When participants request hardship distributions from a 401(k) plan, employers must collect and store documents showing that the participant had an immediate and heavy financial need to permit such a distribution. In today’s digital age, you might wonder whether you could instead allow participants to certify their needs electronically. The short answer is a tentative “yes” — if you already use self-certification to establish the necessity of the requested distribution and carefully follow a procedure authorized by the IRS a couple of years ago.
Every new company should launch with a business plan and keep it updated. Generally, such a plan will comprise six sections: executive summary, business description, industry and marketing analysis, management team description, implementation plan, and financials. Now, ideally, you would comprehensively update each section every year. But if the size, shape and objectives of your company haven’t changed all that much, you may not need to make major revisions to the entire plan. However, at the very least, you should always review and revise your financials.
Accounting for contributions and grants has often proven complicated for not-for-profits, especially when they come with donor-imposed conditions. But 2018 guidance from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) provided some much-needed clarification of earlier instructions. Traditionally, nonprofits have taken varying approaches to characterizing grants and similar contracts as exchange transactions (also known as reciprocal transactions) or contributions (nonreciprocal transactions).
If you devote all your business’s security resources to fending off hackers and other cybercriminals, you may be unlocking the door, literally, to more basic types of theft. “Creepers” are criminals who gain access to offices or other physical facilities via unlocked doors and social engineering tactics. Once in, they steal proprietary information, inventory, computers and personal property, or gather information that makes it easier to hack your network.
When an employer’s staff size reaches 20 or more, it’s generally required to offer “COBRA” health care coverage to departing employees. (The name comes from the legislation that made it law: the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985.) If your organization is subject to COBRA, you may wonder whether you must provide the initial coverage notices every year.
In today’s high-anxiety world, it’s not uncommon for employees to battle personal problems such as substance dependence, financial and legal woes, and mental health issues. These struggles can negatively affect their productivity and the working environment around them. Employers can help by offering an employee assistance program (EAP). This benefit seeks to assist at-risk employees in finding professional help.
The Web has opened plenty of new avenues for criminal behavior. For example, you may have heard of cybersquatting. Someone registers a site’s domain name that includes a trademark and then tries to profit by selling that name to the trademark owner. But are you familiar with typosquatting? You should be — because these schemes can make just about any organization, along with visitors to its website, the victims of fraud.
Who would defraud a kids’ organization? The answer, unfortunately, is that trusted adults sometimes steal from not-for-profits benefiting children. Youth sports leagues and teams, for example, are ripe for fraud. Cash transactions are common, and coaches and board members usually are volunteers with little accountability. If you or your children are involved in a youth sports league, here’s what you can do to ensure that its funds support the kids, not thieves.
Do you want to withdraw cash from your closely held corporation at a low tax cost? The easiest way is to distribute cash as a dividend. However, a dividend distribution isn’t tax-efficient, since it’s taxable to you to the extent of your corporation’s “earnings and profits.” But it’s not deductible by the corporation. Fortunately, there are several alternative methods that may allow you to withdraw cash from a corporation while avoiding dividend treatment.
The latest figures from the College Board show that the average annual cost of tuition and fees was $10,230 for in-state students at public four-year universities — and $35,830 for students at private not-for-profit four-year institutions. These amounts don’t include room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other expenses that a student may incur. Fortunately, the federal government offers two sizable college tax credits for higher education costs that you may be able to claim.