On March 13, President Trump issued an emergency declaration under the Stafford Act and declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, under Code Sec. 165(i), certain taxpayers may be able to deduct disaster losses that are attributable to COVID-19 on their 2019 return, even though the pandemic is occurring in 2020.

A determination of whether a loss will qualify under Code Sec. 165(i) necessitates a thorough examination of the facts and circumstances, as well as any specific deductibility rules that may apply based on the type of expense. Although the pandemic meets the definition of a federally declared disaster, the IRS has not yet specifically ruled on the applicability of Code Sec. 165(i) to COVID-19.

Examples of losses that may qualify for the accelerated deduction opportunity include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Inventory impairments
  • Worthless securities (but not bad debts);
  • Closure costs of store and facility locations;
  • Complete abandonment of leasehold improvements;
  • Permanent retirement of fixed assets;
  • Abandonment of pending business deals for costs otherwise capitalized;
  • Termination payments to cancel contracts, leases or licenses;
  • Prepaid events, travel, conference space, hotel rooms, etc. when taxpayer is not provided a refund or credit;
  • Prepaid raw materials or other items to fulfill a contract and the contract has been cancelled;
  • Mark-to-market securities; or
  • Losses from the sale or exchange of property.

Some losses generally would not qualify to be accelerated to 2019 under section 165. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Lost revenues
  • Goodwill losses, which are generally difficult to write off under section 165
  • A decline in fair market value of the property due to ’economic obsolescence‘ attributable to buyer resistance which attached to the property;
  • An appraisal reflecting a potential buyer resistance which represents speculative estimates of rental loss;

A taxpayer makes the election on an original federal tax return or an amended federal tax return filed on or before the date that is six months after the original due date for the disaster year (determined without regard to any extension of time to file). This means that for the 2019 calendar tax year a taxpayer could have until the Fall of 2021 to file an original or amended tax return to make this election. 

The taxpayer has the burden of proving the existence of the casualty as the cause of the section 165 loss.

Talley’s experienced team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you. For more information, contact us today.

The gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a multitude of Americans to confront many issues they had previously put off because the topics are uncomfortable. Mortality has become a central concern due to the rise of the Coronavirus, so estate planning has become a priority for many individuals who currently have no plan in place and face the outlook of their probate estate distributed by the court rather than their own wishes. There are a few important documents you should have in place to handle unexpected situations such as illness, incapacitation, or death that make up a solid, basic estate plan.

One of the most obvious issues is the improper distribution of assets after a loved one’s death. It is not easy to talk or think about, but as they get older, a plan needs to be in place. If not, there is no guarantee that their assets will be handled properly after they die. More importantly, planning ahead can help protect accounts in special circumstances. For example, for those who fall ill and need expensive care and facilities, naming a legal beneficiary in advance can make sure that they can access money to help pay for the necessary treatment. Beneficiaries can also create a barrier from scammers, as with the right documents set up, there is a second source of control over accounts to prevent them from being drained without approval.

While the topic may not be easy to approach, there are a few tips to make starting a conversation easier. The first and most important tip is to be honest and respectful when bringing it up. It seems self-explanatory, but this is often the hardest part of the whole process. Just keep in mind that things will be a lot better when a plan has been created rather than leaving it until it is too late. In cases with multiple beneficiaries, tensions can run especially high. A good way to mediate these tensions while also ensuring things are handled correctly, is to hire a fiduciary. Fiduciaries, unlike other financial advisors, are legally obligated to conduct all business with their clients’ best interest above everything else. The most important tip is to stay dedicated to the process of getting an estate handled and taking the proper steps to make sure it is done correctly.

Even though COVID-19 has created a sense of uncertainty in many areas of our lives, creating or updating an estate plan is a huge step in taking back control and gaining some peace of mind. Though your options are virtually limitless, proper estate planning, deciding on the “who, what, when, and how”, and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees and court costs possible can be a challenging and emotional affair to wrestle with alone. For more information, contact Talley LLP today.

As companies pursue success, avoiding fatigue should be a priority for employers and employees alike. According to the National Safety Council, sleep deprivation effects over 43% of workers, which ultimately deteriorates workplace productivity and safety. They estimate per year the loss per employee to be between $1,200 and $3,100, a large sum considering the size of a workforce. To combat this problem, here are three tips that can help you and your business battle fatigue.

