What Qualifies As A Donation On Your Taxes

The IRS defines a charitable contribution as “a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization.” You must abide by certain rules to claim charitable donations on your taxes legitimately. Do you know the tips for handling donations on your taxes?

 

You must abide by certain rules to claim charitable donations on your taxes legitimately.
You must abide by certain rules to claim charitable donations on your taxes legitimately.

 

Charitable Contributions what Are They?

Donations include property such as vehicles, household items, clothing, land and cash contributions.  You can only deduct the fair market value (FMV) of any property you donate.

How Do You Determine The Fair Market Value?

Fair market value includes donations of noncash property of items like clothes, household items, land and cars additionally stocks may qualify. The FMV comes down to the price the item you are donating and how much it would sell for on the open market.

Do Your Expenses Qualify as a Charitable Tax Deductions?

You can claim a tax deduction for expenses you acquire:

  • To cover a live-in student who is sponsored by a qualified organization.
  • Out of pocket while serving as a volunteer for a qualified organization.

For questions of what counts as a deductible charitable contribution, consult Donohoo Accounting Services.

 

For questions of what counts as a deductible charitable contribution, consult Donohoo Accounting Services.
For questions of what counts as a deductible charitable contribution, consult Donohoo Accounting Services.

 

Which Organizations Qualify to Receive Charitable Contributions?

The government allows the following types of establishments qualified to take tax-deductible donations:

  • Religious (such as churches, mosques, synagogues and temples)
  • Literary
  • Educational (such as nonprofit schools)
  • Charitable (such as American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of America, Goodwill, Salvation Army and United Way)
  • Those working to prevent cruelty to children or animals
  • Scientific
  • Federal, state and local governments (for contributions intended for public purposes)

These Charitable Contributions Are Not Tax Deductible?

As a general rule, donations to individuals, political organizations and candidates for public office are not tax deductible. The same goes for gifts of money or property given to:

  • Homeowners associations
  • Sports clubs
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Civic leagues
  • Social clubs
  • Labor unions
  • Civic leagues

How Can I Be Sure I’m Donating to a Tax-Exempt Organization?

The easiest way to confirm that you are donating to a tax-exempt organization is to ask the organization directly for proof of their tax-exempt status. You also can search for charities using the Exempt Organizations Select Check tool or confirm tax-exempt status by calling the IRS at (877) 829-5500.

Cash Donations Receipts To Keep

If you donate by check, cash or some other monetary gift, you must provide written communication such as a bank record, payroll deduction records or written acknowledgement from the tax-exempt organization with your tax return. This written proof must include:

  • The name of the organization.
  • The date you made the contribution.
  • The amount of your contribution.

 

The amount of your contribution.
The amount of your contribution.

 

If you still have questions about what is a taxable donation or what constitutes a taxable donation please contact Donohoo Accounting at 513 528 3982.  We specialize in helping small businesses with all you taxable needs.

What Are The Basics Of Accounting Methods

What are accounting methods? Accounting methods help businesses keep their cash records and assist in preparing money reports by utilizing two fundamental methods of record-keeping for cash.  These two methods are cash-basis and accrual basis accounting.  These methods both have their own distinctive advantages of keeping corporate record keeping which help keep track of money coming an and out of the business. Donohoo Accounting knows what are the two types of accounting methods and how to utilize the for your business.

 

Accounting methods help businesses keep their cash records and assist in preparing money reports by utilizing two fundamental methods of record-keeping for cash.
Accounting methods help businesses keep their cash records and assist in preparing money reports by utilizing two fundamental methods of record-keeping for cash.

 

CASH-BASIS ACCOUNTING

What is cash-basis accounting? Corporations recording expenses in financial accounts when the cash is laid out, and they book revenue when they actually hold the cash in their hot little hands or, more likely, in a bank account. For example, if a plumber completed a project on December 30, 2018, but doesn’t get paid for it until the owner inspects it on January 10, 2019, the plumber reports those cash earnings on her 2018 tax report. In cash-basis accounting, cash earnings include checks, credit-card receipts, or any other form of revenue from customers.

 

Corporations recording expenses in financial accounts when the cash is laid out, and they book revenue when they actually hold the cash in their hot little hands or, more likely, in a bank account.
Corporations recording expenses in financial accounts when the cash is laid out, and they book revenue when they actually hold the cash in their hot little hands or, more likely, in a bank account.

 

ACCRUAL ACCOUNTING

Does your company use accrual accounting? This method is when you record revenue when the actual business is completed ex. (is when the completed amount of work that was stated in a contract agreement between the company and its client), not when it obtains the cash. The company records income when it produces it, even if the customer hasn’t paid yet. For example, a plumbing contractor who uses accrual accounting records the revenue earned when the job is completed, even if the client hasn’t paid the final invoice yet. Expenditures are handled in the same way.

 

The company records income when it produces it, even if the customer hasn’t paid yet.
The company records income when it produces it, even if the customer hasn’t paid yet.

 

BASIC ACCOUNTING TERMS

  • Equity: The net worth of your company. Also called owner’s equity or capital. Equity comes from investment in the business by the owners, plus accumulated net profits of the business that have not been paid out to the owners. It essentially represents amounts owed to the owners. Equity accounts are balance sheet accounts.

 

  • Assets: Things of value held by your business. Assets are balance sheet accounts. Examples of assets are cash, accounts receivable and furniture and fixtures.

 

  • Liabilities: What your business owes creditors. Liabilities are balance sheet accounts. Examples are accounts payable, payroll taxes payable and loans payable.

 

  • Debits: At least one component of every accounting transaction is a debit amount. Debits increase assets and decrease liabilities and equity.

