Preserve wealth for yourself and your heirs using asset protection strategies

If you wish to protect your assets while retaining some control over them, consider an irrevocable trust. Transferring assets to such a trust generally places them beyond your creditors’ reach. And by including a “spendthrift” provision, you can also protect the assets against claims by your beneficiaries’ creditors. A spendthrift provision prohibits your beneficiaries from…

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Cost control takes a total team effort

They say you’ve got to spend money to make money. But that doesn’t mean business owners should accept high operational costs. Cost control is a formal management technique through which you evaluate operations and isolate activities with excessive expenses. It forces you to ask tough questions about the efficiency of your business, how much you’re…

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Making the right choice about your office space

Many companies must eventually decide whether to renew a lease, move on to a different one or buy new (or pre-existing) space. Buying commercial property is a big step. It offers prestige, control and tax advantages, but also comes with high costs, maintenance obligations and the daunting prospect of selling if things don’t work out.…

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Say, just how competitive is your business anyway?

To be successful, a business must be competitive. Is yours? Here are some ways to assess this: First, examine your operating environment. Anything from severe weather to a sudden change in buying trends could affect competitiveness. Next, identify important tangible and intangible resources. Technological obsolescence, for example, could change everything. Then look at the strength…

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Manage health benefits costs with a multipronged approach

For business owners, it may seem impossible to control health care benefits costs. The trick is taking a multipronged approach. For example, don’t rely on vendor-provided communications: Actively interact with employees. Use metrics to analyze benefits utilization and identify utilization gaps where you may be losing money. Engage an outside expert to conduct an ROI…

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Tax document retention guidelines for small businesses

You may have breathed a sigh of relief after filing your 2017 income tax return (or requesting an extension). But if you have years’ worth of receipts, canceled checks and other tax-related records for your small business, you probably want to get rid of what you can. A good rule of thumb is to hold…

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Follow IRS rules to ensure you receive your charitable tax deductions

Donating to charity can reduce your taxable estate and benefit your favorite organizations. By making donations during your lifetime, you can claim income tax deductions. For your donations to be deductible, they must meet certain IRS criteria. For example, contributions generally are deductible only in the tax year they’re made: If you pledged $5,000 in…

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Use benchmarking to swim with the big fish

Benchmarking can help your company swim with the big fish without getting gobbled up. It’s the practice of comparing your performance to that of similar businesses to identify strengths and weaknesses. Quantitative benchmarking uses key performance indicators (formulas or ratios) to calculate comparisons. Meanwhile, qualitative benchmarking compares operating practices (such as production techniques, quality indicators…

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Only certain trusts can own S corporation stock

S corporations must comply with strict requirements or risk losing their tax-advantaged status. In an estate planning context, it’s critical that any trusts that will receive S corporation stock through the operation of your estate plan be eligible shareholders. Potentially eligible trusts include grantor trusts, testamentary trusts, QSSTs and ESBTs. If you have S corporation…

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Not necessarily a luxury: Outsourcing

In today’s increasingly specialized economy, outsourcing has become common. Engaging outside help could cut in-house management expenses by reducing overhead, staffing and training costs. Outsourcing also frees up employees’ time for core tasks and avails you of the provider’s expertise. But there are risks. Surrendering control of a business function to the wrong vendor could…

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