Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nordic Welfare: An Example of High But Efficient Taxes


Even though the tax system of the Nordic countries is not exempt from criticism (read this article by US News, for example), it is still an interesting case to be studied by economists and sociologists. In this cold region of the world, citizens pay higher taxes compared to many countries, however, the legal control of such money flow is strict and the generous services that the Nordic States provide in return make people pay willingly more than 20% of their income.

Image courtesy Edward Stojakovic | Flickr
It is considered that the welfare model of the Nordic countries is universal. In addition, the benefits are granted individually (for instance, married women have a number of independent rights of their husbands.) In northern Europe, the State is involved in the organization of almost all aspects of society, and the financing of social welfare available to citizens becomes a huge extent if we analyze other countries from the region. For this reason, the Nordic welfare model requires a tax system that includes both a broad tax base as a progressive tax system run by a redistribution of income from the richest members of society to the poorest. Public health care is an important part of the Nordic model, ensuring quality health services regardless of the economic circumstances of the individual.

Some economists who defend this form of Nordic organization argue that this is simpler and understandable in the case of other European nations; nevertheless, in Scandinavia, most welfare tasks are taken over by the state or local authorities, and only in a limited way by individuals, families, churches or national welfare organizations. However, some economists argue that the increase in state interference in all public affairs (and the forced redistribution of income) leave the most productive members of society with a limited income for their work, which is not a positive fact in a market economy. They argue that the system seems to work to be implemented in small countries with a high level of education and a strong ethic that emphasizes the value of work. Interestingly, despite the generous welfare benefits, unemployment levels in the Nordic countries are still among the lowest in the world.

“This social democratic model harmonizes with capitalism and has backed the development of a high standard of living in the area,” says Adam Greene, from Greene & Company LLP. “From any perspective, the welfare model of the Nordic countries is a concept adopted consensually by both political parties of right and left. Sometimes the level of benefits is discussed, but hardly benefits itself.”


Why is this model successful? In first place, this is not a wide-known region and its existence is often overlooked when analyzing many events of Western Europe. In second place, the geographic location is a relevant factor. The three Nordic countries form a triangle in the Skagerrak, the strait that connects the Baltic Sea with the Atlantic waters. In a ground-level, the three Scandinavian countries are one mass of continental land, although the distance the water between Denmark and Sweden is minimal in the Strait of Oresund - the current bridge connecting Copenhagen (Denmark) to Malmö (Sweden) is 7.8 km in length -.

Another feature to note is the general low population. Except for Sweden, with 9.5 million inhabitants, the other three countries are populated by a range of 5 and 6 million people. This factor, at an economic and a political level, is very important: it affects - and we were able to see it in the leaders of these countries - the economic model that such States can develop on the basis of available human resources, as well as appropriate policies based on low populations, compared to other European countries.

The welfare system in these nations is mainly based on two facts: the political and economic intervention and a remarkable political awareness and participation of society. This, over many years, has created a circuit that is constantly fed back and that favors both the correct performance of public actors as the demand levels of society on public policies and progress of the countries as wholes. Something fundamental is that States intervene actively in the national economies. One of those forms of action is through fiscal policy: taxes.

The idea of ​​this State interventionism is that they must redistribute taxes fairly among all people, so that everyone has the same opportunities for development through public education (which is equal for all), universal health care, quality employment, access to housing, social policies for the most disadvantaged, etc. Logically, all these political intentions cost a lot of money; money that should come from somewhere. Of course, the normal route is through taxes.

It is possible that before the great economic changes the world is experiencing, this model also wobbling. But that does not diminish its importance.



