Posts Tagged ‘IRS’

Ouch: Membership Dues Have [Fallen] at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

[UPDATE:  Per the SFBC, "...you should have read Part VIII, lines 1b and 2a, of the 990s for both the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Education Fund."

So, here's 2010:

1b makes sense but 2a is not membership dues so adding them together doesn't help.

And 2011:

Again, 1b makes sense but 2a is not membership dues so adding them together doesn't help.

And here's 2012:

(And the Bicycle Coalition Education Fund 990's don't really factor in all that much, like $10 or $20 grand each.)

So IDK, would you, Gentle Reader, suppose that different strategies were applied for 2010 and 2011 vs. 2012? I would. Because the "non-contribution portions of membership dues" went from $0 in 2010 and 2011 all the way up to $135,933 in 2012. Is there any explanation for this? Did the accountant(?) for 2011 and earlier fill out the 990 forms incorrectly? IDK. Is this kind of a thing a big deal, worth amending a bunch of other recent returns? IDK.

(Did IRS laws on this topic change the past several years? I don't think so, as this guide from 2008 remains unchanged.)

Now when I say "membership dues," what's actually written in there for 2012 is "memberships." Now memberships is a different thing, IMO. Memberships is what the SFBC spent a lot of time crowing about when memberships were actually increasing. But these days memberships are decreasing. Why is that? I ask.

So, what the SFBC is now calling it a 3% "membership income change" I'd call it a 3% membership dues decrease. And this comes at a time when the population of San Francisco is increasing and at a time when SFGov and the SFBC officially "expect" a sixfold increase in the number of trips made by bicycle in San Francisco by 2020, all the way up to 20%. ("20 by '20" or something.) I don't think anybody believes in this fantasy, you know, actually, but, well, there you go.

So, membership dues at the SFBC have decreased more like 3% year over year, rather than 40-something percent.

But if I were running the SFBC and I were as sensitive about giving out my 990's as this...

"The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's annual reports discuss our biggest successes and challenges, and present a broad picture of our income and expenses. If you have specific questions about our finances, please contact Leah Shahum, Executive Director, 415/431-BIKE x306."

...I'd amend my returns so that they would be self consistent, at the very least. END UPDATE]

And by the past year, I mean let’s use the most recent Form 990, the one* that was filed about four months ago, and compare it with the one what was filed for the year before.

Check it. Here’s the 990 for 2011 - $344,663 in reported membership dues:

Click to expand

And here’s the 990 for 2012 – just $185,921:

Now, what could explain this sudden and dramatic drop in “support?”

Well, we had the Chris Bucchere accident in the first quarter of 2012 and some members didn’t exactly approve of the way that SFBC officers dealt with the issue. Perhaps revenue went down in the following quarters?

And we had the shocking SFBC endorsement of Republican-backed Mayor Ed Lee near the end of 2011 – I doubt that paying members would have approved of that had they been given the opportunity.

You know, this guy, the one who always looks up to the formerly-despised Willie Brown:

Of course, people can always do a Barter Membership, but you’d think that dues-paying members would volunteer anyway, right?

Take a look at the numbers on the tax returns, it seems as if the SFBC is just another arm of the SFMTA or, indeed, of SFGov. (Except it’s an agency that can officially endorse Ed Lee for Mayor.)

Oh well.

Anyway, this is why the SFBC no longer boasts of increasing membership anymore.

[UPDATE: Did the 10% discount for SFBC members at Rainbow Grocery really make that much of a difference? IDK. See Comments.]

*There’s also something called the Education Fund, which also gets membership dues – $10k for 2011 and $20k for 2012. But if you throw those numbers in you’re still looking at a 40-something percent decline year over year.

Here’s the Way Tax Authorities Discover that You’re Undereporting Cash Income at Your Restaurant or Bar – It’s Easy!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

I suppose that somewhere in the universe there are Japanese and Japanese-American restaurant owners operating Chinese food places, but that’s certainly not the case in San Francisco’s Richmond District, which has a mess of Chinese  and Chinese American operators of Japanese restaurants.

As here, at Fune Ya, which used to operate on Clement Street. Read about its tax problems via Will “Big Daddy” Kane right here.

Photo via the Richmond District Blog

How do the state and federal authorities know that you taking the cash that customers give you and simply putting it your pocket? They don’t need to visit your place, they just look at monthly reports and compare them with neighboring businesses. So if you pocket half the cash customers give you that means that your “credit card percentage,” the percentage of sales you make from credit cards, goes up, a lot. And I guarantee you that your CCP will be higher than similar businesses in your area. That’ll make you stand out.

Like these people from this other place down in San Mateo County:

“Taxpayer operates a restaurant. For audit, taxpayer provided bank statements and credit card  merchant statements for the audit period, and guest checks and cash register tapes for December 2007. The Sales and Use Tax Department (Department) found that bank deposits exceeded reported total sales, and, for several months, there were no deposits of cash, which were indications that reported taxable sales were understated.”

In that case, the CCP was an impossible 100%. And also, the owners apparently deposited their cash anyway, which also looks funny.

