21September
2017
Two Charitable Trusts that Provide Dual Benefits

Two popular charitable giving vehicles are charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) and charitable lead trusts (CLTs). They are what’s known as “split-interest” trusts. Why? Because of their dual beneficial interests: They can benefit a favorite qualified charity as well as non-charitable beneficiaries, such as your loved ones or even yourself. Let’s take a closer look at CRTs and CLTs. CRTs Benefit Charity Last A CRT provides non-charitable beneficiaries with exclusive rights to all distributions until their interests have terminated. At that time, charitable beneficiaries receive the remainder — the assets left over in the trust. A CRT can be a particularly…

21September
2017
How a Deductible Home Office Affects a Sale

If you use part of your home as an office and take deductions for related expenses on your annual tax return, can you claim a valuable federal tax break when you sell? Specifically, can you claim the home sale gain exclusion of up to $250,000 for single taxpayers ($500,000 for married couples filing jointly)? In many cases, you can still take advantage of this tax benefit. As long as your deductible home office space is in the same dwelling unit as your residence, you can use the gain exclusion to shelter profit from the entire property. In other words, you are…

21September
2017
Should You Review Your Estate Plan?

In the current environment of changing estate tax laws, it is more important than ever to periodically review your estate plan to help ensure that it still meets your objectives. Some questions to consider during this review include:         Does your estate plan consider the changing estate tax laws, taking advantage of current exemption amounts? Has your estate’s value increased significantly? In general, as your estate’s value increases, more sophisticated estate planning tools should be considered. Do the terms of your will still reflect your wishes for the distribution of your assets? Are you comfortable with your…

07September
2017
Protect Your Most Prized Possessions

One of the most costly – yet easily prevented – disasters for any business is the failure to secure ownership of intellectual property (IP). Unless you take the proper legal steps, you could find that your company doesn’t own its most prized possessions. Here are the details you need to know. Under the law, the ownership of copyrights and inventions may actually belong to your independent contractors and employees, unless there is a prior written agreement to the contrary. Federal copyright law, and the laws of most states, mandate that employees and independent contractors who invent products, write materials and…

07September
2017
Don’t Sink Profitable Ideas

At many companies, the mindset of managers stifles innovation and inhibits profitability. Some of the best money making ideas come from people who work on the front lines. Yet, employees often hear the same negative responses when they try to share them. Does your management team react to suggestions with these phrases? Don’t be ridiculous. We’re not ready for that. Let’s shelve it for right now. That won’t work here. We need to think about it some more. Where did you dig up that idea? It’s too radical. We’ve done okay until now without it. It’s not practical. We’ve never…

07September
2017
Sell Corporate Stock Tax-Free to an ESOP

When family business owners sell C corporation stock for a big profit, they usually qualify for the current 20 percent maximum federal rate on long-term capital gains (assuming they’ve owned the shares for over a year). While a 20 percent rate is good, a tax-free sale to an ESOP could be even better.                  ESOP Facts     History: The idea for employee stock ownership plans was conceived in the 1950s by Louis Kelso, a lawyer and investment banker. He believed businesses would be stronger if all employees had an ownership share. Tax benefits: It wasn’t until…