Get Your Money in Order for the New Year

This year is quickly coming to a close. Get ahead of the game and get your money in order for the new year. Don’t know where to begin? No worries! Here are some helpful tips.

Get Organized

Organize Concept Metal Letterpress Word in Drawer

You can file taxes after the new year, so now’s a good time to get all your ducks in a row. In January and early February, you’ll be receiving important documents in the mail including your W2, mortgage interest statement (1098), or student loan interest statement (1098-E.)Most companies, by law, have until January 31 to mail statements, so keep an eye out.

Designate a single location where you’ll keep these documents so they are easily accessible when you’re ready to file taxes. You can use a folder, drawer, box or other container. Put a large “taxes” label on it and use the container for tax-related documents only, not other mail or bills. But you may want to keepit near where you sort mail, so you can immediately put the documents in their home.

Then start gathering other items you’ll need for filing taxes, including charitable contributionand expense receipts. Qualified expenses depend on your situation, but could include expenses related to childcare, medical, job (mileage, supplies, relocation) and education. Donohoo Accounting Services can help you navigate the complicated tax structure. In addition to income tax preparation, we handle payroll tax prep, tax levies and liens, back taxes, end tax penalties, estate tax return preparationand more.

Make Year-End Charitable Contributions

Many charities do a final fundraising push at the end of the year, so you’ll probably receive solicitations asking for support. If you want to help non-profit organizations while also possibly reducing your taxable income, make your donations by December 31. Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of the yearwill count in that year – even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until later. You’ll want to make sure the charity is eligible. Many times, the charity will note its “501c3” status, which is IRS speak for tax-exempt. You can also use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search.

Take an Assessment of Where You Stand Financially

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Now’s a good time to take a hard look at your income, debt, expenses, retirement funds, college and emergency savings. Are you on track to meet financial goals? If yes – great! If no – why are you falling short? To properly move forward into the next year, you need a realistic picture of where you are now. Put pen to paper and write down all the numbers. It helps to see everything in black and white.

Make a Financial New Year’s Resolution (Or Better Yet – Create APlan You’ll Stick With All Year)

Once you know where you stand currently, you can create a plan for the upcoming year. Perhaps you want an emergency savings fund. You never know when the furnace is going to go out, someone in your family has a medical issue or there’s a company layoff. Experts say you should have enough emergency savings to cover three to sixth months of expenses. Maybe you have all your financial bases covered but want to take an exotic vacation? Set the goal, create a plan and start saving for that overseas beach trip. Although it’s a busy holiday season, set aside time to get your money in order for the new year. Once you’re ready to file taxes, turn to Donohoo Accounting Services, locally owned and operated by Cincinnati native, Duane Donohoo.

How are “bonuses” taxed? Different than regular wages?

As an employee, getting a raise is exciting for a few important reasons. Not only does it validate what you’re contributing to the company, but it also means getting a bigger paycheck every two weeks. Getting a bonus is also a great validation of what you’re doing at work every day. While a bonus comes with plenty of excitement, it can also create a little confusion. The reason that type of confusion is so common is people aren’t sure what effect a bonus will have on their tax filing.

 

What Does the IRS Think of Bonuses?

Supplemental income is the label that the IRS uses to classify bonuses. This label is used for other benefits like payouts for accumulated sick leave, severance packages, moving pay and vacation pay. So you have your regular salary, and then anything else you receive goes in the supplemental income category. While that information is helpful, it doesn’t fully answer the question of how bonuses are taxed at the federal level.

 

Flat Rate vs. Aggregate Taxes

The most common method employers choose for taxing bonuses is flat rate. As long as a bonus is separated from regular income and under one million dollars, it will be taxed at a rate of twenty-five percent. In the event that a bonus does exceed one million dollars, the tax rate goes up to 39.6 percent.

While most employers go with the flat rate method to handle the taxation of bonuses, there is another option available. Known as aggregate taxing, this approach involves adding bonuses to the latest paycheck and taxing the entire amount together. Not only can this method be a little more complex to process, but another reason it’s not as popular is it often results in a higher withholding, which means an employee will be left with a larger tax burden. It’s important to note that regardless of which method is used, bonuses are also subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.

 

How Bonuses Are Taxed in the State of Ohio

On top of making sure your bonus is properly accounted for when you file at the federal level, it’s also important to understand your state obligations. According to the Ohio Department of Taxation’s website, “the rate is at least 3.5% percent. Ohio Administrative Code 5703-7-10 provides that withholding agents must withhold at least 3.5% on supplemental compensation such as bonuses, commissions, and other non-recurring types of payments other than salaries and wages.”

If you have any additional questions about bonuses or other tax issues, you can reach Donohoo Accounting Services by calling 513-528-3982.

Do Nonprofits Need to File Annual Tax Returns?

Many nonprofits are exempt from paying federal taxes. As a result of this exemption, there are often questions around whether or not this type of organization needs to file an annual tax return. Even though a nonprofit may not have to pay any taxes with the federal government, they generally are required to file an annual tax return.

The specific return that most nonprofits need to file is Form 990. This form is specifically designed for organizations that are exempt from federal taxes. The purpose of this form is so the IRS can understand how a nonprofit is handling its operations. This form can also be used by members of the general public to understand the specifics of a nonprofit they may be interested in supporting. By looking at the different elements of Form 990, which include information about a nonprofit’s mission, programs, and finances, it’s possible to be aware of any potential red flags.

More Information About Form 990

Just as individuals may need to file different types of tax returns, there are different versions of Form 990. The specific version that an organization is required to file depends on its size. Larger nonprofits with gross receipts of more than $50,000 file Form 990 or 990-EZ, while smaller nonprofits with gross receipts of less than $50,000 file Form 990-N (e-Postcard). And private foundations need to use Form 990-PF.

If your nonprofit does need to file this form, the due date is the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of your organization’s taxable year. So for an organization that follows a standard calendar year (January 1 – December 31), May 15th would be the annual due date.

Exemptions and Penalties

Although the majority of nonprofits are required to file a version of Form 990, there are certain organizations that are exempt from this requirement. Those organizations include most faith-based organizations, religious schools, missions or missionary organizations, as well as subsidiaries of other nonprofits. Government corporations are often exempt from needing to file, as are state institutions that provide essential services. Nonprofits should always consult directly with the IRS if they have any questions about whether or not they’re required to file.

The reason it’s crucial to know if you need to file Form 990 is the failure to do so three years in a row will result in an automatic loss of tax-exempt status. Over the last five years, more than half a million nonprofits have lost their tax-exempt status for this very reason. Given that the IRS has no appeal process for automatic revocations due to failure to file an appropriate Form 990 for three years, this is an issue that needs to be a top priority for your organization.

For expert help with your nonprofit tax return preparation, contact Donohoo Accounting Services by calling 513-528-3982.