E-ssentials Bulletin

E-ssentials Bulletin

General Business, Management & HR Issues

Educate your employees on your company culture
Culture starts at the top. Your leaders must know, embrace and practice the values that make up your company's culture. If they don't, that's where you need to start. Putting the words on the wall won't make much difference – leading by example will.

Are your salaries high enough to keep your top talent?
With the economy on the upswing again, your best employees must be given a “compelling reason to stay,” says a major staffing organization. No matter how many accolades, benefits and company perks your best employees receive, they aren't going to really be happy if they feel they are underpaid for the job they do.

Wealth Advice, Retirement & Estate Planning

What people hope to avoid through estate planning
There are many reasons why estate planning is important. But people tend to avoid it, or at least procrastinate. Of those who do go to attorneys or financial advisors for estate planning advice, what are the primary issues they are hoping to avoid?

Which state's retirees maintain living standards most?
The amount of money retirees have to live on varies quite a bit state by state. And the states where retirees live on highest - and lowest - percentages of their preretirement income might surprise you. Learn more about what others throughout the country will be living on in retirement.

Washington Tax Update

Gifts to employees: Some are nontaxable

The general rule regarding gifts to employees is that they are taxable income to the employee. But there are some exceptions to this rule. Two of the more common exceptions are employee achievement awards and de minimis (small) fringe benefits, like flowers. What are the limits on these types of gifts?

Home debt not discharged for 2014

Discharge of debt is generally considered income for tax purposes - and it will be again for 2014 for principal residence indebtedness. Many taxpayers took advantage of not being taxed on discharge of debt for principal residences from Jan. 1, 2007, through Dec. 31, 2013.

Too much personal time spent at rental costly

Landlords who want to deduct 100 percent of their rental property expenses must be sure to watch the personal use of their rental property. A recent Tax Court case showed that it can be costly if personal use of your rental property exceeds 14 days a year.

Deducting investment interest has strings

Investment interest is deductible - with a few strings attached. Some examples of property held for investment would be property that produces interest, dividends, annuities or royalties. This does not include a business in which the taxpayer is an active participant. Learn what those strings are.

The technical information here is necessarily brief. No final conclusion on these topics should be drawn without further review and consultation.

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