As a non-profit, tax return filings can be a stressful part of the year. After all, you still need to file your annual tax return with the IRS, even if you are not paying federal taxes. Doing so helps you to stay in tax compliance and maintain your exemption. Prepping for your tax filing can be a time-consuming process. Working with a tax preparer professional or accountant can be critical to helping you successfully complete this process.
As your tax appointment with your accountant gets closer, it is important that you take critical steps to prepare for that appointment. Here are 5 key ways to help your accountant and avoid potential filing delays.
Have Your Income Reports
Part of maintaining your regulatory compliance involves showing that your non-profit did not run a side business to bring income into the non-profit. Therefore, it is important to bring your income reports into your accountant, demonstrating that you received income through donations and your fundraising efforts.
Provide Information about Tax Incentives
Your non-profit may have received tax credits or incentives throughout the year. It is key to make sure that your accountant has copies of all this information, so gather it before your tax appointment.
Keep It Transparent
Your accountant is likely managing your company’s books but is also charged with keeping it transparent. The government requires that non-profits submit articles of incorporation, bylaws, and create a board of directors, but also CPAs ensure the organization meets its tax requirements and demonstrate that the non-profit is doing what it says.
Coordinate Board Members’ Review
One of the biggest potential delays is the filing of the Form 990 because the board did not get it reviewed in a timely fashion. Therefore, it is important to make sure your board is prepared to give your Form 990 a timely review prior to your tax appointment. You may even have a checklist to make sure that they have seen all aspects of the form before it is submitted to the IRS.
Create Basic Financial Policy
To keep your non-profit in tax compliance, you need to be able to answer questions regarding your board review and other aspects of the filing process. By creating a financial policy for your non-profit, you can make it a part of your process to complete these steps allowing you to answer the questions on your Form 990.
Working with your accountant throughout the year is the most important aspect of maintaining your compliance and keeping your financial records up to date. Doing so can also make your filing process less complicated because you have kept up to date. If you have questions about how to set up your non-profit or the accounting for your non-profit, contact us today!
James P. Richardson, CPA, Inc. is an accountancy firm founded in 1978 that specializes in working with non-profit organizations. No matter what stage your non-profit is in, we understand your needs and serve them. Whether your business is for-profit or non-profit, we make sure it is run efficiently, guided by best practices. Our firm brings a worldview of contribution, determination, and hard work to all client engagements.