Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, left, runs past first base coach Davey Lopes after hitting a two-run home run in the 12th inning of the Dodgers 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / April 21, 2011)
Business Daily reports from Louisiana and London on the long-term effects of the BP oil spill. What are the implications for the environment, local economy and the future of the energy industry.
By Eva Rosenberg, MarketWatch
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Before you complain to your tax pro about failing to deduct your business’s medical expenses, do your homework. Deducting these expenses is complex.
After TaxMama’s appearance on his show, Bob McCormick, host of Money 101 on Los Angeles’s KFWB and KNX radio stations, got a call from a certified public accountant whose client had complained: “Hey, how come you don’t deduct all my medical for my business like I heard on KNX?”
you trust your spouse?
For most married couples, it makes sense to file jointly, but there are exceptions. It you have big medical deductions or don’t trust your spouse, it’s better to file separately.
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TaxMama’s answer to that question is, “Buster, you didn’t bother to make an appointment to arrange for a business medical plan.”
Don’t go blaming your CPA or enrolled agent if you can’t take a deduction on your personal or business tax return after reading about it or hearing about it on the air. All the tax professionals I know do their darnedest to get you the best breaks in the tax code. But they can’t help you unless you sit down with them and do some tax planning. Walking in during tax time and demanding breaks? It’s simply too late.
And take heed: Now is the time to do the planning. Whatever business you have, there are a variety of ways to get tax breaks for medical insurance and medical expenses. Unfortunately, there are different rules for each kind of business. The rules are needlessly complicated. We all wish they could be easier.
Since they are complex, it’s important to understand how they work so you can either implement them in your business, or change your business structure to take advantage of all the benefits you can.
The rules vary
For any business to deduct medical expenses, the business must have a formal written plan.
There are different considerations for business with and without employees. Naturally, when there are no employees, decisions about benefits are easier. You simply have to work harder when you wear all the hats.
Essentially, if you employ people, the better you treat them, the more loyalty you will earn. Loyal, happy employees treat you — and your customers — better. Try not to skimp on their benefits.
Here are some common ways businesses pay for or provide medical or health coverage:
The business can pay all the medical insurance and costs, and then deduct them for all employees. These days, even with tax credits, this is too expensive. It’s not likely to happen in small businesses.
The business can pay for health insurance coverage for the employee, and possibly for the family (or have the employee pay for family coverage), without paying for the other medical costs. This is getting phased out due to the expense. In fact, many companies have two-tier coverage. Employees over 65 are being asked to switch over to Medicare coverage.
The company can have a high-deductible medical insurance plan and then add a health savings account (HSA), which either the employee or the employer pays. Since the insurance costs drop dramatically, this coverage is gaining in popularity.
The company can has a group plan, with or without an HSA, where the employer pays for none of the coverage. They arrange for a better group rate than the employees can generate on their own. But the employees pay the premiums themselves. Generally, using a Premium Only Plan (POP), employees can pay for the coverage from their own wages, before taxes. When employees must pay $1,000 per month for family coverage anyway, paying the premiums before tax can save as much as $300 per month or $3,600 per year.
More CEOs are seeing improved business conditions in Silicon Valley, according to a new survey, adding to the growing optimism over the regions economy.
In a survey of 175 chief executives, 66 percent said their companies added jobs in 2010 – twice the number of those polled the previous two years. That was also the highest percentage since the annual Business Climate survey began eight years ago.
In addition to declaring 2010 a turnaround year for the region, the report from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group found optimism going forward: Most CEOs expect their companies to boost hiring in 2011 as well.
So 2010 was a comeback year for Silicon Valley, said Carl Guardino, president and CEO of San Joses SVLG, a nonpartisan public-policy group. Weve bounced back from the doldrums of 2008 and 2009.
He said the organization was surprised by so many more CEOs reporting improvements, and that only 10 percent of the companies shed jobs last year.
Whats exciting is were seeing job growth not only globally but here in Silicon Valley, Guardino said.
