It was already a rough year for Steely Dan fans: Walter Becker, the band’s co-founder and guitarist, died in early September. Now the surviving member, Donald Fagen, is embroiled in a complicated legal feud with Becker’s estate.

At the center of the suit is a buy/sell agreement signed in 1972, the year the band formed, which stated that upon the death or departure of a Steely Dan bandmember, the group would purchase that member’s shares. By 1975 Steely Dan was effectively a duo, with Becker and Fagen accompanied by session musicians.

Fagen’s suit is apparently an effort to head off a move from Becker’s estate: He alleges that four days after Becker’s death from esophageal cancer on September 3, he received a letter that said: “We wanted to put you on notice that the Buy/Sell Agreement dated as of October 31, 1972 is of no force or effect.” The letter also reportedly demanded that Becker’s widow, Delia, be appointed a director or officer of the group, and that she was entitled to 50 percent ownership of Steely Dan.

The buy/sell agreement, if enforceable, would entitle Fagen to purchase Becker’s 50% ownership of the band and, therefore, be the sole owner and retain 100% control of the band. While Becker’s estate says the suit is “riddled with half-truths and omissions,” and regardless of the ultimate outcome of this dispute, there is a lesson both aspiring bands and entrepreneurs can learn from this story:

Estate/Legacy Plans Need To Be Updated Frequently. The buy/sell agreement in question in the Steely Dan lawsuit was apparently executed just before the release of their first album. In other words, it was done when Steely Dan was relatively unknown and had not achieved international success or amassed such a large catalog of music and other properties and rights. At the time, it was a fairly forward-thinking move (most bands have no agreements in place when they first start out). The problem is, however, it was never updated. The structure and governing documents through which a band (or any organization) operates need to be treated as a plan that can and will evolve over time as the band itself evolves. A legacy plan requires continual oversight and must be proactively implemented on an ongoing basis to truly work in the best interest of all parties involved. Bottom line: having an agreement that is 45 years old still govern any type of relationship is usually not a good idea.

Talley LLP understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your profitability or build your brand through a business transaction or capital raise, Talley is the consulting and financial services firm dedicated to strategic business solutions that deliver meaningful results.

Players like Lebron James are renowned for their smart decisions when it comes to their money, whereas others like Allen Iverson serve as a cautionary tale. Over the course of his career, Iverson earned approximately $200 million: $155m from his NBA salary and another $40-$50m in endorsements. His lavish lifestyle during his NBA career foreshadowed the financial woes we would experience during his retirement.

How did Iverson manage to go broke?

Aside from showering his entourage with gifts he couldn’t afford and including them in a lifestyle fit for a king, Iverson apparently had a habit of keeping his money in dozens and dozens of garbage bags around his mansion. Some would occasionally go missing. At one point in his career, Iverson arrived back at an airport and had forgotten where he parked his car. Rather than spend time searching the parking lot for his vehicle, he simply found a ride home and bought a new one.

Allen’s financial situation came to light in 2012 after a judge in the state of Georgia ordered him to pay $900,000 to a jeweler. In a December 2012 court filing, Iverson told the judge that his monthly income was $62,500 and his expenses were $360,000. According to the court filing, Iverson monthly expenses consisted of such notable items as $125,000 going to various creditors and mortgages, $10,000 on clothes, $10,000 on restaurants/entertainment and $10,000 on groceries.

So how has Reebok helped Iverson?

Iverson made a decision in 2001 that would inevitably save him from his future self. He signed a unique endorsement deal with Reebok. In addition to paying $800,000 a year for life, Reebok set aside $32 million in a trust fund that Allen will not be able to access until he turns 55 in the year 2030. The deal came to light when Allen’s ex-wife filed for divorce.

Regardless if it is a challenge for Iverson to live with a budget far less than what he was used to during his playing days, someone had the foresight to protect the man from himself.

Whether an endorsement contract or an M&A transaction, every negotiation is unique and needs to be approached with the proper strategy and insight. Talley LLP is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure and execute on your buy-side or sell-side strategy.

The Treasury Department just published its latest quarterly report revealing the names of people who have given up their U.S. citizenship or long-term residency. 1,376 individuals renounced their citizenship in the third quarter of 2017, putting the annual tally on track to top 2016’s record. 

