May 1, 2022

Secure 2.0 Retirement Bill

At the very end of March, the House of Representatives passed a version of the bill known as Secure 2.0. The bill passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 414-5 vote. The House version still needs to pass in the Senate, where there are differing ideas on exactly what the bill should contain. There is strong support, so it is less of a question of if Secure 2.0 will become law than what exact version. The Secure 2.0 bill in any version aims to help Americans save for retirement through a variety of mechanisms and changes in tax law. Here are some highlights of what the bill hopes to accomplish and how. We’ll also note differences between the […]
May 1, 2022

Combating Employee Hesitancy to Return to the Office

According to the January 2022 Future Forum Pulse survey, there’s been a shift in what workers want post-pandemic. The report found that in Q4 of 2021, 78 percent of workers from six industrialized companies wanted location flexibility. The survey also found that 95 percent desired schedule flexibility. This is in light of the same survey finding that 72 percent of employees desire greater flexibility from their current places of employment. Those same workers reported that if they can’t find more flexible arrangements, they would seek out another employer that provides greater flexibility – compared to 57 percent expressing the same desire in Q3 of 2021. According to a December 2017 Gallup report titled, “Thinking Flexibly About Flexible Work Arrangements,” along […]
May 1, 2022

New Required Minimum Distribution Rules for 2022

Starting in 2020, new legislation increased the age to begin Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from 70½ to 72. More recently, the IRS updated the Uniform Life Table for alignment with longer life expectancies. Note that it takes years for actuaries to work up new data for this table, and the recent changes do not reflect the downturn in life expectancies resulting from the pandemic. These updates were established pre-pandemic and scheduled to take effect in 2022. The good news is that retirees who prefer not to withdraw from their retirement portfolios now have a couple more years of growth opportunity before they are forced to take distributions. Because retirement portfolios fluctuate based on market performance, and your life expectancy changes […]
May 1, 2022

How to Save When You’re Broke

If you think saving money is a waste of time, think again. It all comes down to having the right mindset and strategy – even if you don’t have a penny to spare. Here are some ground rules that have proven effective for many. All you have to do is be willing to dive in, change your choices, and revisit the way you approach your finances. Create a budget and track your expenses. Yes, you’ve probably heard this a million times and you might be thinking: how can I save money if I don’t have any? Here’s what you do. For the next 30 days, try this experiment: track every dollar that’s coming in and going out. Here are things […]
May 1, 2022

Why Businesses Should Be Worried About Mobile Security and How to Keep Safe

Cybersecurity has become more important than ever, especially with the rise in cyberattacks. However, much focus is put on computers, laptops, servers, etc. Mobile phones and tablets seem to be overlooked when talking about cybersecurity. Today smartphones are integrated into the modern workforce as driven by work at home and remote working. To enhance mobility, these devices are installed with business mobile applications that enable access to company systems. They enable users to conduct different activities on-the-go, such as banking, connecting to company networks, business transactions, and other social operations. However, this is raising concerns about the security of sensitive corporate data and other personal information stored on phones. Despite these concerns, businesses continue to be lax on enforcing solid […]
May 1, 2022

Restricting Trade Relations with Russia, Enhancing U.S. Export Pathways, and Bearing Down on Cybercrime and Human Trafficking

Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act (HR 7108) – This legislation suspends normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus. The president may restore normal trade relations pending Congressional approval, and this authority is scheduled to end on the last day of 2023. The bill also permanently authorizes the president to impose visa- and property-blocking sanctions based on violations of human rights, as well as increase duty rates on products from these countries. These actions are designed to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by urging other World Trade Organization (WTO) members to suspend trade concessions to Russia and Belarus, and consider steps to suspend Russia’s participation in the WTO. The bill was introduced on March 17 by Rep. […]
April 1, 2022