Fifty-five percent of the CEOs polled anticipate job growth in the region to be better in 2011. Only 5 percent expect it to be worse.
Kim Polese, chairwoman of ClearStreet Inc., a Menlo Park consumer financial services firm, echoed some of the surveys findings.
Granted, we still have high unemployment, but it is decreasing, said Polese, who was the original Java product manager at Sun Microsystems. The jobs are being added, and the technology sector is probably the only part of the economy where we are seeing significant growth in the state of California.
Polese also highlighted that the states budget woes are a major concern back in the valley.
When you cant predict from year to year what the basic structure of state government is, its hard to plan a business, she said. For example, a company thats in the clean-tech space, if they cant count on tax credits that exist today but might not exist next year, theyre probably not going to locate their company here.
Separately, a quarterly report released Tuesday by the University of the Pacifics Business Forecasting Center said the states economy will improve slightly in the short term, but Californias unemployment rate will hover around 10 percent through the end of 2013.
Other findings from the Business Climate report:
– Chief executives expressed more confidence in Gov. Jerry Brown than state legislators in creating a healthy business environment.
– One of 6 companies, or 16 percent, moved jobs out of California. In the previous years survey, 32 percent said they relocated jobs.
– Most of the CEOs believe the health care reform law should be kept intact.
– Weighing in on the national debate on pensions, an overwhelming majority of the respondents believe reform is needed and that public employees should be shifted toward more 401(k)-type plans.
Participants in the business survey, which was conducted online in December and January, were culled from SVLGs 335 members. The combined global revenue for the responding firms is close to $2 trillion.
A separate survey of startup CEOs by SVLG and Silicon Valley Bank also found improved business conditions in 2010 and forecast more hiring in 2011.
Among the findings from the Startup Outlook report:
– 23 percent of the companies said they exceeded their revenue targets in 2010, up from 15 percent in 2009.
– Two out of 3 executives described business conditions in 2010 as improving from the previous year. And 75 percent think conditions will get better.
– Access to equity financing remains their top concern. Ranked after that was scaling operations for growth and the regulatory or political environment. For biotech companies in particular, FDA regulations were, as one respondent said, stifling.
The startup survey included responses from 375 chief executives of early-stage companies in four sectors: clean technology, life sciences, software and Internet, and hardware. The online poll was conducted in mid-February.
E-mail Jason W. Lloren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page D – 1 of the San#xA0;Francisco#xA0;Chronicle
By Liana B. Baker
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Xerox Corp (XRX.N) maintained its annual outlook but could not soothe investors concerns over the earthquake in Japan affecting its business, which sent shares down more than 3 percent on Thursday.
The following is the text of the
Philadelphia area manufacturing activity from the Federal
Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Results from the Business Outlook Survey suggest that regional
manufacturing activity continued to grow in April but at a
slower pace than in March. Nearly all of the survey’s broadest
indicators remained positive but fell from their readings in the
previous month. Increases in input prices continue to be
widespread, and a significant percentage of firms reported
increases in prices for their own manufactured goods. The
survey’s indicators of future activity fell notably this month;
however, most firms expect continued growth over the next six
Indicators Suggest Slower Growth
The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the
diffusion index of current activity, decreased from 43.4 in
March to 18.5 this month (see Chart). The demand for
manufactured goods, as measured by the current new orders index,
showed a similar slowing: The index fell 22 points, following
seven consecutive months of increase. The shipments index
declined 6 points and remained at a relatively high level.
Firms continued to report that unfilled orders and delivery
times were still rising.
FirmsEresponses continue to indicate overall improvement in
labor markets. The current employment index fell 6 points but
has remained positive for eight consecutive months. The
percentage of firms reporting an increase in employment (20
percent) is higher than the percentage reporting a decline (8
percent). Over twice as many firms reported a longer workweek
(32 percent) than reported a shorter one (14 percent) and the
workweek index increased 5 points.
