Latest Entries »

Today as I was scrolling through my usual small business bookmarks and headlines, I came upon an article from Kimberly Weisul at Inc. com. I wanted to share this article with you and weigh in on your thoughts. As a business owner myself I know I, too, am frustrated with our current regulations and the difficulties placed upon America’s entrepreneurs. These days opening up a business doesn’t seem as appealing as it once was given our ecnomic climate and the various taxes placed upon business owners that are no doubt a big hinderance to our growth and development as a nation.

Drop me a line at aaronyoung@laughlinusa.com and let’s discuss your thoughts on the article, ”The Lowdown on Obama’s Small Business Plan.”

I posted the body here so you can read it now and post your thoughts on our Laughlin Associates blog or connect with us on Facebook also at www.facebook.com/LaughlinAssociates. This is a big issue for all of us that own a small business…let yourself be heard and let’s get some changes made in 2012.

“Yesterday, President Obama presented the details behind one of his State of the Union initiatives: to make it easier for small businesses to raise money and to grow. Most of the president’s initiatives fall into two camps: those that change the nature of what it means to be a public company, and nick-and-tuck adjustments that aren’t going to make a huge difference for small businesses. 

The first set of rules, which would make it easier for small companies to raise money, is by far the most promising. These efforts already have some bipartisan support, but this Congress is hardly known for its ability to cooperate. And while some entrepreneurs will no doubt welcome the tax cuts, they’re not going to make a huge difference.

Making fundraising easier

Sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have proven that crowdfunding is a viable way for small companies to raise money. But existing regulations make it almost impossible for entrepreneurs to offer shares to individuals who aren’t wealthy. Entrepreneurs who use Kickstarter to launch their company instead offer t-shirts, ad space, discounts, and whatever else they can come up with. Making it easier for entrepreneurs to actually sell shares could change the ecosystem. The Obama administration is calling for a ‘framework’ to allow this–but that’s something that’s not going to happen immediately.

Similarly, big regulations can take effect when companies raise more than $5 million. The president would raise that ceiling to $50 million. And after companies do go public, the president wants to have public-company regulations kick in gradually rather than all at once, to make going public a bit less onerous. All of these initiatives could really help small companies raise the money they need to grow.

Tax cuts that won’t matter

Then there are the tax cuts. The first, which is actually a tax credit for job-creation, is highly unlikely to persuade any business owner to make additional hires that they wouldn’t have already made. It’s just too much work to bring a new hire on board, never mind letting them go if it doesn’t work out. And financially, the tax credit doesn’t help that much: The president wants to give employers a 10 percent tax credit for new hires, but then the business will have to pay about 7.5 percent in payroll taxes for that same employee (not including unemployment tax). The only thing that will make business owners start hiring is stronger demand for their goods and services.

The president also wants to expand the range of “key” investments in small businesses that are exempt from capital gains tax. This would make a similar provision, enacted in 2010, permanent. This will only be meaningful if the range of eligible investments is dramatically expanded. Currently, the investment has to be in a business structured as a C corporation. Given that all 50 states have passed LLC legislation, that excludes a lot of businesses. Businesses that rely upon the skill of the owner don’t make the cut either, which means entire industries such as financial services, consulting, and engineering are excluded. Plus, the exemptions from capital gains apply to those who invest in small companies–which is not necessarily the entrepreneur.

The other tax cuts are more straightforward: Letting business owners deduct $10,000 (rather than $5,000) in start-up expenses, and allowing business-owners to take 100 percent depreciation on some equipment in the first year.

Then there’s the president’s proposal to add $1 billion to the amount of federal funding available to SBICs, or Small Business Investment Companies. SBICs invest money in small companies, and do a pretty good job of channeling that funding to low-income areas or minority or women entrepreneurs. In 2011, 34 percent of SBIC investments went to companies that fit one of those descriptions. These investments have a great track record of repayment. Why argue with this one?

Helping entrepreneurs right from the start

To really help entrepreneurs get a fair shake from the tax code, the president should seriously consider a long-time proposal from the National Association for the Self-Employed: Stop penalizing self-employed people (and entrepreneurs who have just taken the leap to start out on their own). They can’t deduct their healthcare expenses the way big companies can and they pay both the employer and the employee share of the payroll tax. Ideally, self-employed people will eventually build their companies and hire others. It’s tough enough for them to get health insurance, credibility, and everything else needed to run a business. Instead of giving them a hand, we’re handicapping them right from the start.”

