Oct
12
2017

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

Audit Technique Guides for Exempt Organizations
Examiners use these guides during audits of specific types of exempt organizations.

The Enduring Relevance of Rev. Proc. 71-17 on IRC Section 501(c)(7) Organizations
Read the IRS issue snapshot on the effect of a 501(c)(7) club’s non-member income on its unrelated business taxable income and exemption.

Written by in: General
Oct
05
2017

IRS TE/GE Releases 2018 Work Plan

The IRS recently released the 2018 Work Plan for the exempt organizations function.  The Work Plan provides information regarding various areas of IRS focus.

Written by in: General
Sep
27
2017

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

The IRS is providing several types of tax relief for those affected by hurricanes hitting Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We’re monitoring the situation closely to resolve potential tax related issues as they’re identified. Check IRS.gov/hurricaneharvey and IRS.gov/hurricaneirmaoften for a current list of all tax relief available in these disaster areas and others.

IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of Hurricane Harvey; Parts of Texas Now Eligible
Hurricane Harvey victims in parts of Texas have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This relief also applies to Form 5500 series returns of eligible taxpayers.

IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of Hurricane Irma; Additional Relief Planned
Hurricane Irma victims have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This relief also applies to Form 5500 series returns of eligible taxpayers.

Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Victims of Hurricane Harvey
The IRS relaxed procedural and administrative rules for retirement plan loans and hardship distributions to certain participants in 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans. Retirement plans can provide this relief for participants who are victims of Hurricane Harvey or for certain family members who lived or worked inside the disaster area.

Like Harvey, Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Victims of Hurricane Irma
The IRS announced that 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans can make loans and hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Irma and members of their families.

Beware of Fake Charity Scams Relating to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Fake charity scams proliferate after disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. We encourage you to seek out recognized charitable groups for your donations.

Tax Tip
Exempt Organizations affected by Harvey and Irma have been granted tax relief.

Written by in: General
Sep
14
2017

Help for Hurricane Harvey…and Irma Too

Employers seeking ways to help employees and their family members affected by Hurricanes Harvey or Irma should consider the various relief made available by the Internal Revenue Service under Announcements 2017-11 and 2017-13 and Notice 2017-48.

Under Notice 2017-48, employers who maintain a leave-based donation program (there is still time to adopt one) can afford employees the opportunity to forgo their vacation, sick or personal leave in exchange for cash contributions made by the employer, before Jan. 1, 2019, to charitable organizations assisting those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  The donated leave will be excluded from the donor employees’ income and wages and the employer will be able to deduct such contributions to a qualifying charitable organization as a business expense.  As always, the Notice includes specific guidelines that must be followed in order for employers and employees to take advantage of this relief.  Note that currently this relief is approved only for Hurricane Harvey assistance.

Announcements 2017-11 and 2017-13 permit employers who sponsor a “qualified employer plan” to offer hardship distributions and/or plan loans to participants for reasons (including to obtain food and shelter) relating to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma even if the plan doesn’t currently permit hardship distributions or loans.  For purposes of this relief, participants may obtain a hardship distribution and/or plan loan not just for their own needs but also to help certain affected family members.  In addition, certain other restrictions (e.g., automatic six-month suspension of elective deferrals following a hardship distribution) that generally apply are suspended.

Your qualified employer plan does not need to be formally amended before the hardship withdrawal and plan loan relief is offered; however, the plan must be amended no later than the end of the first plan year beginning after December 31, 2017, and the relief can only be offered to the extent provided and within the time period authorized by Announcements.

The IRS is also offering other forms of relief to affected taxpayers (employers and individuals), including penalty relief for certain late tax filings, extended deadlines for certain tax filings and payments. A special IRS website contains links to all of its Hurricane Harvey relief and other helpful information about reconstructing records, checking the tax-exempt status of charitable organizations and more.  Similar information is provided on a separate webpage for those affected by Hurricane Irma.

Written by in: General
Sep
05
2017

EO Update: e-News for Charities & Nonprofits

1. IRS provides help for Hurricane Harvey victims

The IRS is providing a variety of tax relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Check our webpage for the latest updates.

2. Beware of Hurricane Harvey fake charity scams

The IRS issued a warning about possible fake charity scams emerging due to Hurricane Harvey and encouraged taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups for their donations.

