3 hot spots to look for your successor

| Business Briefs, News

Picking someone to lead your company after you step down is probably among the hardest aspects of retiring (or otherwise moving on). Sure, there are some business owners who have a ready-made successor waiting in the wings at a moment’s notice. But many have a few viable candidates to consider — others have too few. When looking for a successor, for best results, keep an open mind. Don’t assume you have to pick any one person — look everywhere. Here are three hot spots to consider. 1.    Read more [...]

Look at your employees with cybersecurity in mind

| Business Briefs

Today’s businesses operate in an era of hyper-connectedness and, unfortunately, a burgeoning global cybercrime industry. You can’t afford to hope you’ll luck out and avoid a cyberattack. It’s essential to establish policies and procedures to minimize risk. One specific area in which to focus is your employees. Know the threats There are a variety of cybercrimes you need to guard against. For instance, thieves may steal proprietary or sensitive business data with the intention of selling Read more [...]

Consider key person insurance as a succession plan safeguard

| Business Briefs

In business, and in life, among the most important ways to manage risk is through insurance. For certain types of companies — particularly start-ups and small businesses — one major threat is the sudden loss of an owner or hard-to-replace employee. To safeguard against this risk, insurers offer key person insurance. Under a key person policy, a business buys life insurance covering the owner or employee, pays the premiums and names itself beneficiary. Should the key person die while the policy Read more [...]

Offer plan loans? Be sure to set a reasonable interest rate

| Business Briefs

Like many businesses, yours may allow retirement plan participants to take out loans from their accounts. Such loans are governed by many IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) rules and regulations. So if your company offers plan loans, your plan document must comply with current laws — including setting a “reasonable” interest rate. Agency perspectives Neither the IRS nor DOL provides a set percentage for plan sponsors to use. Yet both require the rate to be “reasonable.” The IRS asks Read more [...]

Negotiations: tips from the trenches

| Business Miscellaneous

By Michael Alerding, CPA     We all exercise the art of negotiation many times each day.  We negotiate with family about weekend activities or plans for dinner and even who gets to take the dog out for a walk.  Negotiations are a natural part of our existence.  We usually don’t realize we are negotiating, but whenever two or more people endeavor to reach a conclusion that will satisfy the entire group, that’s called negotiation.  Conversely, if one person has the authority to make decisions Read more [...]

Deduct all of the mileage you’re entitled to — but not more

| Tax Briefs

Rather than keeping track of the actual cost of operating a vehicle, employees and self-employed taxpayers can use a standard mileage rate to compute their deduction related to using a vehicle for business. But you might also be able to deduct miles driven for other purposes, including medical, moving and charitable purposes. What are the deduction rates? The rates vary depending on the purpose and the year: Business: 54 cents (2016), 53.5 cents (2017) Medical: 19 cents (2016), 17 cents Read more [...]

When an elderly parent might qualify as your dependent

| Tax Briefs

It’s not uncommon for adult children to help support their aging parents. If you’re in this position, you might qualify for the adult-dependent exemption. It allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to $4,050 for each adult dependent claimed on their 2016 tax return. Basic qualifications For you to qualify for the adult-dependent exemption, in most cases your parent must have less gross income for the tax year than the exemption amount. (Exceptions may apply if your parent is permanently Read more [...]

2016 IRA contributions — it’s not too late!

| Tax Briefs

Yes, there’s still time to make 2016 contributions to your IRA. The deadline for such contributions is April 18, 2017. If the contribution is deductible, it will lower your 2016 tax bill. But even if it isn’t, making a 2016 contribution is likely a good idea. Benefits beyond a deduction Tax-advantaged retirement plans like IRAs allow your money to grow tax-deferred — or, in the case of Roth accounts, tax-free. But annual contributions are limited by tax law, and any unused limit can’t Read more [...]

Listen and trust: The power of collaborative management

| Business Briefs

Many business owners are accustomed to running the whole show. But as your company grows, you’ll likely be better off sharing responsibility for major decisions. Whether you’ve recruited experienced managers or developed “home grown” talent, you can empower these employees by taking a more collaborative approach to management. Not employees — team members Successful collaboration starts with a new mindset. Stop thinking of your managers as employees and instead regard them as team Read more [...]

Tangible property safe harbors help maximize deductions

| Tax Briefs

If last year your business made repairs to tangible property, such as buildings, machinery, equipment or vehicles, you may be eligible for a valuable deduction on your 2016 income tax return. But you must make sure they were truly “repairs”, and not actually “improvements”. Why? Costs incurred to improve tangible property must be depreciated over a period of years. But costs incurred on incidental repairs and maintenance can be expensed and immediately deducted. What’s an “improvement”? In Read more [...]