroad can be challenging for the UW because it is a governmental organization. Establishing legal status abroad is comparatively easier for UWorld as a Washington nonprofit corporation. UWorld is one option through which the UW can operate where foreign legal status is required.
The UW Global Support Project is available to help make this determination. See http://www.washington.edu/admin/finmgmt/globalsupport/. In addition, the UW Attorney General’s Office as the University’s legal advisor can retain host country legal counsel to assist. Contact Quentin Yerxa, UW Assistant Attorney General, at 206-453-4150, with questions.
Obtaining foreign legal status can be a lengthy process so it is important to identify this need as early as possible. The program needing legal status should take the lead role in seeking it. Obtaining legal status in a foreign country can have significant implications for the UW as a whole. As such, further approvals are required by a chair, dean and the Provost’s Office.
Generally, 501(c)(3) is a federal tax status under the U.S. tax code that relieves organizations of some tax burdens and qualifies contributions to these organizations as deductible. This is different from the legal status an organization is given when it is created. Because UWorld is so closely affiliated with the UW, which is a Section 115 organization, the University has not sought 501(c) (3) status for it.