June 24, 2018

Accounting News Roundup: Apple’s Tricky Thing, PwC’s Oscar Counters, Millennials’ Confidence | 02.01.17

Tricky stuff

CNBC reports that Apple missed the January 3rd deadline to pay $13.9 billion into escrow for back taxes the EU says the company owes Ireland. It’s not for a lack of money, however. Apple has over $246 billion in cash sitting around. No, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager admits that forking it over isn’t as simple as cutting a check:

“It’s a tricky thing to do because it’s a large sum so of course you have to figure out how to do that. It’s not as an escrow account in some of the other cases where it might be 25 or 30 million euros … and therefore I do respect that it’s a complicated matter and it may take a little more time.”

In the event that I ever end up on the hook for billions in back taxes, I hope the authorities are as understanding.

Counting gigs

PwC has over three weeks to milk its role as ballot tabulators for the Academy Awards. And since no one over 25 is going to watch the heavy petting of the #BallotBriefcase on Snapchat, it makes sense to pay the Huffington Post an exorbitant amount of money for a blog post about the process. Fun fact: the partners in charge, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, have to memorize all 24 the winners. All of them! That’s got to be the hardest part of the job right after not being able use the bathroom.

Millennials

Deloitte has done a Millennial survey for six years and hey, look, people born after 1982 aren’t as confident as they used to be:

2016 seemed to have a significant effect on young people, as Deloitte’s sixth annual Millennial Survey, found that young people are less likely to leave their current jobs, are more concerned about purpose in their work, and not optimistic about where their countries are headed as 2017 begins.

I feel like I’ve been hearing about millennials being concerned about the purpose of their work for six years. How is it possible for millennials to be even more concerned about purpose in their work? Will millennials’ concern about the purpose of their work peak once they’ve all been evicted and/or foreclosed on? Where does the concern about the purpose of the work end? Millennial surveys are so stupid.

Previously, on Going Concern…

Rachel Andujar wrote an advice column to someone thinking about starting over. I wrote about EY CEO Mark Weinberger’s statement on the immigration ban.

In other news:

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Non-Profits Are Feeling the Pain

WSJ has a Monday piece “Once-Robust Charity Sector Hit With Mergers, Closings” (the Recession Forces Nonprofits to Consolidate) that may be found here. It tells the story of a “homeless” woman with terminal lung cancer and a charity no longer able to afford to help her out. Sad.

When one charity’s COO says “we’ve had funding cut after funding cut, and we never know when the next shoe is going to drop,” that is a bad sign.

Hit by a drop in donations and government funding in the wake of a deep recession, nonprofits—from arts councils to food banks—are undergoing a painful restructuring, including mergers, acquisitions, collaborations, cutbacks and closings.

“Like in the animal kingdom, at some point, the weaker organizations will not be able to survive,” says Diana Aviv, chief executive of Independent Sector, a coalition of 600 nonprofits.

I saw that on the Discovery Channel and it wasn’t pretty.

Note: the Service says the value of your blood is not deductible as a charitable donation but cars are. As of 2005, cars are only deductible at FMV, not Blue Book. Damn you, fair value, foiled by the free market again!

Blame the Service for tightening its charitable donation rules at the worst possible time? Not sure on that one. While you’re reluctant to donate your $200 Toyota (ha) to charity because you could have claimed $2,000 under old rules, find some comfort in the fact that (alleged) terrorist “non profits” can not file for 2 years and somehow get away with it. You wonder why I advocate fixing the system from the ground up?

You can text $10 to Haiti but what about the “Economic Homeless” here in America? asks Young Money.

If this were a survey and you asked me “What do you think the IRS could do to encourage charitable donations?” I would answer “Tax breaks. It isn’t the Treasury’s job to distribute bailouts.” Yet they continue to behave as though it is their duty.

See the problem yet?

Hallelujah! Church Accounting Miracles!

I had no idea how much a minister can make but now I do. Wait a minute, this just tells me how to bypass Service rules by writing checks in the church’s name. I might totally be in the wrong line of work.

Free Church Accounting (I’m not kidding) brings us a question from “Sharon” of Corsicana, Texas:

How much money does a minister have to make in order for money to be reported?

I started my church back up after 12 years vacancy. I do not have very many members. Right now we are 3 active members and other people stop in from time to time. I do not actually receive money. Since the church is striving I use the money to pay the light bill, get the grass moved.


Answer:

According to the IRS website, “Earnings of $400 or more are subject to self-employment taxes.” (that includes qualifying ministers)

If you are a church employee, income of $108.28 or more is subject to SE tax.

It would be better for you, if you opened a checking account in the church’s name and paid expenses out of it. If that’s not possible, just make sure and keep all of the receipts that show where the church funds are going.

Fascinating! I took the preliminary “Are You a Tax-Exempt Church” quiz on their website and failed miserably so I guess I’d make an awful 501(c)(3) but that’s probably for the best.

There are ways to fail at this of course, like the Spokane, WA priest who couldn’t keep his arms and legs (and other parts) inside of the vehicle at all times, financial mismanagement in the University of North Carolina system, and JDA favorite the University of Colorado’s wild credit card user with horrible hair.

I would never imply that more regulation is the answer; I’m merely pointing out that there’s a bit of work to be done in identifying non-profit fraud. Seriously, how can one detect fraud when the core basis of fund accounting is an imbalance between “expenses” and expenditures?

The Church of Jr Deputy Accountant Scientist? I’m down.