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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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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Unfortunately, the weather has not been kind to U.S. residents in the last few weeks. Recent natural disasters have many charities looking for ways to assist in the affected areas.

At the date of this publication, the U.S. has declared Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria as qualified disasters. For organizations for which disaster relief is one of the exempt purposes recognized by the IRS, this is merely a continuation of the organization’s programs.

However, what if disaster relief is not the organization’s recognized exempt purpose? Good news! Such organizations can still help victims directly, without permission from the IRS. However,

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Posted by: Bob Heller

Taxpayers who do business both inside and outside of the State of Washington, and who earn revenue from performing services or licensing intangibles, are now required to complete an Annual B&O Tax “Reconciliation of Apportionable Income.”

The form must be submitted to the Department of Revenue by October 31st of each year. Failing to file the reconciliation may result in penalties.

The Department of Revenue allows businesses to use the prior year’s apportionment factor for reporting current year liabilities. This simplifies the business’ reporting method, but requires the business perform a true up at the end of the year. The true up helps determine the current year’s factor,

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Posted by: Rene Schaefer

Is your business involved in creating intellectual property or process and product improvement? If so, you or your business may qualify for federal research credit cash incentives.

What is the Credit Based On?

The federal research credit is a wage-based program, which you can calculate by identifying the wages paid to employees who perform qualified research activities. Amounts paid to outside consultants are also included in the credit at 65% of each qualifying dollar spent. In some cases, supplies that are consumed in the research process can also be included in the calculation. Multiple methods of calculating the federal research credit may be available.

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We believe the answer to the above question is, quite simply, “Yes.” Perhaps the more relevant question is, “when and how will Blockchain technology become part of my daily reality?” This question is harder to answer.

What is Blockchain Technology?

Unless you are following, or using, a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum, you may not know that Blockchain is the underlying technology that drives those digital currencies. To grasp this concept more easily, you can think of Blockchain as the operating system, like a phone or tablet, and of Bitcoin as an app on that phone or tablet.

Blockchain technology represents the coming together of several technologies and ideas that have the potential to solve many problems.

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