Accounting: 'Nonprofit Education Series' focuses on key issues

The North Bay office of Burr Pilger Mayer is taking part in the launch of a new "Nonprofit Education Series," a six-part educational program focusing on financial risks and strategies specific to the nonprofit sector.

The firm's Santa Rosa office, at 110 Stony Point Road, Ste. 210, will be hosting live video conferences of the seminars, which begin on March 6 in San Francisco. Nonprofit executive directors, financial professionals and board members are invited to register at no cost, but seating is limited.

Subjects, taught by professionals both inside and outside of BPM, include fraud prevention, payroll, compensation limits, board responsibilities, tax and pension rules and the attraction of donors for growth capital.

Half of the programs will be taught through a web-based format with unlimited attendance, but registration is still required. The courses are eligible for continuing professional education credits for CPAs, and registration is available at***

The Internal Revenue Service has released data reflecting electronic tax filing last year, showing a trend towards Web-based filing services while anticipating usage of its Web and mobile offerings in 2013.

Last year, 80 percent of all individual returns were filed electronically, according to the IRS. 340 million people visited during the period, up 17 percent versus 2011.

The IRS launched a revamped website and mobile platform in August 2012. The mobile application, IRS2Go, has been downloaded more than 800,000 times. The expanded platform seeks to simplify access to information and improve accessibility, but it has not been without hiccups -- the IRS issued a warning this month that heavy usage of both the Web and mobile version of the "Where's My Refund?" feature could potentially overwhelm its systems, prompting a request that users only access the program once per day.

The IRS has assigned 3,000 employees to work on identity theft-related issues in late 2012. That number was over double from the same period in 2011, when the IRS was able to prevent $20 billion in fraudulent refunds.***

The federal tax treatment of charitable contributions was the subject of a recent report by the staff of the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, outlining the impact of the related deduction and casting a spotlight on an issue that has been closely watched by the nation's nonprofits.

Presented to the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 14, the report listed several proposals for reforming a tax credit that dates back to 1917. At a time when governments are hungry for revenue, the report estimates that a projected $217.89 billion in charitable donations by individuals in 2011 lead to a federal tax expense of $37.59 billion.

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