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Understanding The Logic Behind One of the Highest Tax Rates in The World: Denmark

Image courtesy Matt Kieffer | Flickr

Although from the outside, if only focusing on the tax rates themselves, some may think Denmark is way off and it’s simply ridiculous to pay such high rates. The fun fact is that in reality the Danish citizens are nine out of ten pretty happy about paying one of the highest taxes in the world. First of all, let’s understand what it is exactly that Denmark taxes its citizens. Denmark has two taxes: a state income tax and a local income tax. Although the local income tax is a fixed rate, the state income tax is a progressive tax. This basically means that it increases as the person’s ability to pay, or income, increases. They have income tax, land value tax, local income taxes, and VAT. The average annual income in this country is roughly 39,000 euros, almost $43,000, and if we average out all of the previously mentioned taxes it comes out to approximately 45% in income taxes. Now, if someone earns more than 61,500 euros, almost $67,000, they have an additional 7% added on to the aforementioned. From the outside, once again, many may not understand how people in Denmark could pay such high taxes with a smile. The first thing that you have to understand is the mind frame and culture of most European countries. They see taxes as an investment and a straight path towards a better quality of life. The notion that this money will get back to them at some point in the form of quality of life is what gives them peace of mind. Now, Denmark is not alone on this list of high taxes. It is accompanied by Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Austria, UK, Finland, Sweden and Ireland, all of which are known for being the highest taxed countries in the world. Despite this, some of these countries are also known as the “happiest places on Earth”. So, now let’s get down to understanding why this actually does make sense. 

Image courtesy Alan Cleaver | Flickr

Education

In Denmark, all citizens get free education all through university or college. This is a huge advantage not only thinking about the short term, but the long term. Teens are able to join any college and make their own path, by studying and working hard. Parents don’t have to worry about how they are going to pay their children’s education, which increases their opportunities to lead a happy life. Education is compulsory up to 15 or 16 and from there around 82% go on to study further education. This is one of the reasons why literacy in Denmark for both men and women soars to about 99%. Almost all institutions in Denmark are completely tuition free, and will apply for those that are Denmark-born or have a permanent resident visa or permit, residence permit, humanitarian visa, or if they are from the Nordic Council or any country in the European Economic Area or European Union.

Health care

In Denmark most of the healthcare is financed by regional and municipal taxes. An average of 9.8% GDP is spent on healthcare, and there is 1 doctor for every 294 people in Denmark. Healthcare in Denmark is yet another factor that makes its citizens people with less anxieties and concerns in everyday life. Additionally, it is one of the most advanced countries in health care technology. Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Prescribing are used by most practitioners, but in reality has actually not been able to reach its full potential due to a system fragmentation.

Young and elderly citizens

Denmark, besides offering tuition-free education, the government gives students $900 per month.  As for the elderly, the government invests about 1 billion kroner per year, or approximately $152,000, at a municipal level. A lot of the investment in the health sector is done so with the initiatives that focus on elderly and dementia patients. It also goes towards improved maternity care. 

The quality of life, as you can see, is a huge benefit to the people who live in Denmark, and this comes at a price high tax rates. Which is why, most Danish people see their taxes as an investment, instead of an expense. Whereas, in the states we are still trying to find ways to reduce personal and business taxes, which you can read more about on the Adam Greenville Blog. When most Americans are asked they are not willing to pay higher taxes, despite the advantages this could bring to the quality of life. Some of the main differences between the US government and the Danish government comes down to the role the government itself plays. In Denmark the government spends almost 43% of the country’s economic activity, making it the eighth highest in the world, based on a report published by the World Bank in 2012.  In the US it is 24% making it 65 out of 114.  Of course this spending, will require somewhere to get the money from, which is where heavy taxation becomes essential. In the US, in 2013 the taxes came up to 25.4%, and in Denmark it was 48.6%, almost double to the US.




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

High taxes in Belgium: Are they according to the benefits for the people?