*Thanks to Inc.com and Kimberly Weisul for this content.

IRS Reminds Parents of Ten Tax Benefits 

Your kids can be helpful at tax time. That doesn’t mean they’ll sort your tax receipts or refill your coffee, but those charming children may help you qualify for some valuable tax benefits. Here are 10 things the IRS wants parents to consider when filing their taxes this year.

1. Dependents: In most cases, a child can be claimed as a dependent in the year they were born. For more information see IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.

2. Child Tax Credit: You may be able to take this credit for each of your children under age 17. If you do not benefit from the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more information see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

3. Child and Dependent Care Credit: You may be able to claim this credit if you pay someone to care for your child or children under age 13 so that you can work or look for work. See IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

4. Earned Income Tax Credit: The EITC is a tax benefit for certain people who work and have earned income from wages, self-employment or farming. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may also give you a refund. IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit, has more details.

5. Adoption Credit: You may be able to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. If you claim the adoption credit, you must file a paper tax return with required adoption-related documents.  For details, see the instructions for IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.

6. Children with earned income: If your child has income earned from working, they may be required to file a tax return. For more information, see IRS Publication 501.

7. Children with investment income: Under certain circumstances a child’s investment income may be taxed at their parent’s tax rate. For more information, see IRS Publication 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents.

8. Higher education credits: Education tax credits can help offset the costs of higher education. The American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning Credits are education credits that can reduce your federal income tax dollar-for-dollar. See IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, for details.

9. Student loan interest: You may be able to deduct interest paid on a qualified student loan, even if you do not itemize your deductions. For more information, see IRS Publication 970.

10. Self-employed health insurance deduction: If you were self-employed and paid for health insurance, you may be able to deduct any premiums you paid for coverage for any child of yours who was under age 27 at the end of the year, even if the child was not your dependent. For more information, see the IRS website.

This last one is a good tip to ask a Laughlin Associates business consultant about. As the leading incorporation services provider since 1972, we can help you as a small business owner to get the most out of your tax deductions. In fact, if you’re self-employed we can help you get as much 45% back on your taxes this time next year. Want to learn more? Call Laughlin Associates at 1-800-648-0966 or email lee@laughlinusa.com.

*Tips provided by IRS.gov

Last Friday, President Obama announced that SBA Administrator, Karen Mills’, position was moved to Cabinet status. Reports state that, “President Obama actions are a reflection of the importance he places on small business, economic growth, and job creation.”

The SBA explained that the President,  “Asked Congress for the authority that Presidents like Hoover and Reagan have had to reorganize and modernize the federal government.  This authority lapsed in 1984, but, today, the federal government needs to be updated to ensure that it meets the demands of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the 21st century.”

Karen Mills went on to say in an article on www.sba.gov that,  “The President’s first proposal under this authority would be to create a unified department focused on economic growth and job creation, so that we can be more effective at helping businesses do what they do best – create jobs.”

“For the entrepreneurs and small business owners that SBA and other agencies serve, this is very good news.  A more integrated approach would ensure that small businesses would have access to all of the federal government’s programs in a more seamless, coordinated, and coherent way.”

Mills continued, “I’m honored to become a member of the President’s Cabinet, and I’ll continue to provide input to the President on how we can grow the economy and empower entrepreneurs and small business owners.  At the SBA, we will work to build on the accomplishments we’ve made over the past three years, such as the record $30.5 billion in SBA lending support we provided to over 60,000 small businesses last year.”

So what are your thoughts on the President’s move to make the SBA a higher priority?

Is this a strategic effort on his part to gain votes from skeptical Americans who’ve continued to see consistent job loss and economic downturn?

Or is this is a geniune effort to get America back to work?

Give me your feedback here or drop me a line at aaronyoung@laughlinusa.com  and tell me what you think.

Stopping the Lawsuit Madness

I thought I had seen everything and then this crazy story comes along. According to the New York Times a man is suing the photographer that shot his 2003 wedding for not only the cost of the service but for the money he says is required to re-create the entire wedding including flying in all of the guests! Interestingly, the marriage is long since over and the former bride has returned to Latvia. To read the rest of this story click here.

In her remarks, the judge make humorous remarks and recalls passages from Barbra Streisand’s song, “The Way We Were” to make light of the situation. The problem is, there is nothing funny or light about this mess.

