Free Nonprofit Resources

picture of someone in white sweather holding out crumbled euro dollars
Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, I spread the word about my free Lunch and Learn at the Foundation Center. It was a one-hour session covering topics to promote effective financial stewardship and oversight. I provided tips on how to make it work, no matter how small the organization. The session went well and the participants had some great examples and questions that deepened the experience for everyone.

Believe it or not, we touched on these five topics in a little over an hour:

  1. Fiduciary Roles and Responsibilities – The duty to act in the best interest of the organization and avoid conflicts of interest
  2. Financial Policies and Procedures – The framework for managing donated funds and defining Board and management roles and responsibilities.
  3. Budgeting – The game plan for using diversified funding sources to deliver programs and services and to operate and sustain the organization.
  4. Financial Reporting and Monitoring – Oversight necessary to fulfill fiduciary responsibility, including monthly reports that should be reviewed and acted on.
  5. Annual Financial Statement Audit and IRS Form 990 Information Return – Reporting requirements to comply with regulations and report how funds are used.

My Lunch and Learn was just one of many free and low-cost nonprofit resources offered by the Foundation Center. They conduct lots of great training at their office in Washington, DC and at partnership sites, including Arlington Public Library. On the day that I looked, their calendar included a great writing workshop and introductory classes on individual and corporate fundraising.

The Foundation Center even has a Nonprofit Research Library with on-site Research Librarians to help you find what you need. Library materials are even available online, accessible from wherever your nonprofit is located. And it’s all free!

Check out the Foundation Center training calendar at https://grantspace.org/ and see what free nonprofit resources are there to help your organization. And who knows? I might be on that calendar again, offering another financial workshop to help nonprofits meet their financial management goals.

Do You Need to Pay 2019 Estimated Taxes?

As you were rushing to file your 2018 taxes on time – and wrestling with the new tax rules – you may have forgotten an important detail. First quarterly estimated tax payments for 2019 were due the same day as your 2018 tax return. It’s a Double Whammy for sure, but quarterly estimated tax payments are how IRS and state tax agencies makes sure we all pay our taxes as our income comes in.

Estimated tax payments are due April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15, unless, the 15th falls on a weekend or a holiday. Technology makes the process a little less painful, with various online payment options. Of course, the IRS and state tax agencies still take checks.

Three things to know about 2019 estimated taxes:

Who Needs to Pay Estimated Taxes?

If all your income comes from wages, the taxes that your employer withholds and remits for you probably covers your income tax liability. More on tax withholdings later. If you are self-employed, or receive investment or rental income you might need to make estimated income tax payments. The IRS website explains what to include and how to estimate your tax at this link

How Much Do You Need to Pay?

Estimated tax payments are based on your estimated income and resulting tax liability. You must pay estimated tax for 2019 if you expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax after subtracting withholding and refundable credits. Withholdings or estimated payments must equal or exceed the smaller of 90% of your 2019 tax liability, or 100% of your 2018 tax liability. Calculate your tax liability and avoid interest on the unpaid tax balance at this link: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf.

What if You Don’t Pay Enough?

Interest is calculated on the unpaid balance due. That interest is accrued daily from the time the tax liability was created, aka when your income was earned or received, and when it is paid. Daily interest accruals can really add to your tax bill, so staying on top of any necessary tax payments is essential to managing expenses. Clearly, the IRS is serious about getting paid on time. Figure your 2019 federal income tax bill by using the IRS Withholding Calculator at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator.

If you paid a lot when you filed your 2018 income tax return or have income with no tax withholdings, you might need to pay 2019 estimated taxes. Check out the answers above and the IRS website links to see if you owe and how much. Don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself? The IRS can also help you find a qualified tax professional to help you out, at this link https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/choosing-a-tax-professional.

Reduce Next Year’s Tax Season Stress


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Rejoice! The 2018 tax filing season is finally over – and with it all the changes from under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. For some taxpayers, it was their first view of how the new tax law impacted them. And it wasn’t always pretty.

Well, how did it go for you? Stressful? Expensive?

If you live in a state with high income taxes or real estate taxes, your usual tax refund may not have come your way this year. On the other hand, the new tax law may have lowered your tax bill. But no matter where you live, seeing the new tax rules in action for 2018 gave you a better idea of what to expect for 2019.

Not knowing what to expect is stressful! Follow these tips to reduce stress next tax season:

Get Organized and Stay Up-to-Date

Use your 2018 tax return to identify the information you’ll need to accumulate during 2019 to prepare for next year. If a life event in 2019, such as buying a home, starting a business, or changing your marital status, you need to check out how it impacts your taxes. Keep up with your tax deductions and other paperwork you’ll need, and the task will be easier to do next year. Plus, if you need pay stubs and account statements to apply for a loan, it’s all ready for you.

Do a “Paycheck Checkup”

Did you owe a lot for 2018, or did you get a refund of the interest-free loan you gave Uncle Sam? An IRS Paycheck Checkup can help to make sure you don’t get an expensive surprise when you file your 2019 income taxes next year. Here’s their online tool to see if you need to change your withholdings https://www.irs.gov/paycheck-checkup Taxpayers with investment, self-employment or other non-wage income need to make quarterly estimated tax payments. Here’s a link to more details https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/estimated-taxes.

Right after you file last year’s taxes is the perfect time to see how to make next tax filing season less stressful. Whether you prepare your own taxes or use a tax professional, following these tips can reduce your stress and reduce the time that you spend filing your 2019 income tax returns.

Not Ready to File on April 15?

For the first time in a couple of years, the tax filing deadline is actually on April 15th. No more reprieves for weekends and holidays. Regardless of the date, the tax deadline seems far in the future until, all of a sudden, it’s here! If you’re in a panic because you haven’t started gathering your W-2s or you’re waiting for that final K-1, you could probably use some more time to file.

Not ready? Not a problem! You can get an automatic six-month tax filing extension. No need to provide a reason but it does take a little time and action to get it done right to avoid a late filing penalty.

Two important tips about getting a tax filing extension:

1. You Have to Apply

Individual taxpayers use IRS Form 4868 to request an automatic extension to file their federal income tax return. An extension can be filed on the IRS website, e-filed using approved tax software, or in paper form by midnight on the due date. If you are getting a refund or pay the amount due, your extension is automatically approved. But you still have to wait until your return is filed to get any tax refund. Extending your state taxes is usually automatic when you extend your federal return, unless you owe more in taxes.

2. You Must Pay What You Owe

Start by estimating your income tax liability based on the information you have. Use the IRS Form 4868 instructions or www.irs.gov to figure it out. Compare your estimated tax liability with your tax withholding or quarterly estimated payments and enter the numbers on the extension request form. If you owe more tax than you’ve paid in, the balance due must be paid with your extension request. Failure to pay will result in an underpayment penalty and interest on the unpaid amount, accrued daily until it’s paid. That really adds up.

Rushing at the last minute is stressful and causes mistakes. Better to give yourself more time. Need more details about estimating your 2018 tax liability and getting a tax filing extension? Go to the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of-time-to-file-your-tax-return.

Still confused and need more help? Consult a qualified tax professional to help you out. The IRS has resources for that, too – https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/choosing-a-tax-professional