Brugge
Belgium tax revenue as a percentage raises to 43.2% of the GDP. As a country with a constitution that guarantees "the right to health," Belgium has an especially costly health care system to maintain. With Belgian citizens paying only a small fee, the government bears the bulk of the cost for care. The country also needs high tax revenues to keep up with its expenditures on infrastructure and industry subsidies. Taxes are collected on both state and local level. The most important taxes are collected on the federal level, including an income tax, social security, corporate taxes and value added tax. At the local level, property taxes, as well as various fees, are collected. Belgium enjoys a reputation for being a tax haven for the idle rich, but ordinary working people suffer from some of the highest tax rates in the world. Income tax is calculated by applying a progressive tax rate schedule to taxable income, with rates that go from 25% to a maximum rate 50%. For residents of Belgium, the taxes are irrespective of their nationality and come even from worldwide income.


Between income tax and social security charges, they add up to 65% of their gross pay each month to the government and the top income tax rate in Belgium is a whopping 50 percent. Employees' income tax is deducted at source by their employers, and if you have various sources of income, Adam Greene CPA suggests to employ an accountant or professional tax advisor to complete your tax returns and ensure that you are properly assessed, as the tax system in Belgium is complicated. And because of this, the Ministry of Finance publishes extensive information on income taxes on its website, often in English as well as the local languages. On the Belgian website, there is a link to a tax survey, which is updated as the laws change. There are local tax offices where you can obtain brochures or have questions answered. Tax brackets for the income year 2016 are applicable to net taxable income after the deduction of social security charges and professional expenses.


Corporate Income Taxes



For corporate income taxes, a range of measures has recently been approved, and other measures are currently under review at the Chamber or pending before the State Council. The Program Act of 1 July 2016 has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 4 July 2016. It introduces transfer pricing documentation requirements and extended reporting obligations for payments to tax havens. The draft Act providing urgent tax provisions contains measures related to the reduced withholding tax on dividends distributed to non-resident minority shareholders and repeals the current patent income deduction system. Some draft measures concern the implementation of European Directives. The draft Program Act II provides some changes to the tax provisions applicable to the Belgian Regulated Real Estate Company and introduces the new Real Estate Investment Fund.


Income Taxes



Brussels
Employers withhold salary taxes according to the personal situation and tax status of the employee. This often covers the income taxes due on your salary, but a tax return form must be filed. Investment income, refunds, tax allowances, and liable municipal or community taxes have to be included on your tax return. There are stiff penalties for self-employed individuals failing to make prepayments as well as a surcharge for 'late' payment. Self-employed individuals must make quarterly pre-payments of estimated income tax based on the amount of tax paid the previous year.


Personal income tax is calculated by determining the tax base and assessing the tax due on that base. Taxation is charged on a sliding scale to successive portions of net taxable income. For the income year 2016, the federal tax rates range between zero and 50%. Residents pay municipal taxes at rates that range between nil and 9% of the total income tax payable. The tax calculation contains two major components, notably the federal personal income tax and the regional personal income tax. Belgian regions are now entitled to retain surcharges on 'reduced federal personal income taxation', and also grant tax reductions/tax credits, so the tax liability differs depending on the region in which the residence of the taxpayer is located on the 1st of January of the respective tax year.


Benefits


When it comes to high taxes in the World, Belgium is high on the charts. The people enjoy a high per capita income and standard of living, and the country consistently ranks high in the quality of life ratings published in the United Nations Human Development Report. The welfare programs funded with the high taxes have kept the poverty rate low, medical benefits, unemployment insurance, family allowance, retirement plans, freedom of education, and disability payments in the event of illness. While the country has a wide social safety net, there are indications that the substantial cost is beginning to take a toll on economic prosperity.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What You Need to Know About Entity Classification Election

Business entities may elect to be treated as corporations taxed at the entity and member levels or as "flow through" entities taxed only at the member level. However, entities organized as corporations under U.S. state laws and certain foreign entities are treated as corporations, with no optional election.

taxes
Corporate tax is imposed in the United States at the federal, most state, and some local levels on the income of entities treated for tax purposes as corporations. Federal tax rates on corporate taxable income vary from 15% to 39%. State and local taxes and rules vary by jurisdiction, though many are based on federal concepts and definitions. Taxable income may differ from book income both as to timing of income and tax deductions and as to what is taxable.