 

 

While all these terms may seem a foreign language or a little overwhelming they can keep your business finances in order and make tax time a lot easier when it comes time to file.  Making the everyday accounting run smoothly can be done with Donohoo Accounting Services. Call us today for your free evaluation and let us take the stress out of your day-to-day money functions.

Are Your Business Receipts Audit Ready?

Do you often ignore or say too quickly “No” when asked whether you want a receipt?  Not small-business owners. Knowledgeable business owners just know how to keep receipts. If they don’t, their tax return could be at risk. The question is: Are your business receipts audit ready?

  1. TAKE NOTICE

The first mindset to get into (especially if you’re trying to prepare your receipts for taxes) is creating a tiny note of the business purpose on the receipt. Whether or not you inscribe directly or put aside time at the top of the day, week, or once a large amount of buying has been completed (say at the end of a business trip for example), you’ll need the purchases to be recent enough in your mind that you will remember to label them properly.

Be sure that you create the note because this one thing which will permit you to classify the expense later. Merely writing “lunch” might not be enough to jog your memory if you’re audited a year or two later.

  1. CLASSIFY

Now that you’ve taken note of all these numbers, the next step is following and organizing it, so you can put the receipts into specific classifications. This will make tax time a breeze and permit you to refer back to any receipts without having to look through tons of files.

Here are some samples of common classifications for tax-deductible purchases:

  • Advertising: includes things such as business cards, mailing lists/mailing list software, brochures, outside marketing company, website design, development, and maintenance.

 

Advertising: includes things such as business cards, mailing lists/mailing list software, brochures, outside marketing company, website design, development, and maintenance
Advertising: includes things such as business cards, mailing lists/mailing list software, brochures, outside marketing company, website design, development, and maintenance.

 

  • Travel: there are certain criteria to meet for travel expenses to be deductible, but items that may be included are lodging, meals, airfare, baggage & shipping, rentals, taxis, dry cleaning and mileage, and parking expenses.

 

 there are certain criteria to meet for travel expenses to be deductible, but items that may be included are lodging, meals, airfare, baggage & shipping, rentals, taxis, dry cleaning and mileage, and parking expenses
there are certain criteria to meet for travel expenses to be deductible, but items that may be included are lodging, meals, airfare, baggage & shipping, rentals, taxis, dry cleaning and mileage, and parking expenses.

 

  • Entertainment and Meals: These items may be examined thoroughly by the IRS so be sure these items get listed correctly such as from a business trip.

 

  • Legal and Professional Fees: attorney’s fees, accountant’s fees, other professional consultants’ fees directly related to your business.

 

  • Indemnification: may include business liability insurance premiums, property insurance premiums, disability premiums, workers’ compensation premiums for employees.

 

  • Professional Dues and Licenses: may include franchise fees, professional license fees, business licenses.

 

  • In-Kind: Gifts given to business contacts are deductible but are limited to $25 per person, per year.

 

In-Kind: Gifts given to business contacts are deductible but are limited to $25 per person, per year.
In-Kind: Gifts given to business contacts are deductible but are limited to $25 per person, per year.

 

  1. BE THOROUGH

A crucial step is organizing your receipts and being thorough with your method. Attempt to keep expenses separated by paying with a “business only” designated credit card or bank account when possible and avoid paying in hard cash.

Over time you may find better and newer apps to help manage your receipts but remember to keep using the same classifying process.  By keeping your method, you will be consistent in your receipts collecting and keeping all the overall information easily acceptable to you and your accountant

Duane Donohoo being self-employed himself understands the challenges of owning a small business. He understands the burden the IRS can be to a small business or individual. It was this experience that relates to his self-employment clients and individual clients. Call today (513-528-3982) for a free consultation to find out how Donohoo Accounting Services, Inc. can serve you.

The Small Business Guide to the Updated Revenue Recognition Standards

On December 15th of last year, new revenue recognition accounting standards went into effect for public companies. On December 15th of this year, non-public entities with fiscal years beginning after this date will be subject to these updated revenue recognition standards as well. Since these standards are considered to be the largest shift accounting has seen in recent years, we want to go over exactly what they are, as well as what they mean for small businesses.

Understanding the Updated Revenue Recognition Standards

The new standard requires companies to recognize revenue when transferring goods or services to customers in an amount to which the company expects to be entitled. Given the complexity of that statement, it’s helpful to think in terms of a five-step process. Those steps are identifying the contract, spelling outperformance obligations, determining the transaction price, allocating the transaction price and recognizing revenue by performance obligation.

Given the challenges that have always been associated with accounting for revenue, it’s not surprising that many businesses have found that in addition to needing to modify existing financial reporting systems, these changes are being felt beyond the accounting department and affecting things like debt covenants, contracts, taxes, IT and sales departments.

How These Updated Standards Will Affect Small Businesses

All companies that report using U.S. GAAP are required to adapt to the new standard. Non-public companies typically have a choice of using GAAP or another reporting method. A recent survey shows that 78% of larger businesses have at least started to analyze the impact of the new standards, but many have not completed the assessment or taken steps toward implementation.

As far as adopting the standards for your own business, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is choosing a transition method. Your business can opt to use either a full retrospective transition method or a modified retrospective transition method under the new standard. You’ll also want to take a look at the projected implementation costs for this entire process.

Finally, if your business needs expert help dealing with these updated revenue recognition standards or any other aspects of your accounting, Donohoo Accounting Services can help. We have over 20 years of experience helping clients handle a wide variety of financial challenges. Get a free consultation by contacting us online or by calling 513-528-3982.