Article Archives: 2013

Posted by: Karen Dunn

By Karen Dunn, JD, LLM

No prohibition exists against a 501(c)(3) organization using the internet for fundraising, the IRS said in a recently released information letter. Web or email fundraising should comply with the same rules* that apply to other solicitations. Since most organizations do some sort of internet solicitations, organizations must be cautious and aware of the requirements. IRS examination guidelines and the recent information letter highlight recommendations to follow.

IRS Recommendations for Online Fundraising
1. Comply with the Regular Donation Substantiation Requirements

This includes such requirements as the substantiation of quid pro quo contributions of more than $75.

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Posted by: Pete Miller

By Pete Miller, CPA, CFE

Fraud represents a risk to every business: public or private, for-profit or not-for-profit, large or small. And a simple truth is this: most organizations overlook an essential fundamental process to designing a comprehensive fraud prevention program– the risk assessment process.

Over the past several months, worried business owners, advisors, and managers have called to inform me that they suspect they have been victimized by fraud. As is usually the case, the specific circumstances that allowed the fraud to begin and continue were quite unique, the perpetrator’s reasons were private and distinct, and the length and magnitude of the fraud were varied.

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Posted by: Bob Heller

By Bob Heller, JD, LLM

Is your company leaving money on the table because you are unaware of available tax incentives?

If your business is involved in high-tech, aerospace or manufacturing, among other industries, you could be.

This year’s Legislature passed several new tax incentives intended to help the state grow and attract new business and improve employment. The new tax incentives are designed to attract or retain certain targeted industries, to make Washington a more competitive place to do business, and to incentivize businesses to expand.

While some tax incentives have been around for years (including the research and development credit for high-technology businesses enacted in 1994,

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According to a study from Boston College in 2000, $41 trillion or more will pass from one generation to the next during the period of 1998 to 2052.1  This is based on life expectancy data and 2% real return on portfolios. However, that $41 trillion is a gross figure and after estate fees, estate taxes and charitable contributions, the figure for inheritance is reduced to $25 trillion (approximately 60%).

We have noticed a trend in financial and estate planning, where the matriarch and patriarch are concerned with issues that go beyond minimizing estate taxes and maximizing inheritances to their heirs. In many cases,

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Posted by: Karen Dunn

By Karen Dunn, JD, LLM

On July 2, 2013, the Obama Administration announced the postponement to 2015 of the mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This gives employers more time to comply with the new rules. Without this relief, the requirements would apply beginning January 1, 2014.

According to a White House Blog, this will give employers more time to comply with the new rules and the government time to revamp and simplify the reporting requirements. “Since employer responsibility payments can only be assessed based on this new reporting, payments won’t be collected for 2014,” said Valerie Jarrett,

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Posted by: Karen Dunn

By Karen Dunn, JD, LLM

Although the IRS is currently under fire for its practices around screening applications for exemptions, we should assume they are still “open for business,” collecting taxes, and enforcing tax law. Each year the IRS issues its Annual Report and Priority Guidance Plan. This plan outlines what the IRS accomplished in the past year as well as what their focus will be for the upcoming year. For the most part, the 2013 work plan continues efforts begun in 2011 or earlier. The information gathered from these efforts will ultimately lead to more IRS audits.

The current year work plan targets many areas for audit.

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Posted by: Joe Haberzetle

By Joe Haberzetle, JD, LLM

If you are a Washington-based professional services business with at least some of your clients located outside the state, how do you know whether (or to what extent) you’re required pay the state’s business and occupation (B&O) tax on your income from those clients?

That is a complicated question, and one that has frustrated businesses for many years. To try to alleviate this confusion (and to shift some of the tax burden to out-of-state companies, as explained below) the 2010 Washington legislature enacted significant reforms to the so-called “apportionment rules” for businesses earning income from services and intangibles.

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Posted by: Shawn Hansen

By Shawn Hansen, CPA

Implementing a retirement plan can be one of the most rewarding decisions your organization can make. Not only do they help employers attract and retain talent but also provide a saving vehicle for its employees as they build for their future. Once a retirement plan is established, Federal law in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) sets rules and guidelines that employers must follow (ERISA does not cover Federal, State and local government plans or plans sponsored by churches). Plan sponsors are required to name a person or group responsible for managing the plan. In addition,

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It’s no secret that technology companies based in the State of Washington are among world leaders in advancing technology related to “digital products.” Think cloud computing, music streaming and smartphone apps, just to name a few areas where Washington companies excel.

But this transition from products traditionally purchased in brick and mortar stores and services provided in person by a live human, to electronic products/services delivered via the internet has also been blamed by a number of states for a sharp decline in sales tax revenues. And with looming budget deficits, states are attempting to recoup those lost revenues by expanding the tax base to include these electronically transferred goods and services.

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Posted by: Megan Ryan

By Megan Ryan, CPA

Employers who maintain self-insured medical plans are subject to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund Fee established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The fee will fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Some employers with self-insured medical plans must pay this fee for the first time on or before July 31, 2013. The fee will continue to be due on July 31st each year, currently expiring in 2020.

The plan sponsor is the party responsible for payment of the fee. In general, the employer that established the self-insured plan is the plan sponsor for purposes of the PCORI fee.

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