3 reasons you should continue making lifetime gifts

The TCJA doubled the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption this year to an inflation-adjusted $11.18 million. But it can still pay to make lifetime gifts. First, gifting removes future appreciation from the estate, saving estate tax for taxpayers with very large estates. Second, the higher exemption isn’t permanent, so taxpayers who don’t have to…

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At your own risk: The pitfalls of DIY estate planning

There’s no law that says you can’t prepare your own estate plan. It’s easy to do so, thanks to an abundance of online services that automate the creation of a will. But unless your estate is small and your plan is exceedingly simple, the pitfalls of DIY estate planning can be many. A common mistake…

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Protect your peace of mind with a trust protector

Do you need a trust protector? Maybe, if you aren’t completely confident the trustee will carry out your wishes. A trustee manages the trust on a day-to-day basis, while the protector oversees the trustee and weighs in on critical decisions, such as investment transactions involving large dollar amounts. Although it’s tempting to provide a protector…

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Is there a weak link in your supply chain?

Every company should watch out for weak links in its supply chain. Examples include: 1) legal risks; a supplier could be embroiled in a lawsuit or violation, 2) political risks; a supplier may operate in a politically unstable region (even nationally), and 3) transportation risks; weather or other disasters could compromise a supplier’s shipping routes.…

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3 keys to a successful accounting system upgrade

Today’s accounting software can perform adequately for years, but improved features are being created all the time. Here are three key considerations to help you decide when to upgrade: 1) Your users’ tech savvy needs to align with the system’s level of sophistication. 2) Costs matter: Set a firm budget and focus on only needed…

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Finding a 401(k) that’s right for your business

Ready to offer a 401(k) plan? Know your options: Traditional 401(k)s let employees contribute pretax dollars and give employers the option of matching contributions. But rigorous testing rules apply. Roth 401(k)s allow employees to contribute after-tax dollars and take tax-free withdrawals (subject to limitations). Safe harbor 401(k)s avoid strict testing but require certain employer contributions.…

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Choosing the best business entity structure post-TCJA

On the surface, the TCJA’s new, flat 21% income tax rate for C corporations may make choosing C corp structure for your business seem like a no-brainer. After all, 21% is much lower than the 37% top rate that applies to pass-through entities (such as partnerships and S corps). But C corps can still be…

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A midyear review should go beyond financials

Now’s the perfect time for business owners to stop, take a breather and engage in a midyear review. Naturally, this will involve looking at your financials. But go beyond those numbers and look at areas such as: 1) HR, specifically, how’s employee turnover trending compared with last year? 2) Sales and marketing, for example, are…

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2 tax law changes that may affect your business’s 401(k) plan

When you think about recent tax law changes and your business, retirement benefits probably aren’t what first come to mind. But if your business sponsors a 401(k) plan, be aware of two changes: 1) Beginning in 2018, former employees with outstanding plan loan balances have until their tax return filing due date (plus extensions) to…

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Could a long-term deal ease your succession planning woes?

As some business owners begin to consider retirement, they just can’t identify a suitable successor. One potential solution is a long-term deal that gradually cedes control to an outside buyer. The process typically begins with the owner selling a minority stake, followed by a tryout period to assess compatibility. If all goes well, the minority…

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Use the proper tools to fix a broken trust

A trust that works fine when it’s established may no longer achieve its original goals if your family circumstances or tax laws change. Or a drafting mistake may produce an undesirable result. One option is to modify the trust. This remedy may be available, through court proceedings, if unanticipated circumstances require changes in order to…

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