3. More IRS disaster relief information available

Publication 3833, Disaster Relief, Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations

Two-part mini-course on disaster relief.

Additional information about IRS help for Hurricane Harvey victims is available on IRS social media sites, including the Twitter handle @IRSnews, following the hashtag #Harvey.

Written by in: General
Aug
21
2017

IRS Seeks Applications for Advisory Committee for the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division

The IRS is seeking applicants for vacancies on the Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT). The committee provides advice and public input on the various areas of tax administration served by the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE). Applications will be accepted through September 18, 2017.

Written by in: General
Jul
19
2017

Bryan Cave Recognized in The Legal 500

We are very excited to announce that Bryan Cave was recognized in Legal 500 as one of the top law firms in the Nonprofit / Tax Exempt Organizations category.  This is an honor and we are delighted that our Firm has been recognized along with the other top law firms in the United States that specialize in advising nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations.

The purpose of The Legal 500 is to help corporate counsel find the right advisors through its law firm rankings and editorial, which are free of charge to access. Rankings are based on feedback from 250,000 in-house peers and access to law firms deals and confidential matters, which are independently assessed by researchers.

Written by in: General
Jun
14
2017

403(b) Pre-Approved Retirement Plans List

We’ve recently updated the list of 403(b) pre-approved retirement plans that have received an IRS favorable opinion or advisory letter. A favorable opinion or advisory letter for a 403(b) pre-approved plan means that the IRS has determined that the plan satisfies the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) (these requirements are specifically outlined in the opinion or advisory letter).

Employers eligible to sponsor 403(b) retirement plans for their employees may want to consider adopting a pre-approved plan that has received a favorable letter instead of a having an individually designed plan.

Related resources:

Written by in: General
Mar
28
2017

Important Information on W-2/SSN Data Theft Scam

A dangerous email scam currently is circulating nationwide and targeting employers, including tax exempt entities, universities and schools, government and private-sector businesses. The scammer poses as an internal executive requesting employee Forms W-2 and Social Security Number information from company payroll or human resources departments. They may even send an initial “Hi, are you in today” message before the request.

The IRS has established a process that will allow employers and payroll service providers to quickly report any data losses related to the W-2 scam. See details at Form W-2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers. If notified in time, the IRS can take steps to prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names. There also is information about how to report receiving the scam email even if you did not fall victim.

As a reminder, tax professionals who experience a data breach also should quickly report the incident to the IRS. Tax professionals may contact their local stakeholder liaison. See details at Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals.

Written by in: General
Mar
28
2017

Benefactors Beware: Fake Charities Included in IRS List of Top Tax Scams for 2017

Every year, the IRS issues its “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams list, a compilation of tactics and devices used by scam artists against taxpayers.  While the threat exists year-round, the IRS promulgates the list ahead of filing season. As susceptible taxpayers prepare their returns, they face a higher risk of being targeted.

Included in the 2017 “Dirty Dozen” list are fake charities; however, this is hardly a new occurrence. Fraudulent charities and organizations have a long-standing history of soliciting donations from unsuspecting individuals. In its 2017 report, the IRS notes three steps taxpayers should take in making charitable contributions.

One: Keep your information private. Individuals are advised against sharing their personal information, such as a Social Security Number or passwords, as this is commonly used in identity theft. The IRS reminds individuals that a legitimate charity will never ask for such information in soliciting or receiving donations.

Two: Avoid cash. When making a donation, individuals should use check or credit card. In the case of the latter, credit card information should only be used over a secure network.

Three: Do your homework. As a matter of good practice, the IRS recommends using the Exempt Organization Select Check Tool to ensure that your donation is directed to a legitimate organization. The Tool allows donees to view an organization’s federal tax filings, and other   information, such as whether exempt status has been revoked or suspended. The Tool is available here.

The Dirty Dozen also advises donors to be wary of fraudsters in the wake of natural disasters. During such times, fake charities may solicit donations under the guise of disaster-relief funds. The IRS encourages donors to make contributions to officially recognized organizations, such as the Red Cross or UNICEF. The Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool is another way to verify a relief or human-rights organization as legitimate.

Find the IRS complete list of Dirty Dozen scams for 2017 here.

Written by in: General

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