The CPA Desk

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Category Archives: Tax and Accounting Desk

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What Factors Motivate Your Not-for-Profit’s Donors?

What do charitable donors want? The classic answer is: Go ask each one individually. However, research provides some insight into donor motivation that can help your not-for-profit grow its financial support. Taxing matters The biennial U.S. Trust® Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, conducted in partnership with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy,… Continue Reading

Real Estate Professional Vs. Investor and Why it Matters

Income and losses from investment real estate or rental property are passive by definition — unless you’re a real estate professional. Why does this matter? Passive income may be subject to the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT), and passive losses generally are deductible only against passive income, with the excess being carried forward. Of… Continue Reading

Helpful Tax Tips for Not-for-Profit Fundraisers

Whether you’re planning to raise funds for your not-for-profit with a simple bingo game or raffle, or with a more elaborate casino night, you need to understand and follow the federal rules that govern these kinds of activities. Gaming activities can open the door to unexpected taxes and trigger requirements for specific IRS filings. Filings… Continue Reading

Understand Your Not-for-Profit Board’s Fiduciary Duty

Interest in not-for-profits’ governance practices from lawmakers, watchdog groups, and the general public has been growing in recent years. If your board hasn’t recently reviewed its fiduciary duties, roles, and responsibilities, now is a good time. 3 primary responsibilities Nonprofit board members — whether compensated or not — have a fiduciary duty to the organization…. Continue Reading

Dos and Don’ts of Not-for-Profit Program Development

Is your not-for-profit association offering enough (or the right) programs to keep members active and engaged? Program development requires time, effort and money. So when you commit to developing a new one, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck. Here are some simple dos and don’ts: DO consult your members. Through focus… Continue Reading

Expand Your Not-for-Profit’s Reach with Social Listening

Many not-for-profits are adopting a marketing tactic called “social listening” that for-profit companies have used successfully in the past. Social listening costs relatively little and can give you valuable insight into issues that resonate with your supporters. This allows you to better tailor your communications. Identify and engage Social listening starts with monitoring social media… Continue Reading

Five Accounting Mistakes Not-for-Profits Should Avoid

To err is human, but your not-for-profit’s supporters, not to mention the IRS, may be less than forgiving if errors affect your financial books. Fortunately, if you attend to details, you can avoid these common accounting mistakes:  1. Failing to follow accounting procedures. Even the smallest nonprofit should set formal, documented and detailed procedures for… Continue Reading

Accounting Update on Employee Benefit Plans

In February 2017, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2017-06. The new standard clarifies the presentation requirement for master trust and requires more detailed disclosures of the Plan’s interest in the master trust. The update is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2016. Early adoption is permitted and is… Continue Reading

Benefit Your Employees and Your Not-for-Profit by Cross-Training

What would happen if one of your not-for-profit’s key people suddenly quit or had to go on long-term disability? Would you be able to conduct business as usual? To prevent a critical function from possibly coming to a standstill, consider cross-training staff. Organization benefits Cross-training personnel means that you teach them how to do each… Continue Reading

Save Tax with Deductions and Exclusions Related to Homeownership

Currently, home ownership comes with many tax-saving opportunities. Consider both deductions and exclusions when you’re filing your 2016 return and tax planning for 2017: Property tax deduction. Property tax is generally fully deductible — unless you’re subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Mortgage interest deduction. You generally can deduct interest on up to a… Continue Reading

Tips for Solving Cash Flow Problems Within Your Not-for-Profit

Declining donations, dues, grants or sponsorship funds may lead to not-for-profit budget deficits. But you can reduce the risk of cash flow crunches by making relatively minor changes to your cash management practices. Expedite receipts The sooner your organization accumulates cash, the better your cash flow. For example, consider moving your fundraising calendar ahead. By… Continue Reading

Key 2nd Quarter Tax Dates Affecting Businesses

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the second quarter of 2017. 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. April… Continue Reading

Not-for-Profits: You Can Save Tax with an Accountable Plan

Your not-for-profit can’t generally reimburse employees for business expenses tax-free just because staffers submit expense records. However, you can if you have a properly executed accountable plan. Under such a plan, reimbursement payments will be free from federal income and employment taxes for recipient employees and not subject to withholding from their paychecks. Additionally, your… Continue Reading

How to Create a Continuity Plan That Works for Your Not-for-Profit

Most not-for-profits are intensely focused on present needs — not the possibility that disaster will strike sometime in the distant future. Yet it’s critical that all organizations have a formal continuity plan to guide them should a natural or manmade disaster disrupt operations. Formal plan You likely already have many of the necessary processes in… Continue Reading

Common Questions About Registering a Not-for-Profit in Multiple States

If your not-for-profit solicits funds online — or uses other fundraising methods that cross state boundaries — it may need to register in multiple jurisdictions. We’ve answered some commonly asked questions. My charity receives occasional contributions from out-of-state donors. Do I need to register with those states? Yes, but only if you’re actually asking for… Continue Reading

Tangible Property Repairs Eligible for a Deduction

If last year your business made repairs to tangible property, such as buildings, machinery, equipment or vehicles, you may be eligible for a valuable deduction on your 2016 income tax return. But you must make sure they were true “repairs,” not actually “improvements.” Why? Costs incurred to improve tangible property must be depreciated over a period… Continue Reading