Firms Report Higher Output Prices
Firms continue to report price increases for inputs as well as
their own manufactured goods. The prices paid index declined 7
points this month but remains about 45 points higher than
readings just seven months ago. Fifty-nine percent of the firms
reported higher prices for inputs this month, compared to 64
percent last month. On balance, firms also reported an increase
in prices for their own manufactured goods: The prices received
index increased 5 points and has steadily increased over the
last eight months. Thirty percent of firms reported higher
prices for their own goods this month; just 3 percent reported
Six-Month Indicators Fall
The future general activity index decreased 29 points this month,
its lowest reading since last September (see Chart). The indexes
for future new orders and shipments also declined, decreasing 31
and 22 points, respectively. The index for future employment
continued to be a bright spot and still reflects optimism about
expected expansion in the manufacturing sector. The future
employment index increased 7 points. More firms expect to
increase employment over the next six months (45 percent) than
expect to decrease employment (7 percent).
In special questions this month, firms were asked about their
export business and expectations for growth for the remainder of
the year (see Special Questions). The average firm in the
survey’s reporting group exports approximately 12 percent of its
output. Among the firms that export, about 40 percent expect
the share of products for export to increase. Firms were also
asked about any adverse effects of the recent crisis in Japan or
other international events on the availability of raw materials
or other products. The largest percentage of firms (80 percent)
indicated no effect; 10 percent indicated some current adverse
effects; and 10 percent cited possible future effects.
According to respondents to the April Business Outlook Survey,
the region’s manufacturing sector continued to expand this month
but at a slower pace than over the previous several months. Most
of the survey’s broad indicators fell this month but continued
to signal expansion. A majority of firms continue to cite price
pressures, and a significant share of firms reported higher
prices for their own manufactured goods again this month.
Indicators for future activity fell notably this month but still
suggest that firms expect the current expansion in manufacturing
to continue over the next six months.
Special Questions (April 2011)
1. Approximately what percentage of your manufacturing output is
for export? Mean: 11.7%* Median: 5.0%
Number of Respondents: 89.0
2. Over the remainder of this year, do you expect the share of
products you export to: **
Increase Substantially 1.4% Increase Moderately 38.4%
Stay the Same 56.1% Decrease Moderately 2.7%
Decrease Substantially 1.4%
3. Have recent developments in Japan or other international
events had any adverse effects on the availability of raw
materials or other intermediate products for you or any of your
None 80% Some Current Effects 10%
Possible Future Effects 10%
* About 34 percent of all reporting firms indicated they do not
export. **Responses include only those firms that export.
I spent much of last week at SXSW and had an absolute blast. SXSW, which is short for South by Southwest Conferences amp; Festivals, is the annual gathering of musicians, filmmakers and techno geeks in Austin each March.
Its 10 days of total immersion in the arts, combining a trade show (The Exhibition for Creative Industries), panel discussions, keynote speeches, film screenings, music showcases and parties galore.
The Austin Convention Center is ground zero for the festivities, but the show has grown so much that many events are held at one of the hundreds of official SXSW venues bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters, warehouses, and almost any other rentable structure – in and around downtown Austin.
Its actually three shows now – interactive, film and music.
Get the picture? SXSW is this huge, multifaceted affair that takes over every hotel room and parking space in Austin. But I was surprised when my friend Doug tweeted, SXSW 2012 might replace Macworld.
At first I thought he was crazy. SXSW and Macworld Expo are two completely different animals. A few hours later Doug tweeted a clarification: When I say replace Macworld, I mean in my schedule only. Nothing can replace Macworld Expo … I just cant afford San Francisco trips any longer.
Now I understand what he was saying. While the two events are unquestionably different in nature and scope, we go to both to see cool technology and hang out with people who appreciate cool tech.
For example, on the product front, I got a great demo of Seagates intriguing new (at least to me) GoFlex storage system, with optional cables that let you switch the drives interface to (or from) USB 2.0, FireWire 800, USB 3.0 or eSATA. And I got to discuss the state of optical recognition with the general manager of RedLaser – one of my all-time favorite iPhone apps.
