A Midsummer Night’s Mensch
(Much Ado About Some Things)

Zen Mensch Accounting

Q: I file the IRS 990 information return for my non-profit.  Why does it ask me if my organization offers indoor tanning services?
–Sunshine on my Mind, Anchorage

A: It’s Obamacare, silly.  Section 10907 of the Affordable Care Act imposes a 10% penalty on indoor tanning services offered by for-profits or non-profits. (You didn’t notice all the tanned bodies exiting the Salvation Army?)

Q: Did Rhode Island just raise or lower my taxes?
–Poor in Pawtucket

A: Yes it did.  If your household earns less than $30,000 annually and you are accustomed to the $300 “property-tax relief” check (also available to renters), fugget about it — unless you are 65 years old and/or disabled.  What? You didn’t read about it in the news? Maybe it’s cause it wasn’t there. If you are a client and want to know if this applies to you, e-mail me.

If you are a “C” corporation your tax rate has been cut from 9% to 7% effective January 1, 2015.  If your benefactor can wait until next year to die, the estate tax threshold has gone up from $921,655 to $1,500,000.

Q: What’s an F-BAR? Is there a happy hour?
–Pat, ex-Pat

A: You mean the “Foreign Bank Account Report” and it will not make you happy. If you or your business have foreign bank holdings, the aggregate of which exceeded $10,000 at any point during the year you are required to disclose such assets by June 30 of the subsequent year or face a levy of up to 50% of the account’s value. Foreign includes Canada, and even if you are nothing but a signer on the account you must file. My firm can help.

Q: I hear the IRS has made it easier to apply to become a non-profit. Is this good or bad?
–Back of the line do-gooder

A: Yes. The IRS recently unveiled the 1023 EZ, a streamlined on-line application for organizations with under $50,000 in annual revenue. Typical applications have been taking upwards of a year to process. There is considerable concernhowever that the EZ will open the door to fraudulent applications, flood foundations with illegitimate organizations requesting funds, and eliminate the important education function that applying for non-profit status has traditionally involved.

Q: How can we prevent the brain-drain of young, educated college graduates leaving Rhode Island?
–I’m outta here, Brown

A: I don’t rightly know but I read a fascinating op-ed in the Providence Journal that had some innovative ideas, like paying the student loans for college grads who live in the state for five years post-graduation. The article by Ruarri Miller is entitled “Tear Up the Book of Rules Holding Rhode Island Back.”

Q: What is the “Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification Task Force?”
–Ten Nine-Nine

A: Rhode Island is cracking down on employers who “treat full-time employees as contractors, paying them under the table or other improper methods of saving on benefits.” Fortunately I know of no such businesses.

Q: What’s your favorite avocation, other than concocting Dispatches and thinking up new ways to market yourself?
–I am Curious, Fellow

A: I love speaking to professionals about tax and finance. I’ve presented to associations of lawyers, therapists, non-profits, social entrepreneurs and artistsYou guessed it — e-mail me.

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