What Every Taxpayer Needs to Know This Season

The IRS is currently suffering a severe backlog in processing returns from 2021 for the 2020 tax year. As of Dec. 31, there were still more than 6 million unprocessed individual returns with notices and pending refunds. There are a few things every taxpayer should know that can help them navigate any delays in filing or speeding up the process to make filing this year as smooth as possible. Pass on the Paper Nothing speeds up the process like electronic filing. Despite the uptick in electronic filing over recent years, the agency is still buried in paper, receiving almost 17 million paper filings last year. When filing electronically, there’s a good chance you’ll see your refund within 21 days of […]
April 1, 2022

Considerations When Selling a Business

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration and Project Equality, 60 percent of business owners plan to cash out of the business in the next 10 years. For the baby boomer generation, it’s especially important as they contemplate retirement, with this generation reportedly owning 2.3 million businesses. When it comes to getting a business ready for sale, there are many components to review and get organized before looking for prospective buyers. The first thing owners looking to sell their business are being asked is why they’re selling. This may occur for many reasons – voluntary or not. Some people are looking to retire, while others might be looking to exit their business because things soured with partners. These are just […]
April 1, 2022

Give a College Savings 529 Plan For Graduation

If you really want to make impact in your new grad’s life, make an investment in his or her future with a 529 College Savings account. There are two versions: an investment account and a prepaid account. Assuming you are opening an account now and don’t have time for investment growth, you may need to fund it with a significant chunk of money for it to be useful. The savings plan is good for building an investment balance over time, including while the student is in college. On the other hand, the prepaid option is a good way to reinvest a windfall – such as an inheritance or proceeds from the sale of property. A 529 College Savings Plan allows […]
April 1, 2022

The 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule Explained

You may or may not have heard of the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, but it’s a good one – one that will help make organizing your finances a lot simpler. The basic idea is to divide up your after-tax income and allocate it to spend this way: 50 percent on your needs, 30 percent on wants and 20 percent on savings. Below are more details on how to do this. Spend 50 percent on needs. These bills are those that are necessary for survival, such as rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, health care, insurance and paying the minimum amount on your debts. Other things like Starbucks, Netflix and dining out might feel like needs, but if you get honest, they really aren’t. (They […]
April 1, 2022

The Rise in Ransomware Attacks and How to Keep Safe

Cybersecurity experts estimate that there is a ransomware attack every 11 seconds. This makes it a challenge to individuals, businesses and even governments. In ransomware attacks, cybercriminals encrypt a victim’s network or data, making it inaccessible until a ransom is paid. Despite organizations’ efforts to reduce the attacks, cybercriminals also are advancing their attack methods. For instance, an organization may have backups they can use to restore their systems, but the criminals also demand ransom not to publish the sensitive company information they have in their possession. Ransomware is not a new cybersecurity threat. It is traced back to 1989 when the first ransomware was released through floppy disks and required a victim to send money to a post office […]
April 1, 2022

Banning Masks, Banning Russian Oil, Making Lynching a Federal Hate Crime and Saving Sunshine

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (HR 2471) – This legislation will fund the federal government through September 2022, but also includes a plethora of other bills folded within for the purpose of quick passage by both the House and Senate. Among them is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the allocation of $13.6 billion in additional aid to support Ukraine in its conflict against Russia. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on March 15. STANDUP Act of 2021 (S 1543) – STANDUP is the anacronym for Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention. It authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give preference to state, tribal and local educational agencies […]
March 1, 2022

Taxation of Legal Settlements and Fees

The taxation of legal settlements and fees is a complex topic. While the mechanics to make a proper claim are now easier, the rules are still complex. Below we look at six rules to consider when it comes to the taxation of legal settlements and the deduction of legal fees on your taxes. Taxes depend on the origin of the claim; or in plain English, according to why you are seeking recovery. For example, in a case where the plaintiff is suing another business for losing profits, the settlement would be considered lost profits, and therefore would be ordinary business income. If a worker sues for unlawful termination, then the settlement would be considered wages and taxed accordingly. Another example […]
March 1, 2022

