Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NY provides online help for nonprofits

The Albany Business Review reported that the state has created a new tool to help nonprofit organizations—and people interested in starting nonprofits—find resources necessary to deal with tax and labor issues and find other resources.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the tools, found on the http://www.yourmoneynewyork.com website, will help New Yorkers find federal, state and local government resources.

That information includes:

• General resources about nonprofits
• Lobbying
• Working with employees and volunteers
• Fundraising help.

“Nonprofit organizations are vital to New York, not only for the services they provide but for the jobs they create,” DiNapoli said.

There are about 1.2 million New Yorkers working for more than 24,000 nonprofits with revenue of $133 million in the state, the comptroller said. That represents about 17 percent of the state’s work force.

Read more: NY provides online help for nonprofits - The Business Review (Albany)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Special Event: "A Conversation with NYS Comptroller Thomas P. Di Napoli and Panel Discusscion on Strategic Alliances & Partnerships

Presented by The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and the New York Council of Nonprofits.

May 10, 2010
8:30am - 11:30am
NYSUT Headquarters
800 Troy Schenectady Rd
Latham, NY

Welcoming remarks from Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez
Doug Sauer, CEO: New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.
Cristine Cioffi, Partner: Cioffi, Slezak, Wildgrube; Chair: Ellis Medicine Board of Trustees
David W. Palmquist, Head: Museum Chartering, NY State Museum
Jason R. Lilien, Bureau Chief: Charities Bureau (invited)

Potential Topics of Discussion:
  • Ways in which state agencies can work to assist the not-for-profit sector as it faces today's complex challenges
  • Aspects of the current economic environment that may compel not-for-profit organizations to consider strategic affiliations, shared services, and possible mergers
  • Trends, models, and best practices for strategic alliances & partnerships
  • How funders and regulatory agencies can encourage and support responsible affiliations

Continental Breakfast Sponsored by NYSUT

Please respond to jcuilla@cfgcr.org to reserve your seat.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Los Angeles Museum Board Members Ordered to Undergo Financial Training

The NY Times reported the California Attorney General’s office has ordered the board members of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which came close to a financial collapse in 2008, to undergo special fiduciary training after the office determined that the museum flouted state law in the way it managed its budget, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The museum lost more than $30 million from its investment portfolio over several years, ending up with only $5 million on hand in 2008, and it broke state law when it paid general expenses from restricted endowment funds, according to the newspaper, which obtained a two-page letter sent to the museum by the attorney general’s office last November.

In December 2008 the museum negotiated a $30 million bailout with Eli Broad, Los Angeles’s leading cultural patron, which allowed it to maintain its facilities and avoid selling off artwork. As a result of that agreement and new giving by other donors, the museum’s investments have improved, with their value rising to more than $14 million.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Inspector General: NYSTI director acted unlawfully

The Business Review (Albany) reported that the state inspector general today alleged that New York State Theatre Institute producing director Patricia Snyder unlawfully directed more than $1 million of the Troy-based authority’s funds to pay family members and support “questionable expenses” that included a $150,000 apartment in New York City.

The 127-page report issued by Inspector General Joseph Fisch alleges that, among other things, Snyder hired herself and family members to act, direct and produce 92 percent of all NYSTI productions; received adaptation rights and royalties from the theatre’s production of “Miracle on 34th Street;” and spent $150,000 on an apartment near Carnegie Hall that was used to lodge family and friends.

E. Stewart Jones, an attorney representing Snyder, called the 127-page report “highly distorted and really mean-spirited.”

Jones said the report takes situations out of context, and that Snyder’s family members were qualified for their positions and highly respected in their fields.

“They are all present on their merits,” Jones said.

He said that neither Snyder, NYSTI’s board nor its attorney were aware of a 2007 state law that prohibits nepotism in state-created authorities.

State legislation in 1974 created NYSTI as a nonprofit public authority to provide theater and education for New York youth. It is funded with public money.

As such, NYSTI is a state agency that must follow New York’s ethics laws. Those laws were established in the 1980s and strengthened in 2007. The 2007 law prohibits “elected officials, state officers or employees” from “hiring, promoting, disciplining or discharging a relative” for any paid position at state agencies or authorities. Snyder did much of the hiring at NYSTI.

Read more: Inspector General: NYSTI director acted unlawfully - The Business Review (Albany)

NY releases tool to help companies hire unemployed workers

The Business Review (Albany) reported that employers in New York now have a new tool to help them assess the benefits of hiring unemployed workers, the state Department of Labor announced on Thursday.

The state unveiled a calculator that will tell companies the federal tax credits they’ll receive in 2010 and 2011 by hiring and retaining people who have been jobless for at least 60 days.

The tax credits were part of a law President Barack Obama signed last month.

Employers can qualify for a 6.2 percent payroll tax incentive, which, in effect, exempts them from paying Social Security taxes on that person’s wages. Companies also receive a $1,000 tax credit for each worker who stays on the job for at least a year.

The tax incentives are designed to push companies to hire full-time workers, and not temporary workers, as many will do while they remain unsure of the economy’s course.

Unemployment in the Albany metro area is 7.2 percent, the highest ever recorded for this time of year.

“Many businesses are still hesitant to add additional workers to their payrolls,” said Colleen Gardner, commissioner of the state labor department. “This online calculator shows New York’s businesses, clearly and simply, how hiring the unemployed can help their bottom line.”

