If you’re planning to sell assets at a loss to offset gains that have been realized during the year, it’s important to be aware of the “wash sale” rule.

a person holds a cell phone with the screen showing a graph and "$3,812.57" in their left hand and in the background is a laptop with another graph with green and red lines; portrayal of selling securities and avoiding wash sale rule

How the Rule Works
Under this rule, if you sell stock or securities for a loss and buy substantially identical stock or securities back within the 30-day period before or after the sale date, the loss can’t be claimed for tax purposes. The rule is designed to prevent taxpayers from using the tax benefit of a loss without parting with ownership in any significant way.


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As an employer, you must pay federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on amounts up to $7,000 paid to each employee as wages during the calendar year. The rate of tax imposed is 6% but can be reduced by a credit (described below).

a conference room with long vertical windows and 20 chairs with wheels sitting around a table; photo used in blog post about unemployment tax costs for businesses

Most employers end up paying an effective FUTA tax rate of 0.6%. An employer taxed at a 6% rate would pay FUTA tax of $420 for each employee who earned at least $7,000 per year, while an employer taxed at 0.6% pays $42.


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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 not-for-profit may lose credibility with supporters and the public, and donors will no longer be able to make tax-exempt contributions.

man in a business suit putting a silver coin into a pink porcelain piggy bank, next to stacks of coins, avoiding excess benefit transactions to keep tax-exempt status

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.


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As we head toward the gift-giving season, you may be considering giving gifts of cash or securities to your loved ones. Taxpayers can transfer substantial amounts free of gift taxes to their children and others each year through the use of the annual federal gift tax exclusion. The amount is adjusted for inflation annually. For 2019, the exclusion is $15,000.

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The exclusion covers gifts that you make to each person each year. Therefore, if you have three children, you can transfer a total of $45,000 to them this year (and next year) free of federal gift taxes. If the only gifts made during the year are excluded in this way, there’s no need to file a federal gift tax return. If annual gifts exceed $15,000, the exclusion covers the first $15,000 and only the excess is taxable. Further, even taxable gifts may result in no gift tax liability thanks to the unified credit (discussed below).

Note: this discussion isn’t relevant to gifts made from one spouse to the other spouse, because these gifts are gift tax-free under separate marital deduction rules.


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You may have Series EE savings bonds that were bought many years ago. Perhaps you store them in a file cabinet or safe deposit box and rarely think about them. You may wonder how the interest you earn on EE bonds is taxed.

two documents with tax withholding information, possibly about series ee savings bonds

And if they reach final maturity, you may need to take action to ensure there’s no loss of interest or unanticipated tax consequences.


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Many not-for-profit organizations use fundraising methods which cross boundaries of different states. If your not-for-profit is one of them, it may need registration in multiple jurisdictions.

a map of the United States and Canada with colored pins to signify the possibility of nonprofit organizations needing registration in various states

But keep in mind that registration requirements vary — sometimes dramatically — from state to state. So be sure to determine your obligations before you invest time and money in registering.


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We all know the cost for higher education is expensive. The latest figures from the College Board show that the average annual cost of tuition and fees was $10,230 for in-state students at public four-year universities — and $35,830 for students at private not-for-profit four-year institutions.

a group of students throwing their graduation caps in the air in front of a stone building with windows to celebrate available tax credits for higher education

These amounts don’t include room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other expenses a student may incur.


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Here are some of the key tax deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you.

October 15
If a calendar-year C corporation that filed an automatic six-month extension:

  • File a 2018 income tax