July 1, 2022

The IRS is Auditing Fewer Returns than Ever

One of the perennial fears of taxpayers is getting audited by the IRS. Financially, few scenarios strike such fear into the heart of taxpayers. However, taxpayers can probably breathe a sigh of relief – at least for now. This is because the rate at which the IRS is initiating audits of individual taxpayers is dropping like a stone. Decline in Audit Rates The rate at which the IRS is auditing individual taxpayers has declined overall between the years of 2010 and 2019 (2020 data is too new and 2021 returns are still being filed through the extension period). According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), nearly 1 percent of all taxpayers were audited in 2010 compared to only 0.25 percent […]
July 1, 2022

Measuring the Margins

Corporate profits, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, grew by $20.4 billion in the final quarter of 2021, a 0.7 percent increase. For the first quarter of 2022, corporate profits fell by 2.3 percent or $66.4 billion. On an annualized basis, corporate profits fell 5.2 percent in 2022, but grew 25 percent in 2021. With the economy facing inflation, the uncertainty of the Russia/Ukraine conflict, and the world working its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty abounds. For companies, measuring margins is one way to evaluate performance and strategize ways to survive and thrive in a dynamic economy. Here are a few common margins that businesses can determine to measure their financial performance. Operating Margin Defined Also […]
July 1, 2022

Building Wealth Through Home Equity

Often the first house a person buys is an affordable condominium, townhouse or older single-family dwelling, also referred to as a “starter home.” It might be small and lack features they dream about, from new appliances in the kitchen, to dual sinks in the bath, to a large yard or a garage. However, the key to a starter home is not to acquire your dream house, it is to build equity that you can eventually deploy to buy your dream home. It’s important not to wait until you have enough money for the ideal property. Start as early as you can and buy something affordable to get your foot in the door of homeownership. Interest Rates and Maintenance Expenses Buying […]
July 1, 2022

How to Drive and Get the Best Fuel Efficiency

We’re all feeling the pain at the pump. Unless you decide to walk, bike or take public transportation, you might feel stuck. But all is not lost. Here are some fuel-efficient driving techniques that can help you save hundreds of dollars in fuel each year. Don’t Drive Too Fast Of course, when you’re on the highway, you must maintain a certain speed. However, cars, vans and pickups are typically the most fuel-efficient when driving between 50 and 80 mph. If you go any faster, you’ll use more gas. Consider this: When you’re driving roughly 75 miles per hour, you use 20 percent more fuel than you would if you were going around 60 mph. On a 15-mile trip, if you’re […]
July 1, 2022

Big Data Storage: What You Need to Know

Today, businesses have to grapple with vast amounts of data from different sources, including emails, mailing lists, customer orders, system logs, mobile apps, social media networks, etc. This data is crucial to businesses in various ways. When analyzed, a business can identify operational issues, personalize the customer experience and manage supply chains – all contributing to better decision-making. However, big data also has challenges, especially regarding its storage due to size and other factors such as collection speed, processing, retrieval and format. This becomes more complicated as the data keeps growing with time and cannot be stored in traditional storage devices, necessitating a need for facilities that store and process the data efficiently. Depending on the business type, a choice […]
July 1, 2022

Protecting SCOTUS, Veterans in Special Circumstances, Disaster Victims, Potential Firearm Victims, and America’s Water Resources

Supreme Court Police Parity Act of 2022 (S 4160) – In response to potential threats and protests outside the homes of Supreme Court judges following a leak of their preliminary judgement on a case related to Roe vs. Wade, this bill authorizes extra security for the justices and their families. Specifically, Supreme Court justices and their families would be provided with security detail similar to that of other top government officials and families in the executive branch (e.g., the president and vice president) and legislative branch (e.g., Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader). This type of detail generally cannot be declined. The bill was introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on May 5. It passed in both the […]
June 1, 2022

Tax Break for Commercial Real Estate Investors

COVID-19 impacted the economy dramatically and commercial real estate was no exception in terms of decreased values. Often, the real property could no longer service the debt used to finance it. This debt restructuring and resulting debt forgiveness can result in taxable income. Taxable Income and Debt Cancellation If you have a $80,000 loan and the bank reduced the amount you owe down to $50,000, then you have an economic benefit of $30,000, which should be treated as taxable income. This is indeed how cancellation of debt is treated, but there are exceptions such as in the case of bankruptcy or insolvency. There is another unique scenario that applies only to commercial real estate. Assuming that the taxpayer is not […]
June 1, 2022

How to Calculate the Cash Conversion Cycle

The Cash Conversion Cycle, also known as the Net Operating Cycle, answers the question, “How many days does it take a company to pay for and generate cash from the sales of its inventory?” However, before an analysis like this can take place, it’s important to consider the company’s primary line of business. If the company sells software, it’s more challenging to measure performance if it generates revenue primarily on intellectual property – by developing computer code and licensing its use to clients. For online marketplaces, especially those that make the majority of their profits from third-party sellers that manage product sourcing, listing their inventory and shipping products on their own won’t measure the online marketplace’s own inventory. Since these […]
June 1, 2022

How Social Security Benefits Are Affected by Earned Income

Thanks to the Great Resignation trend over the past year, there is a high availability of jobs. Therefore, now is a good time for retirees who would like to go back to work to ease into the job market. However, if you’ve already begun drawing Social Security benefits, you should understand how earning income will affect those payouts. First of all, you have two options if you’d like to stop receiving Social Security. One option is available only if you’ve been drawing benefits for a year or less. In this case, you may cancel your application; but be aware that you must repay all the benefits that you and your family have received to date. That includes spousal benefits and […]
June 1, 2022

Tips to Save on A/C This Summer

You love summer, don’t you? School’s out and BBQs are on. But what you probably don’t love are those higher air conditioning bills. Here are some tried-and-true ways to help lower the cost of keeping cool. Change Air Filters Make sure you switch out your filters before those sizzling summer temps arrive, then once a month after that. When filters are dirty, they block the airflow, which causes your air conditioner to work harder when cooling your home. You’ll not only lower your bills by five to 15 percent, but you will also extend the life of your entire A/C system. If you don’t change those clogged filters, it could create a malfunction and you’ll have to get your unit […]
June 1, 2022

Ways Technology Can Improve Business Cash Flow

Cash flow awareness is vital in running the day-to-day activities of a business. Keeping track of the inflows and outflows helps a company make better plans and decisions, such as the right time to expand. Cash flow knowledge reveals where a business is spending money and can protect business relations, among other benefits. However, tracking cash flow is a challenge for many businesses. To avoid business failure due to poor cash flow management, business owners are investing in software applications to help manage cash flow challenges. Modern technology enables access to these applications over the cloud, giving small- and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to benefit from them. These cash flow management tools help companies improve cash flow in various ways. […]
June 1, 2022

Rushing Baby Formula supplies, Helping Ukraine and Punishing Russia

To amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to establish waiver authority to address certain emergencies, disasters and supply chain disruptions, and for other purposes. (HR 7791) – In response to the recent nationwide shortage of infant formula, Congress passed a bill authorizing $28 million to fund emergency supplies and to address the potential for future shortages due to emergencies, disasters or supply chain disruptions. The bill was introduced by Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) on May 17. It passed in the House on May 18 and unanimously in the Senate on May 19. It is currently awaiting signature by the president. Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 (S 3522) – This legislation was introduced on Jan. 19, by Rep. […]
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 […]
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