30May
2019
The Benefits of Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) is an irrevocable trust set up to benefit a charitable organization. The trust’s term is one lifetime, several lifetimes, or a period not to exceed 20 years. Basically, you irrevocably gift an asset to the CRT, usually an asset with a low tax basis that has appreciated significantly. During the trust’s term, you receive a certain amount of income and/or capital annually (called the retained interest). At the trust’s termination, the charitable organization receives the remaining assets (called the remainder interest). CRTs offer several benefits: Since the trust is a tax-exempt organization, the CRT can…

30May
2019
How Tax Reform Affects Divorce Settlements for Small Business Owners

How does the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) affect divorce settlements? Changes in the new law may require divorcing individuals — especially those who own businesses and other investments — to take a different approach to splitting assets and setting maintenance payments than under prior law. To illustrate, consider Pat and Chris, a hypothetical married couple who decided to file for divorce on Valentine’s Day 2019. Here’s an overview of several key issues they face. Business Tax Issues Pat is the family’s sole breadwinner. During her 15-year marriage with Chris, Pat started a successful electrical subcontracting business. It’s a…

30May
2019
Yours, Mine and Ours: Estate Strategies for Second Marriages

If you are one of the many Americans who are in a second marriage, you may need to revisit your estate strategy.¹ Unlike a typical first marriage, second marriages often require special consideration that should address children from a prior marriage and the disposition of assets accumulated prior to the second marriage. Second Marriages Here are some ideas you may want to think about when updating your estate strategy: You may want to ensure that your children from your first marriage are set up to receive assets from your estate, even as you provide your second spouse with adequate resources…

16May
2019
An Easier Way to Screen Applicant Resumes

Screening job applicants is a cumbersome process but you can save time and money by making your company’s website an integral part of your recruiting strategy. How? Design an online career center and applicant screening program. You can hire a firm to handle the task, or if your company has skilled IT staff, you can do it on your own. In the long run, you’ll save money. The automated process means your managers can spend time on tasks that are more productive than sifting through applications and answering every inquiry, e-mail and phone call. Here are five steps that will…

16May
2019
Best Choice: A Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

To survive and thrive in a competitive marketplace, companies need to secure help and guidance from a wide range of sources. To do so, many companies create advisory boards, or more formally, a board of directors to help guide them and hopefully facilitate growth. If your company plans to go public, it will be required to put a board of directors in place. However, prior to that time, you may be faced with the decision as to whether to create a board of directors or an advisory board. To determine which path makes most sense for your organization, here are…

16May
2019
Define a Chain of Command

Part of the responsibility of a good manager is to smooth over conflicts among employees — yet that task can be complicated when running a family-owned business. The U.S. Small Business Administration studied family-owned companies and found they must deal with the dichotomy of workplace and personal relationships. At home, family roles — husband/wife, parent/child and in-laws — may be traditionally defined. Language is personal and attitudes may be more subjective. Here are three basic tips that can help keep those relationships from interfering with work: 1. Leave it home. Determine that family matters will stay where they belong —…

02May
2019
All Muni Bonds Are Not Created Equal

The city of Detroit emerged from bankruptcy in 2014. Still its previous inability to pay investors left some questioning their long-held assumption about the relative safety of municipal bonds.1 Without question, in the wake of Detroit’s troubles, gaining a better understanding of municipal bonds makes more sense than ever.2 At their most basic level, there are two types of municipal bonds: General obligation bonds, which are a promise by the issuer to levy taxes sufficient to make full and timely payments to investors, and Revenue bonds, which are bonds whose interest and principal are backed by the revenues of the…

02May
2019
Transfer Pricing: Maximize Opportunities and Minimize Risks

Transfer pricing continues to be one of the most important matters facing multinational companies. The tax situation in any given country can affect whether or not your business sets up facilities or holds intellectual property ownership there. The IRS and numerous tax authorities worldwide are intensifying their focus on how corporations allocate income and expenses among related entities abroad because of the potential to shift income inappropriately to lower tax jurisdictions. In order to satisfy the IRS and other tax authorities, transfer pricing must generally meet an “arm’s length” standard. In other words, the prices charged in an intercompany transaction…

02May
2019
Critical Estate Documents

Financial Documents   Question Joint Ownership Durable Power of Attorney Living Trust What does it do? Enables you to own property jointly with another person Authorizes someone to handle legal and financial decisions if you become incapacitated Holds your belongings until your death Can it authorize someone to handle your financial affairs if you are unable to communicate? Generally, no Generally, no Can it specify how you want your belongings transferred after your death? But only those belongings owned jointly Generally, no Is it private? When does it go into effect? As soon as joint ownership is recorded Either immediately…