Evaluate your lifestyle.  Lack of sleep is the most significant contributor to fatigue, and a few updates to your routine can make a world of difference. Temperature, bedding, nearby electronics, and lighting are all factors that can influence the way you sleep. Making gradual adjustments can help you determine which changes improve your quality of sleep and will leave you better rested. In addition to sleep, factors like diet and exercise have a considerable influence on your energy levels. To establish a baseline, keep a lifestyle log over a few weeks to determine which foods or activities make you feel better and worse. You may find that your most tired days are directly linked to certain foods or workouts that drain you.

Go see your doctors. Sometimes fatigue can be rooted in a deeper cause that no amount of sleep or habit tracking can help. It is essential to maintain your yearly checkups at the doctor to assess your health, but if your fatigue is affecting you long term, seeing your doctor again can only help you. Simple blood work or allergy tests can point to common biological and environmental causes preventing sleep. If the problem is more serious, a doctor can best help you find out why. Either way, a checkup can help you get treatment and get back on your feet.

Listen to your body. If your body needs something, do not feel bad about giving it that. Personal health is something many overworked business professionals may be ignoring, risking long term consequences. Taking a day or two off when you are too stressed or tired will allow your system to reset and recharge. Whether you are a boss or an employee, fatigue can affect you, so being mindful of your well-being will help you not only be more effective but improve your overall happiness.

Talley shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that has helped propel our clients to their current levels of success. With over 25 years of experience assisting high net worth individuals and business owners, Talley has the expertise necessary to help entrepreneurs throughout their entire journey, from formation to succession.

If you have followed the news in regards to retirement, you know that multiple sources have referenced the lack of retirement savings among retirees and older people. While this isn’t isolated to America, the Fed reports about 25% of Americans don’t have a retirement plan in place. With declining policies in place to take care of Americans post-retirement, retirement accounts and financial knowledge is more important than ever. While the SECURE Act doesn’t specifically address all the financial issues when it comes to retirement, it does allow some solid options for Americans.

RMDs to start at age 72 instead of 70 ½. First and foremost, the SECURE Act increases the age in which you need to start required minimum distributions from traditional retirement accounts. While the change from 70 ½ years old to 72 is only 1 ½ years, this allows retirement accounts to continue gaining interest while also allowing the account holder to hold off on paying interest on the money.

You can contribute to traditional IRAs after age 70 ½. There is no longer an age cap on a traditional IRA, similar to a Roth IRA. After 70 ½ years old, participants can continue to contribute money to the retirement account, provided they have earned income. This is especially helpful for not-so-retired retirees.

More Annuity Options with 401(k) plans. Another positive note is the addition of improved legal coverage for employers with hopes that this will lead to more options in the annuity realm. Traditionally, the liability was too much for most companies to offer an option like this in a 401(k). They were even able to offer 401(k) options to part-timers as long as they fulfill a short list of requirements. Small businesses gained a boost as well, with potential to offer 401(k) options through economies of scale.

Your tax bill on inherited IRAs will come sooner. The bill also essentially eliminates the “stretch IRA,” an estate planning method that allows IRA beneficiaries to stretch out their distributions from their inherited account and the required tax payments that come with it. Under the new law, most beneficiaries will be required to withdraw all the distributions from their inherited account and pay taxes on it within 10 years.

Talley’s experienced team of tax professionals provides comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance, and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the current opportunities available to you. For more information, contact us today.

What happens once your business has experienced initial success or substantial growth? Having “real” money can bring about complex problems that your business hasn’t yet encountered. With the help of professional advisors, there are a few ways to make sure you handle these issues effectively and ensure your successes only continue.

Be aware of burnouts. Burnouts are a big reason for business failure, especially in the first year and taking that time to appreciate your accomplishments can help prevent this.  Part of avoiding burning out is ensuring that you maintain your personal and mental health. All the business and productivity advice in the world won’t help you if you’re already stressed out, sleep-deprived, and running yourself into the ground before you take that first sip of coffee or tea in the morning.

Be mindful of taxes. While running your business, it’s easy to focus on the day to day operations, forgetting about important long-term details such as tax planning. Working with an experienced tax planning advisor can help you mitigate taxes and proactively plan for the future of your business.

Plan for your long-term future. There will always be more money to be made as an entrepreneur and reaching your first goal is only the beginning.  Although using your earnings to fund entertaining purchases is an earned right, investing your money in things that can appreciate will set you up for continued wealth. Having an expert counsel can help you make these decisions as they are familiar with the challenges that characterize an entrepreneur’s business ventures.

