What Is Tax Return?

What Is Tax Return?

What is tax return is a common question in the minds of independent individuals and business organizations. Basically, it is a form of tax that requires to be filled with government body for declaring taxation liability in numerous countries such as United States, Australia, Canada and United Kingdom. These are set up in the form of work sheet. In these sheets income figures are used that calculate liability of the tax and these figures are written in documents form as well. It is necessary for business and for an individual who receives income. These are filed every year based on regular income (wages), dividends, interest and capital gains. What is a tax return can also be answered in a way that it is the tax which needs to be refunded every year.

The documents of tax return are very complicated and sometimes they also frustrate people. For filling these documents, one has to add up all his income and determine whether he is taxed accurate percentage or not. These documents also require some subtraction and addition for some specific actions. Subtraction cases are those where families have dependent children. Similarly, deductions come in the form of tax for those people who are self-employed. All these deductions reduce the amount of payments but understanding their documentation is very difficult.

What is a tax return (joint) is a common term used by families in many countries. These can be filed as an individual on the behalf of a family. Similarly, for married couples there are also two modes of paying tax. They can either choose a combined mode of payment or as separate individuals. It just depends on what suits them. Children under the age of eighteen or those going to college are considered as dependents, so their tax return is deducted from their guardian's or parent's income. The documents are given to people by some government officials. Wage statement is one of these documents and it is given to people by their employers. Then there is a form which adds all income of the person during one year and applies tax according to a particular percentage that is set up by the government of a particular country.

The federal government body in various countries is different, for example in America the federal government body is known as IRS (Internal Revenue Service). In United Kingdom, this federal body is known as Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

There are different modes of paying tax in United States, for example via certified public accountant, tax accountant or by using software. The most preferred way is through accountant as they are specialized professionals and they notice all the deductions which a common man ignores. Paying tax return via software is also a great option as it solves complex problems in seconds and also offers best results.

At last, tax return is mandatory in various countries and it helps nations to run the development process at a steady pace.

Useful Information About Grants and Federal Grants in the United States

Useful Information About Grants and Federal Grants in the United States

Grants are nothing but financial assistance provided by governments and other institutes to those people or organizations who are eligible to receive them. Apart from financial or monetary assistance, grants can also include access to services, resources, goods etc. that can help people in achieving certain goals, which are beneficial to the society in general. For example, governments and other institutes often offer grants to doctors are researchers trying to come up with innovative solutions in the field of medicine. The doctors are provided with access to funds, research facilities, medical equipment and a lot of other things that can assist them in their research.

Apart from governments, they are also offered by NGOs, private corporations, wealthy individuals, non-profit organizations, trusts, foundations and educational institutes. The grants are provided for free of cost and the recipients are not required to make any payments in return. The best part is that, the recipients do not have to pay any taxes for receiving any assistance in the form of grants. The amount of money which is offered through grants can be either very high or very low, based on the type of assistance provided. Many charitable organizations also offer such assistance to the people in need.

Federal Grants in the United States

The Federal Government offers a variety of grants to people from all walks of life, starting from students to scientists. Most of these grants are offered mainly to researchers, universities and other educational institutions, cities, counties, states, non-profit organizations and charitable foundations. There are only a few of them which are offered to individuals. Federal Grants come with a lot of benefits and apart from offering financial assistance they also offer access to all kinds of resources that might be needed to complete a research project. In most cases, these grants are not offered to

The most common grant offered by the US Government is known as R01, which is offered to support any research project which is specified and discreet. The best part about the R01 assistance program is that, it does not come with any money limit. It is usually awarded for a period of 3 to 5 years. Other Federal Grants include the R43/R44 - issued to those small businesses which initiate innovative research programs, R15 - issued to support academic research projects, and R03, which is issued to support certain scale research projects for a shorter duration of time.

Understanding Appraisal Management

Understanding Appraisal Management

If you are a buyer and want to buy a new house like a professional, then you need to buy the property with the most reasonable price. So, how can you calculate the value of the property? You should consult with efficient and effective appraisal management services. The efficient service will analyze each aspect of the house that you are going to buy and will offer a preliminary research review regarding that. They might also recommend you that whether you need to create any type of repair or development of the residence or not, so that the value can be increased. In this you will get stress-free considering that you are not wasting money rather you are investing the money to generate more earnings from your real-estate property.

Appraisal management services have become the important source for almost all appraisers. Without using them, appraisers around the country have found the problems of even staying in business without their services. Luckily, they are becoming user friendly to appraisers and their needs.

The function of the AMC is to take appraisal purchase from financial institutions and home loan organizations and then deliver them to appraisers. The appraisers will now deliver the job returning right after it really is completed. This really is set so the organization will act as a hurdle among the appraiser plus the lending company. An AMC makes it very possible for you get new business since it requires on the whole liability of discovering new customers.

The most obvious reason to subscribe an appraisal management company is to generate more work. While it is possible to bring regional work from lawyers, CPA's and financial institutions, the quality of work is so little that it would probably not maintain you in the way of life that you want. Obviously, during financial downturns, we all anticipate a lack of work, but without the use of AMC's, you are most definitely establishing yourself up for problems.

Appraisal work which is financed federally may then be acquired only via these companies. Appraisers are then directed to subscribe or sign-up with these organizations when they organized of staying in company. Although it is possible still for independent appraisers to operate on their own by getting function with personal properties, but the impact is the point that there may not be adequate perform sent to them in comparison when working with an AMC.

To be able to increase productivity and make the best use of your sources, it is sensible to implement an AMC that has designed a procedure to improve much of the appraisal process. An organization that basically has a website is not enough. To make the most away from what you get in the company, you must find out as many top AMC as it is possible too.

Overview of International Money Transfer

Overview of International Money Transfer

Everything has its set of pros and cons. Nowadays the use of international money transfers has become much more common because of the advances in information technology. You can now easily make payments within minutes. The advances in technology and communications have made it possible for business transactions to take place over thousands of miles. This has improved business opportunities for businessmen placed in different countries. These possibilities make it possible for money to be sent to different places for different reasons.

Such facilities will provide you with a great deal of flexibility as you can instantly get payments from people who are even located far away from you. Previously, this procedure could take up to weeks which could paralyze many activities but now all you need to do is wait a few minutes. These days many banks are offering a wide range of online transfer facilities which also allow people to track down their funds and check the status at a click of a button. Banks nowadays also provide you with the option of transferring the money directly into your account in your local currency so that you do not have to face the headache of converting the money. These services help business groups to grow quite rapidly without the wastage of any time which comes about because of the long time spent in the transfer of money.

The transferring of money over large distances has now become simple with only the requirement of a fee which is deducted from the amount that is being transferred. Though this results in a lesser payment but the services that you get for such a less price are totally worth it. Online fund transfer with the help of credit or debit cards need to be carried out carefully because if the procedure is unclear you could end up losing money. So learn the procedure carefully and enjoy easy transfer options for your money. All financial information should be kept safely so that it does not fall into the hands of the wrong people to be misused.

This overview of international money transfer is aimed at providing you a complete understanding of the process. This facility is becoming more popular with people as it allows them a good way to send money to their dear ones no matter how far away they are. A highly dependable option, international money transfer is getting popular every single day.

What Do You Need to Know About Euro Exchange Rates

What Do You Need to Know About Euro Exchange Rates

The Euro is one of the major currencies of the world with 17 countries in Europe using it as their currency. Euro exchange rates and U.S currencies are among the most traded in the Forex market. Trading in the Forex market is done in pairs and Euro is one of the prime currencies that are often traded with other currencies.

Forex trading has become one of the most lucrative trading platforms in the world and there are billions of dollars trades done on a single day. Most traders now prefer to trade in Euro due to its growing importance in the world. The decline of the U.S dollar has also contributed immensely to it been a preferred choice among traders.

Although many countries in the European Union are having debt problems and are going through troubled times, it has not made the Euro unpopular. On the contrary traders are looking at new opportunities to make gains by trading in the Euro.

Euro exchange rates have close links with the way U.S markets behave and they go up and down based on the economic health of the U.S economy. The Euro has become a favorite choice of Forex traders as the value of the U.S dollar becomes weak all over the world.

There is a lot of volatility in the Forex market and the euro exchange rates provide some amount of stability against the U.S currency. The Euro has become a stronger currency over the years and stands high when compared with other currencies.

The euro exchange rates tend to reflect the economic development and political climate of the entire European Union. The currency will move up and down based on the economic and political news of the twenty countries that form the European Union (three countries in the European Union have their own currency).

There are a lot of challenges that the euro exchange rates face due to the economic situation prevalent all over the world. The high rate of inflation and unemployment and the economic downturn in the U.S markets are some of the major factors that are influencing the movement of the Euro.

Although there have been many fluctuations in the euro exchange rates it has managed to survive the various challenges and grown stronger. The U.S dollar has become weaker against a strong Euro. The Forex markets determine the value of a particular currency and this is influenced by many internal and external factors within and outside the respective countries.

