5 tips for an effective not-for-profit board
A recent survey of nearly 1,000 nonprofit directors revealed that gaps in not-for-profit board performance fundamentally impact the success of the organization. Problems range from lack of true engagement by board members to their failure to fulfill important fiduciary duties. Do these sound familiar? Don’t worry. We are here to help you resolve these issues and set your board up to be as efficient as ever.
To avoid these shortcomings, consider the following best practices:
Set clear expectations up front. Do your incoming board members have a thorough understanding of what is expected of them? And do they understand what meeting those expectations will involve? Have they met key players and learned about relevant policies and procedures? We recommend developing a comprehensive onboarding process that clearly defines board responsibilities, including the details they need to know to hit the ground running.
Want to give this year? Here's what you need to know
Giving on a yearly basis could trim both your estate and income taxes. First, there's the annual exclusion for gifts. Currently, you can give $14,000 annually to any number of recipients without paying federal gift tax. Married couples can double this amount by gift-splitting – a gift of $28,000 from one spouse is treated as if it came half from each.
Why giving is a two-way street
Gifts do more than help out children who need the money. They also reduce your estate so your estate will pay less estate tax upon your death. Apart from annual gift giving, you can currently transfer (during your lifetime or through your estate) a total of $5.49 million with no estate or gift tax liability. On amounts above this threshold, you or your estate will be faced with taxes at the current top rate of 40 percent. So a consistent program of annual gift giving might create substantial tax savings.
Year-end tax checklist
As the year draws to a close, there are several tax-saving ideas you should consider. Use this checklist to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity before the year is out.
- Retirement distributions and contributions. Make final contributions to your qualified retirement plan, and take any required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts. The penalty for not taking minimum distributions can be high.
- Investment management. Rebalance your investment portfolio, and take any final investment gains and losses. Capital losses can be used to net against your capital gains. You can also take up to $3,000 of capital losses in excess of capital gains each year and use it to lower your ordinary income.
8 tips to determine your not-for-profit’s year-end
Not-for-profits have a luxury that most other individuals and businesses do not. They’re allowed to select their fiscal year-ends for IRS purposes. Partnerships, sole proprietorships, S corporations and other legal structures, with limited exceptions, may not. These groups generally are required to use calendar year-ends for tax filings. Read on to find out what a not-for-profit should consider when choosing a year-end date.
How does a not-for-profit choose its year-end?
By default, many not-for-profits are organized with a calendar year-end, but not-for-profits should assess if this is the best choice. A thoughtfully chosen year-end may produce more meaningful financial statements, ease reporting requirements and even save the organization money. Before deciding on a year-end, organizations should consider the following factors:
4 smart ways to cut business costs
Keeping costs under control is crucial in today's challenging business environment. Without a doubt, one of the quickest ways for a business to cut costs is through staff reduction. But cutting jobs is not always the best cost-cutting strategy. Drastic job cuts can lead to a vicious cycle of reduced productivity, followed by even slower growth and decreased profitability. Replacing skilled workers when times improve may be difficult, leaving your company to struggle longer still.
Take a look at some alternative cost-control strategies:
Don't fall for fake charity scams
After disaster strikes, people often want to help those in need. Unfortunately, this is also when fake charities pop up. The IRS recently reported an uptick in emerging charity scams since hurricanes Harvey, Irma and others made landfall.
Scammers commonly take advantage of donators with emails that steer people to fake websites asking for donations and other financial information. These fraudulent websites usually claim to be affiliated with authentic organizations. They try to get you to make donations or disclose your personal information.
If you're planning on donating to a charity, follow these rules: