Blog

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

LWRBA Golf Scramble 2018

Photo courtesy of the LWRBA

Each year our Bradenton team supports the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance Golf Scramble. Again this year we sponsored the “Closest to the Pin” contest.  Tommye Barie, Alison Wester, Trey Scott and Ron Marshall spent the day on the golf course greeting the golfers and handing out M&J goodies.  The weather was perfect and everyone had a great time!

 


Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

3 ideas for recruiting nonprofit volunteers

Most charitable not-for-profits have a never-ending need for volunteers. But finding new ones can be time-consuming — and volunteer searches aren’t always successful. Here are three recruitment ideas that can help.

 

1. Look nearby

Is your nonprofit familiar to businesses, residents and schools in the surrounding community? People often are drawn to volunteer because they learn of a worthwhile organization that’s located close to where they live or work.

Start to get to know your neighbors by performing an inventory of the surrounding area. Perhaps there’s a large apartment building you’ve never paid much attention to. Consider the people who live there to be potential volunteers. Likewise, if there’s an office building nearby, learn about the businesses that occupy it. Their employees might have skills, such as website design or bookkeeping experience, that perfectly match your volunteer opportunities.

Once you’ve identified some good outreach targets, mail or hand-deliver literature introducing your nonprofit as a neighbor and describing your needs. Consider inviting your neighbors to a celebration or informational open house at your offices.

2. Fine-tune your pitch

By making your pitches as informative and compelling as possible, you’re more likely to inspire potential volunteers to action. Specifically, explain the:

  • Types of volunteer jobs currently available,
  • Skills most in demand,
  • Times when volunteers are needed, and
  • Rewards and challenges your volunteers might experience.

When possible, incorporate photographs of volunteers at work — along with their testimonials. And make it easy for people to take the next step by including your contact information or directing them to your website for an application.

3. Reach out to your network

Develop a system for keeping those closest to your organization — major donors, board members and active volunteers — informed of your volunteer needs. These individuals often are influential in their communities, so a request from them is more likely to get people’s attention. They may even frame a request for assistance in the form of a challenge, with the solicitor being the first to volunteer their time or funds, of course.

Remain in pursuit

No matter how precise or thorough your initial recruiting efforts, remember that one-time or sporadic efforts are insufficient to attract a steady supply of volunteers. To get the resources you need, make volunteer recruitment a continuous process that draws on several strategies.

© 2018


Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Get started on 2018 tax planning now!

With the April 17 individual income tax filing deadline behind you (or with your 2017 tax return on the back burner if you filed for an extension), you may be hoping to not think about taxes for the next several months. But for maximum tax savings, now is the time to start tax planning for 2018. It’s especially critical to get an early start this year because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has substantially changed the tax environment.

Many variables

A tremendous number of variables affect your overall tax liability for the year. Looking at these variables early in the year can give you more opportunities to reduce your 2018 tax bill.

For example, the timing of income and deductible expenses can affect both the rate you pay and when you pay. By regularly reviewing your year-to-date income, expenses and potential tax, you may be able to time income and expenses in a way that reduces, or at least defers, your tax liability.

In other words, tax planning shouldn’t be just a year-end activity.

Certainty vs. uncertainty

Last year, planning early was a challenge because it was uncertain whether tax reform legislation would be signed into law, when it would go into effect and what it would include. This year, the TCJA tax reform legislation is in place, with most of the provisions affecting individuals in effect for 2018–2025. And additional major tax law changes aren’t expected in 2018. So there’s no need to hold off on tax planning.

But while there’s more certainty about the tax law that will be in effect this year and next, there’s still much uncertainty on exactly what the impact of the TCJA changes will be on each taxpayer. The new law generally reduces individual tax rates, and it expands some tax breaks. However, it reduces or eliminates many other breaks.

The total impact of these changes is what will ultimately determine which tax strategies will make sense for you this year, such as the best way to time income and expenses. You may need to deviate from strategies that worked for you in previous years and implement some new strategies.

Getting started sooner will help ensure you don’t take actions that you think will save taxes but that actually will be costly under the new tax regime. It will also allow you to take full advantage of new tax-saving opportunities.

Now and throughout the year

To get started on your 2018 tax planning, contact us. We can help you determine how the TCJA affects you and what strategies you should implement now and throughout the year to minimize your tax liability.

© 2018


Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Surprise! Your 401(k) plan has been disqualified

Most employers, and a fair number of individuals, worry only about an IRS audit of their income tax returns. Unfortunately, the agency can perform another kind of audit that not only may take you by surprise, but also can leave you with a rather shocking result: a disqualified 401(k) plan — and a bevy of potentially nasty tax consequences for you and your employees.

Typical triggers

What could cause such a sorry state of affairs? Plan disqualification can be triggered by:

  • Failing to identify all employees eligible for your 401(k),
  • Neglecting to give participants the opportunity to make deferral elections, and
  • Not limiting employee contributions to the amounts allowed under tax law for the calendar year.

In addition, traditional 401(k) plans must be regularly tested to ensure that the contributions don’t discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees. So, your 401(k) must pass all applicable nondiscrimination tests.

Loss of status

Tax law and administrative details that may seem trivial or irrelevant may actually be critical to maintaining a plan’s qualified status. If a plan loses its qualified status, each participant is taxed on the value of his or her vested benefits as of the disqualification date. That can result in large (and completely unexpected) tax liabilities for participants.

In addition, contributions and earnings that occur after the disqualification date must be included in participants’ taxable incomes. The employer’s tax deductions for plan contributions are also at risk. And there are penalties and fees that can be devastating to a business. Finally, withdrawals made after the disqualification date cannot be rolled over into other tax-favored retirement plans or accounts (such as IRAs).