Most of the countries that form part of the European Union had weak currencies when compared to the Euro and these have benefitted the most from a single currency in Europe. Selecting the correct pair of currencies is very important and this will determine whether a trader makes a profit or loss.

It is advisable to gain knowledge about Forex trading before you start real time trading. There are many online tools that will help you learn about the various terms that are used in currency trading.

Legitimate Reasons to Submit to a Background Verification From a

Legitimate Reasons to Submit to a Background Verification From a Landlord

When you are looking for a new place to live and have to rent, you may notice that many landlords require an application to be filled which also seeks consent for a credit or background check. This may sound alarming at first, but you need to know that these ways to verify your identity and what you are all about can actually help you in the long run when looking for a new place to rent.

You should understand that the landlord is just being cautious, not necessarily nosy. If you feel like the landlord wants to know way too much about you, think about it from the landlord's point of view. Would you want to know whether someone has a criminal history? Would you want to know whether someone is employed and able to pay the rent before renting to them? These are naturally things you would want to know.

These are questions that can only be answered honestly with a look into the potential tenants' credit, criminal, and employment histories. Not all people are honest, unfortunately. A person who has an investment, like a rental property, needs to pull out all the stops to make sure he or she is protecting his or her investment properly. This includes double-checking to make sure potential tenants are who they say they are.

You may be protected by your landlord's insistence to know more about renters. You aren't the only one being submitted to these closer looks. Other tenants in the building have also had to pass the verifications and meet certain standards. This means that you are not likely living next to someone who has been convicted of a major crime or someone that always causes trouble.

Knowing that you will be living in a building where other people have clean histories means that you will be less worried about your own property, the safety of any children that you may have, and that the people you may eventually become friends with are upstanding people.

You can also prove that you are more reliable than other prospective renters when trying to land a new apartment or house. If you have a squeaky clean background, you are going to be top pick for a landlord who doesn't want any trouble. If you have nothing to hide about your background, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you have had trouble in the past, be completely honest with the landlord. Explain what your life has been like recently and what efforts you have made to turn your life around. Don't try to cover up anything with lies. No one will rent to you if they catch you in a lie. It's better just to come clean right away. The landlord may appreciate your truthfulness and be willing to give you a chance.

Most landlords who care about who they are renting to are also people who care about their properties. At least you know that wherever you will be renting will be well taken care of in all likelihood. A landlord is not interested in letting a house go into ruin if he or she is making sure the tenants are responsible people. You are likely going to be renting from a reliable landlord who takes renting seriously.

Remember to only sign and pay for a background verification when there is adequate documentation of what the background check is for. Just like renters, not all landlords are honest people. Ask for a receipt if you must pay for the application verification, and you may also ask for a copy or make one yourself for the consent to do a background check.

Renewing Your Mortgage? It Pays To Shop Around

Renewing Your Mortgage? It Pays To Shop Around

If your mortgage is coming up for renewal, you should shop around for the best deal, reports Rob McLister from Canadian Mortgage Trends. Most borrowers don't.

In fact a survey by Martiz/CAAMP revealed that only 56 per cent of borrowers negotiated their rates when they came to renew. So almost half of all Canadian mortgage borrowers are not getting the best deal because they don't comparison shop!

Lenders make money when you renew your mortgage with them. If you renew with the same lender, they don't have to compensate anyone for referring you. And if you don't negotiate, you won't be offered the best deal.

You expect to negotiate if you're choosing a new lender. But you should negotiate even if you're staying with the same lender. As the Bank of Canada discovered, you could be paying almost double the rate markups than savvy comparison shoppers pay.

But bank customers are often loyal. The Maritz/CAAMP survey found that 4 in 10 mortgage renewers accepted the first rate their bank offered. They trusted their lenders to give them the best rate at renewal time. This trust is misplaced.

The lenders are aware of this. Comparison shoppers who are prepared to negotiate, armed with competing offers, should then be offered better offers from their original lender. The lender doesn't want to lose your custom, so their rates will become more competitive.

So if you're well qualified, what should you do to ensure you get the best deal?

Shopping around is your best bet. Call the non broker banks, such as RBC, and BMO. And consult mortgage brokers, credit unions, and other banks to shop around for the best rate. You should be able to negotiate a one- or even two-tenths of a percentage point off your rate.

Compare rates. Check the main rate comparison websites. Get second, even third opinions.

Consulting brokers should be a part of your mortgage renewal plan. But according to Maritz, only 28 per cent of borrowers "definitely" plan to consult a mortgage broker at renewal time. This means over 70 per cent of mortgage customers might not be getting their best deal.

Some unethical mortgage brokers have tainted the whole industry. A minority of these brokers convince borrowers to switch to their firms not to save the borrower money, but solely to get a commission. Some research should enable you to identify and avoid these firms.

Most mortgage brokers are highly ethical. Again, check up on them. Research, before accepting an offer. They may be able to offer you better offers, or may have rate promotions or mortgage features which will save you thousands of dollars in interest.

But make sure you pick the best overall deal, not just the lowest rate. Read the fine print! A low deal could contain restrictions, such as minimum amortizations. Make sure you know what you're signing.

Your mortgage is one of the most important financial decisions you'll make, so it makes sense to research and to find the best possible deal.

Tax Planning Services - Insights On Hiring One

Tax Planning Services - Insights On Hiring One

Many companies these days take advantage of the convenience offered by tax planning services. This is especially true to those who do not have the time to keep their records detailed and or learn the intricacies of a personal financial software packages or tax preparation programs.

Perhaps, you have heard of them but you are hesitant about giving them a try. Why don't you take the time to read a few of their benefits? Here they are. Firstly, they can save you from being unprepared for your due dates. Secondly, they remove the burden of computation and recording off your shoulders. Thirdly, they can help in the expansion of your profits as your liabilities are kept to a minimum. Tax planning services can do the latter by giving pieces of advice on your business structure and tracking varied details which may qualify as deductibles.

Are you now ready to hire any of these specialists? Generally, the easiest way to hunt for these service providers is through the internet. You can check online directories or simply launch a relevant search in Google. However, there are important things you must keep in mind before pushing through with the hiring process. They are the following.

Take Into Account The Size Of Your Business - Why hire a huge firm for a small company with just four employees? The size of the consulting firm you opt to hire will definitely depend on the size of your company. If you have a small business, go to firms that cater to such sector. It would also be wise for you to be clear with the length of time that you will need its services. Is it just for a short term?

Know The Background Of The Firm - Is it famed for great service? Do their professionals have full knowledge of the best tax planning strategies? You might be attracted to hire a firm that promises miraculous outputs. Think again. Your aim must be to look for a team that can do the computations right on your behalf in a legal way. Moreover, know its expertise. For all you know, you have hired one that specializes in personal income taxes when you need a business tax service.

Gather References - Ask for the list of people or business for which the consultants of the firm have previously worked. Are the feedback positive? If they have a website, read through the comments of its clients. You may contact a couple of them and ask whether the firm was able to provide for their needs.

Do An Interview - Firms that offer tax planning services employ consultants who are well-versed about the industry. Take time to have an interaction with the consultants and see how they treat their clients. Ask about their availability. Are they going to stay with you all throughout the process? Show them your business structure and request for a proposal on how they can help you cut your tax payable and save more income for your company since these are the reasons why you are consulting them.

How to Find Available Grants and Start Receiving the Money You Need

How to Find Available Grants and Start Receiving the Money You Need

Grants are wonderful to consider getting if you need money to pay for something specific. There grants for all kinds of people and for all types of needs. If you are in need of teacher grants or a grant to help you pay for school, there are plenty of them out there if you look long enough. In this article, you are going to learn how to find available grants that will allow you to pay for what you need. It is definitely a bit hard at first, but the process definitely is worth looking into.

How to find available grants today

- Grants.Gov

There are multiple grants that can be attained when you visit this amazing site. It provides users with the opportunity to find multiple government grants that can be available. They offer all kinds of free opportunities to find available grants that can be for funding purposes and even potential personal assistance is offered when you look at their recommendations. You will find that the grants they give have helped millions of people with millions of dollars already having been given, so there are big chances you will find this site as very helpful.

- Local Foundations

If you visit a website online that distributes grants, some of them are usually going to be a foundation company. When you go to a foundation and community program, there are some of them that will provide you with potentially Military grants or anything personal. Teacher grants, military grants, and even grants for students can be found everywhere. If you go to a couple of foundations, you will find that they may even create a free workshop that can help teach you how to find these grants. Grants are being given to only a select people who deserve it and need, so a specific level of needing the grants is very much required.

- Private foundations

There are some foundations online that are completely private. These are slightly more difficult for you to find. The key is to actually know to find the right foundation that fits into what you are hoping for. Private foundations are great to get in contact with. To find out about these private foundations, try networking a bit online and in small events.

When you visit a couple of companies, websites, and all sorts of places online that offer potential grants, you need to submit a good application. Be sure to write out a good application with a compelling story that showcases what you can really do. It is best to create the right application that is very interesting.

