There are many ways for a not-for-profit organization to lose its tax-exempt status — including participating in lobbying and campaign activities, receiving excessive unrelated business income and allowing board members to financially benefit from their positions. But the most common reason not-for-profits lose their status is failure to file an annual Form 990 or 990-N for three consecutive years.

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If your organization has landed on the IRS’s revocation list for this reason, don’t panic. The process for reinstatement is relatively simple.


Continue Reading Need to Regain Tax-Exempt Status for Your Not-for-Profit?

Many taxpayers don’t make the grade when it comes to recordkeeping. If you operate a small business, or you’re starting a new one, you probably know you need to keep records of your income and expenses. In particular, you should carefully record your expenses in order to claim the full amount of the tax deductions to which you’re entitled. And you want to make sure you can defend the amounts reported on your tax returns if you’re ever audited by the IRS or state tax agencies.

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Certain types of expenses, such as automobile, travel, meals and office-at-home expenses, require special attention because they’re subject to special recordkeeping requirements or limitations on deductibility.

It’s interesting to note that there’s not one way to keep business records. In its publication “Starting a Business and Keeping Records,” the IRS states: “Except in a few cases, the law does not require any specific kind of records. You can choose any recordkeeping system suited to your business that clearly shows your income and expenses.”

Here are three court cases to illustrate some of the issues.


Continue Reading Make Sure You Have Good Recordkeeping

If you’re age 65 and older, and you have basic Medicare insurance, you may need to pay additional premiums to get the level of coverage you want. The premiums can be costly, especially if you’re married and both you and your spouse are paying them.

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But there may be a silver lining: You may qualify for a tax break for paying the premiums.


Continue Reading Can Seniors Deduct Medicare Premiums?

It’s often difficult for married couples to save as much as they need for retirement when one spouse doesn’t work outside the home — perhaps so that spouse can take care of children or elderly parents. In general, an IRA contribution is allowed only if a taxpayer has compensation. However, an exception involves a spousal IRA. It allows a contribution to be made for a nonworking spouse.

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Under the spousal IRA rules, the amount that a married couple can contribute to an IRA for a nonworking spouse in 2020 is $6,000, which is the same limit that applies for the working spouse.


Continue Reading Spousal IRA – What is it? What to Know

Charitable contributions aren’t always eligible for tax deductions — even when the not-for-profit recipient is tax exempt and the donor itemizes. Take “quid pro quo” donations. These transactions occur when your organization receives a payment that includes a contribution and you provide the donor with goods or services valued for less than the total payment.

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Let’s take a closer look.


Continue Reading Quid Pro Quo Not-for-Profit Contributions – What to Know

Do you want to save more for retirement on a tax-favored basis? If so, and if you qualify, you can make a deductible traditional IRA contribution for the 2019 tax year between now and the extended tax filing deadline and claim the write-off on your 2019 return. Or you can contribute to a Roth IRA and avoid paying taxes on future withdrawals.

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You can potentially make a contribution of up to $6,000 (or $7,000 if you were age 50 or older as of December 31, 2019). If you’re married, your spouse can potentially do the same, thereby doubling your tax benefits.

The deadline for 2019 traditional and Roth contributions for most taxpayers would have been April 15, 2020. However, because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the IRS extended the deadline to file 2019 tax returns and make 2019 IRA contributions until July 15, 2020.

Of course, there are some ground rules. You must have enough 2019 earned income (from jobs, self-employment, etc.) to equal or exceed your IRA contributions for the tax year. If you’re married, either spouse can provide the necessary earned income.

Also, deductible IRA contributions are reduced or eliminated if last year’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is too high.


Continue Reading Do You Need to Make a Deductible IRA Contribution for 2019?

Perhaps you’re an investor in mutual fund shares or you’re interested in putting some money into them. You’re not alone.

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The Investment Company Institute estimates that 56.2 million households owned mutual funds in mid-2017. But despite their popularity, the tax rules involved in selling mutual fund shares can be complex.


Continue Reading The Tax Rules of Selling Mutual Fund Shares