2018 Year-End Tax Planning Letter
December 3, 2018
With year-end approaching, it's time to take steps to cut your 2018 tax bill. Here are some relatively foolproof year-end tax planning strategies to consider.
Don’t let the “commerciality doctrine” trip up your nonprofit
November 26, 2018
Courts have ruled that some nonprofits’ otherwise exempt activities are substantially the same as those of commercial entities and revoked their 501(c) status.
Unleash the power of a nonspringing power of attorney
November 26, 2018
What if you become incapacitated and unable to make medical or financial decisions on your own? How a nonspringing power of attorney provide may peace of mind.
Catch-up retirement plan contributions can be particularly advantageous post-TCJA
November 26, 2018
The income reduction from making catch-up contributions to your retirement plan might be especially beneficial in 2018 if your itemized deductions are reduced.
When holiday gifts and parties are deductible or taxable
November 26, 2018
If you’re thinking about giving holiday gifts to employees or customers or throwing a party, consider the tax consequences both for you and for the recipients.
5 delegation best practices for nonprofit leaders
November 19, 2018
If your organization is busy and growing, it’s critical you learn when to delegate to staffers and how to encourage them to effectively accomplish new tasks.
Mutual funds: Handle with care at year end
November 19, 2018
Investment decisions shouldn’t be driven by tax considerations alone, but taxes are still an important factor when it comes to mutual funds in taxable accounts.
Should you name a trust as IRA beneficiary?
November 19, 2018
Setting up a trust as your IRA beneficiary is complicated, and one misstep can erase the IRA’s estate planning benefits but this strategy can have advantages.
Tax reform expands availability of cash accounting
November 19, 2018
The cash method of accounting will allow more income to be deferred for federal tax purposes than will the accrual method. Is your business eligible to use it?
Time for NQDC plan deferral elections
Do you receive nonqualified deferred compensation? There may be steps you need to take before year end to defer income taxes and avoid interest and penalties.
How fiscal sponsorships work for established — and fledgling — charities
If your organization is approached about “sponsoring” a fledgling charity without 501(c)(3) status, be careful to ensure the right fit to boost your profile.
It’s not too late: You can still set up a retirement plan for 2018
Setting up a retirement plan provides small business owners with many tax and nontax benefits. But time is running out to set one up for 2018. Find out more.
Intellectual property requires careful estate planning
Intangible assets can easily be overlooked in an estate plan. Yet intellectual property can have great value, so it’s important to properly address it.
Donate appreciated stock for twice the tax benefits
For certain charitably inclined taxpayers, donating appreciated stock to charity can be an excellent year-end tax planning strategy. Learn more here.
Make your nonprofit’s accounting function more efficient
If your nonprofit’s accounting staff is having trouble with its workload, adopt these 6 tips and you can reduce frustration, while boosting speed and accuracy.
Buy business assets before year end to reduce your 2018 tax liability
Investing in business assets is a traditional and powerful year-end tax planning strategy, and it might make even more sense in 2018. Here’s why.
Take caution when including employees in your estate plan
As a small business owner, naming your employees as beneficiaries in your estate plan is thoughtful, but doing so may create unintended tax consequences.
Could “bunching” medical expenses into 2018 save you tax?
Bunching nonurgent medical procedures and other controllable expenses into 2018 may allow you to benefit from the medical expense deduction.
How successfully has your nonprofit shifted from overhead to impact?
What does focusing on the broader effects of nonprofit spending mean to your organization? For one, you may need to make cultural changes.
Research credit available to some businesses for the first time
If your company engages in qualified research activities, revisit the research credit to be sure you’re taking full advantage of its benefits.
Consider all the tax consequences before making gifts to loved ones
TCJA exemptions ensures few will have to worry about facing federal gift and estate tax liability in the next several years. But still be tax-smart about gifts.
Selling your business? Defer — and possibly reduce — tax with an installment sale
An installment sale can offer tax and other benefits to a business owner selling his or her company. But it has tax risks, too. Read on to learn more.
Tenancy-in-common: A versatile estate planning tool
Real estate can be hard to address in an estate plan. Transferring real estate to multiple beneficiaries? Consider using tenancy-in-common ownership interests.
Why your nonprofit’s internal and year end financial statements may differ
If your nonprofit’s periodic financial statements fail to jibe with your auditor’s year ends, you may think someone is at fault, but there may be good reasons.
529 plans offer two tax-advantaged education funding options
When it comes to funding education expenses with a 529 plan, both prepaid tuition plans and savings plans offer attractive benefits. Which one is right for you?
