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Tax Law

What Happens With Charitable Giving and the New Tax Law

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Now that we’re into 2018, it’s vital if you’re a nonprofit leader, fundraiser, or board member to understand what the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may do to the philanthropic sector. Keep in mind that this is the first major overhaul of tax regulation in more than a generation, so it’s going to have wide-ranging impact. Lawyers and accountants have been working overtime to understand the implications for the new tax law and the IRS is gearing up to get ready for what is going to be an interesting tax season.

If work or lead a charitable organization, you need to be aware of the reality that the new law is expected to affect your fundraising efforts adversely. In other words, you need to speak to your professional advisors, and you should get your team together to prepare an all-hands on deck approach to ensuring the ongoing sustainability of your organization as donor giving patterns will undoubtedly change.

  • The Council on Foundations released a statement that said the following, “Today’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will result in a decrease of $16-$24 billion in charitable giving every year, significantly decreasing the philanthropic sector’s ability to provide resources and services to people across the United States and abroad.”
  • The most significant reason for the expected drop in charitable giving in 2018 is because the majority of individuals and families will no longer itemize deductions on their tax return. Because the standard deduction was doubled ($12,000 for individuals and to $24,000 for married couples), the average taxpayer will no longer be itemizing, and thus the charitable deduction disappears for many families when filing taxes–meaning the tax incentive for them is gone.
  • Since 2018 is the first year under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law, most families will not have a full understanding of how their tax obligations will be shaping up until more months pass, and they file their taxes. That means the uncertainty will likely begin to depress charitable giving as early as the beginning of the year. This may also include major donors who are financially comfortable but did not do any tax planning preparation in December of 2017 to see the full impact of the tax laws on their households.
  • The estate tax threshold level has increased under the new law from $5.5 million to $11.2 million for individuals and $22.4 million for families. Without getting into too much of the details, the reason why this can adversely impact charitable giving is that families have less of a reason to give their money to charity as opposed to their heirs. Because they can now transfer higher amounts to heirs, those who have assets in the low millions are more likely to bequeath it to their families or heirs as opposed to give to charity because so they can minimize estate taxes.

The reality is that 2018 is going to be a significant year for nonprofits and it’s essential that organizations understand how the new tax law will affect them and also charitable giving. If fundraising dollars decrease, which is expected, then most nonprofits, which already survive with slim margins will have a tougher year. Tough decisions will have to be made if donor dollars dry up such as shutting down programs or eliminating staff. Planning will make all the difference.

What’s important at this time is to get your facts and eventually to message appropriately with your supporters. Your donors want to help you and a lot of the reasons they do come from the heart and not from the head or because of a charitable deduction or estate planning. But, if you’re a nonprofit leader, you would be foolish if you didn’t take into account that your donors have to think about how the new tax law will affect their families and may well pause so they can get a better handle on what’s happening in their finances and taxation.

Understand the trends and how thought leaders are addressing the expected drop in funding, and inevitable decrease in services that could follow. Speak to your peers in the industry and also speak to your supporters. Figure out ways to give donors the space they need to understand their tax issues, but also continue to help your organization. It’s essential as a nonprofit leader to have frank conversations and be open about the choppy waters that may lie ahead.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9867274

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Copyright law

Is It Illegal to Download Free Music?

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The Confusion Surrounding Music Copyright Law

Because there are so many different ways to get free music off the internet, there has become a lot of confusion and conflicting views as to what is legal and what isn’t.

“OK, so it’s illegal to burn a copy of a CD and distribute it. So are you telling me I can’t burn a mix CD and give it to a few of my friends?”

“It’s illegal to download free songs of peer-to-peer websites and servers, but can I download a song from my friend over Dropbox?”

These types of song copying and distribution leave many feeling that the laws are vague and outdated, so they just continue on downloading music illegally.

The increasingly popular technique of “YouTube to mp3” where you grab the mp3 file from a video someone posted of a song has only added to the problem.

Is that illegal too?

Let’s take a look.

The FBI Warning

You know how when you’re watching a movie on a DVD (for those of us who still do that) and on the screen comes that familiar “FBI WARNING” that tells you the material is copyrighted and it’s illegal to make unauthorized copies of said material of any kind… etc.

Well, despite what some outdated articles might say, this copyright (or internet piracy) law also applies to music.

What does that mean?

Redistribution of any kind, without the artists consent, is illegal. And if you participate by knowingly downloading music that is being distributed without the artist’s consent, you are participating in illegal activity.

This article at IBM compared using these third-party sites just to rip music from YouTube, like “using cassette tapes to record songs of the radio”.

And peer-to-peer servers as well as other websites that don’t even technically host the files on their website, are still participating in this illegal activity, and in the future, copyright companies will continue to be cracking down on this activity.

Are There Other Options?

Yes. You are not without hope. There are so many options. Honestly, with all the options out there it’s amazing how many people are still working so hard to download music for free (OK, there’s not that many). I remember those days, myself.

And I cringe at the thought of having to once again edit the properties of each individual song so that it would be neat and orderly on my iPod.

Never again.

While you do have the option of subscribing to a music streaming service as many have, if you’d like to keep listening to your music very cheaply without an internet connection and you want to actually own the songs you’re listening to, I’d recommend a service like Mp3million, where you can download songs for nickels and dimes. These kinds of sites are legal as long as they are paying royalties on the song licenses. And with that said, hopefully you’ll be on your way to continue your music downloading lifestyle without (too much) interruption.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9198962

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Cheap lawyers

Understanding Medical Malpractice – What It Means

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A person will generally file a medical malpractice suit with a lawyer if they feel they have received substandard care by any healthcare professional, like a doctor or dentist, that has directly resulted in economic or physical damages to them personally or a family member. When discussing what substandard care this generally means care that has violated the normal medical practices. In order to show medical malpractice there has to be three factors, which include a direct causal link, liability, and damages. For you to meet the requirements of liability, it must be proven a professional relationship existed between the provider of health care and you. Meeting this requirement is rarely a problem but being able to prove it was substandard care could be a little difficult. It depends on what the violation was.

Economic damages, injury, or suffering must be shown and be the direct result of the negligence. Most all parts of medical care have risks even if proper care is taken. Unless your lawyer can prove negligence from an outcome that turned out bad from the procedure or medical care alone, are not the grounds for a malpractice suit. When talking medical malpractice it can take on different forms. Some examples include:

• Not diagnosing a disease that is life-threatening
• Medication errors
• Surgical errors
• Delivery room or prenatal care
• Failure to give the correct follow-up care
• Anesthesia miscalculations

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately two hundred twenty-five thousand deaths happen each year because of medical malpractice. This makes it the third biggest cause of death in the United States. Approximately nine percent are caused by medication errors, miscellaneous errors, or unnecessary surgery. About eighty-two percent are due to contacting an infection while in the hospital or adverse reactions to medications.

It is harder to file a malpractice suits against hospital employees than against private physicians. Certain members of the staff in the hospital are often provided by private contracts so in these instances the contractor and negligent party is named in the medical malpractice suit and not the hospital. When there are multiple parties that are affected by the same negligent group it makes more sense to bring a class action suit, which can list hundreds or more plaintiffs. If the case is won then the monetary award, after paying court costs and legal fees, is distributed to the plaintiffs.

The laws that govern medical malpractice suits will vary in each state and may require different or additional criteria. When choosing a lawyer make sure that they specialize in this field of law.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9392570

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