How Businesses Can Stay Current with the Digital Economy

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the level of usage and data swirling around the internet is expanding at an accelerating pace. The amount of data on the internet globally during 2020 amounted to 3 trillion gigabytes; and 2022’s traffic is expected to increase to 4.5 trillion gigabytes. As a result, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is concerned about the challenges American companies will have when it comes to business competitiveness. According to a survey from Statista titled “Challenges encountered as a result of digital transformations in global organizations as of 2020,” there are common challenges that businesses are facing, such as: 51 percent of respondents said that “skill gaps have opened up on traditional teams as top talent […]
March 1, 2022

How To Maximize the Potential of Your 401(k) Plan

One of the easiest ways to save for retirement is to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. You simply select a percentage of your paycheck that you would like transferred to your 401(k) (or similar) account. Not only does your employer make the transfer for you, but it comes out of your paycheck before income taxes are taken out. This way, you avoid paying taxes on that income from each paycheck, and those taxes are not due until you withdraw the money from your retirement plan. This usually happens once people retire and enter a lower tax bracket. That’s the simple beauty of investing in a 401(k) plan. However, with a little more effort, you can do a better job […]
March 1, 2022

How to Manage Your Aging Parents’ Finances

Taking over your aging parents’ finances is not easy. But it’s something that can be handled in an organized, compassionate way. Here’s a roadmap that shows how to embrace it and do the right things for everyone involved. Start the conversation early. Right now, your parents might not need any help. They might be handling everything just fine. But there will come a day when they can’t – and they’ll need your help. The National Institute on Aging recommends that parents give advance written consent to designated family members so they can discuss personal matters with doctors, financial representatives and Medicare officials. If you don’t have this, you’ll be faced with some road blocks. If you open the dialogue now, […]
March 1, 2022

What Does the Metaverse Mean for Businesses

Metaverse has become a buzzword with much debate on its potential implications once it is fully realized. As far as businesses are concerned, the metaverse presents new opportunities and challenges, especially for marketing, branding and communication professionals. Understanding Metaverse Metaverse became a hot topic thanks to Facebook announcing its rebrand to Meta in October 2021. However, the metaverse is not new and can be traced back to 1992 in the fiction novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson. Stephenson used the term to refer to a virtual world where people can do different activities. As the internet moves to a new iteration as Web 3.0, different players are working toward creating their metaverse – or rather, a unified virtual space. This […]
March 1, 2022

Relief for USPS Financial Requirements, Plus Support for Victims of Sexual Harassment and Online Child Exploitation

Amache National Historic Site Act (HR 2497) – This Act was introduced by Rep. Joe Negusa (D-CO) on April 24, 2021. The bill authorizes the Department of the Interior to acquire land in Colorado in order to establish a park called the Amache National Historic Site. It is to be included as part of the National Park System for the purpose of preserving, protecting and interpreting resources associated with the incarceration of civilians of Japanese ancestry during World War II at the Granada Relocation Center, as well as the military service of incarcerees at the Granada Relocation Center. The bill was passed by Congress on Feb. 18 and is now with the president. Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and […]
February 1, 2022

2022 U.S. Tax Legislation Forecast

No one knows for sure what 2022 will bring in the form of tax legislation, but there is certain to be some action. Top tax analysts think there are several topics that are likely to come up in 2022. Most predict that a lot of potential changes that were discussed but never made much traction in 2021 will be revisited. Rolling Back Corporate Tax Rates Back in 2017, then-President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (TCJA) reduced corporate tax rates. While a bid raise them again failed in 2021, many believe there is a good chance that Democrats will try again in 2022. Most believe a 2022 proposal would try to raise the current 21 percent corporate tax bracket up […]
February 1, 2022

What’s the Future for Measuring Employee Performance?

Yearly performance evaluations just might be heading out the door, according to a recent WorkHuman Analytics & Research Institute Survey. Findings reveal that these appraisals are less than effective and used less often. Based on select findings, 55 percent of employees responded that yearly evaluations don’t help them become better in their role. Almost as many, 53 percent, indicated that annual reviews recognize an employee’s complete workload. The survey also found that only 54 percent of businesses used annual reviews in 2019, compared to 82 percent of workers saying their employer used annual reviews in 2016. According to Gallup, only 14 percent of workers responded positively that performance reviews motivated them to get better at their skill set. It also […]
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