Way too many business owners are regularly held hostage by unbelievably stupid lawsuits. Lawyers paid on commission (or contingency) can basically extort money from a business by simply beating them down. While the plaintiff’s lawyer is waiting for his commission check at the end of the fight, the defendant is paying out of pocket to deal with the law suit. Great for lawyers but terrible for business owners.  After a while, most defendants just throw up their hands and pay the jerks to go away.

If it sounds like this makes me grouchy, you’re right. I hear the horror stories that business owners tell us. It is why they come to Laughlin. They never want to go through such a nightmare again.

Do yourself a favor folks and get your house in order. Stop these stupid lawsuits before they start. Don’t be an easy target. It’s totally up to you.

Carson City, NVCEO SPACE, the largest entrepreneur support program in the world, has exclusively endorsed Laughlin Associates as the premier incorporation services provider for small business owners looking to form an LLC or Corporation.

Says CEO Space Founder Berny Dohrmann, “CEO SPACE has created what we call Trade Show 3.0. This revolutionary model of cooperative capitalism ensures that the diverse needs of our members are constantly being met. The 5 times per year CEO Space forums bring together hundreds of business owners, angel investors, and corporate leaders in a community of support with a focus on hyper-growth opportunities  There is no selling, just sharing, and potential clients can decide if the math makes money sense for their business.”

Many Laughlin clients have benefited from CEO SPACE affiliation for years but with this alliance they now formally endorse Laughlin Associates as their exclusive incorporating recommendation for their 80,000 members nationwide. Laughlin offers Corporation and LLC formation in all 50 states in the U.S.

Aaron Young, Laughlin Associates’ CEO, is particularly encouraged about the CEO SPACE endorsement, “Our two teams have now become one family and we love supporting one another’s customers with a kind of sacred regard for entrepreneurs.”

Young will now participate on the prestigious CEO SPACE faculty board, where he will teach along-side the likes of Les Brown, Bob Proctor, T. Harve Eckert and other well-known professional speakers and business coaches.

Young further explained how the affiliation between CEO Space and Laughlin Associates is such a natural fit for small business owners looking to accelerate their wealth and success.

“We know how hard it is to run a small business. I’ve been there. I live this every day. At Laughlin, we help remove the burdens associated with running a business. Our goal is to help you speed things up and help you make a lot of money faster. We believe the affiliation with CEO SPACE is a recession buster for all of our customers. Our clients can prosper in the double dip and we plan to make sure they do,” Young concluded.

The partnership between Laughlin Associates and CEO SPACE will provide clients with the opportunity to reclaim some tax dollars, substantially upgrade their business skills, improve their business plans, open new markets, get new customers, infuse capital into their businesses, develop upgraded branding strategies, and resolve challenges while saving oceans of time and money.

Young believes the materials and training resources found at CEO SPACE to be one of a kind. “The solutions provided at CEO SPACE are truly off the charts from anything small business owners have previously seen.

He continued on to say, “If you want to make more money faster, I can’t recommend CEO SPACE enough. My request to clients is that they explore CEO SPACE as a hyper-growth opportunity – just dip your toe in the water and see if you are not delighted with the help and support you discover from this affiliation. I am really excited about this alliance. Now we can do even more to benefit the clients we cherish so much.”

 For more information regarding the partnership between Laughlin Associates and CEO SPACE please contact Shannon John, Marketing Manager, at 1-800-648-0966 or sjohn@laughlinusa.com. All media inquiries welcome.

About Laughlin Associates

Laughlin Associates is the foremost leader in corporate formation and business management services. With almost forty years providing U.S. corporations, LLCs and trusts with expert advice, Laughlin has been the trusted resource in providing strategic consulting, accredited training programs and technical resources for more than 80, 000 companies. 

About CEO Space

CEO Space is a global organization in their third decade of serving business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs in over 140 countries. Members use CEO Space as an innovative resource to reduce the time and cost to reach their growth goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently our company CEO, Aaron Young, was interviewed by motivational speaker and business leader, Les Brown on KFWB’s News Talk 980 aired on CBS’ Los Angeles radio syndicate. This was a huge honor and a phenomenal opportunity for any business owner to speak with such a inspirational individual like Les Brown.

 

The interview discusses how Aaron came into entrepreneurship and how he eventually came to own the incorporation services provider, Laughlin Associates. Listen to Aaron and Les and they discuss the road to true success and how finding real happiness as a business owner is not just about the destination, but more importantly, the journey.

Click the microphone to listen to the interview now!

