Get 2 tax benefits from 1 donation: Give appreciated stock instead of cash

| Tax Briefs

If you’re charitably inclined, making donations is probably one of your key year-end tax planning strategies. But if you typically give cash, you may want to consider another option that provides not just one but two tax benefits: Donating long-term appreciated stock. More tax savings Appreciated publicly traded stock you’ve held more than one year is long-term capital gains property. If you donate it to a qualified charity, you can enjoy two benefits: 1) You can claim a charitable deduction Read more [...]

Proper education can drive retirement plan participation

| Business Briefs

Employers who offer retirement savings plans are already helping their workforces. But not all employees take advantage of these plans. And many who do still don’t contribute enough to retire comfortably. As a business owner, you can help your employees even more — and drive plan participation — by providing proper education on retirement planning. Here are five ways to go: 1.   Teach them about the general concepts of investing. Many employees are unfamiliar with basic economic and Read more [...]

Climbing the “hierarchy of needs” to find employee engagement

| Business Briefs

In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow set out his “hierarchy of needs.” This theory suggested that human behavior is a response to a variety of needs ranging from physical survival to self-actualization. At this point, you may be wondering, “What does any of this have to do with my business?” The answer is that truly engaged employees are motivated by needs other than just financial compensation. 5 tiers of needs As mentioned, Maslow theorized that humans have various needs to live Read more [...]

Tax impact of investor vs. trader status

| Tax Briefs

If you invest, whether you’re considered an investor or a trader can have a significant impact on your tax bill. Do you know the difference? Investors Most people who trade stocks are classified as investors for tax purposes. This means any net gains are treated as capital gains rather than ordinary income. That’s good if your net gains are long-term (that is, you’ve held the investment more than a year), because you can enjoy the lower long-term capital gains rate. However, any investment-related Read more [...]

Speed up business decisions with dashboard reports

| Business Briefs

Would you drive a car without a functional dashboard? Perhaps once a month someone could tell you how fast you were going and how much fuel you had left. Sound good? Probably not. Yet this is how many business owners run their companies. The good news is there’s a solution. With the right software and some help, you can regularly receive dashboard reports that provide a one- or two-page summary of key business performance metrics in a concise, visual format. Good looking info Similar to Read more [...]

Are frequent flyer miles ever taxable?

| Tax Briefs

If you recently redeemed frequent flyer miles to treat the family to a fun summer vacation or to take your spouse on a romantic getaway, you might assume that there are no tax implications involved. And you’re probably right — but there is a chance your miles could be taxable. Usually tax free As a general rule, miles awarded by airlines for flying with them are considered nontaxable rebates, as are miles awarded for using a credit or debit card. The IRS partially addressed the issue Read more [...]

An effective succession plan calls for decisive action

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

The prospect of leaving your company in the hands of someone else likely brings mixed emotions. You’ve no doubt spent a substantial amount of time and a great degree of effort in getting your enterprise to where it is today. So, as the saying goes, parting will be such sweet sorrow. Yet, when it comes to creating and executing a succession plan, decisive action is critical. You’ve got to respect the importance of timeliness — not only for you and your family, but also for your successor Read more [...]

What can one word tell you about a company?

| Business Miscellaneous

Living in a home built in 1910, I spend more time in Lowes than I care to think about. On one recent trip, it occurred to me that I’ve been seeing an awful lot of dogs in the store lately. It’s not uncommon to see a service dog, but you certainly don’t see multiple service dogs on a single visit to a store. At checkout, I commented on it and the clerk responded, “They’re dog friendly now”. I casually said I’m sure the dog owners enjoy it and then went about my business. But on the way out of the building, I found myself thinking about the employee’s use of “They” rather than saying “We’re dog friendly now”. Admittedly, it’s a very small difference that I probably shouldn’t have read into, but could it be more telling than it seems? Read more [...]

Combining business and vacation travel: What can you deduct?

| Tax Briefs

If you go on a business trip within the United States and tack on some vacation days, you can deduct some of your expenses. But exactly what can you write off? Transportation expenses Transportation costs to and from the location of your business activity are 100% deductible as long as the primary reason for the trip is business rather than pleasure. On the other hand, if vacation is the primary reason for your travel, then generally none of your transportation expenses are deductible. What Read more [...]