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.

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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.

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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:

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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?


2015 giving trends in local churches

December 1, 2016, 8:06 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The 2016 State of the Plate report, provided by Maximum Generosity and several charities, surveyed 1,596 leaders in local churches to look at giving trends in 2015. Their survey was last conducted in 2013.

You can find the report and download it here.

A few highlights:

Giving trends in 2015:

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What to do about the new overtime rules since they are on hold?

November 30, 2016, 11:00 am
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The new overtime rules were set to go into effect tomorrow, December 1. The rules are on hold as a result of an injunction issued by a federal judge. What should charities do about changes that have been implemented, or announced, or on the drawing board?

Two articles have some suggestions:

11/29 – Baltimore Business Journal – Plenty of questions still surround blocked overtime pay law – It is very uncertain how the new overtime rules will be handled. Article cites the CEO of an outsourcing and payroll company. His advice is stay tuned to developments. The rules could be implemented, overturned, or modified.

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