23 Jun 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
When it comes to transferring assets from one generation to the next, there are many commonly used strategies, including life insurance, "transfer on death" accounts, trusts of various kinds, beneficiary designations, durable power of attorney, charitable gifts, and business succession plans. Usually, the main focus is the passing of personal or real property, or financial assets while minimizing tax exposure. Many people, however, view wealth as more than money or their "stuff". Wealth, for these ...
16 Jun 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
It's just the beginning of summer, but many college age kids are gearing up to head to college, if not already there. And with them goes their stuff! It's not like it used to be, where the most expensive thing a college kid took with him might be a cheap stereo. Today, it's not unusual for students to have a virtual army of computers, plus smart phones and other high-tech devices, all of which they ...
29 May 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
You may remember last fall when news broke that millions of fake bank and credit card accounts had been created from 2011 to 2015 by employees of Wells Fargo in the names of the bank's customers without the customers' permission. Wells Fargo was subsequently nailed with $185 million in fines in response and over 5,000 bank employees were let go. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was also, as a result, forced out in October 2016, ...
22 May 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
As I write this, it's Spring Break time, with the resultant trips to the beach, ski slopes or favorite amusement parks for many families. Even more are in the planning stages for summer vacation trips. If that's you, my guess is that while you're busy lining up travel options, making sure you don't break the budget and arranging to be gone from work and other responsibilities, you probably aren't giving much thought to financial planning ...
15 May 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
Chances are you have heard of revocable living trusts. After all, living trusts have become a very popular estate planning and wealth transfer tool. But living trusts are not necessarily for everyone, and likely you have questions about them. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you know more about this useful tool, and perhaps help you decide whether one is right for your situation. Question: How does a living trust work? Answer: With ...
8 May 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
If you are an employer, you know that interviewing job candidates has never been an easy task. A growing list of legal pitfalls is making that tough job even tougher. Fortunately, there are techniques that can help you hire the right person and stay out of trouble while you are doing it. Here are some of the most important: Talk less, listen more. Most interviewers talk too much. They spend too much time discussing the ...
28 Apr 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
With the start of filing season, it's a good time to remember that the IRS and you have a common enemy - identity thieves. We all have a part to play in the fight against tax-related identity theft, and there are proactive steps you can take to protect your data online and at home. The first step is to understand how tax fraud happens. Dishonest individuals may steal taxpayers' personal and financial information from sources ...
31 Mar 2017 | Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
As it does every year during filing season, the IRS released its annual list of the Dirty Dozen tax scams, updated for the 2017 filing season. Anyone following the news will not be surprised that the top scam is phishing, which has affected tax preparers, company payroll and human resources departments, and individual taxpayers. So without further ado, here is the IRSís list of this yearís dozen top worst scams, which while happening all year ...
17 Mar 2017 | Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
A few weeks ago, this column addressed tax fraud awareness and provided some tips on how to prevent identity theft and protect your assets. That has prompted people to ask me what someone should do if they become a victim and a tax return is falsely filed in your name. Given the concern out there, I thought it would be helpful in this article to give you some guidance on what to do should you ...
6 Mar 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
In an era of hyper-connectedness and a burgeoning global cybercrime industry, if you are in business, you cannot afford to just hope you will be lucky and avoid a successful attack. It's essential to establish policies and procedures to minimize risk to train employees on how to protect your business. The basic kinds of criminal acts you need to guard against include: Theft of proprietary or sensitive business data that could be sold to competitors ...
28 Feb 2017 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
The effects of theft on a business can be devastating, whether it comes from the inside or the outside. Burglars, shoplifters, hackers, and others on the outside siphon off profits. Some dishonest employees pilfer goods or cash from within. And unscrupulous business partners and managers may use a variety of accounting tricks to mask theft. Businesses on narrow margins are particularly vulnerable, as are companies that deal with a lot of cash on premises. Often, ...
23 Dec 2016 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
A few weeks ago, we observed what has come to be known as "Giving Tuesday, complete with its own social media hashtag, #GivingTuesday. This seems to have become somewhat of a kickoff, if you will, to a season of philanthropy that lasts through year end. In fact, most charities depend heavily on this season for a large portion of their contributions in order to end the year, hopefully, in the black. As you consider your ...
22 Dec 2016 | Holly Fish
We are very proud our intern program as we continue to grow and expand as a firm and would like to welcome our intern class of 2017. Huge shout out to the creative "Signing Day" Harding University put together! Pictured is Joseph Allen - intern in North Little Rock, and Brian Buckner - intern in Heber Springs. Not pictured, Jessica Webster-Moore of ULAR - Bryant location, Grayson Chilton and William Fickle of ASU - both ...
21 Dec 2016 | Lane Keeter
Some of you may remember the brouhaha of a couple of years ago about employers who were reimbursing their employees for the premiums of individual health insurance plans (or paying such premiums directly) rather than providing group health insurance, and how it was interpreted by the IRS that under Obamacare that was not allowed. A new law just signed into effect, restores the ability for certain small employers that don't sponsor a group plan to ...
9 Dec 2016 | The Sun-Times | Lane Keeter
As I stated in this space two weeks ago, implementing tax strategies at year-end always presents unique challenges and opportunities. The impact of recent tax legislation and significant IRS rule changes during 2016 raises the stakes. To reiterate, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act (PATH Act), passed in late 2015, changed both dramatically and through some nuanced revisions the dynamics of planning for the expiration of various tax breaks, and for the permanence of ...