Article Archives: 2017

More than 263,000 Forms 990-EZ were filed with the IRS in 2016. Of those, 139,000 were paper filed. The IRS reports 30% of all paper-filed Forms 990-EZ had an error, while only 1% of electronically filed Forms 990-EZ had an error.

In an effort to reduce the error rate on paper filed Forms 990-EZ, the IRS created an electronic PDF of the 990-EZ with 29 helpful pop up boxes. The boxes provide additional information and, in some cases, links to Form instructions, additional forms, another IRS publications or other helpful information.

You may access the pop up box enhanced Form 990-EZ here.

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Posted by: Cheryl R. Olson

By Cheryl Olson, CPA, CGMA

Now that we’re in March, many of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions. Some of us didn’t make resolutions to begin with based on past history. That said, It’s not too late to make a 2017 commitment to create, review, or update your organization’s key governance and financial policies.

To be most effective, policies need to be kept current so they reflect your organization’s internal culture and external environment. While this can be an overwhelming task, following these five tips will help you to get your policies in healthy shape.

Policy Index

Create a policy index that lists all of the organization’s policies in one place,

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Posted by: Shawn Hansen

By Shawn Hansen, CPA

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), private-sector retirement and welfare plans are required to file annual returns/reports.

Filing a Form 5500, along with any required schedules and attachments, typically satisfies the annual reporting requirement. The Form 5500 is the primary source of information about a plan’s financial condition and operations. Federal agencies use this important tool to determine compliance and enforcement initiatives.

Last July, the Department of Labor (DOL), IRS, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) proposed changes to employee benefit plan annual reporting. These new regulations would update and expand Form 5500 reporting requirements.

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Posted by: Steve Day

By Steve Day, CPA and
Co-authored by Patrick McColgan and Richard Newby, Duff & Phelps

On January 31, 2017, the IRS announced that its Large Business and International (LB&I) division will focus on issue-based examinations. Under this approach, the LB&I division will use and develop specialized IRS knowledge and resources to successfully run compliance campaigns targeted towards several key risk areas. Of the 13 campaigns selected for this initial rollout, the following are most pertinent to the mid-market community:

Related Party Transactions Campaign

While the IRS’ focus on related party transactions within large multinational corporations is not new,

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Posted by: Megan Kuchan

By Megan Kuchan, CPA

Updated on February 14, 2017, to add the latest information on the delay on ruling. See the end of the article.

On February 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a directive to delay implementation of the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule. Originally set to be effective this coming April, the postponement will allow the Trump administration additional time to review the potential changes.

In development for several years, the fiduciary rule was one of the former administration’s triumphs. Former President Barack Obama heralded the rule as necessary for protecting investors and retirees from investing in products that have unacceptably high fees and hurt overall savings.

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Posted by: Rick Cooley

By Rick Cooley, CPA

On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum declaring a moratorium on all new federal rule making.

This practice is not unusual for an incoming president, especially one from a different political party than the departing president. In fact, former President Barack Obama issued a similar order shortly after his inauguration in 2009.

However, Trump’s memorandum should have a much broader impact – potentially applying to sub-regulatory guidance, including IRS Notices and Revenue Procedures.

So what impact will this memorandum really have? That depends on where the federal rules are in the rule making process.

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For information on the most current trends in IRS scams, please see the updated article here

Every year, we get numerous e-mails and calls from clients who report that someone from the IRS is demanding money right away for past due amounts. These demands are followed by a threat of arrest, lawsuit, deportation, or other acts of intimidation.

These communications are IRS scams.

IRS scams are usually made via phone call, voice-mail, e-mails, and even text messages.  These scam perpetrators impersonate IRS agents and will have your personal details, including your name, address,

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Posted by: Jennifer Mace

By Jennifer Mace, CPA

In today’s increasingly global economy, there are many U.S. tax-reporting requirements that relate to foreign investments, foreign organizational operations, and other international transactions. One of these requirements is the Report on Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

While the reporting requirement has been around for decades, IRS scrutiny and compliance efforts have been a focus since 2004, when Congress passed stronger laws to strengthen the penalties for non-filers in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. As part the FBAR evolution, the IRS announced changes to the filings, effective for 2016 filings due in 2017.

The purpose of the FBAR (now filed electronically via Form FinCEN 114) is to disclose accounts for any US person who has a financial interest in,

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Posted by: Rick Cooley

By Rick Cooley, CPA

Whether you love or hate the United States’ 45th President, Donald J. Trump, all taxpayers should prepare for big changes in tax year 2018.

Though President Trump talked a great deal about tax reform while on the campaign trail, we are all anxiously awaiting the tax reform legislation that will emerge from his campaign’s tax talking points and slogans.

So what could tax reform look like, courtesy of Mr. Trump and the 115th Congress? Based on Mr. Trump’s tax reform campaign pledges, we can expect at least some of the following proposals to wind up in tax reform legislation:

For individuals:

  • Tax rate reductions.

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Posted by: Joe Haberzetle

By Joe Haberzetle, JD, LLM

April 21, 2020 update: To provide accounting relief and clarity during the COVID-19 crisis, the FASB published an exposure draft with proposals to delay the effective dates for Leases (Topic 842). Find more information here.

Unlike many jurisdictions, Washington provides no automatic exemption from state and local taxes for nonprofit organizations that enjoy federal tax-exempt status. However, state law provides tax relief to nonprofit entities that engage in a variety of specific public benefit activities. It does this by exempting real and personal property used by the organization from state and local property taxes.

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