Short of asking them outright, we can’t know why those on the list chose to leave, but we might infer that taxes could have been at least one of the factors calculated into their decision-making process. That’s because the U.S. requires citizens and green-card holders to file tax returns no matter where they live. So depending on where expats reside, they may be required to pay taxes in the country in which they live and work while also paying the U.S. government.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act could also be influencing some taxpayers to leave their passports behind. The law took effect this year and requires foreign financial institutions to report account information to the U.S., both for U.S. citizens and green-card holders living in the U.S. and abroad.

Ironically, leaving America can be costly. The U.S. charges $2,350 to hand in your passport, a fee that is more than twenty times the average of other high-income countries. The U.S. hiked the fee to renounce by over 400%, as previously there was a $450 fee to renounce, and no fee to relinquish. Now, there is a $2,350 fee either way. The State Department said raising the fee was about demand and paperwork, but the number of American expatriations kept increasing. Moreover, to exit, one generally must prove 5 years of IRS tax compliance.

The decision to expatriate should never be taken lightly, and taxes should never be the sole factor in consideration. There are not only indirect costs to giving up residency in one of the world’s greatest nations but direct ones as well, including the exit tax. Fortunately, there are many strategies for mitigating personal and corporate tax liabilities that may apply to your situation.

Only broadly experienced tax advisory professionals can provide a truly global perspective so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. Talley welcomes the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you and your family. For more information, contact us today.

Depending on where you call home, you may have noticed Amazon’s fleet of plain white trucks delivering packages around town.  Amazon is experimenting with a new delivery service intended to make more products available for free two-day delivery and relieve overcrowding in its warehouses, which will push the online retailer deeper into functions handled by longtime partners UPS and FedEx.

Amazon will oversee pickup of packages from warehouses of third-party merchants selling goods on and their delivery to customers’ homes, cutting into the work that is now often handled by UPS and FedEx. Amazon could still use these couriers for delivery, but the company will decide how a package is sent instead of leaving it up to the seller.

The project underscores Amazon’s ambitions to expand its logistics operations and wean itself off the delivery networks of UPS and FedEx. A rush of last-minute holiday orders in 2013 forced Amazon to issue refunds to shoppers who didn’t get gifts in time, highlighting the perils of being overly dependent on partners for an integral component of its business pledge — quick, reliable delivery. Taking over some responsibility for delivery enables Amazon to protect that edge as rivals like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. enhance their own delivery operations.

Amazon’s latest move should not surprise many, as the company has demonstrated its ability to disrupt industries time and time again.

With over 25 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, Talley understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your profitability, build your brand through a business transaction or capital raise, Talley is the consulting and financial services firm dedicated to strategic business solutions that deliver meaningful results.

Earlier this week, J.J. Watt launched an online relief fund for Hurricane Harvey victims on Sunday with an initial goal of raising $200,000. Watt started the fundraiser when he and his teammates were stranded in Dallas during the NFL preseason. Incredibly, the fund has raised more than $29 million and is still growing. 

The fund has been buoyed by big donations from some big names in the world of sports. Chris Paul donated $50,000, Watt donated $100,000 of his own money and Tennessee Titans owner and Houston native Amy Adams Strunk donated $1 million on behalf of the Titans organization.

“It’s such a testament to the people out there,’’ Watt, an all-pro defensive end for the Houston Texans, said Sunday when the total raised was at $17 million. “It’s such a testament to how much good there is in the world.’’

The total raised hit the $20 million mark at 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, and Watt already has been exploring how best to spend the money. On Sunday, Watt said he had talked to members of Team Rubicon and St. Bernard Project — organizations highly regarded for their natural disaster recovery work — and to people who were involved in Hurricane Katrina’s relief efforts.

“It’s been a pleasure and privilege to work with JJ Watt, his team and his foundation,” said YouCaring CEO Dan Saper. “But even though we’re looking at potentially the largest crowdfunding campaign of all time, it’s important to remember that this is just a drop in the bucket to the damage that was inflicted on the Houston area by Hurricane Harvey.”

No matter the amount, your generosity in donating time and money to worthwhile causes can have a significant impact on your tax liability. While tax considerations should never drive your charitable giving, it makes sense to structure your gifting to maximize the tax benefits. If you have questions regarding your gifting or estate plan, please contact Talley & Company today.

Launched just seven years ago, Uber Technologies Inc. is an app-based transportation company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It operates in about 270 cities and more than 60 countries worldwide. As of this June, Uber completed 5 billion total trips. Uber’s recently appointed Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi told employees on Wednesday the ride-service company may go public in 18 to 36 months. Will Uber become the next hottest IPO?

