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Tax reform has been a major topic of discussion in Washington, but it’s still unclear exactly what such legislation will include and whether it will be signed into law this year. However, the last major tax legislation that was signed into law — back in December of 2015 — still has a significant impact on […]

In recent years, the IRS has increased its scrutiny of not-for-profits’ unrelated business income (UBI). Dividends, interest, rents, annuities and other investment income generally are excluded when calculating unrelated business income tax (UBIT). However, there are two exceptions where such income is taxable. Debt-financed property When your nonprofit incurs debt to acquire an income-producing asset, […]

What could shut down your company? A fire or flood? Maybe a hacker’s attack? Every business needs a disaster recovery plan that targets specific threats to its operations. Describe your risks in detail and create safeguards against them, such as identifying alternative suppliers and engaging an emergency IT service. Also, appoint and train an employee […]

Most of the talk about possible tax legislation has focused on wide-sweeping tax reform and taxes under the Affordable Care Act. But another question is whether Congress will extend through 2017 some valuable breaks for individuals that the 2015 PATH Act extended only through 2016. One is the above-the-line deduction for higher education tuition and […]

Independence is a critical part of an auditor’s ethical requirements. When assessing auditor independence, we consider whether an assignment 1) creates a mutual or conflicting interest, 2) puts the auditor in a position of auditing his or her own work, 3) results in the auditor acting as a member of management or an employee of […]

Not-for-profits ignore the IRS’s private benefit and private inurement provisions at their own peril. The rules prohibit individuals inside or outside a nonprofit from reaping an excess benefit from its transactions. Violations can have devastating consequences, including loss of exempt status. And individuals involved may be subject to significant excise tax penalties. To protect your […]

A primary goal of your estate plan is to transfer wealth to your family according to your wishes and at the lowest possible tax cost. But if your creditors challenge gifts as fraudulent transfers, they can quickly undo your estate plan. Most states have adopted the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. It allows creditors to challenge […]

Here are three tax strategies for individuals that can be more effective if you begin executing them midyear: 1) Take steps to stay out of a higher tax bracket, such as deferring income and accelerating deductible expenses or shifting income to family members in lower tax brackets. 2) Sell depreciated investments to generate losses to […]

Are you eligible for a federal tax deduction for moving costs? You must pass 3 tests: 1) The move must be work-related. 2) The new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your former main job location was from that home. 3) You must work full time […]

Risks associated with not-for-profit special events run the gamut from accidents and personal injury, to fraud and theft, to cancellation due to inclement weather or nonappearance by a featured performer. It’s possible to buy designated “special events insurance,” but such policies can be expensive. Instead, you may want to find out whether you can extend […]

Years ago, all a business owner needed was a big, leather-bound ledger on the desk. These days, regularly upgraded accounting software is a must. Why? As a system ages, bad data can build up and adversely affect financial reporting. Ever heard the term “garbage in, garbage out”? It’s true. In addition, by regularly upgrading your […]

Here are three lesser-known income tax breaks for charitable donations by businesses: 1) deduction for donated food that equals the lesser of the food’s basis plus one-half the fair market value in excess of basis or two times the basis, 2) deduction for qualified conservation contributions by qualified C corporation farming and ranching operations of […]

Information is power. And regularly supplying information to your not-for-profit’s board of directors is the key to the board properly fulfilling its duties. This doesn’t mean you have to share every internal email or phone message. Board members should, however, receive and understand information that will help them work together and better serve your organization. […]

Are income taxes taking a bite out of your trusts? For trusts, the income threshold is very low for triggering the top income tax rate of 39.6%, top long-term capital gains rate of 20% and the 3.8% net investment income tax. The threshold is only $12,500 in 2017. But you can soften the blow by […]

Planning your estate around specific assets can be risky. If you leave specific assets (such as a home, a car or stock) to specific people but dispose of an asset without updating your will, you might inadvertently disinherit someone. Therefore, it’s generally preferable to divide your estate based on dollar values or percentages. If it’s […]

Cash flow fluctuations are intense for seasonal businesses. If your company defines itself as such, try to optimize your operating cycle. Look carefully at the beginning, middle and end of your cycle, identifying your strategic selling window. Try to stockpile cash received at cycle’s end, and then use those reserves to finance the next cycle. […]

A charitable lead trust (CLT) is most effective in a low-interest-rate environment, so conditions for taking advantage of a CLT now are favorable. A CLT provides a regular income stream to charities during the trust term, after which the remaining assets pass to noncharitable beneficiaries. A charitable lead annuity trust (CLAT) makes annual payments to […]

The tax consequences of the sale of an investment, as well as your net return, can be affected by a variety of factors. You’re probably focused on factors such as how much you paid for the investment vs. how much you’re selling it for, whether you held the investment long-term (more than one year) and […]

Some people make video recordings of their will signings in an effort to create evidence that they possess the requisite testamentary capacity. For some, this strategy may help stave off a will contest. However, unless the person signing the will delivers a flawless performance, a challenger will pounce on the slightest hesitation as “proof” that […]

When it comes time to transition your role as business owner to someone else, you’ll face many changes. One of them is becoming a mentor. As such, you’ll have to communicate clearly, show some patience and have a clear conception of what you want to accomplish before stepping down. Here are some tips on putting […]