I met dozens of people, including former Apple evangelist and best-selling author Guy Kawasaki, who was signing copies of his latest tome, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions. If you run a small business, you must read it.
Doug is right that nothing can replace Macworld Expo in the hearts of Mac and i-device users. Im going next year, and if you can afford it, so should you. But for those who cant afford Macworld, Austins SXSW delivers many of the same thrills and will almost certainly cost you less.
Bob Dr. Mac LeVitus is a leading authority on Mac OS X, the author of nearly 60 books including iPad for Dummies and Incredible iPhone Apps for Dummies, and a Mac consultant, troubleshooter and trainer. Visit his website at www.boblevitus.com; email comments to email@example.com.
The prince and
Charlene Wittstock with
President Mary McAleese
and her husband Martin
before last nights State
dinner. Photo: Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC Appearing on CNBCs lsquo;Squawk Box program, US Rep Ed Whitfield, (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, this morning said that in a competitive, global marketplace, electricity produced by coal is still the most economical means to generate affordable, reliable power to meet the nations energy needs.
Whitfields comments were part of an interview about legislation introduced by Whitfield and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI-06) titled lsquo;The Energy Tax Prevention Act. The legislation would stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using the Clean Air Act from imposing greenhouse gas regulations that will increase energy and consumer prices for American families and ship US jobs overseas. The full House is expected to take up the bill later this week.
Whitfield insists that any decisions with such sweeping effects over jobs and the economy must remain under the responsibility of Congress and not unelected Executive Branch agency staff. When asked during his interview if EPA was taking an activist stance, Whitfield responded that he felt the agency was set on making coal unaffordable in order to promote more preferred sources of energy.
Their objective now is to make coal more expensive so that renewables can be more competitive. Of course our concern about that is in the global marketplace, electricity produced by coal is still the most economical, said Whitfield during his interview. We have good, clean coal technology and if were going to remain competitive in the global marketplace with countries like China, this unprecedented power grab by EPA must be stopped.
Rep. Whitfields entire interview can be viewed by visiting the Congressmans official YouTube page or by clicking on photo below.
Rep. Whitfield discusses stopping EPAs power grab and the importance of coal.
Information provided to iSurf News by Robert Sumner, Press Secretary
Posted by iSurf News
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The Hopewell is a minimalists dream. Besides being on the small side, its basically rectangular shape makes this compact Craftsman cottage as economical to build as it is to maintain. While equally appealing to young families and empty nesters, the plan is also designed with the idea of leaving a smaller carbon footprint than many newly constructed homes.
Slender posts set on brick veneer bases highlight a porch that sweeps across the front and wraps around to create an alcove on the right. Other Craftsman features include gridded window uppers, variously sized front-facing gables, a Craftsman door and a sidelight.
Inside, the entry is suffused in natural light that washes in through the sidelight and upper section of the door. A convenient coat closet and access to the two-car garage are straight ahead. The utility room to the right is outfitted with cabinets and a folding counter.
Turning left brings you into a bright and spacious informal gathering space where the living room flows into the dining area. And thats not the end of it.
A peninsular counter rimmed by a flush eating bar is all that separates the dining area from the kitchen, giving the large gathering space an even more expansive feel. A roomy walk-in pantry sits at the juncture of the kitchen and dining room. The covered patio off the opposite side of the kitchen could easily be screened, if pesky bugs are a persistent problem.
Bedrooms fill the rear section of the Hopewell. The owners suite has a large walk-in closet and a private bathroom with a dual vanity and an oversized shower. Secondary bedrooms share a two-section bathroom, allowing two people to use it at once.
For a review plan, including scaled floor plans, elevations, section and artists conception, send $25 to Associated Designs, 1100 Jacobs Dr., Eugene, OR 97402. Please specify the Hopewell 30-793 and include a return address when ordering. A catalog featuring more than 550 home plans is available for $15. For more information, call (800) 634-0123, or visit our website at www.AssociatedDesigns.com.