With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is in full swing. At this time of year, your business may want to show its gratitude to employees and customers by giving them gifts or hosting holiday parties. It’s a good idea to understand the tax rules associated with these expenses.

a close up photo of a green christmas tree with red and pink glass ornaments with two brown-haired women in the background; image used for a blog post about tax breaks from holiday parties and gifts

Are they tax deductible by your business and is the value taxable to the recipients?


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As we all know, medical expenses, such as services and prescription drugs, are expensive. You may be able to deduct some of your expenses on your tax return, but the rules make it difficult for many people to qualify.

a yellow toy ambulance with red and black stripes sitting on a white wood table; image used for a blog post about tax deductions for medical expenses

However, with proper planning, you may be able to time discretionary medical expenses to your advantage for tax purposes.


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Credit card misuse or fraud is more common in not-for-profits than you may think.

A hypothetical scenario: not-for-profit staffer named Britney had maxed out her personal credit cards. So when her car needed repairs, she reached for her employer’s card. She reasoned that she would come up with the money to pay the bill before her boss ever saw a statement. Britney didn’t come up with the money. But lucky for her, her boss didn’t review the card statement that month. When Britney needed to buy holiday gifts, she reached for her work card again — and again. By the time her boss finally noticed the illicit charges, Britney had spent more than $5,000.

a gold American Express Business credit card sitting behind a master lock; used for a blog about avoiding credit card misuse for not-for-profit organizations

If you write and enforce a strong card use policy at your organization, you can help prevent Britney’s and her boss’s mistakes.


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We hosted our third not-for-profit seminar of 2019, “Nonprofit Governance & Risk Management,” on November 6th. It was a compelling topic to close the year! Our speaker was attorney Nicola Fuentes Toubia, whose work is dedicated to legal and tax issues facing nonprofits.

three rows of people sitting in chairs in an open room, facing towards two speakers and project screens for the seminar "nonprofit governance & risk management"

In her discussion, Toubia provided tips on better governance best practices and offered insight on various areas where organizations are susceptible to risk.


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You can reduce taxes and save for retirement by contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or Roth 401(k) plan, contributing to it is a taxwise way to build a nest egg.

If you’re not already contributing the maximum allowed, consider increasing your contribution rate between now and year end. Because of tax-deferred compounding (tax-free in the case of Roth accounts), boosting contributions sooner rather than later can have a significant impact on the size of your nest egg at retirement.

pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters spilling out of a clear glass jar; used for a blog post about saving on taxes with a 401(k) plan

With a 401(k), an employee elects to have a certain amount of pay deferred and contributed by an employer on his or her behalf to the plan. The contribution limit for 2019 is $19,000. Employees age 50 or older by year end are also permitted to make additional “catch-up” contributions of $6,000, for a total limit of $25,000 in 2019.

The IRS just announced that the 401(k) contribution limit for 2020 will increase to $19,500 (plus the $6,500 catch-up contribution).


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