There is an entity in charge of regulating the inflow of resources through tax collection in the country: The Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. Is important to know that the government agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

The Internal Revenue Service s responsible for collecting taxes and the administration of the Internal Revenue Code. It has also overseen various benefit programs, and enforces portions of the Affordable Care Act.

Is also important to remember that some entities treated as corporations may make other elections that enable corporate income to be taxed only at the shareholder level, and not at the corporate level. Such entities are treated similarly to partnerships. The income of the entity is not taxed at the corporate level, and the members must pay tax on their share of the entity's income.


An entity which is eligible to make an election is referred to as an eligible entity. Generally, a corporation organized under the United States federal or state statute, and referred to as a corporation, body corporate or body politic by that statute, is not an eligible entity.

Reform business entity classification rules for foreign entities: Under the proposal, a foreign eligible entity may be treated as a disregarded entity only if the single owner of the foreign eligible entity is created or organized in, or under the law of, the foreign country in, or under the law of, which the foreign eligible entity is created or organized.

Therefore, a foreign eligible entity with a single owner that is organized or created in a country other than that of its single owner would be treated as a corporation for federal tax purposes. Except in cases of the United States of America tax avoidance, the proposal would generally not apply to a first-tier foreign eligible entity wholly owned by a United States person. The tax treatment of the conversion to a corporation of a foreign eligible entity treated as a disregarded entity would be consistent with current Treasury regulations and relevant tax principles.

For the record, a business entity is an entity that is formed and administered as per commercial law in order to engage in business activities, charitable work, or other activities allowable. Most often, business entities are formed to sell a product or a service. There are many types of business entities defined in the legal systems of various countries. These include corporations, cooperatives, partnerships, sole traders, limited liability company and other specifically permitted and labelled types of entities.

The following types of business entity are treated as eligible entities:
     An eligible entity that previously elected to be an association taxable as a corporation.
     A foreign eligible entity that became an association taxable as a corporation under the foreign default rule.
     A foreign corporation that is not identified as a corporation under Treasury regulations.

A quick glance at history

currency
Long before 1996 entities both domestic and foreign were classified as corporations or not based on the called "multi-factor test", which looked at limited liability; continuity of life; free transferability of interests; centralized management; associates; objective to carry on business for joint profit.

The initial regulations also included a list of foreign entities which would always be classified as corporations and which could not elect to be disregarded.

The first federal income tax was enacted in 1861 and expired in 1872, amid constitutional challenges. A corporate income tax was enacted in 1894, but a key aspect of it was shortly held unconstitutional. In 1909, Congress enacted an excise tax on corporations based on income. After ratification of the Sixteenth amendment to the United States of America Constitution, this became the corporate provisions of the federal income tax. Amendments to various provisions affecting corporations have been in most or all revenue acts since. Corporate tax provisions are incorporated in Title 26 of the United States Code, known as the Internal Revenue Code. The present rate of tax on corporate income was adopted in the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Take a look to this article to learn how to reduce your personal and business taxes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

3 Main Categories of Cash Flow Statements You Need to Know

As an expert in financial statements, Adam Greene knows that cash flow is one of the most important concepts business owners should understand. It gives a real picture of how a company’s finances are doing and gives pertinent insight into the health of any entity. In order to understand your business’ cash flow statement, you need to keep in mind the three main categories that compose it: cash from operating activities, cash from investing activities and cash from financing activities. Each type of cash flow metrics will let you do a cash flow analysis that in the end will allow you to foresee and compare investment opportunities.

What is Cash Flow Analysis and why is it important?