Finding grants can be as quick and easy as simply contacting a local grant agency. Next thing you know, you can see what is going to work just right for you. By simply talking to the right people, all you need is to try and showcase why you deserve the grant. Available grants can be founded online quite easily if you know what to do, and the tips above should help you.

Ghana Life: Inflation and Sharia Banking

Ghana Life: Inflation and Sharia Banking

In 1976, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, celebrated its silver jubilee and Lord Bowden, then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), was invited to give a series of lectures in the Great Hall of the university as part of the programme to mark the occasion. At the time, the major international economic concern was rapid inflation and Lord Bowden was asked to recommend a solution. He said that the answer was given in the Quran: anyone who borrowed a camel should in due time return a camel to the lender. Now thirty seven years later, it has been announced by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, that the City of London is to be the first non-Islamic centre to issue Sharia bonds (sukuk) as part of a plan to give London a major role in international Sharia banking. Inflation is no longer the priority economic concern, so does the Quran provide an answer to all of modern banking's woes?

There is no doubt that in the early years of the twenty-first century the Western capitalist banking system got seriously out of control, and, but for the timely intervention of governments, would have collapsed, with serious consequences for the world economy. The system was driven by greed and its rapacious methods were not only unethical but often illegal. Banks and individual bankers are being punished for their illegal activities, but many outside of banking think this is not enough; the system needs to adopt a strict new ethical code and should turn to the great religions for guidance.

The late English philosopher, Harry Charles, used to say that the principles of individual human conduct are to be found in Christianity, but one must turn to the Quran to find the principles guiding the conduct of communities. Banking is a communal activity, so Charles would have advocated looking to Islam for its fundamental guiding principles, and as Lord Bowden pointed out with his camel for a camel, one essential is the absence of interest.

According to the Quran, money has no intrinsic value but can generate benefit when invested in human activity. When a Sharia loan is invested, the benefit may be shared by the lender and the borrower, and this benefit will reflect an increase in goods or services enjoyed by the community; wealth will have been created. On the other hand, playing games with money alone, such as charging interest on loans or buying and selling securities, creates no new wealth and merely reduces the value of money, which as Lord Bowden implied, is the process of inflation.

Islamic banking is to be welcomed to London and to other Western financial centres. It is to be hoped that the Islamic bankers will hold firm to their ethical principles and so conduct their activities that the whole international banking community will be persuaded to reform in their image.

Banking In Tough Economic Environment

Banking In Tough Economic Environment

Despite worldwide economic crisis and weakness of the global markets, banking sector is continuously taking smarter moves for stability and development. Today, communities are facing complex business transformations, rising commodity prices, overheating of oil prices, and border tensions. All these are not only slowing down economic wheels, but also paralyzing the growth and development. In fact, these elements are fracturing the recovery process, which is leading economies to touch bottoms. However, at this juncture, economies need to stand upright, mitigate risks, and support their fiscal policies for better outcomes. Global governments are taking serious steps to respond to such situations and supporting banking & financial institutions and their initiatives to foster economic reign.

Banking and financial products and services are the dominant factors that are stimulating business owners to invest in their projects. Banks are openly helping entrepreneurs to come out with their creative ideas and ventures to introduce freshness in the community and foster economic growth. Unquestionably, banking sector is aiming to help corporate clients as well as fellow citizens. They are taking initiatives in strategic planning, forecasting, data analysis, marketing trends, consumer behavior, and purchasing patterns to develop products and services that can fulfill rising customer demands.

In order to offer full support to the people and corporate bodies, banks are constantly opening their overseas branches and counters for currency exchange. They are giving extra privilege to the growing farming and agriculture sector. In fact, they are paying special attention for the sake of under-privileged people, old citizens, and low-income groups. They are instrumental in creativity development, community development, empowering small-scale industries, and helping people associated with retail & manufacturing industry.

On the wider side, banking sector is taking acute measures in implementing high-end technological platforms such as cloud computing, CRM, business process management, enterprise resource planning, server virtualization, and security enhancement. This will enable them to cater to the needs of corporate sector better and to fulfill their demands without compromising quality. In fact, they are successfully fulfilling the needs of people and SME by offering extended banking facilities, SMS banking, debit/ credit card, wealth management services, payment gateway services, and so on.

Banking and financial institutions aim to make a real growth by adopting proactive approaches. They are continuously interacting with the customers and media professionals to put their voice. They are discussing their achievements and plans with journalists, communities, and through banking and finance conferences as well.

Available Grants For Married and Single Women

Available Grants For Married and Single Women

Billions of dollars are distributed via corporate, private foundations and government as grants. While searching for available grants, it is important to know all you can about the category you are interested in. For adoption grants and grant money for women, there are a number of things you need to know.

A good number of adoption agencies and organization offer adoption grants or low interest loans for those who make inquiries and qualify for them. Normally, grant programs are provided for specific countries, children or any other criteria already specified by the organization providing the grant. Always remember so many people are also applying for the same grant and as much as you might fit the criteria, you might not receive the adoption grant.

The most alluring aspect of adoption grants is that no repayment is required. The grants might not cover the entire adoption fees expenses but can make a significant contribution.

Before a grant organization considers offering it to you, be serious about adoption. A favorable home-study might have to be completed prior to pursuing the grant. In fact, the granting organization could ask for a small application fee, usually non-refundable.

As you research for available grants, look at all requirements. Some specify the adoption situation or religious affiliation. Also, pay attention to the period when the grant applications are reviewed and processed. Most grants have deadlines while some applications are only reviewed at certain times annually. While many applications for this grant are usually made every year, they should not deter anyone from pursuing this option to fund all expenses related to adoption.

Grant money for women is available to single mothers looking for a way out of their socio-economic condition. Currently, single mothers statistics are alarming, with about 84 percent of all 14 million single parents being single mothers. Many grants are available to help these women leave their socio economic tribulations.

A number of these women became mothers while very young and failed to pursue further education. Women grants are offered to help them triumphantly come out of this situation, mostly provided by State and Federal government, including a lot of scholarships giving these single mothers a chance to go to college. Single mums who might have dropped out of college to take care of their children are given additional grants specifically provided for single mothers looking forward to going back to college.

There are many categories that women, especially single mothers, can apply for. The State and Federal government offer unique housing grants to single mothers to buy houses at a very subsidized rate. Other women grants help moms to pursue different levels of education or careers to pay for personal expenses, school and day care.

Enterprising single mothers can also access government grants to begin small businesses in case it falls within the funding organization's pre-approved businesses.

While searching for available grants, you might want to begin locally. A regional or local community foundation is a wonderful place to start with a lot of free online searchable databases available to use to locate community foundations nearer where you live. However, Federal government and State grants are also available and in plenty.

Identifying Sustainability: The Cash Flow Coverage Ratio

Identifying Sustainability: The Cash Flow Coverage Ratio

There are a wide range of measures and metrics used to gather information as to the financial stability and growth of an enterprise; however, the Cash Flow Coverage Ratio reflects the immediate and the long term liquidity and sustainability of a company. In the simplest of terms, the Cash Flow Coverage Ratio identifies, in numbers, an entity's ability to repay its debts. This ratio reveals a company's financial health and whether or not the company is able to cover its financial obligations; this ratio also defines the number of times these obligations could be covered by the company's earnings. In order to utilize this tool, we need to explore additional definitions and understand how to calculate these ratios.

In this example, we explore the ratio from a lender's point of view. Lenders see the Cash Flow Coverage Ratio (CFCR) as the indicator of a Company's liquidity and it is a vital calculation in the decision process for most Financial Institutions as to whether or not to extend or renew a loan or Line of Credit. The basic formula utilized to determine the CFCR takes the Operating Cash Flows divided by the total Debt, or Total Liabilities, as found on the Company's Balance Sheet. From the Balance Sheet and Income Statement, the formula begins with the Net Income. To the income, add Depreciation and Amortization as expensed. The sum is then divided by the Total Liabilities. The resulting percentage will render a quick and simple measure of the financial status of the company.

Typically, any CFCR at one percent or higher indicates a strong financial position and may be considered the "Benchmark to exceed to determine a successful ratio". Although benchmarks may differ between jurisdictions, states, markets and industries, it is a fair assumption to ascertain that any business holding assets enough to cover all debts, current and long term, is financially performing well. Under FASB Topic 820- Fair Value Measurement as amended by 2011-04, the standards for measuring Fair Market Value do not specifically support nor reject the utilization of cash flow ratios. These measures and metrics are primarily used by Financial Analysts in an out-sourced capacity, from Lenders, to potential buyers and sellers.

Now that we understand this frequently under-utilized tool, forecasting and future planning enter a new dimension to better prepare for sustainability and longevity of our enterprises. Although this is an extremely useful metric, most accounting and finance departments do not utilize it on a regular basis. As with most tools, however, unless you are aware of them, you tend not to use them.

A Year of Contractor Finance

A Year of Contractor Finance

The life of a contractor can seem a long and lonely one. You are in the position of being your own boss, a company director, a financial whizz kid and a sales and marketing man. In addition, you must put on whatever hats your company requires you to wear, to deal with suppliers, purchasing and maintaining equipment and health and safety requirements.

