Tax and Accounting Desk

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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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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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Nicole Riley, an audit senior manager and one of the faces of the PKF Texas Broker-Dealer team. Nicole, welcome back to the Playbook.

Nicole: Great to be back.

Jen: So, the last time you were here we discussed FINRA and the SEC in relation to broker-dealers. Are there common issues that FINRA tends to find when they’re looking at broker-dealers?

Nicole: One of the more common things that we continue to see coming out of these audits that they’re doing, even though the rules have been around since 2003, are issues with expense sharing agreements.


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One of the most laborious tasks for small businesses is managing payroll. It’s critical you not only withhold the right amount of taxes from employees’ paychecks, but also that you pay them over to the federal government on time.

a teal sticky note with the words "sign here" on top of a tax withholding document; for a blog post about payroll tax penalty for small businesses

If you willfully fail to do so, you could personally be hit with the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, also known as the 100% penalty. The penalty applies to the Social Security and income taxes required to be withheld by a business from its employees’ wages. Since the taxes are considered property of the government, the employer holds them in “trust” on the government’s behalf until they’re paid over.

The reason the penalty is sometimes called the “100% penalty” is because the person liable for the taxes (called the “responsible person”) can be personally penalized 100% of the taxes due. Accordingly, the amounts the IRS seeks when the penalty is applied are usually substantial, and the IRS is aggressive in enforcing it.


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To properly fulfill their fiduciary duties, your not-for-profit’s board needs certain information from its board members, and it’s up to the executive director and managers to ensure they have it. This doesn’t mean you have to share every internal email, memo or phone message. Board members are busy and you don’t want to bog them down with superfluous reading material.

two women sitting at a table with various forms, one woman hands over a page and the other has pen in-hand to fill out paperwork; for a blog about not-for-profit board members information

However, there are several types of information you must share so that they can make informed decisions.


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back once again with Nicole Riley, one of our audit senior managers and one of the faces of PKF Texas’ broker-dealer team. Nicole, welcome back to the Playbook.

Nicole: Great to be here.

Jen: So, broker-dealer, what is that?

Nicole: So, a broker-dealer is a highly regulated company that traditionally buys and sells securities. That’s really where the name comes from is because they can be selling and buying for a customer where they’re the agent or the broker, or they could be buying and selling for their own accounts where they’re the principal in the transaction or a dealer, hence, broker-dealer.

But really the modern broker-dealer is doing more than just buying and selling securities, they publish investment research, they are helping companies raise capital, they’re helping clients find investments and place their money and they’re also providing investment advice.

Jen: Okay, so you mentioned highly regulated – what does that actually look like?


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