16July
2018
Know the White Collar Laws Before Doing Business Abroad

Conducting business in another country can be an effective way to expand your company and boost its revenues. But before you indulge, you need to be clear on how the prospective country deals with internal fraud and white collar criminals. Let’s take a look at Canada, where many U.S. companies do business. In that country, oversight and enforcement is somewhat fractured, split between provincial and territorial agencies as well as the federal government and its Criminal Code. The country’s multi-agency system for market regulation and the enforcement of securities law involves nearly 50 agencies organized into six jurisdictional “pillars.” Many…

16July
2018
Make Your Workplace Safer from Violence

Workplace violence isn’t just limited to high-risk jobs such as police officers, taxi drivers and late night convenience store clerks. Violence can happen anywhere. Workplace violence occurs at all types of businesses including factories, hospitals, engineering firms, advertising agencies and colleges. Every year, nearly two million American workers report being The most recent records by the Bureau of Labor Statistics say workplace homicides rose by 2% to 417 cases in 2015, with shootings increasing by 15%. The 354 shootings in 2015 represented the first increase since 2012.victimized by workplace violence, and many more incidents go unreported. Overall, workplace violence costs employers more…

16July
2018
Keep a Firm Grip on Workplace Strife

Running a family business can be rewarding all around, but you must balance personal commitment to relatives with the company’s needs. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the bottom line and staff morale. A Feasible Plan The Small Business Administration offers these tips to keep a family business running smoothly: At work, the success of the business must be the paramount issue. Family members must accept the boss/employee relationship. Job descriptions should be clear, written and enforced. Problems at home should be left there and workplace problems should not be brought home. Language should be more impersonal than it is…

12July
2018
Important Facts About Whistleblower Hotlines

In recent years, many companies have implemented hotlines for employees, vendors and others to anonymously report workplace behavior that is unethical or illegal. These hotlines allow employees to confidentially come forward with important information without fear of retribution. Just by having one in place, you can reduce fraudulent incidents, according to a survey done by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. But setting up an effective hotline involves more than putting in an additional phone line. Here are 14 important considerations that can make your hotline more successful. After all, once you set one up, you want people to use it….

12July
2018
Tax-Smart Cash Flow Solution for Seniors with Appreciated Homes

Many older people own greatly appreciated homes but are short of cash. A side effect of large appreciation is the fact that selling the property to raise cash will trigger a gain well in excess of the federal home sale gain exclusion (up to $500,000 for joint-filing couples and up to $250,000 for unmarried individuals). The federal and state income tax bills could easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and all that money would be gone forever. Thankfully, there’s a potential solution that involves taking out a reverse mortgage on your property instead of selling. That way,…

12July
2018
Find Balance in Your Time

Every business owner finds it difficult to separate business and family time, but it’s even more critical when you’re involved in a family-run company. The business is your family’s livelihood and several generations might be counting on you to keep the company thriving. Some business owners not only deal with that pressure, but find that immediate family members resent the tremendous amount of time they devote to work. If you’re in this situation, you may be thinking, “Something’s got to give.” Adhering to a few simple techniques can help you find the right balance between family and business and allow…

28June
2018
Good Things Come from Crummey Trusts

The benefits of a Crummey trust are anything but “crummy.” This type of estate planning tool, named after the taxpayer in the first case authorizing its use, allows you to claim the annual gift tax exclusion for periodic transfers to an irrevocable trust. Background: Under the annual gift tax exclusion, in 2018 you can transfer up to $15,000 a year to as many recipients as you like without paying any gift tax $30,000 for joint gifts made by a married couple (up from $14,000 and $28,000 in 2017). To qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion, however, the gift must…

28June
2018
You May Want to Separate Real Estate Assets from Your Business

Many companies choose not to combine real estate and other assets into a single entity. Perhaps the business fears liability for injuries suffered on the property. Or legal liabilities encountered by the company could affect property ownership. But there are valid and potentially beneficial tax reasons for holding real estate in a separate entity as well. Avoiding Costly Mistakes Many businesses operate as C corporations so they can buy and hold real estate just as they do equipment, inventory and other assets. The expenses of owning the property are treated as ordinary expenses on the company’s income statement. However, when…

28June
2018
Should You Serve as Executor?

