19October
2017
Investing With Your Heart

Some individuals believe that the return on investment shouldn’t be the only criterion for how they invest their money. For them, the social impact of investing is just as important — perhaps, more important. The history of socially responsible investing stretches at least as far back as the mid-18th Century, but its more modern form began taking shape in the 1960s, amidst the fight for civil rights and the emerging anti-Vietnam protests. More than $8.7 trillion is managed under sustainable and responsible investing principles.¹ This includes mutual funds, endowments and even venture-capital funds. Amounts in mutual funds are subject to…

19October
2017
Law Increases Whistleblower Shields

Some of the most vivid memories of the 2002 corporate scandals were Enron’s Sherron Watkins and WorldCom’s Cynthia Cooper revealing the financial abuses that occurred at their companies. Other Whistleblower Laws Sarbanes-Oxley joins more than 50 federal laws with whistleblower protections, including: The Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 The False Claims Act The Surface Transportation Assistance Act The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act The International Safety Container Act The Energy Reorganization Act The Clean Air Act The Safe Drinking Water Act The Federal Water Pollution Control Act The Toxic Substances Control ActThe Solid Waste Disposal Act The Comprehensive…

19October
2017
Broaching a Difficult Subject

Estate planning can be a difficult subject to broach with your parents. You don’t want to seem concerned about how much money they may eventually leave you, while they may fear you are interfering in their finances. But to help ensure that their estate is settled quickly according to their wishes, family members should have some basic information. You don’t need to know the specifics of who will receive what, but you should find out: Where important estate planning documents are kept. Find out whether your parents have a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy. A durable…

05October
2017
How Crooks Use Bankruptcy to Cheat Creditors

When a company goes bankrupt, honest owners or directors do everything they can to hold creditors’ losses to a minimum. When it becomes clear the business can’t be saved, they halt trading (in the case of public companies), hire professional advisors to help guide them through bankruptcy proceedings and generally arrange for orderly liquidation. Less scrupulous people use somewhat different tactics. They may deliberately sell off assets so there isn’t enough left of the company to justify creditors bringing in turnaround or bankruptcy experts. Worse, they may attempt to profit from bankruptcy. Knowing how to spot these businesses — sometimes…

05October
2017
Review Financial Statements Critically

Corporate financial statements should not necessarily be taken at face value. While the financial statements of public companies must be stated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), these principles are not rigid rules, allowing much leeway and discretion. A company’s earnings can vary significantly depending on how certain items are reported, such as: How revenue is recognized. The accounting principle is that revenue should be recognized when most of the company’s obligations are fulfilled and the company is reasonably sure that it will be paid. While the concept seems simple enough, there are a number of situations where…

05October
2017
Tax-Wise Ways to Get Cash Out of Your C Corp

If your family business operates as a C corporation, watch out for double taxation whenever you withdraw cash from the company. If the corporation has current or accumulated earnings and profits, the IRS generally considers payments to shareholders to be taxable dividends — unless there’s proof they were for another purpose (such as compensation for services or payments on a loan to the company). The problem: Dividends mean double taxation. Your corporation gets taxed once on the income that produces the dividend and you get taxed again upon receiving it. Fortunately, there are strategies to prevent double taxation. Here are…