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Monthly lunch series to help nonprofits

Thursday session to focus on tax compliance

POSTED: February 19, 2013 11:30 p.m.

Just because an organization is classified as “tax-exempt” doesn’t mean it’s exempt from filing and paying all taxes.

Nonprofit organizations still have to file and pay a variety of taxes, including income, property and sales taxes. Not doing so could result in costly penalties or possibly a revocation of the organization’s tax-exempt status.

The North Georgia Community Foundation is hosting an event to help nonprofit leaders understand how they can stay compliant with tax filing requirements this Thursday.

The event is part of the foundation’s Lunch & Learn series, a new program designed to help organizations learn more about current issues nonprofit groups face.

The program is designed for board members, executive directors, finance and program staff and nonprofit managers. The series begins at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Community Foundation on Oak Street in Gainesville.

The program costs $20 per person and includes lunch and a drink. Programs will continue every other month on the third Thursday of the month. Each program will feature a different topic and speaker.

North Georgia Community Foundation President Jim Mathis said the foundation is excited to offer the series and he believes it will be helpful to the nonprofit organizations in the area.

“The series will cover timely topics and nonprofit leaders will be able to network and find ways to address common challenges they face running their organization,” Mathis said.

To kick off the series, Bliss Jones, a certified public accountant with Jones and Kolb in Atlanta, will provide information on how to report a variety of state and local taxes.

Jones specializes in providing accounting, advisory, auditing and tax services to nonprofit organizations.

Jones said most nonprofit organizations understand they are exempt from federal taxes but they don’t realize they’re subject to a host of other taxes and tax reporting obligations.

Filing taxes can be difficult for many households, and the process can be just as daunting, if not more so, for some organizations.

Jones will cover a variety of topics during the lunch including state charitable solicitation requirements, potential unrelated business income taxes, business licenses, federal and state unemployment taxes and how to report charitable bingo and raffle fundraisers.

“The single most important thing those involved with nonprofits need to understand is that ‘nonprofit’ is a tax status, not a mission statement,” Jones said.

“Just like any other business, at the end of the day the organization needs to bring in more revenue than they spend in order to be sustainable. ... Regardless of how noble their mission is, if they cannot keep the doors open, they will not be able to accomplish it.”

One way Jones recommends organizations stay on top of their finances is to let a tax professional review returns. A professional may be able to point out items that may not have been considered.

Those interested in attending Thursday should register with the foundation prior to the close of business today. To register, call 770-535-7880, ext. 226, or email cflack@ngcf.org.


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