Article Archives: 2017

Die-hard college sports fans are not cheering about one change made in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Boosters have traditionally been allowed an 80% charitable contribution deduction for donations to their favorite institute of higher education, when what they received in return for this contribution was a right to purchase seating at the athletic event in a stadium of such institution.

Contributions made after December 31, 2017, for this type of contribution will no longer be afforded any charitable contribution deduction. Unlike other individual tax deduction changes in the TCJA, this change does not expire at the end of 2025;

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Posted by: Rick Cooley

Tax planning isn’t typically anyone’s favorite part of the year—especially when major tax reform is involved. Typical year-end tax planning advice expounds on the virtues of accelerating deductions and deferring income, where opportunities are both possible and economically viable.

With tax reform poised to pass Congress on December 21st and head to President Trump for his signature before Christmas, the strategy takes on a higher sense of urgency.

Income tax rates will drop for many business and individual taxpayers starting on January 1, 2018. Many popular tax deductions, especially for individual taxpayers, will be limited or eliminated under tax reform.

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On Thursday, December 21, President Trump is expected to sign the new law. Most of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s provisions will take effect on January 1, 2018.

This leads to the next logical question: “Is there anything I need to do before January 1st to take advantage of, or avoid, the new tax plan’s negative impacts?”

Although it will take several weeks—and possibly months—for the Treasury to issue regulations to fill in the new tax law’s details, the basic principles of year-end tax planning remain constant: defer income and accelerate deductions.

However, some provisions of the new law add some urgency to this perennial advice.

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With January rapidly approaching, it’s time for taxpayers to reflect on the past year’s finances. Specifically, it’s time to consider which strategic planning techniques can be implemented before year-end to maximize available tax savings on 2017 tax returns.

Though year-end planning is important to consider in all years, it is especially significant for 2017; tax reform will likely pass before the end of the year. If passed, tax reform will impact years beginning January 1, 2018.

Here are five year-end tax planning ideas for individual taxpayers for 2017:

1. Charitable Giving

Much of the language surrounding tax reform suggests lower marginal tax rates for individuals beginning in the 2018 tax year.

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As a Sage Intacct Value Added Reseller (VAR), we are pleased to announce the new relationship between Sage Intacct and GuideStar. The partnership will be releasing a Nonprofit Financial Board Book in early 2018 to all NFP customers.

What is the Nonprofit Financial Board Book?

A digital board book is a way to present metrics through a dashboard—specifically when using cloud based software, or Software as a Service (SaaS). The Board Book also provides a way for your organization to combine both financial metrics and operational metrics together for your board reporting.

The dashboard can be set up using performance cards,

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Posted by: Mike Nurse

An organization’s board of directors plays a unique and important role in providing the internal control oversight.

Internal control is defined by COSO1 as a “process, effected by an entity’s board of directors, management, and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives relating to operations, reporting, and compliance.” It is an equally important concept for all organizations to understand regardless of size or entity type.

Internal Controls and the Small Not-for-Profit

For small non-profit organizations, however, a board member’s role becomes increasingly more important because of certain inherent challenges. For example, having a limited staff can create challenges in maintaining adequate separation of duties.

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Posted by: Victoria Kitts

I’ve recently read many blog posts, news articles, and LinkedIn stories that seem to be trying to look into a crystal ball to see the future of auditing.

Some sources talk about changes to professional standards that would allow auditors to rely more on data analysis as direct audit evidence. Others foresee more automation, such as linking the accounting transactions from the general ledger directly to outside sources like bank records.

And still others talk about Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the challenges and opportunities that digital currency brings – a topic that Clark Nuber has addressed in a recent article.

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Earlier this year, Congress enacted new IRS audit procedures applicable to partnerships. The new rules, which apply to partnership returns filed after 2018, are expected to have a significant impact on tax exempt partners.

Background

As part of the desire to diversify portfolios, tax exempt organizations have increased their exposure to alternative investments. Many of these investments are pass-through investments either partnerships or limited liability companies taxed as partnerships. Because they are taxed as partnerships, that is what is relevant for purposes of this new law and this discussion. Partnership investments are unique because income, expenses, and other separately-stated tax items are collected by the partnership level and reported to the partners.

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Posted by: Joe Haberzetle

Originally posted on June 20, 2017

UPDATED OCT. 2017: On June 28, 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue issued Directive 17-2, revoking its earlier Directive 17-1 (below), which would have required remote sellers to collect sales tax on Massachusetts sales beginning July 1, 2017.

On September 22, 2017, Massachusetts adopted a new regulation, 830 CMR 64H.1.7 that requires remote sellers to collect tax from their Massachusetts customers on the same terms outlined in Directive 17-1.  830 CMR 64H.1.7 was made effective immediately upon adoption.

July: it typically marks the start of the dog days of summer,

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Posted by: Candi Avery

In August 2017, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued an exposure draft, Clarifying the Scope and the Accounting Guidance for Contributions Received and Contributions Made. The draft is intended to provide a more robust framework for determining the proper accounting treatment of grants and contracts.

Why is the Guidance Necessary?

Under existing guidance, there has been a lack of consistency among not-for-profits in accounting for grants and contracts, particularly those from government agencies and private foundations.

The proposed Accounting Standard Update (ASU) provides clarifications to help organizations evaluate if a transaction should be accounted for as a contribution,

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