 

 

As the CEO of Laughlin Associates, leader in small business incorporation services and seminars for small business, I was lucky enough to be on hand for the launch event of the An Empowered Woman Foundation on September 11, 2011.

Laughlin served as sponsor of the “Do I Feel Lucky” scholarship that was awarded to Bridgette Shemone, a Northern California actress and entrepreneur.

The event took place on the largest yacht in Marina Del Rey, CA. Among the guests and participants were financial guru, Loral Langemeier, Radio Personality and author, Les Brown, and CEO Space California President, Chimene Holmes.

The An Empowered Woman Foundation (AEWF) was organized to assist women striving to start a business but are in need of resources including mentoring and funding. Each year the foundation will sponsor 100 aspiring entrepreneurs and help them on their path to business development.

The scholarship winner, Shemone, accepted her winnings and promptly returned that amount back to the AEWF to help future female entrepreneurs achieve success and reach their dreams.

Desiree Doubrox, the CEO of An Empowered Woman, enthusiastically declared, “Now that’s what I call ‘An Empowered Woman!’” when asked about Shemone’s donation of her scholarship funds.

The AEWF mission is to annually support 100 women in launching a sustainable business that would positively impact their families and communities. This mission is supported and actualized by companies like Laughlin Associates that are contributing education and resources to assist such female entrepreneurs. For more information visit www.AEWFoundation.org.

 Laughlin Associates offers small business incorporation services in all 50 states, seminars for small business, advice for entrepreneurs on choosing an LLC vs. a Corporation, consultations on how to properly protect your assets, and Nevada resident agent service.

*Thank you to Ian Foxx of Foxx Media Group for the photos from this event.

One of the great pleasures of my job is getting to meet fascinating people who are doing fascinating things and to listen to their stories. I love it when those stories include efforts to help of small businesses succeed. One such company that is making a difference is An Empowered Woman (AEW). They have recently set-up a foundation specifically aimed at helping women who want to launch a company but may have challenges that make it especially difficult.  

I had the privilege of visiting with the Desiree Doubrox, CEO of An Empowered Woman, yesterday in anticipation of their “Dream Catcher” event that will serve as the official launch of the foundation (and in which Laughlin Associates will participate). The work that  AEW does to help women fulfill their dreams of owning their own business is truly remarkable. I encourage you to take a look at their web site (www.anempoweredwoman.com) and let women everywhere know about this terrific resource.

 

Click here to listen to the interview.

 

 

 

Yesterday Congress finally came together and passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling. Regardless of your politics, this move needed to be made. Failure to do so would have resulted in higher interest rates for everyone in America. While the 24 hour news wonks are all talking about how this law has warts on it, at least there seems to be one winner…the small business owner. Take a look at this article from Fox Business News for more details.

The debt ceiling resolution ultimately amounted to a $2.4 trillion increase in the debt limit, so long as lawmakers can cut that same amount or more in spending. If a committee, set up by the debt proposal, cannot come up with spending cuts, a “trigger” in the plan will enact cuts in the government’s budget. (http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com.)

The biggest victory here for the small business owner is the aversion of any new tax increases. While some authorities remain uncertain about future tax hikes and the implications that this bill may hold for small business owners, at the moment things look optimistic. 

As reported in the article, Ray Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, said, ” They didn’t just increase the debt ceiling as we have in the past—it is linked to what is actually going on, on the spending side. “The president and the majority in the Senate had to move away from their position that tax increases had to be a part of the deal. That is a huge win for small business owners.”

The upside to the article is that once again small business owners are seen as the backbone of America and the one thing that is keeping the economy afloat. While we didn’t ask to play Superman, that is our job. I offer my gratitude to you for always showing up and powering through.  

Drop me a line with your thoughts to Congress’ resolution to the debt ceiling and how you feel it will affect business owners like you.

A few days ago I got a great opportunity to speak with fellow entrepreneur and business owner, Pat Lynch, of WomensRadio.com. Pat is the host of “Speak Up,” a radio show that hosts a wide range of speakers and topics, providing insight into today’s economic issues, business leadership techniques, and how to better manage your business ventures.

Pat and I spoke on a number of topics during the interview, but most importantly the value of incorporating your business as a small business owner. In today’s economic climate, it is more important than ever to protect yourself, your assets, and the mounting liabilities that today’s small businesses face.

Learn more by listening to the interview here.

I love hearing your feedback! Drop me a line on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.