With the increased standard deduction this past year ($12,400 single, $24,800 married filing jointly, $18,650 head of household), some smaller charities began to see a decrease in donations.
This year might be worse.
Yes, I hate to be the one to say these things, but I’m also privy to the books and financials for a variety of Harris County businesses and individuals, and these are just the facts.
Which means that you if you HAVE the “means”, this is a great year to consider giving. In a tax-advantaged way, of course. We’re here to help with that…
But the other side of this coin is an important one too.
While I often address my “for profit” clients with these Notes, many of the same strategies (cost controls, marketing, growth, management) apply equally to those who are organized as non-profits.
Today, I’m addressing my non-profit friends — but as is often the case, there are plenty of nuggets in here for for-profit Houston businesses to get clear on before the end of 2020 hits (which couldn’t come any faster, as far as I’m concerned).
And if you sit on the board of any of these organizations … make sure they have their ducks in a row.
So while this might not apply directly to you — go ahead and forward this to someone whom it might. We’re happy to be a resource for the friends of our clients…
8 Important Steps for Harris County Non-Profits Before Year-End
“Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.” -Ruth Gendler
When the dust settles on this year, chances are good that there will be a bunch of non-profits who have had to close their doors. Between lockdowns, massive unemployment, and general decreases in charitable deductions … it’s not easy out there.
Which is why it would be very wise for you to get “ahead of the game” if you are one of these Harris County organizations.
So, to do so, I suggest that you put these items on your “list” before Thanksgiving, so you’re not caught in the flurry of holiday madness and year-end. Yes, we’re already halfway through November…!
1. Have your staff update tax withholdings.
Nobody likes to get hit with a big tax bill in April, or be unnecessarily “loaning” money to the US Treasury. Encourage your team to check on their withholdings and adjust as needed.
2. Get info for any individuals/contractors to whom you paid more than $600.
You’ll need to file a 1099 for any individual or contractor that 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. Marketing tip: Send an “advance giving statement” NOW with a request for year-end giving.
Some 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 more
6. Schedule your annual board meeting, if you haven’t already done so.
Many non-profit boards only meet once or twice a year. Act now 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” provisions.
When setting compensation for your team, make sure to get the presumption of “reasonable compensation”. In short, the three steps are:
- The compensation is approved in advance by an independent committee or board (same goes for any housing allowance),
- The committee or board relied on comparability data, and
- The decision was adequately and timely documented.
You should consider adopting an Executive Compensation Policy.
8. 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. A good rule of thumb is shop for insurance every three years — many insurance companies attract businesses and orgs with attractive rates, and then creep up on said rates over time.
I hope this helps … and again, if this doesn’t apply to you, go ahead right now and forward it to somebody for whom it does.
We’re right here: 713-942-1040
To more of what’s yours, in your pocket…
Edward M. Gardner, PC CPA
Feel free to forward this article to a Harris County area (or beyond!) business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.