Uber Faces Increased Competition

Companies like Lyft, Curb, Southeast Asia-based Grab, India’s Ola, and especially China’s Didi Chuxing are all eating into the ride-hailing market share, becoming huge competitors of Uber. Didi was arguably Uber’s biggest threat overseas, and the ride-sharing giant finally conceded defeat last August, selling its China operations to Didi and ending an expensive, bruising battle between the two companies.

Even Alphabet Inc. (Google) is becoming a threat to Uber with plans to make its self-driving cars unit a stand-alone business. This initiative could put the company in direct competition with Uber since eliminating the need for a driver would keep costs down in the long-run.

But Uber is right on Google’s heels. They’re beefing up their business strategies and focusing on autonomous driving. In September of last year, Uber began testing its self-driving Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh; engineers rode in the driver’s seat, ready to take over whenever things got tricky.


While Uber has seen great success, the journey hasn’t been without its bumps. The company has been in and out of the news for years tackling legal battles and dodging scandal. Alphabet is currently suing them for theft of its self-driving car technology. Uber also came under fire earlier this year for sweeping allegations of sexual harassment under the rug. The resignation of Former CEO Travis Kalanick, who many believed the main architect of Uber’s toxic culture, is acknowledged as a step in the right direction for Uber. But, it remains to be seen how the recent hiring of Dara Khosrowshahi will play out.

Uber’s IPO Potential

An IPO for Uber could be massive for both the company and Wall Street. Its current value is around $68 billion after a total of 16 rounds of funding worth $11.56 billion since its launch. And thanks to Uber’s structure—a unique combination of transportation company, mobile Internet company, and real world engineering—the company is touted as one of the best future IPOs.

With over 25 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, Talley understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your profitability, build your brand through a business transaction or capital raise, Talley is the consulting and financial services firm dedicated to strategic business solutions that deliver meaningful results.

Millions of Americans took in a historic moment Monday when a total solar eclipse swept the country from coast to coast. The rare celestial spectacle was only seen in America along a 70-mile-wide band that started in Oregon and ended in South Carolina. While employees stared into the heavens, U.S. companies paid the price with millions of dollars lost in productivity.

Per a recent analysis by outplacement firm Challenger, Grey & Christmas Inc., American employers could see at least $694 million in missing output for the roughly 20 minutes workers took on Monday, Aug. 21, to stretch their legs, head outside the office, and gaze (hopefully with protective eyewear) at the nearly 2½ minute eclipse.

Challenger’s analysis found that the areas, particularly busy cities, along the eclipse’s path of totality could see almost $200 million in lost productivity. While all of North America saw a partial solar eclipse, the total eclipse touched parts of 14 states, beginning in Lincoln Beach, OR at 10:16 a.m. PST and concluding near Columbia, SC. at about 2:44 p.m. EDT.

There’s very few people who are not going to walk outside when there’s a celestial wonder happening above their heads to go out and view it,” Challenger said, estimating that 87 million employees would be at work during the eclipse.

The law firm used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and calculated average hourly wage data and the number of full-time employed workers, 16 and over, to come up with their results.

The productivity disruption caused by this week’s solar eclipse pales in comparison to other annual distractions in the workplace like March Madness or Cyber Monday, but it highlights how organizations need always stay on the lookout for ways to improve workplace performance.

For over 25 years, Talley has provided clear, knowledgeable and applicable financial data and analysis solutions to our clients, enabling management to intelligently track performance, progress, and profits. To determine whether your business is taking advantage of all the metrics available to make the most informed decisions for future success, schedule a time to talk with us today.

