EHTC chooses a different local charity each year as the recipient of our annual Chipping for Charity golf outing held at Scott Lake Country Club on September 21, 2016. Deciding which charity will benefit from the golf outing is always difficult because there are so many worthy causes. However, this is also a rewarding task for us at EHTC because it is one area where we truly pride ourselves in giving to the community!
When psychiatrist Mark Goulston asked several successful CEOs to name the single most important key to their success, he expected them to refer to their "vision" or their "mission."
But, independent of one another, the CEOs advised: Recognize destructive no-win people inside and outside your workplace early. Then cut your losses and move on.
According to the CEOs, "lean and clean" is more productive than "lean and mean." Toward this end, Goulston started urging employers to perform a "corporate housecleaning" every six months.
How Can Your Firm Achieve This?
1. Clean house.
2. Make time to personally praise good and outstanding employees.
3. "Hire more shrewdly next time," said Goulston.
Foremost on Goulston's list is cleaning house — "cutting out the bad wood," he said. Workplace leaders can prepare for housecleaning with an inventory of employees, placing each worker in one of four categories: Impossible, Difficult, Easy and Extraordinary.
Goulston defined the four categories as follows:
- Impossible employees are the ones who "keep you up at night," according to Goulston. They are not just rebels without a cause. They are rebels without a clue. They are the "know-it-alls" who don't know what they're talking about. When you cross them, they can become verbally combative or abusive. You dread having to see or deal with them. You appease or avoid them because they infuriate you. They contaminate your organization as more worthy and conscientious employees see superiors "greasing these squeaky wheels."
- Difficult employees don't keep you up at night. Instead, they keep other people in your workplace awake. They are arrogant and talk down to other employees. As contrary as they are, you keep them because you need their talents or abilities. You have to weigh the value they bring to your organization against the problems they create.
- Easy employees are your foot soldiers. They are cooperative, "salt of the earth," and great team players. They do their jobs without creating problems for you. Regardless of the chaos going on in your organization, they do a good job because they're responsible and grown up.
- Extraordinary employees are your stars and the future of your organization because of their talent and commitment. They'll stay late at night trying to figure out a better way to do something for your organization. They're the ones who enable you and other executives to get a good night's sleep because you feel (and see) how dedicated they are to your organization.
To evaluate your impossible and difficult employees, Goulston recommended you use his "Self-Other Inventory" chart. (See chart below.)
A summary sentence you write on the chart about the attitude of an employee might state: "I can rely on this person to do the bare necessities of the job if he is not annoyed about something." Or: "I can't rely on him to do a task without making mistakes, then blaming others or making excuses." Other summaries might state: "He can rely on me to give him a warning and a chance to improve his work" or "he can't rely on me to endlessly tolerate his sloppy work and negative attitude."
"This tool will help you to [clarify] to employees and yourself what needs to improve in order for the difficult and impossible to keep their jobs," said Goulston, author of Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior.
Goulston encourages workplace leaders to turn the table on themselves, by allowing the employee to fill out the same evaluation chart.
Once a plan of corrective action is devised, deadlines for follow-up discussions and compliance must be set, and then enforced. Failure to comply with the agreed-upon remedies justifies dismissal of impossible employees, Goulston advised.
This charting tool also works for difficult, easy and extraordinary employees. Goulston offered the following summaries regarding these higher-potential categories:
Difficult people may be arrogant, but they're not stupid. They want to get results, but they have big egos. Their intimidating, condescending attitude frequently makes people afraid to tell them when things go wrong. If they don't find out about problems, they can't correct them. If you can't find a way to keep employees from upsetting people around them, then give them their own space and skilled, thick-skinned assistants to insulate them from the rest of the workplace.
Employers, managers and supervisors often take easy and extraordinary employees for granted while their concerns are tied up with other combative and contrary people. You can usually get away with ignoring easy and extraordinary staff members, but it's wrong to do so, Goulston said.
One of the most common pitfalls of less-than-great leaders is letting the people who don't care about the firm or organization distract them from expressing gratitude toward people who do care.
Goulston also polled his CEO clients on their opinions about the second most important key to success. The CEOs replied that next to cutting the impossible people out of their lives early, the most important key is to recognize and value the good people so they could keep them in their lives longer.
