10March
2020
Would a Revocable Trust Be Beneficial for You?

When developing an estate plan, a revocable trust can provide many benefits that, in most cases, significantly outweigh the cost of setting one up. Here are three of the benefits of setting up a revocable trust. Trust Basics A trust is an written arrangement under which one person, called a trustee, holds legal title to property for a beneficiary. You can be the trustee of your own living trust and keep total control over the assets in the trust. Trusts generally fall within two categories: 1. Living trusts created during the lifetime of individuals. Living trusts, also know as “inter…

10March
2020
How to Pay Retiree Health Costs Tax-Free

If you own a small business, you may have set up a defined benefit pension plan for you and your employees that will provide a specific amount of retirement income based on salary history and years of service. For 2020, the maximum annual benefit of a defined pension plan is $230,000 (up from $225,000 in 2019). In future years, it will be subject to cost-of-living adjustments. Main Requirements To qualify for tax-free treatment, a 401(h) plan: Cannot favor officers, shareholders, managers or highly compensated employees in coverage, contributions and benefits. Must specify the medical benefits that will be available and…

10March
2020
Test Your Estate Strategy Knowledge

Creating an estate strategy is all about helping ensure that your final wishes are carried out in the event of your death and your assets are transferred to your heirs with managing taxes in mind. How well do you know the fundamentals of estate management? Take our short quiz and see. 1. Probate is defined as: a.The legal document that must accompany any will b. A court-supervised estate administration process c.The assets that a lawyer manages d.The untaxed portion of an estate 2. The difference between the probate estate and the gross estate is: a.There is no difference b.The probate…

20February
2020
Five Important Rules When Registering Your Domain

With the proliferation of websites and domain registrations, it’s critical to protect your company. There is something out in the cyber world known as domain name hijacking. It refers to acts where a registered domain name is misused or stolen from the rightful name holder. hijacking is a security risk many organizations overlook when they develop security policy and business continuity plans. Domain name holders can take measures to protect their domain names against theft and loss. Here are five simple rules your company should follow to avoid tremendous irritation and costs in the future: 1. Pick a major registrar….

20February
2020
Enhance your Profit with This 12-Step Plan

Chances are, you have some great ideas on ways to increase profits at your company. But it takes more than ideas to make progress. It takes specific goals and a plan that will put feet under your ideas. Set up a profit enhancement road map within the next year at your company by following these 12 steps: 1. Select critical profit projects you want to work on and determine the target results for each project. For example, you may want to increase sales by 10 percent or reduce order-processing time by one day. 2. Assign a “Profit Champion” on your…

20February
2020
Coping with the In-Law Challenge

You may have started your family business as a small venture and didn’t give much thought to nepotism. Then, you brought the kids on board and your brothers and sisters signed on. Perhaps the business continued to flourish with little conflict. A Dozen Questions to Ask When considering whether to bring an in-law into the business, ask the following 12 questions to help get an honest appraisal of the situation: 1. How well does the individual get along with members of the family? 2. Would the in-law have a similar job and salary if he or she weren’t married to…

30January
2020
Help Stop Bribery in its Tracks

Today’s companies face a tremendous amount of pressure to win the best deals and contracts. In some cases, employees feel compelled to offer or accept bribes to clinch a business agreement. And in some countries, bribery is widely considered part of the cost of doing business. Watch for Other Forms of Corruption   Bribery may be the most common type of corporate corruption, but there are other forms to watch for, such as: Conflicts of Interest – This results when an employee has an undisclosed interest in a transaction. The conflict prevents the individual from making decisions based solely on the business…

30January
2020
‘Can You Give Me Some Seed Money for My Business?’

