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Archives for September 2021

IRS releases W-2 reporting requirements for qualified leave in 2021

The IRS recently issued Notice 2021-53, providing guidance on reporting qualified leave and sick wages to employees. Qualified sick and leave wages are those that are defined by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which was amended by the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

How are wages reported?

According to the notice, the wages must be reported to employees with their W-2. Employers can choose to place the wages either on Form W-2, Box 14, or by providing documentation delivered with the Form W-2. The notice provides sample language employers may use if providing a separate statement.

The IRS also noted that self-employed individuals can determine what, if any, sick and family leave wages are qualified for tax credits. This is a follow-up to Notice 2020-54 released in 2020 regarding reporting of qualified sick and family leave wages paid in 2020.

What are qualified wages?

The FFCRA defines qualified wages as those paid for sick or family leave related to COVID-19.

Qualified wages can be paid to employees who are:

  1. Subject to state, local, or federal quarantine.
  2. Advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine.
  3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Caring for someone who is self-quarantining in accordance to bullets 1 and 2 above.
  5. Experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
  6. Caring for a child or dependent whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable related to COVID-19.

What are the limits on wages paid?

The FFCRA allows for full-time employees to be paid up to 80 hours (two weeks) worth of paid leave for the reasons mentioned above and for part-time employees to receive paid wages for up to two weeks equal to their normal weekly scheduled hours.

The paid leave is extended to equal up to 12 weeks of leave at their normally scheduled work period hours for those providing care because of COVID-related childcare and school closures.

Read more on the FFCRA requirements here, or contact our team of experts to discuss how to determine which leave hours are qualified and how to track them for Form W-2 reporting purposes.

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How nonprofits can help when disaster strikes

When disaster strikes a region, it often flips a switch in humanity, triggering their need to help in ways that everyday struggles don’t. We saw it with Hurricane Katrina years ago and again with Hurricane Ida this year. While nonprofits, businesses, and individuals alike wish to do something to help those affected, it’s important to be informed on how to best contribute, so they don’t fall victim to scams or tax problems down the road.

Temporarily shifting the nonprofit’s focus

If you’ve wondered whether you can temporarily shift your nonprofit’s focus to help with disaster relief, the answer is yes, but there are some limitations. When originally filing for tax-exempt status with the IRS, your organization provided the purpose or focus of your nonprofit.

Disaster relief efforts allow for some leeway in that purpose. However, you’ll want to protect your organization against accusations of violating the prohibition for private benefit in the tax code and disclose any change in focus on the annual Form 990 filing. Keep very thorough records that include:

  • Dates of assistance
  • Assistance provided
  • Purpose of the assistance
  • Name and address of recipients
  • How recipient(s) was selected for assistance
  • Who is selecting the individuals receiving assistance
  • Any personal relationships between members of your nonprofit and recipients.

If you take these precautions and consult with your trusted tax advisor beforehand, providing disaster relief instead of your core organizational focus can be achieved.

Struggling nonprofits and partners

Nonprofits and their partners are not immune to hard times and could be struggling through a natural disaster while they’re trying to provide assistance. If your nonprofit finds some of your partnership organizations have been affected, there is still a way to help.

For example, there are often preapproved grants at the local level that help charitable nonprofits provide disaster relief. As part of your disaster recovery planning, make sure to review what grant options are available in your area. Doing so will allow you to apply for assistance more quickly if disaster strikes.

Other considerations nonprofits should be aware of

When nonprofits and individuals jump into action, they can hit several roadblocks along the way. While collecting and donating food, clothing, and supplies seems like an easy way to help, it can be met with logistical problems. First, collections take time. Second, transportation of these items is often expensive and often waylaid by restrictions accessing affected areas until it’s safe to do so.

Monetary donations to nonprofit organizations with their boots already on the ground can be implemented more quickly, and they’re often more aware of exactly what the community they’re serving needs. Reach out to nonprofits in the area to discuss how your organization can help them help the community.

There may be times when those who are impacted cannot communicate with your nonprofit team due to language barriers. Having team members who speak secondary languages can help overcome those barriers to provide assistance for those community members. Another option would be contracting with a translating service that offers remote capabilities.

In addition, the IRS often announces disaster relief for individuals and businesses who may be impacted in the form of extending deadlines for tax filings. Keep an eye out for those announcements, should you need them.

How to advise individuals looking to help

There are several resources available to consumers and businesses alike to help them determine if the organization they’re donating to is legitimate. Typically, nonprofits working on disaster relief efforts are registered on the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. In addition, they can use the IRS Tax-Exempt Organization Search tool to confirm their donations are going to a registered nonprofit.

Our team of professionals is here to help you navigate how to shift to disaster relief efforts. Give us a call with any questions you have.