Then there are the added challenges of adhering to the IR35 legislation which sets out a series of complex rules. These are used by the revenue to determine whether you are treated for the purposes of tax as an employee or as a contractor. Coupling the necessity of keeping to this legislation with the increasing media pressure surrounding high profile cases, contractors have had a lot to deal with. So how did this year fair?

The Christmas decorations have been put away for one more year and the New Year's resolutions are still being kept. So what has the last 12 months been like for contractors?

2012 was a busy year for contractors for numerous reasons. There were changes made to the profession, the number of contracts rose, and because of increasing scrutiny by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), IR35 took centre stage throughout. As a result of increased activity and competition amongst the contracting community, sustaining contractor finance became essential, and although most contractors will make financial stability their prime motive, in a year of such a busy market, things are often liable to be put aside.

Information gathered by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), shows that the number of contract based roles rose by 4% in 2012 with permanent positions being reduced by 2% to make way for limited company contractors. This is reflected in an increase in both the number of contracts and contractors last year, making it a buoyant market for limited company professionals.

As a result of a greater demand for contractors among businesses, 2012 saw an increasing number of PAYE employees making the transition to limited company status. Limited company contractors, who are de facto company owners, have to sustain the upkeep and pay-outs like any other business. This can often be overlooked when making that jump to a limited company but it is an important consideration when comparing umbrella company versus limited company status.

In a period where the financial markets remain cautious, availability of financial products is lacking, and for contractors working on an invoice basis, payments can often not be received for months. UC Finance offers a unique Timesheet Finance service that purchases the timesheet from a contractor, giving them access to cash quickly. It is lifelines such as this that aid cash flow and financial stability in a busy contracting market. With HMRC influence becoming ever more apparent, keeping on top of finances should be a top priority for all contractors.

For contractors, finance control and liquidity is vital. With the New Year well and truly underway, it is an ideal time to consider moving to limited company status and to reassess your finances to ensure you're well placed to face the coming year.

6 Reasons to Get to Know Your Potential Tenants With a Background Check

6 Reasons to Get to Know Your Potential Tenants With a Background Check

It used to be that renting to anyone new was a gamble. You took risks when you rented to someone you didn't know, and only time would tell about whether your gamble was worth it. There is no reason to take such a huge risk when renting to new tenants today. You can take advantage of background checks to see how big your risk is before renting to anyone you don't know.

They may be unemployed. A person who is unemployed is a big risk because he or she has no source of income. If the potential tenant has no source of income, then you can be assured that you will not get paid when the rent is due. You obviously want to avoid this situation right away to save yourself the headache of chasing down rent money or never getting any at all.

They may have problems paying their bills. A credit check can tell you how likely it is for you to get paid on time. Look at the potential tenant's history of paying his or her bills. Are the bills paid on time all the time? Has the tenant let the bills go into charge-off states or have judgments listed against him or her? If the credit check shows many bad marks, then you might want to reconsider renting to the individual.

A person who cannot pay their bills on time is a huge risk. He or she may never pay the rent on time or at all. There are many people in the world who float by in life on the good graces of others and never take responsibility for themselves. You want to avoid these kinds of people, and credit checks can help you determine who these people are.

They may have a criminal history. People with a criminal history can be a huge risk. Violent episodes can leave your property damaged and draw negative attention to you and your property. It can also endanger your other tenants and you. You need to know exactly who you are renting to in order to avoid any criminal activity.

People who have a criminal record may never tell you that they have this type of past. You cannot rely on gaining this information from potential tenants, so it is essential that you conduct a criminal background check on potential tenants before renting to them.

They may lie to you. Potential tenants may feel pressure to find a new place to live and will say anything to put your mind at ease. They may lie about a job, personal histories, or other information, and you need to find a way to double check what they are telling you. Tenant screenings are the only way to find out whether the person is truthful about what he or she has told you.

You may find out that they are extremely irresponsible. People who have no sense of responsibility can damage property, act in ways that may disrupt other tenants or neighbors, and generally make life difficult for everyone around them. In order to avoid this type of drama, you should consider different screenings to get an overall picture of the person in question.

Several checks can show you an accurate portrait of the tenant. Irresponsible behavior will become apparent with several different checks. It only makes sense to find out all you can about a stranger before you make a decision to rent to them.

It can turn away would-be problems right away. Some people are aware that if they have any type of screening, then they will not be able to live in certain places. If you advertise that background and credit checks are mandatory, some people will simply not bother trying to deceive you.

Your property is an investment. You don't want to take huge risks when renting to new people. Tenant screenings are the only way to go when trying to decide who is safe to rent to.

Did Paul Krugman Win The Fiscal Debate?

Did Paul Krugman Win The Fiscal Debate?

The economics community was set ablaze last week with talk about whether Paul Krugman the out-spoken economist famous for his progressive economic views had won the debate with the other side of economists led by Reinhardt & Rogoff, preaching that government stimulus driven by increased debt was the path to economic growth, not austerity for governments as Reinhardt & Rogoff claimed. This debate reached fever pitch over the past four years with western governments passing wildly through a 90% debt to GDP ratio causing Reinhardt & Rogoff to claim those countries would suffer from a permanent economic malaise, whereas Krugman argued for more debt laden government stimulus. Is Paul Krugman vindicated and should the austerity crowd back down on their constant harping about government spending and the associated debt? Or is there a third dimension that truly wins the argument.

The problem here evolved from a research study presented by economists Reinhardt & Rogoff that proved theoretically that countries' economies suffer permanent malaise when government debt surpasses 90% of that nation's gross domestic product (the United States is presently about 105%). This argument of course was diametrically opposed to the theories of Krugman who argued that governments need not worry so much about debt, but instead need to stimulate their economies by borrowing and spending even more. While the Reihardt & Rogoff study seemed to be leading the debate, it was recently discovered that they had come to their conclusions using data that was inaccurate. In simple terms, the correct data was not supportive of their idea but rather showed a different conclusion; that countries having more than 90% debt/GDP did not suffer from undue malaise.

So with this error noted, the media and many in the economics community ran quickly away from the notion that nations' debt ratio's negatively affect economic growth and ran instead to the Krugman corner accepting his claim that government stimulus was the solution to getting countries out of their economic woes. The Society would suggest however that these two disparate views miss the third and most critical option available to solve economic malaise; that is building the private sector.

The question that should be asked by these academic economists is not whether stimulating an economy is needed to get things going again after a shock like 2008 happens - in the real world, it does, but the question is instead how should it be done. There are really only a couple of ways in which a government can stimulate an economy; government can increase spending or government can offer tax cuts so citizens can spend more. In the case of the United States post 2008, the government spent $1 trillion dollars to stimulate the economy. To be sure, some of the ways in which government spends money is clearly beneficial (although only stimulating in the short term); new roads, new bridges, new shared resources that benefit all. Some of the ways however are decidedly unproductive and non-stimulating; such as government playing "venture capitalist" or government creating transfer payments from rich to poor through cell phone giveaways and the like. These "stimulating" activities on the part of government do NOT stimulate the economy but rather create a non-additive situation in which a dollar transferred to the project creates no new value but actually becomes worth less than the original dollar. In short, the opposite of true stimulus occurs. After the very short direct operation of the government program, the money is gone and no sustainable economic growth has occurred.

Counter this to a "stimulate the citizen" approach. Let's assume that rather than government spending $1 trillion on its stimulus ideas, it instead provided a $1 trillion dollar tax holiday? To the government debt, the immediate impact would be no different; both scenarios raised government debt by $1 trillion dollars. However, unlike that money moving through the government systems it instead runs through private system which has a positive economic multiplier effect. In other words, the $1 trillion increases in value as it moves through the economy which is true stimulus. The simple explanation is this; when government gives away a dollar, the recipient is not given incentive to do anything productive with that dollar. This could be the individual who received an "Obama phone" or a company like Solyndra that received government funding. The incentives are just wrong. However in the private economy, money is spent on things people desire and are willing to work for therefore the recipients are incentivized to use that money to its most productive purpose. That is true of the individual who might spend the money on a needed good or service, or the business working to support consumer demand in a competitive marketplace.

So the argument between the academics on whether government spending as a stimulus is needed or government austerity is needed falls as it so often does on ignorance of the real world of economics. Economies grow for two primary reasons; population growth and productivity growth. The key real world driver of productivity growth is the individual desire on the part of people to improve their lot in life; this simple idea is at the core of why productivity grows. Person A wants a better life for themselves and therefore they work hard so that they can accrue the benefit they wish. It is this simple "rational self-interest" that causes capitalism (free markets) to work so well over socialism (state controlled markets).

