We deal with all kinds of businesses and organizations around here at Team Allan J. Rolnick, CPA, CTC. And while I often address “for profit” organizations with these notes, many of those same strategies (cost controls, marketing, growth, management) apply equally to those who are organized as “non profits”.

And in this instance, I’m addressing my non-profit friends, but as is often the case, there are plenty of nuggets in here for New York Metropolitan Area for-profit businesses to get clear on before the end of 2017.

And before I get right into that, let me also say this in regards to the proposed tax reform legislation currently being discussed:

Firstly, if you want to get the simplest, most “propaganda free” look on what *is* in the proposed bill, you can dive into the summary (with commentary) from the House Ways and Means Committee (which is the committee tasked with writing it in the first place).

But even that is 82 pages.

That same committee is “marking up” the bill, even now as I write, this week, and much of the analysis that we’ve all been reading this week might end up being moot by the time it’s actually through the committee.

So if it’s alright with you, let’s not have specific conversations about any action steps these changes might require from you until the dust settles and something is actually passed. Then, we’ll help you make a good plan.

Because MOST importantly, we have no “dog in this hunt”, and will be here for you regardless of what happens. For unfortunately, when politicians talk about “simplification” … the result is almost always anything but.

So, we’ll be watching with you to see what actually gets done from this. Right now, it’s all just talk.

But what ISN’T “just talk” is how you should be operating within existing legislative boundaries. So, here are some things to make sure you do before December 31…

New York Metropolitan Area Non-Profits Taxes – 10 Important Year-End Steps 
“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

The way you exit one room determines how you enter the next.

So, let’s finish 2017 strong, and do so by making sure we get everything handled right. Year-end can be a very busy time, of course, but it’s also a great time to evaluate all kinds of areas of your New York Metropolitan Area non-profit organization, and make changes you’ve finally been wanting to make in the first place.

Here are some important things to consider as you do.

1. Have your employees update their tax withholdings.
Nobody likes to get hit with a big tax bill in April. Encourage your staff to check on their withholdings and adjust as needed.

2. Get info for any individuals you paid more than $600. 
You’ll need to file a 1099 for any individual you paid more than $600. Remember, professional fees of $600 also require a 1099, even if they are a corporation.

If you don’t have their W-9, ask for it now.

3. Send an advance giving statement with a request for year-end giving.
Some New York Metropolitan Area donors are looking for year-end giving opportunities, so be the organization that asks! Remind them donations must be received or postmarked on or before December 31.

4. Ensure employee reimbursement requests are made timely, preferably before year-end, to help with accounting. Remember, reimbursements must further the purposes of the organization and be supported by receipts or other verifiable documentation.

5. Review and update your policies.

Review your policies and make sure they are up to date.

* Benevolence Policy
* Accountable Reimbursement Policy
* Conflict of Interest Policy
* Cell Phone Policy
* Intellectual Property Policy
* Security Policy
* And others

6. Schedule your annual board meeting.
A lot of non-profit boards only meet once or twice a year. Take this chance to review Directors and Officers and make sure those records are up to date. It’s a risky proposition for a non-profit or ministry to go without a board meeting for too long, so if you haven’t had a board meeting this year, make it happen now.

7. Review your compensation practices to make certain they fall within the IRS safe harbor provision.

When setting compensation for your key people, make sure to get the presumption of reasonable compensation. In short, the three steps are:

1) The compensation is approved in advance by an independent committee or board (same goes for any housing allowance),
2) The committee or board relied on comparability data, and
3) The decision was adequately and timely documented.

You should consider adopting an Executive Compensation Policy.

8. Schedule employee evaluations.
A properly documented personnel file is a great help if an employee must be terminated for under-performance.

9. Review your insurance policies.
Does your insurance have the right coverages? Has your premium slowly crept up over the years? Check with your provider to see if there is a better solution for your organization as it currently stands.

10. Update your website.
A website that says Copyright 2014 can turn some people off. Change that (and much more, of course). While you’re at it, consider adding a “Donate Now” button.

To more of what’s yours, in your pocket…

Feel very free to forward this article to a New York Metropolitan Area business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for New York Metropolitan Area families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly,

Allan Rolnick
(718) 896-8715

Allan J. Rolnick, CPA, CTC