The IRS opened the 2018 income tax return filing season on January 28. Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April 15 deadline, this year you should consider filing as soon as you can. Why? You can potentially protect yourself from tax identity theft — and reap other benefits, too.

What is tax identity theft?
In a tax identity theft scheme, a thief uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return early in the filing season and claim a bogus refund.

You discover the fraud when you file your return and are informed by the IRS that the return has been rejected because one with your Social Security number has already been filed for the same tax year. While you should ultimately be able to prove that your return is the legitimate one, tax identity theft can cause major headaches to straighten out and significantly delay your refund.

Filing early may be your best defense: If you file first, it will be the tax return filed by a would-be thief that will be rejected — not yours.

Continue Reading File Your 2018 Income Tax Return Sooner Rather Than Later…

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m here today with Kimberly Wood, an Audit Senior Manager and one of the faces of our PKF Texas Transaction Advisory Services team. Kimberly, welcome to The Playbook.

Kimberly: Thanks for having me.

Jen: You’re on our Transaction Advisory Services team, and I know you tend to handle due diligence. What is due diligence and why should somebody do a due diligence project?

Kimberly: Due diligence is an investigation of a company or a business, and basically, we are validating the information or assumptions that haven’t been provided, or that should have been provided. It’s an essential information gathering process, whether it’s for legal, operational or financial due diligence. Continue Reading What is Due Diligence and What are the Benefits?

We are excited to announce we have a new Director joining our firm. His name is Matthew Goldston, CPA, CM&AA, CVA, and he is joining our Entrepreneurial Advisory Services team.

Matthew’s experience as a CFO includes leading multiple companies through transactions from mergers and acquisitions to integrations, spin-offs and successful exits. Additionally, he has extensive experience with growth consulting, audit and business valuation. In addition, he has served industries including manufacturing, technology, construction, industrial services and private equity.

“PKF Texas continually evaluates ways to further enhance our client service offerings,” said Byron Hebert, CPA, CTP, Chief Growth Officer. “With the experience Matt brings to the firm, we have added another layer to our ability to co-develop solutions with our clients who may be considering a transaction.”

To learn more about Matthew, visit our website!

Raffles are popular fundraisers for not-for-profits. But they’re subject to strict tax rules. State laws on nonprofit-sponsored raffles can vary significantly, but not-for-profits must comply with federal income tax requirements linked to unrelated business income, reporting and withholding.

Continue Reading What Not-for-Profits Need to Know About Raffles

Commercial buildings and improvements generally are depreciated over 39 years, which essentially means you can deduct a portion of the cost every year over the depreciation period. (Land isn’t depreciable.) But special tax breaks that allow deductions to be taken more quickly are available for certain real estate investments.

Some of these were enhanced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and may provide a bigger benefit when you file your 2018 tax return. But there’s one break you might not be able to enjoy due to a drafting error in the TCJA.

Continue Reading Depreciation-related Breaks on Business Real Estate for Your 2018 Return

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and I’m here today with Ryan Istre, an audit director and a member of the PKF Texas SEC team. Ryan, welcome back to the Playbook.

Ryan: Thanks for having me here, Jen.

Jen: So, I know there’s new revenue recognition rules coming. What are the SEC’s views on this for registrants?

Ryan: That’s a very good question, Jen. The new revenue recognition rules – or ASC 606 – are going to be effective for most registrants beginning January 1st of 2018.

Continue Reading Best of… Revenue Recognition Rules

If you’re like many Americans, letters from your favorite charities have been appearing in your mailbox in recent weeks acknowledging your 2018 year-end donations. But what happens if you haven’t received such a letter — can you still claim an itemized deduction for the gift on your 2018 income tax return? It depends.

Basic Requirements
To support a charitable deduction, you need to comply with IRS substantiation requirements. This generally includes obtaining a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity stating the amount of the donation, whether you received any goods or services in consideration for the donation, and the value of any such goods or services.

Continue Reading Charity Donation Letters May Affect Your 2018 Income Tax Return

Now that the new year has started, what’s next for Houston? The Greater Houston Partnership is hosting its first event of the year – its Annual Meeting – and is celebrating its 30th anniversary throughout 2019.

Current GHP Chair, Marc Watts, President of The Friedkin Group, will recap 2018 before passing the torch to the Partnership’s incoming Chair, Scott McClelland, President of H-E-B Food and Drug, and Partnership President and CEO, Bob Harvey, who will address the organization’s priorities moving forward for 2019.

This event is for GHP members only and will serve as an opportunity to network and learn what’s next for the city.

For more information and to register, visit www.houston.org.

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Frank Landreneau, one of our International Tax Directors. Frank, welcome back to The Playbook.

Frank: Thank you. It’s good to be back with you.

Jen: In a previous segment we went over transfer pricing, and we touched on it just a little bit, but I know we want to do a deeper dive. So, with tax reform and transfer pricing, what else do folks need to know?

Continue Reading A Closer Look at Transfer Pricing and the International Space

An operating reserve is an unrestricted and relatively liquid portion of a not-for-profit’s net assets. Securing this reserve for use in emergencies or simply when your budget falls short is critical to your organization’s security and long-term survival.

Long-Term Effort
Building an adequate operating reserve takes time and should be regarded as a continuous project. Your board of directors needs to determine your not-for-profit’s policy on building an operating reserve, the desired fund amount and the circumstances under which it can be drawn down.

Reserve funds can come from unrestricted contributions, investment income and planned surpluses. Many boards designate a portion of their organizations’ unrestricted net assets as an operating reserve.

Continue Reading How Your Not-For-Profit’s Operating Reserve is Your Financial Safety Net