Image courtesy 401(K) 2012 | Flickr
Cash flow analysis is the inspection of an entity’s cash inflows (cash that was produced by the company) and outflows (cash that was dispersed by the company). A business’ cash flow statement provides a bond between the income statement and the balance sheet, allowing analysts to define where the company’s cash was indeed produced and dispersed during a specific period of time -usually a year.

Companies need to know their cash flow calculations because it provides significant financial information on profitability, quality of earnings, liquidity, risks, capital requirements, future growth, dividends, among other financial concepts. Cash flow statement analysis is a valuable tool that helps companies to oversee investment opportunities. Cash flow metrics can be extremely important for analysis with enterprise value, or various other measurements.

Analysts must check the statement of cash flow reports to understand the impact of a firm's operating, investing and financial activities on cash flow over an accounting period. Usually, cash flow statements show information related to the aspects listed below:

     How the company obtains and spends cash.
     Why there may be differences between net income and cash flows.
     If the company generates enough cash from operation to sustain the business and pay off existing debts as they mature
     If the company has enough cash to take advantage of new investment opportunities

What composes a Cash Flow statement?


As it was mentioned before, a regular cash flow statement is segregated into three sections: Operating activities, investing activities and financing activities.

1.       Cash Flow From Operations (CFO)


Cash Flow from Operations measures the cash generated from the core business or operations of the business. These operating activities include any receipt from sales, interest, income tax and vendor payments; salary and wage payments to employees, rent payments or any other type of operating expenses should be included in this category. If you company has a trading portfolio the CFO report should include receipts from the sale of loans, debt or equity instruments.

A CFO report generally includes:
-      Inflows: Revenue from the sale of goods and services, interest from debt instruments of other entities and dividends from equities of other entities.
-        Outflows: Payments to suppliers, employees, government, lenders and other expenses.

2. Cash Flow from Investing Activities (CFI)


Image courtesy negocios rentables | Flickr
Cash flow from investing activities will be negative most times. For most companies, it represents an investment in itself since it includes any sources and uses of cash from a company's investments, such as a purchase or sale of an asset, loans made to vendors or received from customers or any payments related to a merger or acquisition.

The CFI statement accounts the purchases and sales of long-term investments -including things such as capital expenditures, acquisitions, or investments in other securities such as stock and bonds.

A CFI report usually includes:
-       Inflows: Sale of property, plant, equipment, debt or equity securities and collection of principal on loans to other entities.
-   Outflow: Purchase of property, plant, equipment and debt or equity securities and lending money to other entities.

3. Cash Flow from Financing Activities (CFF)


Cash flow from Financing is in charge of measuring the activities that fund the company and stakeholders (debt and equity holders). These activities include the sources of cash from investors or banks, as well as the uses of cash paid to shareholders, also, issuing or buying back stock, issuing or repurchasing debt, and paying dividends to shareholders.

A CFI report generally includes:
-          Inflows: Sale of equity securities and issuance of debt securities.
-          Outflows: Dividends to shareholders, redemption of long-term debt and capital stock.

The sum of the three makes up the Total Cash Flow for the entity, which is the number analysts find at the bottom of the Cash Flow Statement and use to understand how an entity’s cash balance is doing at the beginning and ending of the time period and whether or not a company is ready to make an investment.


If you want to read more about the main categories that compose a cash flow statement, you can click here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

5 Ways to Improve Your Company's Cash Flow

It does not matter how big your business is and how profitable it has become. If you are running a company, there are some things that you must worry about in order to be successful, one of them is your cash flow.

Image courtesy Ken Teegardin | Flickr
Cash flow is defined as the net amount of cash and cash-equivalents moving into and out of a company. It is the difference in amount of cash available at the beginning of a period (opening balance) and the amount at the end of that period (closing balance). We say it is positive when the closing balance is higher than the opening balance. Having a positive cash flow signifies that a company's liquid assets are growing, therefore, the company can be able to pay its debts, reinvest in its business, return money to shareholders, pay expenses and plan ahead against possible financial difficulties. Every company is always trying to keep a positive cash flow since it is used to assess the quality of its income. Positive cash flow indicates whether the company is positioned to remain solvent or not.