Now’s the time to review your business expenses
There’s no master list of deductible business expenses in the tax code. The deductibility of certain expenses is obvious, while in other cases it’s unclear.
The fine art of valuing donated property
Your nonprofit should calculate the value of noncash donated items using fair market value (FMV). But here are factors that make it harder than it sounds.
Turn down an inheritance using a qualified disclaimer
Turning down an inheritance may sound crazy, but there are legitimate estate planning reasons to do so. A qualified disclaimer may be a tool for you to use.
Tax-free fringe benefits help small businesses and their employees
The tax treatment of fringe benefits varies. Many types are tax-free to employees, but the TCJA has changed the tax treatment of some benefits.
Charitable IRA rollovers may be especially beneficial in 2018
With the TCJA’s near doubling of the standard deduction, making a direct charitable IRA rollover can be powerful for taxpayers old enough to be eligible.
Educate your children on wealth management
If you’re concerned about your children’s ability to handle their inheritance, there are steps to take to ensure they’re financially responsible.
Nonprofits: Here’s how to embrace accountability
How accountable is your nonprofit? The answer can affect everything from the donations & grants you receive to the people who want to work & volunteer for you.
Retiring abroad? Review your estate plan before making the move
There’s nothing wrong with thinking big regarding retirement, possibly picking up stakes and moving overseas. Check out your estate plan before making the move.
Tax planning for investments gets more complicated
With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and more tax rate thresholds to keep in mind, year-end tax planning for investments is especially complicated in 2018.
Using insurance to manage your nonprofit’s risk
Many kinds of insurance policies are available to nonprofits, but it’s unlikely yours needs all of them. How do you determine which ones are essential?
Could a cost segregation study help you accelerate depreciation deductions?
Cost segregation studies may yield substantial benefits, but they’re not right for every business. Would a study would be worthwhile for yours?
2 ways to transfer a family business
If a large portion of your estate is tied to a family-owned business, an intentionally defective grantor trust or an estate defective trust may be beneficial.
The tax deduction ins and outs of donating artwork to charity
Donating artwork is a great way to share enjoyment of the work with others. But to maximize the tax benefit, plan your gift carefully and follow all the rules.
Leadership’s role during a nonprofit’s merger
Nonprofit leaders may think they can turn over the logistics of a merger/acquisition to their professional advisors, but they play a critical transition role.
Businesses aren’t immune to tax identity theft
The IRS has seen a sharp increase in business tax identity theft. Here are some red flags and prevention tips to help protect your business from victimization.
For unmarried couples, estate planning is indispensable
Estate planning is important for everyone, but even more so for unmarried couples. State intestacy laws don’t protect the relationships of these partners.
Volunteers are assets nonprofits must protect
If you don’t treat your nonprofit volunteers like the valuable financial assets they are, you may lose them. Learn four ways to keep them happy and engaged.
Be sure your employee travel expense reimbursements will pass muster with the IRS
Changes under the TCJA make travel expense reimbursements more attractive to employees. But your business must follow IRS rules to enjoy valuable tax benefits.
2018 Q4 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers
Kids back in school, the days getting shorter, pumpkin spice everything. It must be fall! For businesses, that means it’s time to begin year-end tax planning.
Do you need to make an estimated tax payment by September 17?
2 of the 2018 estimated tax payment deadlines for individuals have already passed; the third is 9/17/18. Here’s how to determine if you need to make a payment.
Compensating nonprofit board members
Despite some drawbacks, compensating board members may make sense for your nonprofit. But be careful to follow all applicable rules and regulations. Learn more.
You might save tax if your vacation home qualifies as a rental property
For owners of vacation homes, now is a good time to review year-to-date rental vs. personal use of the home. Adjusting use now might be beneficial. Here’s why.
Is a significant portion of your wealth concentrated in a single stock?
Estate planning and investment risk management go hand in hand. One of the best ways to reduce your investment risk is to diversify your holdings.
How to reduce the tax risk of using independent contractors
Does your business use independent contractors? Could the IRS reclassify them as employees and subject you to back taxes, interest and penalties? Find out here.
3 reasons you should continue making lifetime gifts
Lifetime gifts provide significant benefits, whether your estate is taxable or not. We have 3 reasons why making gifts is an important part of estate planning
Back-to-school time means a tax break for teachers
New rules apply to the educator expense deduction. The TCJA has made significant changes to many deductions for individuals; learn the facts here.
When should you reconsider a special event?
Not-for-profits use special events to raise large amounts in a short period of time, but they don’t always meet their fundraising goals. Is it time to rethink?
At your own risk: The pitfalls of DIY estate planning
Unless your estate is small and your plan is exceedingly simple, the pitfalls of do-it-yourself (DIY) estate planning can be many. Here are a few pitfalls.