Form habits that create continued success. Specific motivators made you successful in the first place, so do not stop focusing on them. Running a business calls for ongoing work but managing your time effectively and forming useful business habits can help take the stress off you. Always set new goals for you and your business to ensure you achieve continued growth and success.

Talley shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that has helped propel our clients to their current levels of success. With over 25 years of experience assisting high net worth individuals and business owners, Talley has the expertise necessary to help entrepreneurs throughout their entire journey, from formation to succession.

Big data is only getting bigger as business usage increases and more companies change the way they look at their processes in 2020. More than analyzing buying patterns or customer relationships, big data can allow entrepreneurs to improve their financial forecasting and future trends.

Predicting company success and finding potential opportunities is a common goal for any entrepreneur. By leveraging real-time/big data metrics, finance teams can gain valuable insight into trends, improving their ability to take advantage of upcoming opportunities or mitigate risk. When considering the benefits, implementing big data metrics does not have to overcomplicate your existing financial reporting methods.

Utilize the resources you already have in place. Businesses big and small are already housing stores of information in their existing business or sales management systems. For example, customer relationship management systems hold valuable details about sales, sizing, markets, and more than can be referenced across departments. However, all that data means little without the ability to effectively distinguish between what is important and what is just white noise. These details, although large in quantity, can allow forecasts to adjust as events occur if properly utilized.

Don’t be afraid to let go of old technology. The typical Excel spreadsheet forecast focused on historical trends is very limiting when considering how extensive your decision-driving data may be and the way activities affect different parts of your business. These simple documents continue to emphasize the inefficiency of solely using historical data to make future business decisions. By embracing real-time metrics and overall real-time forecasts, entrepreneurs can gain a greater understanding of how specific actions affect their forecasts.

From technology-based accounting solutions to management information, analysis, and reporting, Talley LLP is the premier business consulting firm for entrepreneurs and their closely-held businesses. For more information on how to leverage your business’s data technology, contact Talley today.

It is no secret that failure to report crucial financial information on your tax returns can result in hefty fines and legal repercussions with the IRS, but some people still try to hide their earnings overseas. A United States schoolteacher was caught with over a million dollars in funds unreported in her United Bank of Switzerland account that resulted in a hefty $803,530 fine. Unsurprisingly, The Court of Federal Claims deemed her willfully and recklessly guilty after she tried to contest her punishment in court.

In 1999, Mindy Norman opened a foreign UBS numbered bank account allowing her to hide her financial information from the IRS. A year later, in 2000, she also waived her rights to invest in U.S. securities to further conceal her account. Later in 2008 when UBS implemented a New Business Model that informed its clients that it would soon be assisting the U.S in finding fraudulent individuals, Norman closed her UBS account and moved her money to Wegelein and Co., a now-defunct Swiss bank.

In 2009, The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) was enacted to urge the owners of offshore accounts to disclose their banking information at the promise of more lenient FBAR fines. If properly communicated and approved by the IRS, the standard fine of 50% of the unreported account balance could be reduced to 20%. Norman and her accountant opted for an alternative form of reporting called “quiet disclosure” for 2009 which included amended FBARS and tax returns for 2003-2008. Taxpayers including Norman are informed that filing this way could be risky as it could result in examination/prosecution of statements for applicable years.

Seeing as she taught both government and economics with a total of at least seven subjects, the court concluded her claims to have never read documents related to her accounts invalid. Additionally, her consistently changing testimony further shot down her arguments attempting to make her appear to have no knowledge of tax implications. Her case was dismissed, and the fine was upheld losing her half her earnings, a risky lesson to those attempting to evade the IRS.

Talley’s experienced team of tax professionals provide comprehensive tax compliance and consulting services so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. We welcome the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you. For more information, contact us today.

With 2018 fresh in the rear-view mirror, many entrepreneurs and executives are taking time to reflect on what worked and what did not last year. While New Year’s Resolutions can act as a catalyst for change in both your personal and professional life, they usually reflect short-term thinking and fall short.

So why do resolutions not work? For starters, resolutions tend to be vague and lofty in nature. Some individuals simply don’t know where to start and give up immediately.  Others lack an executable plan of action to achieve their goals once they get going. And lastly, there are those who don’t know how to sustain their goals once they reach them (e.g. keeping the weight off after losing it initially).  Sounds familiar? These challenges to resolutions draw many parallels to several critical life cycle stages of a typical business model: Start-Up, Growth, and Stabilization. Each stage comes with its own set of challenges to overcome and opportunities to leverage.

