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Defrauded companies lose a median $130,000. But construction companies are hit even harder, with a median loss of $227,000. What can you do to protect your construction business? Tighten your internal controls. In addition to conducting surprise audits, segregate duties — meaning that more than one person handles accounting tasks. Require employee vacations, and have […]

If you’re a business owner and you hire your children (or grandchildren) this summer, you can obtain tax breaks and other nontax benefits. The kids can gain on-the-job experience, save for college and learn how to manage money. And you may be able to: Shift your high-taxed income into tax-free or low-taxed income, Realize payroll […]

If you read the Internal Revenue Code (and you probably don’t want to!), you may be surprised to find that most business deductions aren’t specifically listed. It doesn’t explicitly state that you can deduct office supplies and certain other expenses. Some expenses are detailed in the tax code, but the general rule is contained in […]

If you want another retirement savings option to add to your company’s benefits package, consider a Roth 401(k). But make sure employees use it. The Plan Sponsor Council of America found that Roth 401(k)s are available at 70% of employer plans, but only 20% of participants who had access to one in 2017 made contributions […]

Estate planning isn’t just about what happens to your assets after you die. It’s also about protecting yourself and your loved ones. This includes having a plan for making critical medical decisions in the event you’re unable to make them yourself. A living will expresses your preferences for the use of life-sustaining medical procedures, such […]

Are you wondering where your tax refund is? According to the IRS, most refunds are issued in less than 21 calendar days. If you’re curious about when yours will arrive, you can use the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool. Go to and click “Check My Refund Status.” In some cases, taxpayers may be notified […]

words - formula funding clause

It’s not unusual for older estate plans to include a “formula funding clause,” which splits assets between a credit shelter trust and the surviving spouse (either outright or in a marital trust). A formula clause works well when an estate is substantially larger than the exemption amount. However, now that the estate tax exemption is […]

As not-for-profits increasingly take on big issues such as global warming and economic development, some are turning to “collective impact.” This cross-sector approach involves nonprofits, government, businesses and others working together to solve a specific problem. Collective impact adherents often cite five keys for success: a common vision, a shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, […]

group of different workers

Many employers prefer to classify workers as independent contractors to lower costs, even if it means having less control over a worker’s day-to-day activities. But the government is on the lookout for businesses that classify workers as independent contractors simply to reduce taxes or avoid their employee benefit obligations. Why it matters When your business […]

scrabble tiles spell out life insurance

Today, estate taxes are no longer a concern for the vast majority of families. But even for nontaxable estates, life insurance continues to offer estate planning benefits. For example, you can use life insurance to replace wealth that’s lost to long term care (LTC) expenses. Although LTC insurance is available, it can be expensive. For […]

surgeon hand with scalpel during surgery

When people hear the term “forensic science,” they usually think “CSI.” What comes to mind when you hear the term “forensic accounting”? Similar to forensic scientists offering opinions about scientific matters, forensic accountants may be called on to investigate and serve as financial experts in commercial litigation. Here’s how. Who they are Forensic accountants specialize […]

If your company is merging with or acquiring another business, it’s important to understand how the transaction will be taxed. For tax purposes, a transaction can basically be structured in two ways: stock (or ownership interest) or assets. For tax and nontax reasons, buyers usually prefer to purchase assets, while sellers generally prefer stock sales. […]

image of Dollar sign turning to dust and blowing away

The rules for writing off personal casualty losses on a tax return have changed for 2018 to 2025. Specifically, taxpayers generally can’t deduct losses unless the casualty event qualifies as a federally declared disaster. (The rules for business or income-producing property are different.) Another factor that now makes it harder to claim a casualty loss […]

Despite its name, the purpose of a spendthrift trust isn’t just to protect profligate heirs from themselves. Even the most financially responsible heirs can be exposed to frivolous lawsuits or unscrupulous creditors. A properly designed spendthrift trust can safeguard assets against such attacks. A variety of trusts can include this protection. It’s just a matter […]

Business owners and executives commit only 19% of all occupational fraud, but they cause a median loss of $850,000, vs. $100,000 for regular employees. So spotting red flags is critical. Crooked executives may be reluctant to cooperate with internal investigations, outside auditors and regulators, and may become agitated or annoyed when probed about financial discrepancies. […]

In the course of operating your business, you probably spend time and money “wining and dining” current or potential customers, vendors and employees. What can you deduct on your tax return for these expenses? The rules changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), but you can still claim some valuable write-offs. No more […]

Celebrities can provide a big boost to the not-for-profits they publicly support. They can also harm them by association. Accusations connected with the #MeToo movement and other scandals have brought down many stars and caused major headaches for some nonprofits. Don’t wait for a PR crisis. Include a “morals clause” in contracts with spokespeople, make […]

If your estate plan includes a revocable trust (also known as a “living” trust), it’s critical to ensure that the trust is properly funded. Revocable trusts offer significant benefits, including probate avoidance. But these benefits aren’t available if you don’t fund the trust. Funding a living trust is a simple matter of transferring ownership of […]

It should come as no surprise that cash (including checks that are easily cashed) is the most popular target of fraud perpetrators. Once stolen, cash is virtually untraceable. But fraud experts have tools to unearth these schemes, particularly fraudulent disbursements. To confirm overbilling, experts might investigate accounts with no tangible deliverables and examine returned checks […]