The calculator can be found at http://www.labor.ny.gov/HireActCalculator.shtm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nonprofits and the HIRE Act

NYCON's national partner, the National Council of Nonprofits, has provided the following information for nonprofits:

On March 18, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act), a $17 billion jobs package that includes temporary tax incentives to encourage employers to hire new workers. The main job-creation incentive allows most employers, including nonprofits, to keep the 6.2 percent payroll taxes on certain new hires, thus lowering their cost. This payroll tax forgiveness provision expires at the end of the year, so nonprofits will save more the sooner they hire eligible unemployed workers.

What You Need To Know:

The IRS released a statement on their newswire and posted general answers on their website offering a brief outline of the credit. Here are answers to the five key questions that most nonprofits need to know:

1.Is my nonprofit eligible? Yes. All 501(c) nonprofits are eligible.

2.Who do I need to hire to get the credit? There are four criteria that apply to any person hired after February 3:
a.The individual must sign a new IRS Form W-11, Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act Employee Affidavit, certifying that he/she has not worked more than 40 hours in the previous 60 days. (The IRS is currently developing a form employees can use to make the required statement.)
b.The new hire cannot replace an existing employee. It is okay to fill vacancies for individuals who left voluntarily or for cause. It is also permissible to rehire a laid-off employee who otherwise qualifies as an eligible employee.
c.The new hire is not related to a fiduciary of the organization.
d.The work the employee is doing must be in furtherance of the employer’s tax-exempt purpose.

3.How do you claim the credit? Employers claim the payroll tax exemption on their quarterly Form 941, beginning with the second quarter of 2010. The credit applies to the employer’s 6.2 percent share of social security tax on all wages paid to qualified employees. The employee’s 6.2 percent share of social security tax and both the employer’s and employee’s shares of Medicare taxes still apply to all wages. The IRS has posted a draft form 941 on its website and will release a final form next month along with the form’s instructions.

4.How long can I claim the credit? March 19 through December 31, 2010. As an example, for a person who starts work on April 1, the nonprofit keeps the payroll tax money that would otherwise be withheld, amounting to a savings of $1860 for someone with an annual salary of $40,000 (savings of 6.2% payroll taxes on $30,000 which is 9 months of salary).

5.Can I claim the $1000 bonus if the employee stays on the payroll for 52 weeks? Normally, no. The law includes a $1000 bonus credit that can only be applied to business income tax liability. Nonprofits are exempt from this liability, except in the area of unrelated business income.

For more info, click here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nonprofit Advocacy Matters

The following Spring Legislative Agenda information is provided by NYCON's national affiliate the National Council of Nonprofits

With only six weeks remaining until Memorial Day recess, legislators have perhaps their last and best chance to reach bi-partisan agreement on major bills before the election season is fully upon them. The following provides a synopsis of key bills we are following:

Financial Regulatory Reform and Consumer Protection: The Senate is expected to take up a bill to overhaul regulation of the financial services sector, but all 41 Republican Senators signed a letter expressing opposition to the measure as currently written. This stalemate could change, however, due to a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against Goldman Sachs alleging fraud in transactions at the root of the market collapse. The consumer protection components of the bill are of interest to many nonprofits.

Federal Budget for FY 2011: The Senate and House Budget Committees are finalizing their budget resolutions in preparation for floor action scheduled for the coming weeks. The odds are that Congress will not be successful in adopting a formal budget, which is frequently the case in election years. The debate is still worth following because leaders use the document to establish priorities, and rank-and-file members frequently seek to force votes on controversial issues, such as advocacy rights and the estate tax.

American Workers, State and Business Relief Act of 2010: This bill, which includes extension of the IRA Rollover and provides pension funding relief and $28 billion in additional funds to help the states balance their budgets, passed the Senate in March and must be reconciled with a House-passed bill. There is bi-partisan support for each of the initiatives, but legislators must come up with around $30 billion in additional revenues to pay for the bill.

Estate Tax: The tax expired at the end of 2009, but will return to higher 2001 levels next year. The President has proposed restoring the tax at 2009 levels - exemptions of $3.5 million/individual and a tax rate of 45%; Senators Lincoln (D-AR) and Kyl (R-AZ) are calling for weakening the estate tax by raising the exemption to $5 million/individual and lowering the tax rate to 35%. A weaker estate tax would generate nearly $100 billion less to the U.S. Treasury and provide less of an incentive for charitable giving.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Health Care Reform Resource Offered by CDPHP

CDPHP has created a helpful overview of the health care reform and its different aspects. The primary changes for 2010 are the following:

Given the recent signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Americans should understand that it may take several years for the changes in the bill to be enacted. CDPHP remains an active advocate in the reduction of health care costs through innovative medical management initiatives.

For a summary of the entire health care reform bill, click here.

Changes effective for plan years beginning six months after the legislation’s enactment (September 23, 2010):

Existing individual and employer-sponsored health plans will be allowed to remain essentially the same; except they will be required to comply with the items below:
  • Lifetime and annual limits on coverage, based upon dollar value of benefits will be prohibited.
  • Prohibits cost sharing (i.e. copays, deductibles, co-insurance) for certain preventive services.
  • For plans not in existence prior to March 23, 2010, mandates coverage for preventive services specified by the US Preventive Services Task Force; immunizations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC; and preventive services and screenings as provided for in guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • Young adults to age 26 will be allowed to continue on their parent’s family health insurance if the parent’s plan provides dependent coverage.
  • Ensure access to a parent's health plan for children with pre-existing conditions and prohibit limitations on pre-existing conditions for children to age 19.
  • Prohibits health plans from rescinding coverage from a member once a plan has been issued, except in cases of fraud or misrepresentation of material fact.
  • Waiting periods for coverage will be limited to no more than 90 days.

To review a full outline of provisions of the bill effective in 2010, click here. To view the other resources offered by CDPHP, click here.