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Did you make large gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs last year? If so, it’s important to determine whether you’re required to file a 2018 gift tax return — or whether filing one would be beneficial even if it isn’t required. Filing requirements Generally, you must file a gift tax return for 2018 […]

A formal whistleblower policy is critical to protecting your not-for-profit’s financial security and public reputation. Your policy should state which individuals (for example, staffers, volunteers and clients) and activities (such as fraud, conflicts of interest and discrimination) are covered. Also explain how reports will be investigated and what will happen when investigations end. It’s particularly […]

A pet trust is a legally sanctioned arrangement in all 50 states that allows you to set aside funds for your pet’s care in the event you die or become disabled. After the pet dies, any remaining funds are distributed among your heirs as directed by the trust terms. The basic guidelines are comparable to […]

Bankruptcy can be a valid business tool when used properly. Unfortunately, it can also enable less-than-honest business owners to profit at the expense of their creditors. Such is often the case with “phoenix” companies that rise from the ashes of businesses that were deliberately run into the ground. To avoid becoming the unpaid creditor of […]

Directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance enables board members to make decisions without fear that they’ll be personally responsible for any related litigation costs. Such coverage is common in the business world, but many not-for-profits incorrectly assume that their charitable mission and the volunteer status of their board insulate them from lawsuits. To determine whether […]

Restricted gifts can be difficult for not-for-profits to manage. Unlike unrestricted gifts, these donations can’t go into your general operating fund and be used where they’re most needed. Some donors will be determined to make restricted gifts, but you may be able to persuade others to remove restrictions if you explain how the money will […]

Shakespeare’s words don’t apply just to Julius Caesar; they also apply to calendar-year partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) treated as partnerships or S corporations for tax purposes. Why? The Ides of March, more commonly known as March 15, is the federal income tax filing deadline for these “pass-through” entities. Not-so-ancient history Until […]

If you run your business from your home or perform certain functions at home that are related to your business, you might be able to claim a home office deduction against your business income on your 2018 income tax return. There are now two methods for claiming this deduction: the actual expenses method and the […]

Have you made substantial gifts of wealth to family members? Or are you the executor of the estate of a loved one who died recently? If so, you need to know whether you must file a gift or estate tax return. Filing a gift tax return Generally, a federal gift tax return (Form 709) is […]

Limited liability company (LLC) members commonly claim that their distributive shares of LLC income (after deducting compensation for services in the form of guaranteed payments) aren’t subject to self-employment (SE) tax. But the IRS has been seeking back taxes and penalties from LLC members it claims have underreported SE income, with some success in court. […]

Hoping to find inexpensive or difficult-to-obtain concert, sporting and other event tickets, many consumers turn to the online resale market. But while most resale transactions are legitimate, some buyers are tricked and end up with stolen or counterfeit tickets, or no tickets at all. To avoid purchasing invalid tickets, buy from the event’s official ticketing […]

When you file your 2018 income tax return, you’ll likely find that some big tax law changes affect you — besides the much-discussed tax rate cuts and reduced itemized deductions. For 2018 through 2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) makes significant changes to personal exemptions, standard deductions and the child credit. The degree […]

Signs of financial distress in a not-for-profit can be subtle. But board members have a responsibility to recognize them and do everything in their power to avert potential disaster. Pay particular attention to: 1. Budget bellwethers. Confirm that proposed budgets are in line with strategies already developed and approved. Once your board has signed off […]

To claim an itemized deduction for a donation of more than $250, generally you need a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity. “Contemporaneous” means the earlier of 1) the date you file your income tax return, or 2) the extended due date of your return. If you made a donation in 2018 but haven’t received […]

If your wealth is tied up in a closely held business, lack of liquidity can create estate planning challenges. Selling your business shares to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) converts them into liquid assets. If the ESOP owns more than 30% of the company’s outstanding common stock immediately after the sale, you may be […]

Raffles are popular fundraisers for not-for-profits. But they’re subject to strict tax rules. State laws on nonprofit-sponsored raffles vary, but you must comply with federal income tax requirements. First, you may owe unrelated business income tax unless your fundraiser is “substantially” staffed by volunteers. Second, raffle winnings must be reported to the IRS when the […]

Forensic accountants are best qualified to unearth the “hows and whys” of occupational fraud. But it’s up to employers to know when it’s time to call for professional help in the first place. The signs of fraud can be easy to miss, but they’re usually there. Something doesn’t belong Dishonest employees may use anything from […]

Choosing the right executor (or “personal representative”) is critical to the smooth administration of an estate. Yet many people treat this decision as an afterthought. An executor’s duties may include taking inventory of the estate’s assets, filing the estate’s tax returns and paying its taxes, and handling creditors’ claims. A family member is a common […]

Americans support charities for a variety of financial, emotional and social reasons, and some of them aren’t so obvious. For example, wealthy donors may be motivated by not only tax and asset protection considerations, but also a desire to limit what they leave to their children to prevent a “burden of wealth.” Younger donors often […]

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) generally reduced individual tax rates for 2018 through 2025, some taxpayers could see their taxes go up due to reductions or eliminations of certain tax breaks — and, in some cases, due to their filing status. But some may see additional tax savings due to their filing […]

Not-for-profits that direct and benefit from volunteers can be held accountable if those individuals are harmed or harm others on the job. Your organization needs to take steps to limit this risk, including screening volunteer candidates. Positions that carry greater risks, such as work involving children and other vulnerable populations, or access to cash donations, […]