A much-hated tax on not-for-profit organizations is on the way out. At the end of 2019, Congress repealed a provision of 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that triggered the unrelated business income tax (UBIT) of 21% on nonprofit employers that provide employees with transportation fringe benefits. Unequipped to handle the additional administrative burdens and compliance costs, thousands of nonprofits had complained — and legislators apparently listened. Same benefits, new costs At issue is the TCJA provision saying that nonprofits must count disallowed deduction amounts paid for transportation fringe benefits such as transit passes and parking in their UBIT calculations. UBIT applies to business income that isn’t related to the organization’s tax-exempt function. Thus, simply by continuing to provide some of the same transportation benefits they’ve always provided employees, nonprofits were liable for additional tax. For example, employers were forced to assign a value to parking spaces provided to...[ Read More ]
Many nonprofits are unsure how to account for grants and similar contracts, especially when they come with donor-imposed conditions. Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2018-08 provides much-needed clarity on contributions made and received. Effective for calendar-year 2019, the ASU will help nonprofits determine whether a grant or similar contract is indeed a contribution. And, if it is, the ASU will guide when they should recognize the revenue associated with it. The new guidance is expected to cause nonprofits to classify more grants and similar contracts as contributions than they did under the previous guidance. Contact us to evaluate what that means for your organization.
In a 2018 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the power of states to collect sales tax from remote sellers. Today, nearly every state with a sales tax has enacted a similar law. So if your company does business across state lines, it’s a good idea to reexamine your sales tax obligations. If you make online, telephone or mail-order sales in states where you lack a physical presence, it’s critical to find out whether those states have economic nexus laws and determine whether your activities are enough to trigger them. If you have nexus with a state, you must register and collect state and applicable local taxes on your taxable sales there. If you need assistance, contact us.
  State law typically specifies the minimum number of directors a not-for-profit must have on its board. But so long as organizations fulfill that requirement, it’s up to them to determine how many total board members they need. Several guidelines can help you arrive at the right number. Small vs. large Both small and large boards come with perks and drawbacks. For example, smaller boards allow for easier communication and greater cohesiveness among the members. Scheduling is less complicated, and meetings tend to be shorter and more focused. Several studies have indicated that group decision making is most effective when the group size is five to eight people. But boards on the small side of this range may lack the experience or diversity necessary to facilitate healthy deliberation and debate. What’s more, members may feel overworked and burn out easily. Burnout is less likely with a large board where each...[ Read More ]
The number of people engaged in the “gig” or sharing economy has grown in recent years, according to a 2019 IRS report. And there are tax consequences for the people who perform these jobs, such as providing car rides, renting spare bedrooms, delivering food, walking dogs or providing other services. Basically, if you receive income from one of the online platforms offering goods and services, it’s generally taxable. That’s true even if the income comes from a side job and even if you don’t receive an income statement reporting the amount of money you made. IRS report details The IRS recently released a report examining two decades of tax returns and titled “Is Gig Work Replacing Traditional Employment?” It found that “alternative, non-employee work arrangements” grew by 1.9% from 2000 to 2016 and more than half of the increase from 2013 to 2016 could be attributed to gig work mediated...[ Read More ]
When a married couple files a joint tax return, each spouse is “jointly and severally” liable for the full amount of tax on the couple’s combined income. Therefore, the IRS can come after either spouse to collect the entire tax — not just the part that’s attributed to one spouse or the other. This includes any tax deficiency that the IRS assesses after an audit, as well as any penalties and interest. (However, the civil fraud penalty can be imposed only on spouses who’ve actually committed fraud.) Innocent spouses In some cases, spouses are eligible for “innocent spouse relief.” This generally involves individuals who were unaware of a tax understatement that was attributable to the other spouse. To qualify, you must show not only that you didn’t know about the understatement, but that there was nothing that should have made you suspicious. In addition, the circumstances must make it inequitable...[ Read More ]
One of the worst things that can happen to a not-for-profit organization is to have its tax-exempt status revoked. Among other consequences, the nonprofit may lose credibility with supporters and the public, and donors will no longer be able to make tax-exempt contributions. Although loss of exempt status isn’t common, certain activities can increase your risk significantly. These include ignoring the IRS’s private benefit and private inurement provisions. Here’s what you need to know to avoid reaping an excess benefit from your organization’s transactions. Understand private inurement A private benefit is any payment or transfer of assets made, directly or indirectly, by your nonprofit that’s: Beyond reasonable compensation for the services provided or the goods sold to your organization, or For services or products that don’t further your tax-exempt purpose. If any of your nonprofit’s net earnings inure to the benefit of an individual, the IRS won’t view your nonprofit...[ Read More ]
Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the first quarter of 2020. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements. January 31 File 2019 Forms W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,” with the Social Security Administration and provide copies to your employees. Provide copies of 2019 Forms 1099-MISC, “Miscellaneous Income,” to recipients of income from your business where required. File 2019 Forms 1099-MISC reporting nonemployee compensation payments in Box 7 with the IRS. File Form 940, “Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return,” for 2019. If your undeposited tax is $500 or less, you can either pay it with your return or deposit it. If it’s more than $500, you must deposit it. However, if you deposited...[ Read More ]
You may still have time to reduce your federal tax liability by taking certain steps. For example, contribute the maximum to your retirement plans by year end, including traditional IRAs and SEP plans. Another idea: If you make your Jan. 2020 payment this month, you can deduct the interest portion on your 2019 tax return (assuming you itemize deductions on your tax return). You can also “harvest” any investment losses by Dec. 31. If you have more losses than gains, you generally can apply up to $3,000 of the excess to reduce your ordinary income. Any remaining losses are carried forward to future tax years. Contact us if you want to discuss ways to minimize your 2019 tax liability.