Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Not So Great Expectations: Are You Setting Your Employees Up For Failure?

As employers, we invest a lot in our staff, and in return, expect a lot from them. From following company policies, procedures, to effectively completing assignments and job duties; in order to be successful, it’s imperative for every member of your team to comprehend exactly what’s required of them. If your employees don’t understand your expectations, how can they be expected to achieve them? Make sure you’re not setting your team up for failure with these two common blunders.

Having Unclear Expectations
When it comes to expectations, communication is key. Without a good understanding of what you require of them, at some time or another, your employees will not meet your expectations, which could lead to productivity, profitability, and morale issues for you. Take time to make sure every member of your team understands their job description, key duties, goals, and the role they play in your company. If you have specific expectations for a project, communicate those expectations clearly and concisely. By asking for their feedback and questions you are able to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Having Unrealistic Expectations
If the expectations set for your team are unrealistic; your employees could be doomed from the get go. Making sure the goals, projects, and deadlines you establish are realistic and attainable. A great place to start is by making sure your individual and company goals meet the "SMART" goals standard by being specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. It’s crucial to ensure your employees have the skills, experience, and tools they need to complete the projects you assign.

For the most part people come to work with the desire to succeed. No one likes to fail and your team will stand a better chance of flourishing at work if you set these clear, realistic expectations from day one.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Many Tax-Exempt Organizations Must File with IRS By May 15 to Preserve Tax-Exempt Status

Issue Number:    IR-2014-57

Many Tax-Exempt Organizations Must File with IRS By May 15 to Preserve Tax-Exempt Status; Do Not Include Social Security Numbers or Personal Data

    WASHINGTON — With a key May 15 filing deadline facing many tax-exempt organizations, the Internal Revenue Service today cautioned these groups not to include Social Security numbers (SSNs) or other unneeded personal information on their Form 990, and consider taking advantage of the speed and convenience ofelectronic filing.
    Form 990-series information returns and notices are due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s fiscal year ends. Many organizations use the calendar year as their fiscal year, making Thursday, May 15 the deadline for them to file for 2013.
    Many Groups Risk Loss of Tax-Exempt Status
    By law, organizations that fail to file annual reports for three consecutive years will see their federal tax exemptions automatically revoked as of the due date of the third required filing. The Pension Protection Act of 2006 mandates that most tax-exempt organizations file annual Form 990-series informational returns or notices with the IRS. The law, which went into effect at the beginning of 2007, also imposed a new annual filing requirement on small organizations. Churches and church-related organizations are not required to file annual reports.
    No Social Security Numbers on 990s
    The IRS generally does not ask organizations for SSNs and in the form instructions cautions filers not to provide them on the form. By law, both the IRS and most tax-exempt organizations are required to publicly disclose most parts of form filings, including schedules and attachments. Public release of SSNs and other personally identifiable information about donors, clients or benefactors could give rise to identity theft.
    The IRS also urges tax-exempt organizations to file forms electronically in order to reduce the risk of inadvertently including SSNs or other unneeded personal information. Details are on
    Tax-exempt forms that must be made public by the IRS are clearly marked “Open to Public Inspection” in the top right corner of the first page. These include Form 990,990-EZForm 990-PF and others.
    What to File
    Small tax-exempt organizations with average annual receipts of $50,000 or less may file an electronic notice called a Form 990-N (e-Postcard), which asks organizations for a few basic pieces of information. Tax-exempt organizations with average annual receipts above $50,000 must file a Form 990 or 990-EZ depending on their receipts and assets. Private foundations file a Form 990-PF.
    Organizations that need additional time to file a Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF may obtain an extension. Note that no extension is available for filing the Form 990-N (e-Postcard).
    Check Tax-Exempt Status Online
    The IRS publishes the names of organizations identified as having automatically lost their tax-exempt status for failing to file annual reports for three consecutive years. Organizations that have had their exemptions automatically revoked and wish to have that status reinstated must file an application for exemption and pay the appropriate user fee.
    The IRS offers an online search tool, Exempt Organizations Select Check, to help users more easily find key information about the federal tax status and filings of certain tax-exempt organizations, including whether organizations have had their federal tax exemptions automatically revoked.