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Meet the Staff: Kimberly Dass

Kimberly Dass joined First Nonprofit Group’s staff six years ago, bringing years of experience in both accounting and banking to our team. Kimberly, Director of Operations, oversees the accounting department for First Nonprofit’s unemployment insurance programs. Her work is vital to keeping the Unemployment Savings Program and the Bonded Service Program running smoothly and efficiently. Kimberly also manages client satisfaction and she truly succeeds at keeping clients happy.

Kimberly has seven years of banking experience as well as a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Chicago’s Northeastern Illinois University. She also made a brief appearance working in accounting for a fitness company before she heard about First Nonprofit’s position through word-of-mouth. “Dealing with numbers, the people, and being downtown in a fun environment are my favorite aspects of the job,” she says.

We asked Kim to tell share two frequently asked questions she receives from members and her responses:

How do we access our organization’s reserve balance in the Unemployment Savings Program?

“We are excited to announce that Unemployment Savings Program members will soon have access to this information online. In the meantime, call us at 800-526-4352, ext. 393048 for this information. We also have the ability to send a reserve balance reports to our members automatically on a quarterly or monthly basis via email. Contact us to sign-up to receive these reports.”

When are invoices mailed?

“Invoices are mailed at the beginning of each quarter and are due within 30 days. In the Unemployment Savings Program, members are in billed equal quarterly deposits throughout the calendar year. Deposits are underwritten at the beginning of each calendar year.  To receive your invoices via email, sign-up for paperless billing by submitting this form.”

Outside of the office, Kimberly adores spending time with her 14 month year old son, Nikhil. Chicago born and raised, Kimberly and her husband recently moved out to the suburbs to have more space for their growing family, as she is expecting a baby girl this summer! As a family, they love going to the Exploratorium in Skokie that has seasonal exhibits for kids of all different ages—a hands-on learning experience for everyone.

 

 

Employers in some states will face increases to their UI costs in 2014

Plenty of signs suggest the economy is continuing to improve as jobs and manufacturing in the U.S. have seen some comparatively comforting numbers. However, unemployment legislation is still volatile as the federal government and states continue to rebuild unemployment funding following the Great Recession.

The unemployed are following the Emergency Unemployment (EUC) Extension Act of 2014 to see if their benefits discontinued in December 2013 will be extended. At the same time, employers have also been left with plenty of questions and some concerns surrounding various states' abilities to satisfy the terms of their state unemployment agencies' Title XII loans (loans from the Federal Unemployment Account). The loans were needed to satisfy unemployment claims, which skyrocketed following the recession.

States must repay their loan balance and interest in full within two years or employers in those states will be at a risk of a federally mandated reduction to their federal unemployment tax (FUTA) credits. As of March 31, 2014, 15 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands are borrowing from the federal government to pay state UI claims. Seven states – Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Idaho, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Nevada – are using bonds to repay their federal loan debt.

While issuing bonds to repay the federal loan debt does prevent the mandatory reduction in FUTA credits, employers in those seven states could still see an increase in their state unemployment insurance (SUI) tax rates. Likewise, employers in states with current loan debt could face a reduction in FUTA credits in addition to SUI increases, as states look to rebuild exhausted funds and curb further spending. 

Protecting nonprofits from increases in SUI rates
Nonprofit organizations in all states are exempt from FUTA contributions, but must still satisfy their SUI obligations. However, nonprofits and governmental organizations do have the ability to opt out of SUI tax pools and satisfy their SUI obligations as a reimbursing employers. Under this designation, employers only reimburse the state for the actual amount of money paid out in UI claims to former employees.

Reimbursing employers will be provided an added benefit in states that owe interest on their Title XII loans in 2014. Connecticut, Indiana, New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina and the Virgin Islands will all be billing or implementing an interest surcharge on employers to pay the interest on the loans. With the exception of the U.S. Virgin Islands, reimbursing employers will be exempt from these charges.

Saving on SUI costs with less risk
While becoming a reimbursing employer exempts nonprofits from SUI tax pools, they also expose themselves to shared risk should the organization see a sudden spike in UI costs. With the help of nonprofit UI experts, organizations can select an unemployment program that allows them all of the benefits of being a reimbursing employer while also eliminating most of the risk. 

For information on how your organization can cost-effectively meet its unemployment insurance needs, contact First Nonprofit Group at FNCUI@firstnonprofit.com or visit www.firstnonprofitgroup.com.

Nonprofit organizations incur new fees as tax exemptions disappear

Throughout the country, nonprofits have seen increased fees and reductions in tax credits as governmental bodies struggle to balance budgets following the recession. Nonprofits in Chicago, Illinois and the nearby suburb of Downer's Grove are seeing fees related to water usage for the first time.

Downer's Grove instituted a utility fee to pay for stormwater in place of property taxes, so tax exempt nonprofits are feeling the burden of a new bill. While the village is floating plans to reduce the rate for local nonprofits, they will still be required to pay the fee. In Chicago, nonprofits are dealing with the loss of an exemption from water payments that some organizations claim will affect the services they offer. The city and nonprofits are still discussing a resolution, including a graduated fee based on a nonprofit's net assets.

Illinois is not alone in asking nonprofits to pay more, and different states and local governments have reduced tax exemptions in different ways – such as garbage pick up or public safety fees.

As nonprofits deal with the loss of tax exemptions or immunity to other fees they find themselves coping with new expenses. For some nonprofits, these fees are coming at a time when funding and revenue have already suffered. 

Nonprofits have options to UI tax
While nonprofits and governmental bodies continue to iron out future fees and tax exemptions, nonprofits do have an alternative when it comes to avoiding UI tax. Nonprofits and governmental organizations can opt out of state UI tax and its pooled trust funds under tax law that allows such entities to reimburse the state only for the amount specifically paid to former employees. Private employers pay a set rate each year which is often much greater than the actual amount of reimbursements.

Just as some local governments have started to levy new fees on nonprofits, states have been forced to raise UI tax contributions on employers to pay back federal debt incurred during the recession. Some states borrowed from the federal government to pay UI claims, which spiked during the recession, and did not pay the loan back within the two-year time limit. In states with UI debt to the fed that is over two years old, federal mandates will raise the employer contribution to state UI tax pools every year until the debt is paid back.

For information on how your organization can cost-effectively meet its unemployment insurance needs, contact First Nonprofit Companies at FNCUI@firstnonprofit.com or visit www.firstnonprofitcompanies.com.