Mr. Krugman may be a credentialed economist and for this the Society offers some measure of appreciation. However, to conclude that he has won a debate over government spending as an economic stimulus vs. governmental austerity fails to recognize that the only real stimulus comes from building the private sector and with that in mind, he has not won the debate but only served to perpetuate another myth bought into by low-information voters who accept his big government views simply because he has an academic degree. Mr. Krugman like so many academics needs to work in the real world in a productive business before he truly can claim to understand the "way the world works" and therefore have credibility in his opinions which have so much impact on everyday people's lives.

Why Silver ETFs Are Integral to Your Portfolio?

Why Silver ETFs Are Integral to Your Portfolio?

Investing in Silver; which has been a done thing in most portfolios, is bound to reach a climax in short terms as all market pointers are decisively hinting at an outbreak. The aberration between the output and consumption is testing the historical highs and Physical Silver Metal is seriously becoming scarce. Those who consider the current white metal deficit to be a capitalistic hoax must try buying a simple one ounce silver medallion in a market where most credible selling agencies are charging as much as thirty percent premium on the spot prices, but even with this price anomaly, supplies are still limited towards the retail end users or customers who want to buy small quantities of the white metal.

Silver Miner ETFs is yet again a good choice for foreign investors, as these funds will give you a well equated stake among most major Silver Mining companies listed anywhere in the world and the safety is mandated as per the regulations of bona fide Indices that they follow.

Miners are historically known to outperform the gains from the physical metal, in almost all previous instances of a rally and the biggest thing that works in their favor is The First Movers Advantage and a fact that when the commodity prices surge, they very well cover the otherwise under stress mining costs resulting in immediate profit posting to be shared among the stakeholders of these Silver Mining Securities.

A well placed investment in Silver is only logical as it has been observed in many bull market rallies that the price has either tripled or even risen four times while the same time gold metal prices only doubled. Strengthening this claim one can lay emphasis on the industrial usages of silver that outnumber the uses of gold.There have been instances of the former metal's industrial demand exceeding the production and recovery dynamics, there by pushing the prices up.

Apart from industrial uses, Silver is used in dentistry, making coinage, photography, jewellery, electronics, optics, mirrors, cleansing process of water and medicines.

The largest mines are located in Mexico, Peru, Chile and China. In developed nations Australia and Canada boast of the biggest mines. Penoles in Mexico and Volcan Compania minera are among the biggest silver mining companies.

Further there is an associated trend with this metal's prices that cost becomes reasonable when the global economy presents better gross domestic product (GDP) figures and vice versa. Therefore it means buying Silver ETFs and stocks when globally things are smooth.

Exchange traded funds are investment pools that follow a particular bench mark. One such bench mark is the Solactive Global Silver Miners Index that includes stocks of firms involved in mining, exploration and refining work and attuned funds are strict pure plays that offer geographical diversification to an individual's portfolio with the exact allocation as in the Index.

New York stock exchange (NYSE) and other similar well planned exchanges are the ones where in these ETFS are traded on spot prices.And the fund issuers invest in equities and bullion bars /physical silver; in case of bullion, the investor in reality owns a paper/ certificate representing his (physical) ownership stake.

Investing in silver ETFs may be considered to diversify your White Metal Portfolio which is again a must have today as a possible weapon against inflation and rising oil prices. Although the market is on its way to factor in the entire rally speculation in to the cost of the metal, however Late Bloomers may still take advantage of this event which in all likelihood will be one of the biggest Wealth Creation Show of our lifetimes.

Saving Money And Making Monthly Budgets Is Fun If You Have The Right

Saving Money And Making Monthly Budgets Is Fun If You Have The Right Attitude

With the right attitude saving is fun. Take a positive approach and dive in, you will be pleasantly surprised! Let's look at different ways we can all cut down on monthly expenses to reduce living costs and to get rid of debt.

Free entertainment

Find free entertainment because it is important to have fun and relaxation time. Of course this depends where you live but it is possible to find free entertainment in most places. Many cities offer free concerts in parks, free art galleries and other public events. If you live in the country you could hike, cycle or gather with friends. It may surprise you what you can do for free.


If you commute to work you could consider cycling if the distance is not too great and weather permits. Cycling to work would certainly save on gymnasium fees! Alternatively you could share transport with friends or neighbours if they have the same route to work. Public transport could also be a better alternative because it is generally cheaper and there are no costs for parking. The good side of sharing transport is that the journey provides time to chat and catch up with friends. Perhaps one can even make new friends on public transport.

Buy second-hand

This is one of my favourites! Some people turn up their noses at buying second-hand but it can be a lot of fun. Find a flea-market or second-hand shop which appeals to you. People often discard perfectly good designer clothes or "junk" furniture which turns out to be valuable antique. Even if you don't pick up something valuable you will certainly find something you like and the hunt will be fun. You can turn the search for second-hand goods into a family outing.

Buying second-hand books just makes sense because it is possible to buy what appeals to you at minimal cost. Almost all villages, towns and cities have second-hand book shops. It is also fun to hunt for music which has been previously owned. If you are lucky enough to still own an old record player you will pick up records for a song. Browsing through a second-hand music shop is really nostalgic.

It makes good sense to buy "previously used" garments for children. It is possible to find beautifully kept designer kiddies garments at amazingly cheap prices and this goes for children's toys too. Children grow out of their garments so quickly that many children can wear the same little outfits before the garments start looking worn.

Eating out

It is important to go out for meals. Shop around for quality restaurants which also have "specials" or cheaper dishes on offer. On sunny days pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors either in a city park or in the country. Beaches are free if you are fortunate to live near one. Make a list of your favourite picnic spots close to you.

Make a budget

Drawing up a budget has many advantages. It is fun and challenging to try to stick to your budget and you will feel a sense of achievement when you succeed. Success breeds success and soon it will become easier to keep to the monthly budget. Don't be unrealistic; your budget should be realistic so that you are able to achieve your goals. If you are too hard on yourself it may not be possible to keep to the budget and you may give up before you have given yourself a chance to succeed. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Can we exchange our car for a cheaper model to run?
  • Can we give up paid television for free entertainment which will get the family out and about?
  • Can we buy second-hand toys/ gadgets for the children/ grandchildren?
  • How much can we put away as savings?

With a positive attitude you can beat the budget blues. You may even notice you have a better quality of life as you change habits... who knows. Happy saving!

Choosing Banks That Bring Profit to the Customer

Choosing Banks That Bring Profit to the Customer

If you are looking at various banks to decide which one will benefit you the most, you will want to consider a few areas. A lot might depend on what you want in a bank. You might not know what you will want in the future, so finding one now that has a lot of variety might be helpful.

There are several things to look for as you research. Look at the customer service, the interest rates, types of accounts, and other perks. Comparing these areas among various banking facilities will help you to make a choice.

The customer service is something to consider. No one likes to talk to a computer every time they make a phone call. You might want a national financial institution because of their reputation, but if you want more of a personal touch, you might want to go with one that is more local. Even the national banks, though, may offer a local customer service agent. Before making your choice, you might want to find out how their customer service works.

The interest rates on various accounts are important to consider as you explore different financial institutions. If you plan on having a savings account, you will want to check on the interest that you can earn. On the other end of the spectrum, you might want to check on the interest rates for various loans as well.

The type of accounts offered is another consideration. It is important to go somewhere that offers several types of checking accounts and also offers accounts for saving. Most banks offer a variety of checking accounts based on how many checks people use and other considerations as well. Most people probably want free checking, but in some cases, you might end up with fees.

Banks might offer other perks as well. They might have gifts they give out if you open a checking account. Some might even offer prizes for those who help bring in new customers. Make sure that the one that you go with will insure a large portion of the money that is being held at the location. This is very important in case there is ever a problem.

If you are leery of using a financial institution, try to think logically about your situation. Banks likely have a more secure area than your home ever could. Going with one over using a locked box at home is a much better decision.

Who's Caddying Your Assests?

Who's Caddying Your Assests?

Having a savvy caddy is vital for success in the game of golf. Likewise, having a savvy advisor is vital to successful retirement planning.

Many of the functions an excellent caddy performs for his golfer, a financial advisor also provides to an investor.

Professional caddies have a strong knowledge of the rules of the game and the particular hazards and traps of the course. They advise their player on various strategies that will be useful for a particular hole. Likewise, a superior financial advisor has a keen knowledge of investment opportunities and all the rules and regulations for the particular type of investment. He advises his client on strategies that will be effective in reaching his goal.

While the top caddies have a good understanding of the golfer's personality and style, the best financial advisors have an understanding of the client's financial goals, timeframe and risk tolerance and offer advice accordingly.

A good advisor realizes the value that a successful investment plan can add to future retirement plans. The best financial advisors take into consideration their investors interests and daily lives, rather than just the end result. Whether ambitions include traveling the world, playing golf at the country's premier courses or being able to provide security for family members, financial advisors adjust plans and investment strategies for each client. A good caddy not only knows the game well, and is able to refer to the technical rules book frequently, but is able to advise a golfer by reading his mood and offering support as well.

A caddy takes the burdens of a golfer and puts them on his own shoulders, literally. A good financial advisor does this same thing for his clients. An advisor shoulders the economic headache and burden of retirement financial planning. This way, clients can focus on their own lives and interests, much the same way that caddies allow golfers to focus on perfecting their game.

