[Noisebridge-board] Important info about our books and taxes

Jeffrey Malone ieatlint at tehinterweb.com
Sat Mar 20 16:29:12 UTC 2010


On Tuesday, I met with a tax attorney, Matt Whatley aka the Tax Ninja
( http://taxninja.com ) to prepare for our 2009 tax return.
The meeting was about half an hour, and consisted more of a consult
than anything else over what needs to be done.

Here's a few items of note:

1. The method that the books were being kept in, Quicken 2002, is so
woefully outdated that they can't do anything with the data.

As it was already rather annoying and inefficient for me to use
Quicken 2002 (in a vm running Windows), I was already thinking of
switching software.  He suggested we look at xero.com, which he highly
recommended as well for ease of use and portability.
Following the meeting, I reviewed the site and it looked very
favourable.  I as such signed us up for an account Wednesday morning.
The cost is $29/month, which I think is definitely worth it.
The features it will offer us are:
 - Access from any OS (web/ajax based) and any location
 - We can give user accounts to anyone, so all board members +
officers can see our current books at any time
 - It has an invoicing system, which can be used to track member dues
payments and reconcile them against actual deposits
 - It will make doing our taxes insanely simple -- we just need to
provide read only access to Matt
 - It literally writes the annual reports for us
 - It will make our finances significantly more transparent, and easier to track
 - It makes my job significantly easier
 - When someone else takes over as treasurer, the transition will be
MUCH smoother and saner
 - It lets us track budgets that we set (such as our buildout budget)

Over Wednesday and Thursday, I reconciled every transaction from our
WFB checking and savings accounts, along with the accounts we have at
PayPal and Square.  Every Noisebridge financial transaction is
presently recorded.
All the data from our Quicken database has such been supplemented.  At
the moment, I am currently working on back-dating invoices for dues
already paid, so we can better track where everything stands.

Immediately after sending this email, I will be sending email based
invitations to each board member and officer.  It will include
privileges to add more users, which you are welcome to do.  However,
please note that access will grant personal information and payment
history of our members, and thus should not be simply handed out.

2. He asked us to verify that we filed all returns for the 2008 tax
year.  He indicated that he could prepare the documents for this if
needed, and did not believe there would be any penalties.

The additional paperwork that we need to do with the state/feds can
also be done through him.  This should ensure that we are not missing
anything, or misunderstanding anything.

3. Tax day for non-profits is May 15 (not April 15).  Matt requested
that we wait until after April 15 to schedule another appointment with
him to do all this work so that he can concentrate on other customers.
 I of course agreed, and it gives us time to finish get the books in
order and figure out what paperwork is already done, and what may
still need to be done.

That is the jist of the meeting.  Feel free to ask me any questions,
or bring up any items to discuss about this.


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