Play your tax cards right with gambling wins and losses
If you gamble be sure you understand the tax consequences. Both wins & losses can affect your income tax bill. And changes with the TCJA could also have impact.
Make a licensing agreement work for your nonprofit
If you’re considering a licensing arrangement, will the partnership really will generate funds and, maybe more important, a positive impression of your brand?
Keep it SIMPLE: A tax-advantaged retirement plan solution for small businesses
Offering a retirement plan can provide your business with valuable tax deductions and help you attract and retain great employees.
Addressing long-term care costs with a tax-qualified LTC insurance policy
The annual cost of LTC can reach six figures so it’s important to have a plan to finance these costs by setting aside some of your savings or buying insurance.
Keep an eye out for extenders legislation
The TCJA and Tax Reform 2.0 have grabbed a lot of headlines, but for certain individual taxpayers, what happens with “extenders” legislation is also important.
Nonprofits should be prepared for sudden outpouring of support
It may seem like an unlikely problem, but your nonprofit needs a plan to handle a potential outpouring of support. Here are a few ideas how you can prepare.
Assessing the S corp
S corp status isn’t the best option for every business. Assessing the tax differences can be tricky with the tax law changes going into effect this year.
Protect your peace of mind with a trust protector
A trust protector is to a trustee what a corporate board of directors is to a CEO. The protector oversees the trustee and weighs in on critical decisions.
The TCJA prohibits undoing 2018 Roth IRA conversions, but 2017 conversions are still eligible
Converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can provide tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement, but a rules change may alter your 2018 strategy.
Steering your nonprofit through its growth stage
To maintain growth for your nonprofit organization, you’ll need to diversify revenue sources, manage cash flow and develop solid budgets. We can help you.
Choosing the right accounting method for tax purposes
The TCJA liberalized eligibility rules for using the cash method of accounting, making this method available to more businesses. Is it the right option for you?
Provide for family members with special needs using an SNT
A Supplemental Needs Trust allows you to enhance a family member’s quality of life without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for government benefits.
Do you still need to worry about the AMT?
Now is the time to assess your individual alternative minimum tax risk and see if there are any steps you can take to minimize or avoid the AMT impact.
Update your nonprofit’s social media policy
A social media policy helps ensure that online accounts promote and enhance — not damage — your nonprofit’s reputation and fundraising efforts.
An FLP can save tax in a family business succession
A family limited partnership (FLP) can help owners enjoy the tax benefits of gradually transferring ownership yet allow them to retain control of the business.
Have you made your burial wishes clear?
Failure to clearly communicate your final wishes regarding the disposition of your remains can lead to tension, disputes & even litigation among family members.
Why the “kiddie tax” is more dangerous than ever
Congress created the “kiddie” tax back in 1986 to discourage putting investments in children's name. Now, under the TCJA the kiddie tax is more dangerous.
Why nonprofits might want to revisit the Donor Bill of Rights
Revisiting the 25-year-old Donor's Bill of Rights list’s basic principles can help you build solid relationships with donors — and even boost fundraising.
Do you qualify for the home office deduction?
Under the TCJA, employees can no longer claim the home office deduction. There are, however, some situations that may still make it available to you. Read more.
Double duty giving with charitable gift annuities
Doing estate planning? A charitable gift annuity can combine the benefits of an immediate income tax deduction and a lifetime income stream.
3 traditional midyear tax planning strategies for individuals that hold up post-TCJA
With its many changes to individual tax rates, brackets and breaks, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act means taxpayers need to revisit their tax planning strategies.
How private foundations can avoid accusations of self-dealing
IRS rules governing private foundations are complicated, which is why your foundation needs to write and follow a detailed conflict-of-interest policy.
Business deductions for meal, vehicle and travel expenses: Document, document, document
Meal, vehicle and travel expenses are common deductions for businesses, but if not properly documented, you could find your deductions denied by the IRS.
21st century estate planning accounts for digital assets
Digital assets are just as important to include in your estate plan as your material assets. Do you have a plan for online financial, email & social accounts?
What you can deduct when volunteering
While donations of time or services aren’t deductible, you potentially can deduct out-of-pocket costs associated with your volunteer work. Learn more.
When it comes to revenue, nonprofits need to think like auditors
You can use the same accounting methods used by auditors to record revenues and perform a detailed analysis to learn about your organization’s revenue profile.
Close-up on the new QBI deduction’s wage limit
The TCJA provides a valuable new tax break to noncorporate owners of pass-through entities: a deduction for a portion of qualified business income (QBI).