A good financial advisor strives to keep his client in the fairway by adjusting for changing environments and conditions. Specialists in retirement planning can help rebalance assets each year so that a client's preferred risk level is maintained. Though it might be contrary to common rationale, buying low and selling high is a healthy adjustment for any investment portfolio.

The best caddies in the business have been with the same golfers for many decades. Choosing a financial planner can be a lifelong relationship; so start today with someone who cares for your needs and goals beyond retirement investing.

Understanding and Beating the Means Test

Understanding and Beating the Means Test

What is the "Means Test"?

The Means Test was a late addition to the Bankruptcy Code (also called BAPCPA) to apply to all bankruptcies filed after October 17, 2005.

Behind the "means test" or "income based test" was the understanding that some well to do Debtors were unfairly using bankruptcy to the detriment of unsecured creditors (mainly the credit card companies).

Before BAPCPA, Debtors who had high incomes and could afford to pay off at least some of their debt (credit cards) would incur huge balances on their credit cards, then file for bankruptcy and discharge all their credit cards.

The result of the test is that Debtors with above median income (this varies from state to state) cannot file a chapter-7 bankruptcy and can only avail themselves of a chapter 13-bankruptcy/payment plan.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a court approved payment plan to pay back unsecured creditors over a five-year period. This is in contrast to a chapter 7 Bankruptcy where the Debtor's unsecured creditors would usually be discharged with little or no payments going to these creditors.

Not surprisingly, most would be Debtors would rather do a chapter 7 with little or no payments to the unsecured creditors than make payments to those same creditors over the next five years.

In summary, any Debtor can file chapter 7 if they earn less that the median household income for their state. If a Debtor has above median income then a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy would be the only alternative available for debt relief. Unless... the Debtor can "beat" median requirement.

Exceptions to the Income Based Test

Under the assumption that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is better than a Chapter 13. Beating the income dependent testing means finding a way for an above median Debtor to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy under the current provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.

To review, if a Debtor has above median income then they cannot file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and can, if they choose, file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

If a debtor's income is greater than the median income for her household size then the Means Test prohibits that Debtor from filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, the initial income calculation is only the first prong of the test.

Under the Bankruptcy Code the following are the exceptions to the means test:

Exception No. 1: The Bankruptcy Code allows the Debtor to subtract essential living expenses from their above median income.

When these expenses are subtracted, if the income that remains is below the Median Income threshold the Debtor to qualifies to file a Chapter 7.

Exception No. 2: For disabled Veterans (as defined by 38 U.S.C. §3741(1)) whose indebtedness occurred primarily during the time the Veteran was on active duty (as defined in 10 U.S.C. §101(d)(1)) or while performing a Homeland Defense activity (as defined in 32 U.S.C. §901(1)) the presumption of abuse does not arise. The means text does not apply to these Veterans or Homeland Defenders and they can always file Chapter 7.

Exception No. 3: For Reservists and National Guard Members; active duty or homeland defense activity. Members of a reserve Unit of the Armed Forces, and members of the National Guard who were called to active duty (as defined in 10 U.S.C. §101(d)(1)) after September 11, 2001, for a period of at least 90 days or who have performed homeland defense activity (as defined in 32 U.S.C. § 901(1)) for a period of at least 90 days are excluded from all forms of means testing during the time of active duty or homeland defense activity and for the 540 days afterwards (the "exclusion period"). The Means Test does not apply to these Reservists and National Guard and they can file Chapter 7 any time during the exclusion period.

Exception 4: If your debts are primarily non-consumer debts the Means Test does not apply to you. The Bankruptcy Code defined "Consumer Debt" as "... debt incurred primarily for a personal, family or household purposes." The Ninth Circuit interprets the term "primarily" in § 707(b)(1) to mean that the your non-consumer debt is at least fifty-one percent of your total debt. In re Canales, 377 B.R. 658 (Bkrtcy.C.D. Cal., 2007).

In plain English, if more than half of your debt was from a failed business, past due income taxes, or in "some instances" student loans, then the means test does not apply to you. If, for example you have invested in multiple real estate properties and are now filing bankruptcy and total of the loans on your rental properties exceeds your personal debt by at least one percent, the means test does not apply to you. Here you can file a Chapter 7 even if your income is over the Median Income.

If you are contemplating bankruptcy and you are an above median debtor, choose an attorney that will spend time to help you determine if you can beat the means test and file a chapter 7.

IRC Section 1031 The Best Tool For Selling A Farm Or Ranch

IRC Section 1031 The Best Tool For Selling A Farm Or Ranch

If you have a highly appreciated property for sale and you plan to sell it, then the IRC Section 1031 Exchange is the perfect for you. This strong powerful tool helps to increase wealth and saves you from paying heavy taxes. The IRC Section 1031 Exchange enables a family to avoid capital gains tax and to reinvest the profits in other properties.

According to the tax code, part A of the IRC Section 1031 Exchange states, "No gain or loss shall be recognized on the exchange of property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment, if such property is exchanged solely for property of like-kind which is to be held either for productive use in a trade or business or for investment."

The increase in capital gains tax rates w.e.f January 1, 2013 have made the IRC Section 1031 Exchange and CRT further more beneficial. Along with the increase in the rates of capital gains tax, a new healthcare tax on investment income has also been introduced that is 3.8%. This tax also includes the income received from the sale of property.

Successful execution of the IRC Section 1031 Exchange makes the tax payer eligible for many possible benefits. Following are some of them:

1. Tax Deferral (Immediate & Indefinite)

Using a 1031 exchange tool, a tax payer can easily defer capital gains tax. The deferred tax amount is reassigned to a substitute property. The tax payer can avoid paying this tax as long as he doesn't sell his or her replacement property without using a 1031 exchange. Since you can use the 1031 exchange for unlimited times, you can defer the tax for an unknown period.

This tool is also known as a tax deferred exchange which indicates that you can avoid taxes till a later date or until you sell your substitute property without the use of this tool. The subsititute property is sold accommodating the necessary taxes. However, it is possible to defer the tax if you plan to hold the replacement property until demise.

The current tax law allows the heirs of the descendant's property to get a step-up in the property's tax basis according to the fair market value in case of death. This credibly allows the heirs to pay minimal or no tax at all. Therefore, you can practically eliminate tax payments using a IRC Section 1031 Exchange if you hold the property until death.

2. Enhancement in Return on Investment (ROI)

A family can significantly increase their cash flow rate of return by using a 1031 exchange as compared to being without it. The usual cash flow rate of return for a farm or ranch is very low, so by employing IRC Section 1031 Exchange in the sale of a property, it can increase its wealth.

3. Consolidation or Diversification

Real estate investors who have accumulated multiple properties may eventually decide to combine their properties into one or a small number of larger assets. On the other hand, as is the case with most farm and ranch families, one big estate property can be used to get many different properties. Having different small properties at numerous locations spread out geographically can significantly cut down the amount of risk.

4. Elimination of Active Management of the Investment

It requires a lot of effort to run a farm or ranch. Buying real estate by selling a farm or ranch can allow a family to free themselves from daily maintenance activities. This can be done if the family exchanges its ranch or farm for real estate and other investments. However, on the other hand it is also possible for a family to earn by putting the property on rent and earn through it.

5. Wealth Building

Using a 1031 exchange allows an individual to preserve all of the net worth from the property that is practically not used. The seller can reinvest all the profits from sale of the property fully that doesn't include tax payments. The deferred tax amount allows families to reinvest that amount into other places hence increasing their family wealth and eventually generate large income for retirement years.


A Montana couple sells land for $5 million with a cost basis of $1 million. Assuming 2013 tax rates (23.9% combined federal and state capital gains tax and 3.8% Medicare Surtax), they will pay about $1,246,000 in taxes.

If this same couple would choose a 1031 exchange instead on the full $5 million sale, this $1,246,000 tax cost could be invested in further property. Assuming the real estate grew at an average annual compound rate of 7% (income plus appreciation), in 20 years this

$1,246,000 would be worth more or less $4.8 million.

Not only would this duo benefit from the additional income the real estate would generate while they are alive, if they hold the property until they die and if real estate continues to receive a step up in basis upon death, they could potentially pass close to $5 million more to their heirs!

The couple could benefit from this in the long run as well if they hold on to the property until death. If the real estate value climbs up, the heirs of the couple could get as much as nearly $500,000 added income from real estate.

There are complex rules and strict time parameters for completing a successful 1031 exchange.

Improve Your Business Performance by Choosing ACH Payment Processing

Improve Your Business Performance by Choosing ACH Payment Processing Solutions

For those who are not used to banking terminology, ACH payments are electronic payments made through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network. Using this type of secure method ensures that your transactions are done without any errors, fast, and saves a lot of time.