Let’s say your brother-in-law is starting a new business. You listen to his idea, read his business plan and think the endeavor sounds promising. Your brother-in-law asks if he can have $20,000 to help get the business off the ground. Should you just pull out your checkbook and shake hands? You may think that a casual agreement to help out a family member or friend is enough. After all, you trust the person and want to help the start-up company succeed. Do yourself a favor and take these steps: 1. Don’t agree immediately. Tell the family member or friend you’ll think about it. Take…

30January
2020
A Tax-Smart Strategy: Hire Your Spouse

If you are married and run your business as a sole proprietorship (or as a single-member LLC treated as a sole proprietorship for federal tax purposes), it can be a tax-smart move to hire your spouse as an employee. Then, provide most or all of his or her compensation in the form of payments from a medical expense reimbursement plan set up for your business. These plans are often referred to as “Section 105 Plans.” By using a Section 105 plan compensation strategy, you can claim business write-offs — on Schedule C of your Form 1040 — for the reimbursements paid…

31December
2019
Minimizing Your Risk of Cyber Breach

  Concerns about cyber threats disrupting core operations are now a top operational risk. The Securities and Exchange Commission has called threats to cybersecurity “the biggest systematic risk we have facing us.” Given the impact that breaches can have and the level of sophistication shown by hackers in recent breaches, it’s not a matter of if a breach will occur, but when and how it will occur. Cyber data — including financial data, sensitive customer information and employee records stored on the cloud or on the company’s technology devices and networks — is one of the most valuable assets many companies own….

31December
2019
Stamp Out Bad Attitudes and Boost Profits

  A good attitude can work wonders at any organization. A cheerful receptionist, a friendly delivery person or a sales clerk with a winning smile can be money in the bank for your business. By the same token, a bad attitude on the part of your staff members can drag your organization down like a 500-pound anchor. Even under the best conditions, your company can’t afford to turn off customers. But when the economy is soft and you’re trying to attract business, Stinkin’ Thinkin’ just makes things worse. If you come across Stinkin’ Thinkin’ in your organization, gain control immediately…

31December
2019
Taking Advantage of Family Funds

Remember when you were a kid and your parents paid all the bills and told you what to do? Well, if the family business runs into a cash crunch and you need to borrow money, think carefully before borrowing from parents and other relatives — or you could find you stepped into a time warp. Weighing Equity Against a Loan Among family members, loans tend to be more popular than equity investments because they are cheaper, limit the lender from trying to get involved in the business and carry a lower risk of losing the entire investment. For example, let’s…

04December
2019
Don’t Undermine Internal Fraud Investigations

For even the largest and most sophisticated organizations, internal fraud inquiries can pose numerous challenges that can send a case off track, cause legal expenses to skyrocket, and put your enterprise on the losing side. Ranging from lax investigations to not knowing enough about local law, here are examples of six mistakes that turned victory into defeat: 1. Avoid rushing to judgment. The facts of a case may clearly seem to indicate guilt, but regardless of how compelling the evidence, your organization must conduct a rigorous investigation. In one case, a commercial builder’s internal audit department had evidence that the business’s controller had used corporate funds…

04December
2019
Consider Hosting a Family Meeting about Your Estate Plan

If you’re a business owner and a high-net-worth individual, you may want to gather your family members together to discuss the details of your estate plan. This can be especially important if you own a business that employs family members. These meetings are a little like the Scottish clan gatherings held hundreds of years ago by clan chiefs to discuss their succession and inheritance plans. The Purpose of Gatherings For centuries, some Scottish clans had a tradition of getting together periodically. When communication and travel were difficult, these gatherings provided a way to prepare for the future. Estate planning was…

04December
2019
Put Social Networking Sites to Work for Your Family Business

If you think that social media is just for teenagers, think again. More than half of those logging on to social media sites are in their mid-thirties or older.     The Benefits of Using Social Media Are Many If branding, communication and targeted marketing efforts are not compelling enough, consider the following social networking success story. One Texas business decided to tie its social networking to a fundraiser for Haiti relief. For every fan added during a specified time frame the company donated a dollar to the Haiti relief effort. Employees spread the word about the fundraiser through posts…

14November
2019
Estate Tax Planning Tips for Single People

  Estate planning is an important part of your overall wealth management strategy, especially if you’re unmarried. Single parents may worry about who will care for their minor children and whether their surviving kids’ financial needs will be met until adulthood. Likewise, wealthy single people have less flexibility when it comes to shielding transfers from gift and estate taxes. Fortunately, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), estate tax issues are less of a concern. The exemption amounts have been temporarily raised, so you’re less likely to be hit with the federal estate tax. But you may need to…

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