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Managing Partner’s Message – September 2021

Back to school!! Even though the Pandemic is not fully behind us the future is still ahead and we must all respond accordingly. For our children and those working to educate them it means a tenuous return to the classroom. For the past several months we have learned much of what the schools have been doing to ready their buildings and staff for being back in the classroom full time. With the increased need to add physical barriers, intense cleaning, and additional technology, our school clients have been working tirelessly to be as prepared as possible. Much of the funding for these necessities has been with Federal dollars, posing additional challenges to requirements for how the money should be spent. We have been helping our government, school, and nonprofit clients navigate the complexities of accounting for Federal funding. We are now entering the time when audits will determine compliance in accordance with the most up to date regulations. In preparation for the fiscal year 20-21 audit cycles, we once again held our annual school conference. Our Partners met virtually with our clients and shared important accounting and auditing updates to ensure there would be no “surprises” when audit season arrived. In a period of time when change is the normal and fear of the unknown is more prevalent than ever, we take seriously our role in making sure our clients are up to date. Our Partners have also been very busy over the past few months expanding their reach to other groups. Jeff Kowalczyk and Edmund Fosu-Laryea were both featured speakers at the PICPA annual school conference. Jeff also presented at PASBO and for the PICPA local government/nonprofit conferences. Our Partner Steve Kutsuflakis has been working closely with a Delaware private school where he serves on the Investment committee – helping the organization make critical decisions regarding funding and investment of funds while ensuring the school remains on track to meet the needs of their student population. I have been serving on the Covid grants review committee in conjunction with the Delaware Community Foundation. It is encouraging to witness all of the work being accomplished through mission driven individuals and organizations. It serves as a continued reminder that we will collectively move beyond the pandemic. We are busy planning two important events for this fall. Our 4th annual nonprofit story telling event is scheduled for November 2nd. We have a tremendous line-up for this popular event. We will be virtual once again this year but are hopeful that we will return in person in 2022. We have a diverse group of professionals lined up including representatives from Your Part-time Controller, Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor, WSFS, AB Bernstein and Delaware Business Times. Our second event will be a webinar for the benefit of the local government community. We are working to put together an agenda that will bring current important information to this all-important sector of our communities. We are also excited to announce that after more than 40 years in the same location our offices are moving! We are scheduled to be in our new offices by the end of the year and we are looking forward to our new open space designed to be state of the art and welcoming. As we work on the design and amenities, we have our staff as well as our clients in mind. We will be sharing more as our move gets closer. In the meantime, we encourage our clients – existing and potential – to reach out to us. We are excited to be your trusted advisors and to do all that we can to assist as you navigate your financial obstacles.

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Risk management tasks to complete before returning to the workplace

In many parts of the country, nonprofit organizations are resuming normal operations and bringing staff back into the office. The logistical hurdles of making this happen aren’t the only thing nonprofits should focus on. Shifting how your organization operates is the best time to review potential risks for your organization. Below, we’ll discuss what this could look like for your nonprofit.

Why is reviewing policies and procedures important?

At the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses were shut down or forced to operate remotely as the world was faced with unprecedented wide-spread health concerns. Because of this, many nonprofits made adjustments on the fly so their employees and volunteers could continue to work, but at a remote location. What may have worked in a pinch may not be what’s best for your organization a year or more later.

In addition, all organizations, nonprofits included, are continuously evolving as new technology is launched or new problems emerge. New employees can find efficiencies that were potentially overlooked before because they’re coming with a fresh view. All of these are why regular review of policies, procedures, operations, and contracts is an important step for nonprofit organizations.


Items to consider during the nonprofit review:

Below are some tasks to get your started on your risk management review of your nonprofit’s operations. Consider this a starting point and add anything else that could be important to your organization.

  • Review contracts and agreements. Were they negotiated pre-pandemic or early pandemic? Consider if the contract works for your organizational needs and how you operate. If not, consider renegotiating. Some contracts to consider including fundraising agreements, property or equipment leases, and even insurance policies.
  • Check over vendors and partners. Look at donor management software, board management software, and outsourced duties like human resources, payroll, accounting, administration, marketing, and IT. If these are no longer meeting your needs, talk about changing the contract or searching for new partnerships.
  • Establish return to work policies with human resources. Have a plan in place whether you’re going to ask team members to work full-time from the office, split time between office and home, or allow more flexibility in either working remote as needed or even 100 percent of the time. Also consider what liabilities you are taking on bringing the team back into the office and what your safety protocols look like.
  • Keep an eye on relief funding requirements. If your nonprofit accepted relief funds, like many others have, make sure you are aware of any stipulations attached and whether your nonprofit organization has met those rules or not.
  • Inspect internal policies. Has your nonprofit allowed internal policies or organizational bylaws slide during the pandemic? The most common concerns across the industry have been conflicts of interest and segregation of duties. It’s possible the policies need a refresh to work for the organization, or employee training needs to be completed on existing policies. If your Board decides to start enforcing rules you may have been lax about over the last eighteen months, consider giving employees a grace period before they’re expected to fully adhere to the written rules.

Taking a risk management approach to these reviews can help your nonprofit organization by limiting potential fraud, lawsuits, and other risks with a monetary penalty. Our team is available to help you review any financial concerns or to conduct financial audits. Give us a call to discuss your needs today.

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