When someone asks you to serve as executor of his or her estate, it is generally meant as a compliment that he or she trusts you to serve in this important role. But don’t simply accept the role before you have given the matter serious thought. Not only does the job come with significant responsibilities, but you may find yourself in the middle of family squabbles. Before agreeing to take on the role of executor, consider the following: Understand the duties involved. They include: Locating and valuing all assets. This includes dealing with the probate court and filing all required…

31May
2018
Are Women and Retirement Strategies a Mismatch?

Forty-four percent of American women are the primary breadwinner in their house.1 Yet only 10% of women feel very confident in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle.2  Although more women are providing for their families, when it comes to preparing for retirement, they may be leaving their future to chance.  Women and College The reason behind this disparity isn’t a lack of education or independence. Today women are more likely to go to college and graduate than men.3 So what keeps them from taking charge of their long-term financial picture? One reason may be a lack of…

31May
2018
Sell (or Buy) a Corporate Business With a Tax-Free Reorganization

There are two basic ways to sell an incorporated business — sell the assets or sell the stock. For two good tax reasons, sellers usually prefer stock sales: 1. Assuming you’ve owned the shares for more than a year, your profits will generally be taxed at a maximum federal rate of only 15%. This applies equally to C and S corporations. 2. Double taxation is avoided when you sell C corporation stock, because the sale won’t trigger any taxable gain at the corporate level. However, there may be an even better alternative. If you can find another corporation to acquire…

31May
2018
The Basics of Estate Planning

With the many changes in the estate tax in recent years, you could be confused about the need for estate planning. But estate planning was never just about reducing estate taxes. It is also about ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your wishes and that your heirs are properly provided for. At a minimum, you probably need to take care of the following: Select a guardian for your minor children. This is probably the most important reason for parents with minor children to plan their estate. You need to select an individual who has a genuine concern for…

17May
2018
Ten Steps to Help Thwart Employee Theft

There are many types of fraud committed against businesses — from workers’ compensation scams to complex corporate swindles — but one of the most common types is simply employee theft. This can occur when employees take money from a cash register, forge names or change amounts on company checks, engage in creative bookkeeping a number of other schemes. The Fraud Triangle Certain situations drive some people to steal. It’s sometimes called the “fraud triangle” and it generally contains three elements: Pressure. This is often financial stress with the individual unable to share the problem and seeing no effective, legal way…

17May
2018
Plan Around the Medicare Tax on Investment Income

The 3.8% Medicare tax on net investment income took effect a few years ago. It only affects higher-income individuals, but that can include anyone who happens to have big one-time taxable income or gains in one year. This article covers some planning strategies that individuals can implement to avoid or minimize the tax. Net Investment Income Tax Basics The following types of income and gain (net of related deductions) are generally included in the definition of net investment income and thus potentially exposed to the 3.8% tax. Gains from selling assets held for investment including gains from selling investment real…

17May
2018
Understanding the Need for Key Employee Insurance

Let’s say your family company includes a great group of employees and business couldn’t be better. You know that much of your success is due to one or two people with skills and personalities that are hard to match. Suppose they were injured and out of work for a while? Or worse, suppose they died unexpectedly? Would your company survive? When an owner or a key employee of a closely held business dies or becomes disabled, there are five separate groups that are concerned about the immediate financial health and future of the operation: Employees who are anxious about the…

03May
2018
Exploring Six Common Myths about Trusts

Most of us know that a trust is a useful way to safeguard financial assets for your benefit or for someone else. But the common misconceptions about trusts could cause you to bypass them entirely, or plan to use them improperly.             Myth #1: Now that Federal Law Allows a $10-Million-Plus Exemption and Includes “Portability,” Estate Taxes Are No Longer a Problem  A properly written irrevocable trust can be an excellent vehicle to protect your financial assets against heavy federal and state estate taxes. Another type of trust is a revocable living trust, which is one of the…

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