Self-Other Inventory for ________________
|What Can I Rely on this Person For?||What Can't I Rely on this Person For?||What Can this Person Rely on Me For?||What Can't This Person Rely on Me For?|
E-filing is on the upswing. According to the Data Book recently released by the IRS, the agency processed 240 million returns during its last fiscal year, of which 59 percent, or 151 million, were filed electronically. Of the 146 million individual income tax returns filed, almost 83 percent were e-filed.
You might think those numbers suggest we are close to becoming a paperless society, at least when it comes to the IRS. That would be a wrong assumption. Even if you recently filed your 2013 tax return electronically, you probably printed out a hard copy for your files. Add that paper to the financial reports, bank statements and other documents you've been holding on to for years and it is likely your filing cabinets are overflowing with paper.
Now that you have filed your tax return, take time to do some spring cleaning.
But you cannot just dump old tax records without giving the process some thought. Some of the documents may still be valuable in case the IRS ever comes calling.
Audits and Amended Returns
You should generally keep records supporting items claimed on your individual tax return until the statute of limitations runs out. Typically, that is three years from the due date of the return or the date you filed, whichever is later. So this year you can generally toss out your tax records for the 2010 tax year and most paperwork you have left from earlier years, but keep your files for the past three tax years.
This is because the IRS can audit your returns for a minimum of three years. You can also file an amended return on Form 1040X during this time period if you missed a deduction, overlooked a credit or misreported income.
But you are not necessarily safe from an audit after three years have passed. There are a couple of key exceptions to this general rule:
1. The statute of limitations increases to six years if the IRS has reason to believe you understated your income by 25 percent or more, and
2. There is no time limit if the IRS suspects fraud or you do not file a tax return.
Various Retention Requirements
Keeping records for three years is the general rule. There are exceptions for certain records. Perhaps not surprisingly, there is no easy answer to the question of how long you should keep specific papers. The IRS does not require you to keep records in any particular way. But here are some basic guidelines for individuals to follow. (See right-hand box for business guidelines.)
Completed tax returns. Some tax advisers recommend that you hold onto copies of completed, filed returns for your lifetime. The reason is so you can prove to the IRS that you actually filed if there's ever a question about it. Even if you don't keep the returns indefinitely, you should hang onto them for at least six years after they are due or filed, whichever is later.
Backup records. Any written evidence that supports figures on your tax return, such as receipts, expense logs, bank notices and sales records, should generally be kept for at least three years.
Exceptions. There are times when you may be entitled to more than the usual three years to file an amended return. For instance, you have up to seven years to take deductions for bad debts or worthless securities, so don't toss out records that could result in refund claims for those items.
Real estate records. Keep real estate records for as long as you own the property, plus three years after you sell (or otherwise dispose of) it and report the transaction on your tax return. Throughout ownership of the property, keep records of the purchase, as well as receipts for home improvements, insurance claims, and documents relating to refinancing. These may help prove your adjusted basis in the home, which is needed to calculate the taxable gain at the time of sale, or to support calculations for rental property or home office deductions.
Securities. To accurately report taxable events involving stocks and bonds, you must maintain detailed records of purchases and sales. These records should include dates, quantities, prices, dividend reinvestment, and investment expenses, such as broker fees. Keep these records for as long as you own the investments, plus the statute of limitations on the relevant tax returns.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The IRS requires you to keep copies of Forms 8606, 5498 and 1099-R until all the money is withdrawn from your IRA accounts. Now that Roth IRAs have been added into the mix for some retirement savers, it's more important than ever to hold onto all IRA records pertaining to contributions and withdrawals in case you're ever questioned. If an account is closed, treat IRA records with the same rules as securities. Don't dispose of any ownership documentation until the statute of limitations expires.
Issues affecting more than one year. Records that support figures affecting multiple years, such as carryovers of charitable deductions, net operating loss carrybacks or carryforwards or casualty losses, should be saved until the deductions no longer have an effect, plus seven years, according to IRS instructions.
These general recordkeeping guidelines are for individual tax purposes. Businesses, insurance companies and creditors may have other requirements. Contact your advisers for more information.
Last word: One critical step to take when cleaning out financial documents is to shred them thoroughly before you toss them out.
Could your not-for-profit be in line for tax credits with the enactment of the Affordable Care Act? Are you paying unnecessary taxes? Be sure to take note of the following money saving ideas for not-for-profit entities.
While often less discussed, not-for-profit organizations have their own filing responsibilities with the Internal Revenue Service. These filing requirements vary from one organization to another and can depend on location and operation. To avoid losing the tax-exempt status, it’s imperative that organizations take note of these tips.