In terms of success, most companies’ dream is to have a regular cash flow. The right way to do it is by collecting receivables as fast as possible and slowing down payables without jeopardizing the relationship with suppliers. Nobody wants to deal with a situation where payables (debts) are due before the receivables (money that hasn’t been collected yet) come in.

There are many ways to handle cash flow issues. One could be extending your accounts payable period by using a credit card to pay suppliers. If you pay with a credit card, your supplier gets immediately paid and you get a few more weeks to pay the card down. However, this alternative can be also a problem since you probably don't want to deal with interest charges.

As the credit card alternative often is not the most useful one, in this article Adam Greene will share a few tips on how your company can improve its cash flow effectively.

1. Be well prepared for the future:


Putting together a 12-month forecast for your company’s cash flow is definitely the best way to go. You need to be prepared for the costs associated with your business operation, and mapping things out week a week will help you see where to expect changes in expenses ahead of your big sales season and where several payments might come due all at once.

Sometimes small companies are not prepared for all the costs associated with growing quickly –more employers, a bigger inventory and more debts. By using pen and paper to plan what is going to happen with their cash flow, they can prevent a financial disaster.

2. Balance your terms:


You may want to evaluate your paying terms in order to keep a positive cash flow. This means that your average payable should always exceed your average receivable.

Having a balanced customer and supplier terms is always a good way to structure your business. In order for your company to achieve this, you should check the terms you're offering to customers and evaluate if they work for you and how your customers are performing to those terms.

3. Be disciplined:


Image courtesy OTA Photos | Flickr
You should reduce your receivable period after selling a product or service to your customers. A way for you to make this task easier is by keeping track of your activities and documenting that information. Using a software to help you remember when to collect your receivables can be quite helpful.

This discipline should also be reflected on your payables operations. By settling all your debts with suppliers on time, you are ensuring a healthy business relationship that is likely to give you the chance to negotiate for future discounts or payment terms better suited to your business cycle.

4. Beware of your inventory:


Check which products tend to be more prone to be sold and try to keep a small inventory of the products that you only sell sporadically. Having money invested in an inventory that is never going to be sold, is a waste of resources that could be better used in items that can return your investment more quickly. In other words, try to avoid having tons of money tied to an inventory.

5. Identify which customers help you with your cash flow:


Not because a customer is a regular or an old one, it means is going to have a positive impact on your cash flow.

Evaluate your customers and identify which ones are the worst payers. For these type of customers, you may want to plan a strategy in order to better approach them and improve the paying terms. Sometimes small accounts are more profitable than big accounts with horrible terms.


If you currently run a small company and still don’t know how to have a better cash flow, you can click here and find more information.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Most Controversial Over 62 Billion Possible Merger

For thousands of years, farmers have been breeding, saving, replanting, and freely exchanging seeds. In the past century, breeders developed new crop varieties for farmers around the world, resulting in plants adapted to various cuisines, geographical regions, soil types and weather conditions. However over the last few decades, just five companies have acquired the majority of the world's seed supply: Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Dow and Bayer. In the 1980s, appeared the first patents on seeds that dramatically increase use of pesticides the companies also sell, and declining choice of seed varieties. Patents ensure higher profits from higher seed prices by allowing the companies to outlaw thousands of farmers that sued for seed-saving.

Controversial consequences of the merger


Image courtesy Medical Marijuana News | Flickr
Now, two of the world’s largest pesticide-seed companies may merge into a still bigger entity. The union of Monsanto’s seeds and Bayer’s herbicides would perfectly position the merged giant to fully exploit a highly profitable cycle of increasing herbicide use and weed resistance. Unfortunately, toxic pesticides, pollinator decline and the illegalization of seed-saving are all prominent features of agriculture in America today, thanks to enormous global corporations that have gained control of the world’s seeds. Bayer offered $62 billion to acquire Monsanto, and while Monsanto rejected this offer, it remains open to a better one. If all go through, the deal would create a global giant in agriculture technology touching much of global food production through the development of seeds and pesticides.