Anyway, if you skim a little bit occasionally, you’ll get away with it. But you won’t save all that much money and you’ll have to keep up with it on a daily basis. And you’ll have to prevent your lousy employees from finding out and reporting you or finding out and skimming from you yourself. It gets complicated.

Now, if you’re used to flagrantly violating any laws you please, then you’re not going to like dealing with one  THOMAS E. FRANKOVICH (State Bar No. 074414). Why? Because he’ll send somebody in a wheelchair into your restaurant and then it’s game over, man. Game over:

“Plaintiff CRAIG YATES is a person with physical disabilities who, on or about March 10, 2008, March 14, 2008, March 16, 2008, August 15, 2008, August 23, 2008, December 20, 2008, March 7, 2009 and March 26, 2009, was an invitee, guest, patron, customer at defendants’ FUNE YA JAPANESE RESTAURANT, in the City of San Francisco, California. At said time and place, defendants failed to provide proper legal access to the sushi bar, which is a “public accommodation” and/or a “public facility” including, but not limited to entrance, dining area, men’s restroom and women’s restroom.”

So, all the money you “saved” through skimming gets paid out to lawyer Tom Frankovich.

And then you shut the place down.

Oh well.

Jerry Brown Throws Down: Goes After “Tax Lady Roni Deutch” for $34 Million

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Our California Attorney General Jerry Brown can’t abide those who concoct ”heartless schemes” to prey on those of us who owe the I.R.S. a lot of money.

Looks like famous Tax Lady and UC Berkeley grad Roni Deutch will soon have some splaining to do.   

All the deets, below.

El Protector de la Gente, Jerry Brown:

via Thomas Hawk

Brown Seeks $34 Million From TV’s Tax Lady Roni Deutch For Victimizing Thousands Who Sought Her Aid in Dealing With the IRS

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today filed a $34 million lawsuit against television’s “Tax Lady Roni Deutch” for orchestrating a “heartless scheme” that swindled thousands of people facing serious and expensive tax collection problems with the IRS.

“Tax Lady Roni Deutch is engaged in a heartless scheme that swindled people with tax problems,” Brown said. “She promises to significantly reduce their IRS tax debts, but instead preys on their vulnerability, taking large up-front payments but providing little or no help in lowering their tax bills.”

Deutch manufactures credibility by boasting that her tax resolution law firm, which has annual revenues of at least $25 million, is the largest of its kind in the nation. She spends $3 million a year on advertising, much of it on late-night cable TV, and frequently offers tax advice on NBC’s Today Show, CNN, and CNBC.

Here she is, more deets after the jump

(more…)

RAND Corp: GPS Snitch Units in All Cars Could Enforce New Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Tax

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Oh man, you drivers out there, you’re out on the road more and more every year* but the amount of gasoline and diesel ‘n stuff you buy isn’t keeping pace. So when people like you trade in their big old fuel-guzzling SUVs for Toyota Prius hybrids, the amount of gasoline they buy and the concomitant tax they pay to the Govmint goes down, let’s say by a half or two-thirds.

That’s good for Prius drivers but bad for the govmints. This chart from a big new report (free .pdf) out of California’s own RAND Corportation think tank ‘splains it all. See? You people are out there clogging up the roads and tearing up the streets 100% more than you were in 1980, but you’re only buying 50% more fuel:

You drivers are paying more in tax but not as much as if you would be paying if you were taxed by the mile. (That makes you a deadbeat in the eyes of the Powers That Be.)

And things are only going to get “worse” when Tesla Motors’ mainstream Model S hits the streets in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, “late 2012,” right? Electric car drivers pay no gas tax at all, so how are we going to make sure that they pay their fair share to repave our streets ‘n stuff**?

The RANDian eggheads looked at these issues and, out of 15 ideas, decided that these three would be the most practicable: 

What if the authorities put a GPS unit in your car or motorcycle? Not the regular kind of GPS receiver, the good kind, the ones that use differentials or whatever to pinpoint your whereabouts down to a couple yards on a 24-7 basis. 

You don’t like that? Well how about a cell phone in your car next to the engine that would call the government on a regular basis to rat out how miles you’ve driven the past week?

You don’t like that neither? Well how about a system that ID’s your car when you buy gas and then computes your Miles Driven by looking at your particular model’s EPA rating?

And let’s say this all gets implemented in five years. 

Or instead, our electeds could simply raise gas taxes a bit, but that’s not something that they like talking about doing.

Of course they could make this new VMT proposal “revenue neutral” by getting rid of or lowering per-gallon fuel taxes that you pay today. Once a system like this is in place, taxes would correlate more directly with miles driven – it’s up to you if you like that or not.

Welcome to The Future.

Speaking of 1980:

My uncle has a country place
That no one knows about.
He says it used to be a farm
Before the Motor Law.
And on Sundays I elude the Eyes,
And hop the Turbine Freight
To far outside the Wire
Where my white-haired uncle waits.

See how this libertarian, Canadian Power Rock Trio story ends after the jump.

*Not so much this past year or two, but you’ll be out there in force again soon enough.

**And maybe that’s the way it should be. I know all the arguments you’re thinking about - this is a political question, of course.

(more…)