Home green home: Save tax by saving energy
To reap all three benefits of "going green", you need to buy and install certain types of renewable energy equipment in the home.
Basis consistency rules may come into play if you’re administering an estate or inheriting property
A tax change prohibits the income tax basis of inherited property from exceeding the property’s fair market value (FMV) for estate tax purposes. Learn more.
Data analytics can help solve your nonprofit’s biggest challenges
Data analytics is a type of business intelligence is already considered invaluable in the for-profit world. But it can be just as useful to nonprofits.
How to avoid getting hit with payroll tax penalties
For small businesses, managing payroll and keeping up with the latest tax rules can be one of the most arduous tasks. Are things slipping through the cracks?
The BDIT: A trust with a twist
The beneficiary defective inheritor’s trust (BDIT) allows you to enjoy the benefits of a traditional trust without giving up control over your property.
Does your business have to begin collecting sales tax on all out-of-state online sales?
For businesses with out-of-state online sales not collecting sales tax from out-of-state customers, a Supreme Court ruling brings many questions and concerns.
A SLAT offers estate planning benefits and…
A SLAT is an irrevocable trust that authorizes the trustee to make distributions to your spouse if a need arises. Here are some risks and rewads to consider.
Do you know the ABCs of HSAs, FSAs and HRAs?
If you have one of these health care accounts, it’s important to understand the applicable rules so you can get the maximum benefit from it.
Should your nonprofit hold virtual board meetings?
Your not-for-profit’s board of directors meetings don’t always need to be performed up-close and personal in the same room. Have you held web meetings?
Choosing the best business entity structure post-TCJA
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when deciding how to structure a business. The best choice depends on your unique situation and that of your business.
Fortify your estate plan against undue influence claims
It’s possible your will could be contested and your true intentions defeated if someone is found to have exerted “undue influence” over your decisions.
Consider the tax advantages of investing in qualified small business stock
Finding ways to defer or minimize taxes on investments is important. One way to do that is to invest in qualified small business (QSB) stock.
2018 Q3 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers
Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the third quarter of 2018. Make sure you're getting ready!
Naming a minor as beneficiary of a life insurance policy or retirement plan can lead to unintended outcomes
While making your young child a beneficiary may seem like an excellent way to provide in the case of your untimely death, it can have undesirable consequences.
Make the most of your fundraising with simple metrics
The amount of money your not-for-profit raises in fundraising campaigns can be measured using two metrics: Cost ratio and return on investment (ROI).
2 tax law changes that may affect your business’s 401(k) plan
Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), there are a couple of recent tax law changes that you need to be aware of if your business sponsors a 401(k) plan.
The tax impact of the TCJA on estate planning
The TCJA made major changes to gift and estate taxes, significantly reducing the number of taxpayers who’ll be subject to them, at least in the short term.
The pros and cons of a SCIN
Some estate planning techniques have a significant drawback: mortality risk. A self-canceling installment note (SCIN) eliminates that, but is it right for you?
Factor in state and local taxes when deciding where to live in retirement
Many Americans relocate to another state when they retire. If you’re thinking about such a move, state and local taxes should factor into your decision.
3 steps to a more ethical organization
To ensure your supporters and community understand your nonprofit organization’s values and the policies that uphold them, a formal code of ethics is essential.
What businesses need to know about the tax treatment of bitcoin and other virtual currencies
Some businesses are accepting cryptocurrency from their customers as payment and even for employee payroll. What are the tax consequences of these transactions?
Use the proper tools to fix a broken trust
If you have trusts in need of repair, you may have several tools at your disposal, depending on law in the state where you live and where the trust is located.
Saving tax on restricted stock awards with the Sec. 83(b) election
Tax planning for restricted stock is complicated, but your restricted stock awards may have a tax-saving opportunity in the form of the Section 83(b) election.
Financial sustainability and your nonprofit
If your nonprofit hopes to serve its community many years into the future, you need to think about financial sustainability now.
Putting your child on your business’s payroll for the summer may make more tax sense than ever
If you own a business and have a child in high school or college, hiring him or her for the summer can make more sense than ever due to changes under the TCJA.
The TCJA changes some rules for deducting pass-through business losses
The TCJA restricts the amount of losses that sole proprietors, partners, S corporation shareholders and, typically, LLC members can currently deduct for 2018.
If charitable giving is part of your estate plan, consider a donor-advised fund
Do you make sizable gifts to charitable causes? You can exercise greater control over your charitable endeavors using a donor-advised fund (DAF).
Be aware of the tax consequences before selling your home
Your home is likely one of your biggest investments, so it’s important to assess the potential tax consequences before selling it. We can help.