Automated Clearing House Payment

In layman's terms, ACH payment processing can be defined as electronic transfers from one account to another without the physical movement or changing hands of any paperwork. Some of the typical uses of ACH payments are when a customer pays the fees for web payment services provider; when a consumer moves funds from one bank account to another bank; salaries deposited in employees' accounts by employers, etc. These types of payments are also considered environmentally friendly, because there is hardly any use of natural resources like paper, ink; fuel, etc; all transactions being electronic.

ACH Technology Helps save Money

When buying products or services online, potential customers choose businesses that have good quality products and services, good after sales service, reasonable prices, and ease of payment methods. The ACH payment system is one of the pioneers in payment solution for business owners, as it helps them to accept credit cards as well as other types of cards, like debit cards, without any problem. Due to this property, you can widen your customer circle to include those who do not have credit card capability. ACH payment systems have caught on worldwide as businessmen have embraced it wholeheartedly as it has the advantage of making cash transactions and remittance processing processes safer, smarter, and faster.

Additional Security Features for Banks

An important feature that is incorporated in the process of monetary transactions is the MICR check; it is also known as magnetic ink character recognition, and is a property that uses a special ink and characters on the check. When a check is presented for payment, those characters are read as it passes through a machine, which magnetizes the ink and translates the magnetic information into characters. This technology has found great favor with banks, and it has been incorporated in their checks; the characters and numbers found on the bottom of a check are usually printed using magnetic ink, and it is these characters that are read by the high-speed scanner which processes all the relevant information. All of the above-mentioned features have helped the banking industry as well as the business community to move money around faster, safer, and without any trouble.

Should You Convert Your Life Insurance From Term To Permanent?

Should You Convert Your Life Insurance From Term To Permanent?

If you'll need some amount of life insurance coverage until you die, you may want to convert your term insurance to permanent - if you can.

Because term insurance covers just the 'pure' insurance component of permanent insurance, it's less expensive. But getting older and the occurrence of chronic health problems hurt your ability to renew your term insurance.

Permanent policies are good forever - no matter what happens to your health. They may lapse if you don't keep paying your premiums, but as long as there's enough money in the policy, the insurance will live on with you through age 100. So you can count on the death benefit always being there. A note is that at 100, you're generally given your benefit!

But, it'll cost you since age and health are still important factors. So it's best to convert while your health is still good and if you anticipate health problems later on.

If you have a term life policy or are considering buying one, be sure to understand the details of your conversion rights. See if there's a time table to convert. For some policies, the conversion option stops at age 50; others allow you to convert into your 60s or later.

The conversion option is generally into one of the insurer's permanent offerings. These cash value policies can be:

* Whole-life

* Universal life, or

* Variable life

Whole-life policies have fixed premiums and guarantees. Universal life lets you specify how large a premium you want to pay over the minimum needed to cover your 'the pure' insurance. Variable universal life combines the premium flexibility of universal life but lets you invest your cash value in mutual fund-like accounts. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee of growth in value.

If you don't wish to keep paying premiums, convert your cash value policy into a fully paid up policy of lesser death benefit. It all depends how much cash value you've accumulated.

Lastly, you can access your cash in your permanent policy if you need some. If you surrender your policy, you'd have to pay a surrender fee and tax on all your policy gains and have no life insurance.

It's best to just take out a policy loan. There's no taxation for a loan. Doing so will reduce your death benefit by the amount of the loan plus the (generally low) loan interest. But you don't have to pay the loan back. And if you pay enough to keep the loans in force until you die, then your policy beneficiary gets the remaining reduced (by your loan) death benefit tax-free.

If you decide you don't need the death benefit, you could convert your policy tax-free into an income annuity. You'll owe taxes only on a portion of each annuity payout, but you'll be assured of a steady stream of income for life or for a specified number of years.

FHA Loans: Houston Homeowner Heaven?

FHA Loans: Houston Homeowner Heaven?

In 1934, the Department of Housing and Urban Development created the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, to help get the economy going again. Today, that same FHA loan program is helping Houston area residents buy their first home with very little down. And even though the FHA loan isn't just for first time home buyers, the program has some a couple of little-known guidelines assisting "first-timers."

Compared to conventional loan programs, the government-backed FHA loan requires a down payment of only 3.5 percent. For a $200,000 sales price, that's $7,000. Conventional loans typically ask for a minimum of 5.00 percent down along with a hefty private mortgage insurance premium, known as PMI. Conventional loans with 5.00 percent down have higher rates compared to loans with 20 percent down. The PMI payment plus higher rates can be prohibitive, keeping many out of the home buying loop. Yet the FHA loan does not penalize a borrower with a small down payment.

And speaking of a down payment, FHA loans allow a family member or non-profit to give the entire 3.5 percent down payment as a gift. All the FHA borrower need have is at least $500 in the transaction. Conventional loans allow for gifts, but the borrower must have a minimum of 5.00 percent of their own funds as a down payment.

Perhaps the best FHA feature? FHA allows for a co-borrower that will not live in the home being purchased to help qualify based upon income. As long as the co-borrower can afford the new FHA house payment along with their current debt, the FHA borrower need only occupy the property, even if the borrower is temporarily unemployed and looking for work!

There are a variety of unique FHA approval guidelines that only an experienced FHA lender will recognize. If you're a first time home buyer, and even if your next home is your second or third; if you want a low down payment loan to buy a Houston area home, call us. An FHA loan just might be your best option.

To be qualified, your income ration should be 31/49, means, your mortgage payment should not be more than 31% of your income and your total debt ( Mortgage and existing ) should not be more than 49% of your income. This should give you an idea for how much your will be qualified for.

Retirement Investment Choices Between Guaranteed Income, Safe Income,
And Growth

Retirement Investment Choices Between Guaranteed Income, Safe Income, And Growth

Considering how to invest your retirement money can make you crazy. But if you think through the reasons for choosing which type investment (or combination) is best for you, you can recover your sanity. So, let's review the reasons for choosing each of the 3 retirement investments: guaranteed income, safe income, and growth.

-Taking your income from fixed annuity payouts:

When you annuitize your fixed annuity, you get a guaranteed income for the rest of your life. You can also guarantee payments to a surviving spouse or your estate, if you choose to pay extra for that option. Of course once you begin payments, you can't change this investment. So who should choose this?

Reasons for investing in a fixed annuity include:

* You don't have to worry about investing that money anymore.

* You have limited retirement savings, and are worried about how they will last

* You're in good health and expect to live a long life

* Interest rates are very high, so you can get a good monthly income, and

* You're not worried about inflation's effect on your income

* Other people depend on you for income.

-Taking your income from 'safe' income-generating investments:

To provide a fixed income from earnings you can invest in government bonds, and treasury bills and even Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs). And you can change your investments whenever you want. And who is this type of investment for?

Reasons for investing in a 'safe' income investment include:

* You've only a few sources of income after you retire so you can't afford to risk much.

* Other people depend on you for income.

* You like having the option of changing your investment in response to interest rate changes.

* Inflation's effect maybe worrisome but maintaining an income is more important

-Relying on growth investments to increase the value of your investment:

You may consider increasing the value of your money to preserve its purchasing power over time. To do so, you'll need to invest in growth stocks or the related growth funds. But with the potential for growth comes a higher risk of losing investment money - at least for a time. Is this for you?

Reasons for investing in growth funds include:

* You already have enough assured income investments from pension or Social Security.

* You worry about future inflation or higher expenses and have additional money to invest to offset their effects.

* You want to leave a legacy to your beneficiaries after your death.

What's also important it to realize that you don't need to confine yourself only to one of these investment types. If you're short on income and savings, but still have many years to live, try to minimize your living expenses. Then buy a fixed annuity to cover those expenses and invest in growth or income investments only for future use. Understanding the choice you make gives you some peace of mind.

How to Handle Money Adeptly?

How to Handle Money Adeptly?

The 21st century has revolutionized the way we handle our finances. With continuing focus to cut costs and maximize our savings it's necessary to take recourse to technology. With smartphones becoming common it created a huge market for applications or apps as they are commonly referred to. As most of these apps are freeware and can be downloaded easily, it has changed the way we look at software. We bring to you the following apps that can be used. By using apps, you can also save significant time and costs that would otherwise get wasted in either hiring an agency or a financial services planner.

Expense Manager app: These type of apps consistently rank on top for a long time now. They are the most popular apps related to handling money and money management. They have a multitude of features that are enumerated below.

Features: Provides the ability to track expenses daily, monthly and annual basis, they are solely an expense app and therefore they will handle only the expense side, they prepare daily, monthly and annual budgets, Provide regular alerts on payments and dues, they can automatically schedule payments particularly those that are recurring payments, they have the ability to sync your data to an online portal or your memory card, Create interactive charts so that information is lucid and easy to understand.

Financial Planning app: Generally financial planning app encompasses the whole finance wing they include not only the income and expense but also debts, insurance, investments etc. These apps help you to perform calculations and inform the user on ROI i.e. Return on Investment if periodic and final amount is given, evaluates monthly installments (EMI) given the total amount and duration of loan, performs calculations for evaluating pension amount if a given fixed sum is invested today.