Given their abysmal success rate, your company’s strategic plan for 2018 and beyond should not take on the flawed form of resolutions. Set goals and milestones instead and pick those that will impact you the most. Here are some pointers we’ve collected along the way.

Write your plan down. While it’s great to brainstorm goals, without writing down your mission, focus fades and continuity begins to decrease. Putting pen to paper forces you to identify and define the specific goals that you are working toward.

Be realistic about your expectations. Whether it’s about weight-loss or company growth, setting unattainable goals doesn’t help your success, it hampers it. It’s better to establish a set of smaller goals that can be expanded upon than something you feel you’ll never actually reach. Think about the most important things that will impact your business, and with hard work and effort, you can actually achieve.

Establish milestones to track success. A year is a long time to stay focused. Here’s where effective planning comes into play. Think about what success looks like in both the short term and long term to keep yourself motivated. Be sure to set key performance indicators for each of the goals you set to make sure you are on track.

What are your goals for 2018?

Whether your goal for 2019 is improving the quality or timeliness of financial statements, growth through strategic acquisition, or developing a tax-efficient succession plan, the advisors at Talley are here to help you. Contact us today to see how we can assist you with your strategic goals in 2018.

Growing a business takes a certain level of both personal and professional investment to better the likelihood of success.  With the nonstop demands that come with running a business, even the most energetic of leaders can get worn down and many entrepreneurs have experienced firsthand how not letting go of the “CEO of Everything” mentality can lead to sub-par results. Here are a few ways to keep things in check so you can consistently show up at your best.

Take a 10,000 foot view. With the daily influx of emails, message pings and phone calls, it’s easy to see productivity as a measure of how fast we clear our inboxes and how many items we tick off our to-do lists. These lists are certainly helpful, but the real value CEOs bring to the table doesn’t always fit in a series of checkboxes. To fully comprehend crises, challenges and opportunities within a business, CEOs do well to take a 10,000-foot perspective, not just a close-up.

Don’t micro-manage mundane tasks. The surest way to stifle innovation and decrease your own productivity as well as that of your staff and partners—is to micro-manage every task. Eventually, as your business grows, the day-to-day administrative tasks of running an organization will take valuable time away from growing your business.  Smart business owners know when it’s time to hire help to scale their growth initiatives.

Systemize and automate as much as possible. Take a closer look at how your business process works, from your marketing process to your customer acquisition to purchase fulfillment and look for ways to make each step easier. Is there a part of your business that slows you down or frustrates you? Find a way to make challenging aspects work on autopilot (or as much as possible) and it will free you up to tackle other responsibilities and make your business run smoother.

It’s necessary for business leaders to be keenly aware of the goings-on, processes and results in their companies, providing guidance and support where needed. But is it necessary to enter every invoice yourself? Make every social media post? Schedule every vendor meeting? Instead, find team members and service partners who can help you focus what you do best: grow your business.

To learn more how Talley can help grow your business, give us a call today.

For the entrepreneur, there’s usually much more to personal finance than a W-2 employee content to passively funnel money into 401(k)s and IRAs full of mutual funds.

Here are three key questions to ask yourself when planning for future success.

Are you taking advantage of all the legally allowed tax savings? The IRS tax code is more than 5,700 pages long (over 75,000+ pages if you count supporting documents like court case rulings). That includes which deductions you can take and which strategies you can implement. Whether it’s forgetting to deduct the interest from business loans, paying business items on a personal credit card, not recording self-employed health insurance properly, or forgetting to write-off business transportation taxes, missed deductions add up fast.

Do you have the capital to take advantage of growth opportunities and to get through hard times? With enough liquidity in your “back pocket” you can greatly reward your business and even save it in the future. For example, if the right business opportunity comes along and it requires a capital investment, you’ll be able to act quickly. Additionally, if your business hits a rough patch, you won’t need to look at financing options to get through the tough times.

Do you have an estate plan in order? It seems morbid, but it’s a vital issue to address. What happens if you’re not around anymore? Do you have a succession plan for your business in the event of incapacity or death?

Proper estate planning—deciding on the “who, what, when, and how”—and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs possible is a challenging affair. Start early.

Proper business planning is a complex and on-going effort. It requires expert counsel from a professional with knowledge and experience, one who’s familiar with the challenges that characterize an entrepreneur’s business ventures.

Talley shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that has helped propel our clients to their current levels of success. With over 25 years of experience helping high net worth individuals and business owners, Talley has the expertise necessary to assist entrepreneurs throughout their entire journey, from formation through succession.


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