Tips for churches on how not to mess up your payroll taxes

February 14, 2017, 8:30 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Church Law & Tax, site for Richard Hammar’s writing on issues affecting churches, recently tweeted about their presentation of Five Common Payroll Issues Ministries Face Slideshow.

If you are in a church, or any parachurch ministry for that matter, it would be worth your time to read through the slide deck.

I’ll guess this is old news for most people. However, if you see something that you don’t understand or seems contrary to how you are doing things, you might want to take that as a warning you ought to do some research. I’ll mention just a few highlights.

Remember to report the following as income (see slides 8 and 9): Read the rest of this entry »


Another scam to beware: phishing for W-2 info

February 7, 2017, 7:26 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Ok, so you know it is a scam if you get a call from “the IRS” saying you have to pay your tax bill right this instant because the local cops are on the way to arrest you.

If you get one of those calls, hang up. Don’t even talk.

Here’s the newest phishing scam now starting to hit charities.

Kelly Phillips Erb explains the new scheme: IRS Issues Urgent Alert as W-2 Phishing Scam Spreads During Tax Season.

Read the rest of this entry »


In case you hadn’t hear, those telephone calls claiming to be from the IRS demanding you immediately pay back taxes are a scam.

January 9, 2017, 10:34 am
Wouldn't it be nice if the  phone id actually was that accurate for every call? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the caller ID was actually that accurate for every call? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The most frequent scam in 2016 was the phone calls saying “This is the IRS and if you don’t pay your past due taxes this instant we will send someone to your house to arrest you right now.”

There are many things wrong with those calls.

As a starter, your first contact with the IRS will never be by phone. You will instead get a letter explaining what the IRS thinks you messed up.

Read the rest of this entry »


Postage rates changing 1/22/17

December 28, 2016, 7:48 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Postal rates will change again effective January 22, 2017.

Chronicle of Philanthropy reports New Postal Rates Will Boost Costs for Charities. Article says increase for charities will range from 2.8% up to 4.3%.

A significant change is that mail which was previously marked as “standard” will now be categorized and marked as “marketing mail.” That is a concern for an industry representative who said that may reduce the likelihood of recipients actually opening such items, which would obviously reduce the effectiveness of a mailing.

You can find the new rates at the USPS site: January 2017 Price Change.

Read the rest of this entry »


Standard IRS mileage rates for 2017

December 13, 2016, 7:29 pm
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The IRS announced the standard mileage rates for 2017 today. New rate for transportation and reimbursements is 53.5 cents. That is down from 54 cents in 2016.

According to IRS comments in Notice 2016-79:

The standard mileage rate for transportation or travel expenses is 53.5 cents per mile for all miles of business use (business standard mileage rate). See section 4 of Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

The standard mileage rate is 14 cents per mile for use of an automobile in rendering gratuitous services to a charitable organization under § 170. See section 5 of Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

The standard mileage rate is 17 cents per mile for use of an automobile (1) for medical care described in § 213, or (2) as part of a move for which the expenses are deductible under § 217.

Standard rates for the last few years:


Contributions to ECFA members grew 2.2% in 2015, compared to 5.0% growth in 2014

December 5, 2016, 8:23 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

ECFA has announced their 2016 State of Giving Report. Based on data from 1,816 member organizations, cash contributions in 2015 grew 2.2% year over year. Noncash giving grew by 7.5%.

Illustrating the diversity of the nonprofit community, the changes for 27 different sectors are listed separately. A few highlights for the 2015 and 2014 change:

Read the rest of this entry »


Free resource explaining overtime rules

December 2, 2016, 8:36 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability has published a concise, free resource explaining many of the rules of overtime, especially in the context of the charity world.

You can find it here and get a copy merely by giving them your email address. Not to worry – I don’t think they are going to overload you with spam – I’ve signed up for several things from them and the only emails I get are for free resources and invitations to webinars that are actually of interest. Oh, and news that is of interest to those of us in the charity world.

Oh, did I say it was free?