Month: November 2015

Global Entrepreneurship Week: HHIEDC’s “Bring Your Business Idea To Life” Contest

The Hilton Head Island Economic Development Corporation (HHIEDC) is looking for the next big idea – and it’s created a business pitch competition to give entrepreneurs a chance to compete for the opportunity to bring their business idea to life on Hilton Head Island. The “Bring Your Business Idea to Life” competition is being launched during Global Entrepreneurship Week, taking place this week: November 16th – 22nd.  Beginning today, local entrepreneurs can submit their new business or business expansion idea to the HHIEDC at www.hhiedc.com/idea. From the ideas submitted, six entrepreneurs will be chosen to compete in the Final Business Pitch Competition, which will be held on Hilton Head Island on February 23, 2016. The First Place winner will receive a cash prize of $3,000 and guaranteed enrollment in the business incubator program at the Don Ryan Center for Innovation.  In addition, the First Place winner will receive a number of prizes that are critical to launching and growing a new business, including free business formation and trademark legal services from Jolley Law Group (five hours of consultation/legal services over one year, valued at $3,000); a free marketing/branding package and expert business mentoring from SmartMarketing Communications (valued at $5,000); a multi-media print/digital advertising package to help launch the business (valued at more than $2,000); free podcast and blog opportunities with The Creative Coast, the Savannah-based organization that stimulates economic growth, employment and...

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The Birth of a Non-Profit (Part III): Maintaining Your Status

Since we’ve spent the last two weeks talking about non-profits and Form 1023, I thought we should take one more week to talk about another very important form for non-profits: Form 990. If your non-profit organization has successfully navigated Form 1023 (or Form 1023-EZ) and won your federal tax-exempt status, congratulations! But don’t forget, your relationship with the IRS has only just begun. Although tax-exempt organizations don’t have to file regular tax returns like the rest of us, they still have to make an annual filing. Form 990 (and its permutations, listed below) is your annual report to the IRS, on which you report (in great detail) your activities and finances for the prior year. However, depending on what kind of organization you are, completing Form 990 can either be as taxing (pun intended) as a regular tax return, or a breeze. Here’s the breakdown of who has to file what: Form 990 – the long-form version of Form 990 is for large non-profits: those with annual gross receipts of $200,000 or more, or total assets worth $500,000 or more. Form 990-EZ – the shorter-form version is for non-profits with gross receipts of less than $200,000 and total assets worth less than $500,000. Form 990-N – this “e-Postcard” is for small organizations with gross receipts of $50,000 or less. However, some small organizations are ineligible for the e-Postcard; they...

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The Birth of a Non-Profit (Part II): EZ-Style

As we discussed last week, applying for federal tax-exemption with Form 1023 is a Process with a Capital P. But fortunately, there is now an alternative for small public charities. Launched last year, Form 1023-EZ is what the IRS calls its “streamlined” application for recognition of tax-exemption. Compared to the 26 pages of Form 1023, the EZ version is a breeze. Just 3 pages long, and only submitted online, it can be completed in a matter of minutes. The form simply asks you to answer yes or no (or check the box) to a series of questions that would require longer explanations on Form 1023. In addition to being easier to complete, it will also be faster to process. The IRS has said that it will not review these applications substantively; rather, it will perform reviews of the organizations later to confirm that they’re operating as they said they would. This means non-profits will be able to obtain tax-exempt status without the six-plus month processing time associated with Form 1023. Since Form 1023-EZ doesn’t require all the hard thinking necessary to complete Form 1023 (see last week’s post), the main question here is whether your organization is eligible to file it. In fact, the eligibility questionnaire is longer than the application form. To be eligible for the streamlined application process, your organization must meet all of the following criteria:...

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