Money management Apps: They can help you optimize your management of money and cash flow positions; and they generally come with features like tabulation of income vs. expenses, giving reminders on recurring expenses, capability to sync data with other devices or software, dash lock integration, able to run search on transactions, ability to localize as all major languages are covered.

Money management app in android: Android offers a multitude of apps relating to finances and money management and the best part is that most of them are free. The most common features found in most of the apps are extremely simple user interface, ability to integrate various aspects of money management like preparing budget, handling income and expenses, ability to integrate checkbook registries, and set reminders for invoices.

Your Guide To Selecting Payment Processing Companies

Your Guide To Selecting Payment Processing Companies

Payment processing companies can help businesses to accept credit card payments. However, as a business owner, there are a few questions that you can ask any of the payment processors before you choose a provider.

Perhaps one of the most important factors that will influence the choice of a processor is the costs, and since the industry is not regulated, costs can and will vary. By getting the needed answers to the right questions, you can determine which of the payment processing companies will be most suitable for your situation. Your first task is to get a firm handle on the discount rates that will be charged to your merchant account.

The discount rates are charged by the issuing credit-card companies, and are usually based on a percentage of your monthly sales. They can vary from 1.5% to over 5%, and may depend on the type of business, the volume, average ticket prices, or average sale per customer. Businesses that are considered as high-risk, such as those with higher ticket prices, or e commerce businesses, are usually charged higher discount rates.

Agreement contracts offered by the payment processing companies usually last for a 3 year period, but you should find out what fees are charged for early termination. In addition the agreements may also state that your contract may be automatically renewed for an additional 3 years at the end of the period, if they are not contacted within a certain time. Although automatic renewal may be convenient, you should be fully aware of the conditions, if you wish to explore other options.

There may be different rates applied to transactions that swiped with cards as opposed to those that are entered via keypads. You may wish to structure your transactions, so that you take advantage of the process with the lower rates, or with recurring billing options.

You may need to determine whether your best option is to rent the Point-of-sale terminal, or if the better option would be an outright purchase. There is also the lease-to-own option, that may be available from some of the privately owned payment processing companies.

When considering a purchase, you should be fully aware of the conditions of any available warranty, and the features of the terminal. With new technologies being developed, you may wish to include features a such as smart card readers or NFC communications, which can add to the cost of the POS terminal, however, at the same time, the purchase, may add an asset to your business. On the other hand, rental will provide a replacement or repair at no additional costs.

The set up fees and application fees may vary. Some companies may offer free set-up, while processing fees may be higher. The set-up fees are one-time charges for programming the POS terminals, or they may be charged to training. The fees for set up may also differ, based on the card issuer, and may also differ based on the type of payment card.

There are several other fees that may be included in the costs. Fees such statement fees, gateway fees, processing fees, or settlement fees can vary, and can have an effect on the profitability of your business.

Benefits Of Direct Debit Via BACS

Benefits Of Direct Debit Via BACS

Direct debit as well as credit transfer has been the most innovative inventions in the money transaction sector and has been part of the banking sector for a long time. There has been a long time initiative to merge the BACS services or BACS payment solutions with the direct debit transfer system and this has been now established with the help of BACSTEL-IP link. This has taken the entire money transaction software and network in a new level of excellence and some of the major features of this scheme have been discussed below.

Features That Are Beneficial For Direct Debit Via BACS Services

* With such kind of merges there is a greater control on the cash flow process. Professionalism in monetary transaction gets improved a lot and the timing of the funds clearance is also on the mentioned dates.

* One of the key aspects of this kind of services is the automated services that it provides. One does not have to go for reminders to make the payments. If you can save the date of the payments on a monthly basis for an entire year the money will automatically be deducted from your bank account and paid on the due date. There are neither fines for late fees nor any requirement of a reminder. This saves money and time both for the customer.

* The entire bank actually comes to your desktop as you can access your account and see the deductions and all kinds of payment records online. In case one wants to change the monetary setting they can do it online and the accredition is later done by the payer's bank. Hence the record keeping can be done by computer.

* In case there is any item that is completely unpaid from your account, the payee immediately gets notified about it.

* The best part of direct debit transfer via BACS payment solutions is that in case there is any discrepancy in the payment, the money is immediately refunded to the payers account without any complications. If such problems occur persistently then the payees account can be disabled. This entire system ensures that that the security firewall in these kinds of systems are much upgraded.

* There are several offers of sponsorship, indemnities and guarantees that make sure that there are benefits to any business once they take up the direct debit transfer scheme via the BACS payment solutions.

Some Essential Requirements When You Enter The Scheme

One has to sign very important legal, financial papers when one enters into such schemes. There are companies that help you in this application of the scheme. To stop and prohibit collecting incorrect payments one has to sign a very standard indemnity to participate in this mutual scheme between BACS service and direct debits.

Advantages of a Payroll System

Advantages of a Payroll System

Understanding exactly what to do for your business when it comes to paying out employees or establishing a given payroll system is no easy task. Payroll systems can be very complicated to especially if you have hundreds of employees or a large business. Establishing a proper payroll system with easy-to-use software for payroll that includes all of your deductions and requirements is very important. Depending on the type of work that you are in you may need to make a variety of reductions to a paycheck for benefits, mutual fund allotments or even your government and state taxes.

If you can find good software for payroll that automatically adds all of these reductions and allows you to create a profile for each level of employee, you can simply input data each week and have the software complete calculations as well as storage of all of this important payroll data.

Manual payroll systems have become somewhat of a thing of the past. There are several small companies that will do manual payroll systems but generally these are reserved for freelance work and very small companies. For larger companies it makes much more sense to opt into a form of payroll software or to higher on a third-party payroll system to take care of financing each and every week. There are a variety of different third-party freelance payroll websites as well as services that will allow you to sign up your company and employees online to have payroll handled by a separate entity. This is an excellent idea if you can afford it as it will leave more time for you to focus on business.

Manual payroll systems continue to be one of the least expensive options however and they are very easy to maintain. Manual payroll however does mean that you will need to keep your own records and do some research into the taxation rules for your industry as well as any deductions that you might need to make off of individual employee salaries. Keeping track of all of these deductions can be difficult but manual payroll is a great way to ensure that paychecks are all completely accurate.

Software for payroll however is not too expensive and is far more efficient than a manual system. Computerized software for payroll also will help you to catch any errors in your payroll system. For the most part you will not be able to publish a paycheck unless it has been deemed accurate by the software.

The software will also come with a variety of deductions and assets that you can automatically add into each check for payroll. This means that you can set up the software for your individual state or government body and be assured that you would adhere to any legal requirements.

No matter the type of payroll system that you end up selecting it is very important that you keep secure storage records of your payroll.

If there is ever a dispute with payroll or with a paycheck is very important that you has employee records on hand from computerized payroll, external payroll or manual payroll depending on the choice that you make.

Beware Of Unwise Spending Habits

Beware Of Unwise Spending Habits

In Genesis 31:14-16, Jacob had been talking with his wives, Rachel and Leah, about his decision to stop working for their father, Laban. Although the working relationship had been strained for years, Jacob did wait until he felt God's call on him to move on. Rachel and Leah were supportive of their husband's decision.

The women's response to Jacob calls to mind two issues that we should all be careful to consider. Both issues are connected because they both pertain to how we handle our finances. One question to reflect on is, "Are we being careful with our own retirement assets?" Another question we should ask ourselves is, "Are we protecting our children's inheritance?"

Blowing through retirement monies

It seems that Laban had not been doing a good job with handling his money. His daughters were able to see that his wealth had been taken away, and that he had used up their dowries.

Given that his daughters are married and having children of their own, we can expect that Laban was more mature. We can probably assume that he was approaching his retirement years.

Retirement years are not a time to find ourselves short on resources. Laban did not have a Social Security system to fall back on, and we shouldn't count on ours either. While we are in our working years, we should be creating a plan that enables us to care for ourselves in retirement.

Blowing through our children's inheritance

Another question that the women raised suggested that Laban's daughters no longer had a share in their father's estate. Granted, in Biblical times, daughters were not in line to inherit anything from their father. Upon marriage, the women were to be taken care of by their husbands.

The fact that we are not living in Biblical times should not change our perspective about how we provide for our children. In fact, Paul gave us some guidance in 2 Corinthians 12:14. It reads, "…After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children." (NIV)

If we read Proverbs 13:22, we can see that we should take it a step further. "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children" (NIV)

We were not put here on earth to live in selfish isolation. God designed us to be in families, and to operate like a family. We are all interconnected.

We don't have to look back too far to see great examples of this concept in action. As Americans, our history, our country's foundation, was built upon the ability to worship freely. But, if we study further, we can see example upon example of revolutionary men and women who fought hard for change, to improve the lives of their children and future generations.

Do we share that same struggle? Are we still fighting to make things better for those who will come behind us? Or have we been given so much that we have become complacent and take everything for granted?

These questions extend beyond money. This pertains to every resource that we've been given - our knowledge, our time, our talent, the earth and everything in it. What will we leave behind?

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