Heather Comstock Connects

Helping nonprofits and other volunteer organizations develop strong relationships and a clear voice in the community.

December: When Calendar and Fiscal Years Collide

Merry Christmas! The Tax Man (or Lady) Cometh for thee inevitably! December is time to make sure your filings are up to date and you're ready for individual tax prep in January! (Photo & art (c) Heather Comstock 2013)

Merry Christmas! The Tax Man (or Lady) cometh for thee inevitably! December is time to make sure your filings are up to date and you’re ready for individual tax prep in January! (Photo & art (c) Heather Comstock 2013)

It is the end of December and I am amazed that Christmas is almost upon us! I have neglected my poor blog here as I have been very busy winding down the year.  I wanted to share what I’ve been up to  because these end of the year tasks are very easy to lose track of doing, particularly if your organization is on a fiscal year versus a calendar year!

Annual financial filings – if you follow the Maryland State Fiscal year which runs July 1 through June 30th, your annual financial filings will be due in November and December. Your 990 or 990 E-Postcard is due on the 15th of the 5th month after the close of your fiscal year so if you’re on Maryland’s fiscal year, that was November 15th. Your updates to the Maryland Secretary of State are due by December 31st.

Tax paperwork – Individual information for filing taxes are tied to the CALENDAR year, NOT your fiscal year. Tax filings such as 1099’s are due out by the end of January and should cover the prior calendar year information. If you had a contractor who worked for you throughout the year, you need to tally up payments made to her from January through December – even if your fiscal year started in July. Be good to your donors, employees, and contractors and make sure you get that information sent out in a timely manner.

Donor Check In – many groups mount a final appeal for the calendar year in order to take advantage of people making last minute charitable contributions at the end of the tax year. This is a good time to send holiday greetings to your donors and thank them for their support during the year and provide an opportunity for them to make a final contribution. Pull together your list of donors and amounts given from January through December of the year to prepare for acknowledgement letters that you should send out no later than January so your donors have a convenient document for their tax preparation.

Look ahead and plan- As you begin to fill in your new calendars, take a few minutes to add your major dates for your organization. When is your Annual Meeting? When do Elections occur? Have you allocated planning time? If your elections are to take place in May, your Nominating Committee needs to start getting active in January in order to identify and vet candidates and assemble the slate for the Board to review.  January is also a good time to read through your By-Laws to check for any changes. These are items that often have time restrictions and need to be scheduled.

If your organization is on a fiscal year versus a calendar year, don’t fall into the trap of thinking there’s nothing happening during the end of the year. Take some time in December to look ahead to January and the coming year. While not as fun as end of the year parties and holiday celebrations, setting aside and planning for them means a calmer January.

Is there anything else you’re doing at the end of the year that should be included?

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