Is your nonprofit’s tap running dry?

Posted September 18, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has put enormous financial stress on many not-for-profits — whether they’re temporarily shut down or actively fighting the pandemic. If cash flow has dried up, your organization may need to do more than trim expenses. Here’s how to assess your financial condition and take appropriate action. Put your board in charge Ask your board of directors to lead your review and retrenchment efforts. In addition to having oversight experience and financial expertise, board members have a passion for your organization and will do whatever they can to assist. They may already have employer backing for your nonprofit, and those companies may be willing to step up their financial support. Or board members may be able to tap their social networks. The first order of business should be to review programs relative to your nonprofit’s mission. If you identify one that isn’t critical to your mission...[ Read More ]
Factors such as wealth level, education and even whether people volunteer, probably will tell you more about potential donors than their generation. But some broad generalizations about age can help not-for-profits target particular groups for support. The newest generation of adults belong to what’s being called Generation Z, and it’s possible to draw some conclusions about this otherwise diverse demographic. Charitably inclined digital natives Members of Generation Z typically are either in school or just beginning to launch careers. According to a study conducted by one market research firm, their contributions represent only about 2% of total giving. And their average donation tops out at $341 per year. Yet approximately 44% of Gen Zers have given to charity and they may be more driven to pursue social impact than earlier generations at their age. Many young people are hyperaware of what’s going on both in the world and their own...[ Read More ]
Charitable contributions aren’t always eligible for tax deductions — even when the not-for-profit recipient is tax exempt and the donor itemizes. Take “quid pro quo” donations. These transactions occur when your organization receives a payment that includes a contribution and you provide the donor with goods or services valued for less than the total payment. Let’s take a closer look. Meeting obligations Quid pro quo arrangements create an obligation for your nonprofit. If you receive more than $75 and you provide a benefit to the donor, you must advise the donor that it’s a quid pro quo contribution. In such cases, provide written notice to donors that they can deduct only the amount in excess of the value of the goods or services they receive in return. Also provide donors with a good faith estimate of the value of the goods or services provided in return. This written acknowledgment must...[ Read More ]
  Many businesses are donating to charity in light of the pandemic. In order to encourage giving, the CARES Act made some changes to the rules. Under one change, the limit on charitable deductions for corporations (generally 10% of modified taxable income) doesn’t apply to qualifying contributions made in 2020. Instead, a corporation’s contributions, reduced by other gifts, can be as much as 25% of modified taxable income. No connection between contributions and COVID-19 is required. In another change, for food inventory contributions made in 2020, the deduction limit increases from 15% to 25% of taxable income for C corporations and 15% to 25% of the net aggregate income for other businesses.
  Did you recently file your tax return and receive a refund that was smaller than you were expecting? Or did you wind up owing additional tax when you filed your return? That might mean it’s time to check and adjust your withholding. This might be necessary due to changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or because something in your situation is different this year (for example, you got married, divorced, purchased a home or had changes in your income). The IRS has a withholding calculator where you can perform a paycheck checkup. You can access the calculator at https://bit.ly/2OqnUod.  Contact us if you need help determining whether you should adjust your 2020 withholding.
If your business got a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan taken out due to the COVID-19 crisis, there are potential tax implications. The PPP allows eligible businesses to receive loans that will be forgiven if they spend the proceeds on certain items within a certain period of time. In general, the reduction or cancellation of non-PPP debt results in cancellation of debt (COD) income to the debtor. However, forgiveness of PPP debt is excluded from gross income. The IRS has stated that expenses paid with PPP proceeds can’t be deducted, because the loans are forgiven without having taxable COD income and are tax-exempt income. Deducting the expenses would result in a double tax benefit.
The rules for reporting leasing transactions are changing. Though these changes have been delayed until 2021 for private companies (and nonprofits), it’s important to know the possible effects on your financial statements as you renew leases or enter into new lease contracts. In some cases, you might decide to modify lease terms to avoid having to report leasing liabilities on your balance sheet. Or you might opt to buy (rather than lease) property to sidestep being subject to the complex disclosure requirements. Updated standard In 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-02, Leases. The effective date for calendar year-end public companies was January 1, 2019. Last fall, the FASB deferred the effective date for private companies and not-for-profit organizations from 2020 to 2021. The updated guidance requires companies to report long-term leased assets and leased liabilities on their balance sheets, as well as to provide expanded...[ Read More ]
As we all try to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you may be wondering about some of the recent tax changes that were part of a tax law passed on March 27. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act contains a variety of relief, notably the “economic impact payments” that will be made to people under a certain income threshold. But the law also makes some changes to retirement plan rules and provides a new tax break for some people who contribute to charity. Waiver of 10% early distribution penalty IRAs and employer sponsored retirement plans are established to be long-term retirement planning accounts. As such, the IRS imposes a penalty tax of an additional 10% if funds are distributed before reaching age 59½. (However, there are some exceptions to this rule.) Under the CARES Act, the additional 10%...[ Read More ]
Outside financial audits may seem like an extravagance to not-for-profits working to contain costs and focus on their mission. But undergoing regular audits allows your organization to identify risks early and act quickly to prevent problems. Independent audits also provide valuable reassurance to donors. Fortunately, you can reduce the cost of external audits with good preparation. Draft an RFP Start by drafting a request for proposal (RFP) from prospective auditors. The RFP should describe your organization, its programs, major funding sources and the type of service you need. Once you select an auditor, the firm will provide an engagement letter outlining the scope of services to be performed and assign responsibility for various tasks to your staff or the auditors. The preaudit meeting with your auditors comes next. Finance staff and management should attend, as well as representatives from your board of directors or audit committee. Those involved will draw...[ Read More ]
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused the value of some retirement accounts to decrease because of the stock market downturn. But if you have a traditional IRA, this downturn may provide a valuable opportunity: It may allow you to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA at a lower tax cost. The key differences Here’s what makes a traditional IRA different from a Roth IRA: Traditional IRA. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be deductible, depending on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and whether you (or your spouse) participate in a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k). Funds in the account can grow tax deferred. On the downside, you generally must pay income tax on withdrawals. In addition, you’ll face a penalty if you withdraw funds before age 59½ — unless you qualify for a handful of exceptions — and you’ll face an even larger penalty if you...[ Read More ]