A preventable problem

Naturally, an employer isn’t without recourse if its 401(k) plan is in danger of disqualification because of an IRS audit. You may be able to follow a voluntary correction process to rectify the problem. And, of course, you can prevent the situation by keeping careful track of plan compliance. Let us provide you with further information and assistance.

© 2018


Friday, April 27th, 2018

2018 GHCA Foundation Golf Tournament

A little rain couldn’t keep the M&J team from having a great day of golf at the Annual Georgia Health Care Association Education & Research Foundation Golf Tournament Thursday, April 27. M&J sponsored a hole at Eagle’s Landing Country Club, and our dream team foursome included Ashton Pellicano, Jon Schultz, Ron Marshall and Justin Johnson. Not only was it a fun day, but the team came in FIRST PLACE!! Way to represent, guys!!

To learn more about GHCA and this tournament visit the event website!

Ashton Pelicano, Jon Schultz and Ron Marshall – (Justin Johnson – photographer)


Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Georgia Southern University’s School of Accounting Scholarship and Awards Banquet

Representatives from our Atlanta and Albany office had the privilege to attend and sponsor the GSU Accounting Scholarship and Awards Banquet last night. The event was hosted at the Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education Building where a delightful dinner was served and students were given the opportunity for a meet and greet with multiple firms.

Brenden Adams from the Atlanta office presented the Greg Morgan Family Scholarship to Victoria Liggett, and Rob Douglas from the Albany office awarded two scholarships on behalf of Mauldin & Jenkins to Heather Wornlock and Katherine Wagner. Congratulations to these students for their hard work and efforts!

Brenden Adams and Victoria Liggett

Rob Douglas and Heather Wornlock

Rob Douglas and Katherine Wagner


Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Accounting for pledges isn’t as simple as it might seem

When a donor promises to make a contribution at a later date, your not-for-profit likely welcomes it. But such pledges can come with complicated accounting issues.

Conditional vs. unconditional

Let’s say a donor makes a pledge in April 2018 to contribute $10,000 in January 2019. You generally will create a pledge receivable and recognize the revenue for the April 2018 financial period. When the payment is received in January 2019, you’ll apply it to the receivable. No new revenue will result in January because the revenue already was recorded.

Of course, you can’t recognize the revenue unless the donor has made a firm commitment and the pledge is unconditional. Several factors might indicate an unconditional pledge. For example:

  • The promise includes a fixed payment schedule.
  • The promise includes words such as “pledge,” “binding” and “agree.”
  • The amount of the promise can be determined.

Conditional promises, on the other hand, could include a requirement that your organization complete a particular project before receiving the contribution or that you send a representative to an event to receive the check in person. Matching pledges are conditional until the matching requirement is satisfied, and bequests are conditional until after the donor’s death.

You generally shouldn’t recognize revenue on conditional promises until the conditions have been met. Your accounting department will require written documentation to support a pledge before recording it, such as a signed agreement that clearly details all of the terms of the pledge, including the amount and timing.

Applying discounts

Pledges must be recognized at their present value, as opposed to the amount you expect to receive in the future. For a pledge that you’ll receive within a year, you can recognize the pledged amount as the present value. If the pledge will be received further in the future, though, your accounting department will need to calculate present value by applying a discount rate to the amount you expect to receive.

The discount rate is usually the market interest rate, or the interest rate a bank would charge you to borrow the amount of the pledge. Additional entries will be required to remove the discount as time elapses.

Word of caution

Proper accounting for pledge receivables can be tricky. But if you don’t record them in the right financial period, you could run into audit issues and even put your funding in jeopardy. Contact us for help.

© 2018


Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

A BIG Thank You to our Administrative Team Members!

We couldn’t do it without all of you! We appreciate YOU, your hard work and dedication to M&J. Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

 


Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Tax record retention guidelines for individuals

What 2017 tax records can you toss once you’ve filed your 2017 return? The answer is simple: none. You need to hold on to all of your 2017 tax records for now. But it’s the perfect time to go through old tax records and see what you can discard.

The 3-year and 6-year rules

At minimum, keep tax records for as long as the IRS has the ability to audit your return or assess additional taxes, which generally is three years after you file your return. This means you potentially can get rid of most records related to tax returns for 2014 and earlier years. (If you filed an extension for your 2014 return, hold on to your records at least until the three-year anniversary of when you filed your extended return.)

However, the statute of limitations extends to six years for taxpayers who understate their gross income by more than 25%. What constitutes an understatement may go beyond simply not reporting items of income. So a common rule of thumb is to save tax records for six years from filing, just to be safe.

What to keep longer

You’ll need to hang on to certain tax-related records beyond the statute of limitations:

  • Keep tax returns themselves forever, so you can prove to the IRS that you actually filed a legitimate return. (There’s no statute of limitations for an audit if you didn’t file a return or you filed a fraudulent one.)
  • Hold on to W-2 forms until you begin receiving Social Security benefits. Questions might arise regarding your work record or earnings for a particular year, and your W-2 could provide the documentation needed.
  • Retain records related to real estate or investments as long as you own the asset, plus at least three years after you sell it and report the sale on your tax return (or six years if you want to be extra safe).
  • Keep records associated with retirement accounts until you’ve depleted the account and reported the last withdrawal on your tax return, plus three (or six) years.

Other documents

We’ve covered retention guidelines for some of the most common tax-related records. If you have questions about other documents, please contact us.

© 2018


Monday, April 23rd, 2018

GCSU Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Nealey Halter! She was the recipient of our scholarship at Georgia College and State University’s Scholarship Banquet held on Thursday, April 19th. Way to go Nealey!

M&J is proud to support GCSU.

Nealey Halter poses for a picture with Kelsie Deiter, M&J HR Manager