Has the thought ever crossed your mind that smart devices are becoming too smart? It turns out that iRobot, the company that makes the popular robot vacuum cleaner, Roomba, has been collecting more than just dust bunnies. Reuters recently reported that your robot vacuum cleaner has been amassing data on your home, as well as the crumbs and stray pet hair on your floor.
For a robot vacuum cleaner to do its job well, it needs to familiarize itself with your floor plan. In Roomba’s case, the machine does this by building a map of your home by bumping into objects, reversing its direction, and ultimately navigating its way around objects, such as your couch and coffee table.
iRobot’s CEO, Colin Angle, feels that there are many benefits to be gained by using this information outside the confines of the robot vacuum industry. Angle stated, “There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared.”
The most important word of Angle’s statement is, of course, the term “allowed.” After all, this is your private residence we’re talking about here. Privacy concerns are likely to be a point of contention for most consumers.
When asked if maps of their customers’ homes gathered by Roomba’s sensors would be sold to other companies, such as Amazon, Google, or Apple, in the future, Angle clarified his statement. He noted that this information would not be sold to third parties, but could potentially be shared pending customer consent.
Nevertheless, how this data could be used is still being explored. At the very least, this information could be used to operate other appliances in the home. For example, smart lights could turn on or off automatically during different times during the day, or even in parts of the house that don’t receive much natural light. Furthermore, a sound system could reconfigure itself when it receives information that a room layout has been altered to ensure the best acoustics.
Now more than ever, the small to mid-sized business owner has the ability to develop the same Big Data analysis as larger corporations—an important step in achieving a competitive position in your industry.
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.
On Sunday, Federer became the oldest man to win Wimbledon when he won the tournament for a record 8th time and extended his lead in most Grand Slam titles held by a man in the Open era; he now has 19 Just as older tennis players are working longer, Americans are too. In May 2016, almost 20% of Americans 65 and older, roughly 9 million people, were employed full- or part-time, up from 4 million in 2000. Here are some things all entrepreneurs can learn from Federer’s example of career longevity and success.
Find ways to prevent burnout. Many workers don’t take all their vacation days for various reasons, but taking time off to recharge or do something that’s important to you outside of work can pay off.
After losing at Wimbledon a year ago, Federer took some time off to recover from some nagging injuries and rested for 6 months. When 2017 came around, he entered and won the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open. He skipped the year’s second Grand Slam event, the French Open, to give his body time to rest.
He then returned to the tour and won Wimbledon. Federer realized, as he has gotten older, that he needs to give his bodymore time to recuperate. After he won Winbledon, he told ESPN, “If I don’t play too much, I won’t be as tired and hurt.”
Use your experience to your advantage. Federer has turned his age into a positive and put his experience to work for him. When he was serving for the Wimbledon title at 5-4 in the third set, Federer said he told himself he was going to lose the set. He reasoned that he’d never won Wimbledon without losing at least one set over the two weeks. And if he won his service game, he wouldn’t have lost any sets.
When Federer mentioned this to Paul Annacone, his former coach, Annacone was surprised and said a younger Federer never would have done that. But in the end, Federer won the match and the title. The anecdote shows he has come up with new approaches to competing as he has grown older.
Those who want continued success adapt to change. Workers who fear they’re becoming obsolete can take a cue from how Federer has had to adapt to modernization. A 35-year-old Federer had to switch to a more modern tennis racket, one with a larger head size and more power. His career goals have changed too. In his early playing days, being ranked No. 1 in the world was the most important thing to him. But now he is happy to be competing at the highest level, on the world’s most famous tennis courts -winning more Grand Slam titles is a bonus.
Proper business planning is a complex and on-going effort, requiring expert counsel—a professional with knowledge and experience, familiar with the challenges that characterize an entrepreneur’s business ventures. Talley LLP shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that has helped propel our clients to their current level of success. With over 25 years’ 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.

Eager to pay more taxes? Just move to Norway. To no one’s surprise, Norway’s voluntary tax contribution has not been successful. Hammered by the opposition for slashing taxes and going on a spending spree with the country’s oil money, the center-right government has hit back with a bold proposal: voluntary contributions.

Launched in June, the initiative has received a tepid reception so far, with the equivalent of just $1,325 in extra revenue being collected by the program so far, according to the Finance Ministry. That is a paltry amount, considering Norway has a population in the neighborhood of 5.3 million people, many of whom are already accustomed to paying some of the highest taxes in the world (the top rate of income tax is 46.7 percent).

“The tax scheme was set up to allow those who want to pay more taxes to do so in a simple and straightforward way,” Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in an emailed comment. “If anyone thinks the tax level is too low, they now have the chance to pay more.”

Who is ever eager to pay more taxes??

In late 2013, the Norwegian government was faced with one of the worst economic shocks in recent memory as the price of crude plunged. The government responded by aggressively cutting taxes and tapping into the country’s massive wealth fund for the first time.

Left-of-center opposition parties claimed the tax cuts would benefit the richest and boost inequality. Jonas Gahr Store, the wealthy Labor Party contender who is leading in the polls ahead of the September 11 elections, has so far refused to take up the government’s offer.

Ironically, it was Store, whose net worth is $8 million, who prodded the government into action by complaining earlier this year that he had ended up paying less taxes under the current administration.

“This is an election campaign showcase by the government,” said Harald Jacobsen, a political adviser at the Labor party, who argues that the scheme has cost more than what it has generated.

Only broadly experienced tax advisory professionals can provide a truly global perspective so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. Talley welcomes the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you and your family. For more information, contact us here.

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