The consolidation of two big industry players may also limit farmer choice and bargaining power, with increasing seed prices expected to be passed on to the grocery aisles. There’s already a deep and widely held public suspicion of Monsanto, which has been so battered by controversy that it dedicates a section of its website to allegations that its genetically engineered seeds are harmful, that the company is malicious in its dealings with farmers and more. Genetic engineering is often the target of health concerns, but the real danger is how it impedes biodiversity. That concern also translates to weather variations, a factor that has become even more unpredictable with climate change. Seeds are sold with a combination of traits, including being more disease-resistant, productive and so on. These traits prevent farmers from customizing to their specific geographies and other particularized concerns and forces them to pay for traits they don’t require. And obviously, higher seed prices translate into higher consumer prices.

Monsanto wants farmers to pay a royalty to plant any seed that descended from a patented original. The big seed companies use a strategy to attack seed savers that consists of three stages: investigations, coerced settlements, and litigation. Just in the U.S., Monsanto has sued hundreds of farmers and small farms businesses for alleged seed patent violation.

Opposing groups united against Monsanto


Image courtesy Camila Araya | Flickr

Last week, dozens of environmental activist groups, farmers, and sustainable food organizations joined forces at the COP21 Paris to announce that Monsanto will face international tribunal over crimes against humanity and the environment. It is set to take place in October of 2016, on World Food Day. The effort already seems to be receiving resistance from corporate media. The announcement took place at the climate summit, because they think that Monsanto is a major contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, the depletion of soil and water resources, declining biodiversity, species extinction, and the displacement of millions of small farmers worldwide. “The Tribunal will rely on the ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ adopted at the UN in 2011. It will also assess potential criminal liability on the basis of the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2002, and it will consider whether a reform of international criminal law is warranted to include crimes against the environment, or ecocide, as a prosecutable criminal offense, so that natural persons could incur criminal liability.”

Another bidder for the merger


Adam Greene CPA knew that Bayer could face a rival for the $62B Monsanto takeover in Hugh Grant, chairman and CEO of the St. Louis-based seed and Pesticide Company. Mr. Grant said in a Wednesday statement he's held recent talks with representatives of both Bayer and "others regarding alternative strategic options." The possibility of a new contender against Bayer came as Monsanto reported a $717 million third-quarter profit, or $1.63 a share. Both financial measures fell below Wall Street forecasts. Despite the downbeat financial news, Grant's statement about the takeover talks sent Monsanto shares closed 2.4% higher at $103.52 Wednesday. Bayer, whose shares closed virtually unchanged, declined to discuss the comments.


The European Union announced plans for a close review of the potential Bayer-Monsanto deal to create the world's largest seed and pesticide business. For now, two European Parliament members from Germany oppose the deal. The review would likely examine the transaction's potential impact on prices, the diversity of available seed products as well as research. It must strictly and impartially apply European merger control rules. Also, European Parliament member Martin Häusling has warned that a Bayer takeover of Monsanto would leave the European Union's vegetable seed market in the hands of just four companies. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Quick Tips to Empower Your Startup

As a start-up business your financial planning is crucial, Adam Greene is a professional who  can provide you with the best financial advice for your business, he is responsible of handling the company’s tax information, maintaining relationships with clients, and presiding over all financial statements for the company where he works: Greene & Company LLP.

startup
Image courtesy Pexels.com


Entrepreneurs are full of great ideas and powerful ways to implement them, but like anything in life, starting a new business requires a hefty stack of cold, hard cash. At one time, gathering this cash required hours of traipsing business plans to one investor after another, hoping one would be interested enough to invest. This approach often took years and yielded disappointing results. That’s why financial planning is fundamental.

