Welcome to Nancy Gonsiorek, CPA, LLC
A New Type of Firm...Especially Created for Nonprofit Organizations
One day you are “just helping out” with Market Day at your child’s school; the next you are the president of the school PTO. This is the typical path to leadership of a community nonprofit organization: from caring volunteer to board of directors. But are you really ready for the challenge? What are your expectations in your role as a board member? More importantly: do you know what expectations others have for you – including the layers of government charged with oversight over nonprofit organizations?
Exempt organizations, public charities…regardless what you call them, welcome to the world of nonprofit organizations. Most of us arrive without a clue to the legal and professional ramifications that go with the job. Many consider themselves “just a volunteer.” But this is a world that is changing…fast. Once an ignored sector of the reporting world, nonprofit organizations are now front and center. Federal, state and local governments all have an interest in who you are, what you do, and how effectively you make and spend your money. They want compliance and they want it now.
Virtually all nonprofit organizations in the state of Illinois should be filing returns annually with the IRS and the Illinois Secretary of State. Additionally, charitable organizations in Illinois must report annually to the Illinois Attorney General. Yes, just as you and your spouse file annually your federal form 1040 and your Illinois form IL-1040, charitable organizations are required report their activities by filing federal and state returns each and every year. But while Uncle Sam’s primary concern for individuals and for-profit businesses is, “how much did you make; now send me my share,” nonprofit organizations must report so much more.
Uncle Sam doesn’t want your money, he wants to know how you run your business, and whether you really deserve this special status as an organization exempt from paying income tax. How does your board stay engaged? Did you pay your board? Have you adopted proper policies and procedures? How do you provide your information to the public? How do you fundraise? Who are your largest contributors? How do you thank them? You must answer those questions and many more when you complete federal form 990, the IRS annual information return for nonprofits. With its fourteen pages plus an additional 15 schedules, form 990 makes most individual tax returns look like a cake walk.
And the consequences are severe. The IRS has begun an automatic revocation process to strip non-compliant organizations of their tax-exempt status. Nationwide, over 350,000 U.S. organizations have had their status revoked as a result of these more stringent reporting requirements. And the IRS displays this information on their website like a scarlet letter for all to see!
Welcome to my website. I hope you will find this site useful in understanding compliance requirements for nonprofit organizations. I will discuss what I consider the four pillars of a successful organization: legal compliance, effective governance, financial oversight and responsible fundraising. My mission is to empower our local nonprofits to be the best they can be, because whatever your mission -- providing social services to the community, supporting the arts, operating a school PTO, or promoting youth athletics -- nonprofit organizations are an essential component of community development. Plain and simple, that creates a great place for all of us to live.