One of the worst elements to overlook is the finances of the business. This happens all too often when entrepreneurs get too far ahead of themselves and overconfident in the success of their service or product. Unfortunately, money-related matters spell the downfall of nearly every startup that fails.

Remember that a financial plan contains a prospective financial statements which are similar, but different, than a budget. Financial plans are the financial accounting overview of a company. Another important aspect at the moment of planning the finances of a Startup is having to pay taxes. Read this article to learn more about the history of taxes in US history and learn why are so important for your business.


But there is no reason to be afraid, many people have lived the experience of starting a business and there is a growing amount of information on opening a Startup and not die trying. Here is a compilation of good tips for beginners in the Startups business:

office employee
Image courtesy Pexels.com


1.    Keep it simple: First of all, there is no need to panic. There are numerous applications to keep a strict count of finance. In this case, the most important thing is to have clear goals, not going through economic hardship and know that with a good effort, the success of your Startup is getting closer.

2.    Get help: Having detailed conversations with your bookkeeper, accountant, or chief financial officer about these things will help you stay on top of your company’s cash flow and learn even more about what you can do and what are those investments that you should not do yet. You don’t want to have to answer to investors that you don’t know or understand your revenues or expenses.

3.   Make a constant check: Don’t get lazy at doing your financial planning, every month isn’t enough. Try to check nearly every week, it would be much better if you can do it or more than just once a week. And learn to do your financial checking in on both my personal and business finances, remember cashflow is the key to success.

4.   Use some tools: Calculate the cash flow of your Startup with excel, and if you can, buy an accounting software; it will make your life much easier. Make a schedule of activities with your finances, for example, every month, go through and calculate your cash flow in Excel to see the sources of cash bleed, and then try to cut them out. It’s also helpful to try and project cash flows for the rest of the year to make sure any anticipated negative cash flow can be funded properly.

5.   Be prepared: As it is explained on the fourth point, a schedule of activities makes easier to project and prepare for the most difficult situations in economic terms, not just for you but also for your business. If is possible, set aside some money from your business profits for emergencies. The business world is really unpredictable, and you should have some savings just in case.

Complete financial plans contain all periods and transaction types. It is a combination of the financial statements which independently only reflect a past, present, or future state of the company.

Another aspect to consider in the exercise of enhancing the Startup is seeking resources for investment in other entities, individuals and potential partners. But for an entrepreneur starting out, it can be hard to sort through the many funding options available to determine which are most lucrative. In this case, the best way to make itself more attractive for investment, in addition to an optimal financial plan, you must work on the following points and make a difference on the market:

        Invest in having an excellent human capital in your team
     As the boss, become an expert at solving problems, become on someone willing to do any kind of work
        Keep in mind always that every company will need more money than is expected.

You are a businessman, you are an adventurer because starting a business is not easy at all, just keep in mind that you need to be prepared for hard times. Keep your steady goals in mind and work towards them no matter what, but have a plan in place just in case those goals don’t go out as expected.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

This is What Happens With Taxes When Someone Dies

When someone dies, unfortunately, at some point the heirs of the deceased person's estate or the beneficiaries of the deceased person's trust need to address taxes that will be due as the result of their loved one's death. In short, estates valued at $5.34 million or more must file a federal estate tax return using the United States Estate Tax Return.  Estates of nonresident, alien decedents that owe U.S. federal estate taxes must file the United States Estate Tax Return of nonresident or not a citizen of the United States. An inheritance tax is based on who receives the deceased person's property.  Currently only six states collect a state inheritance tax:  Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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When someone dies, their estate will normally have to pay any tax due before any money is distributed to their heirs. The deceased could have paid too much or even too little Income Tax. As a result, the deceased’s estate may owe tax to the government, or it could be owed a tax refund. You may need to complete a self-assessment tax return if the deceased normally did one. If you’re not sure if the deceased regularly submitted a tax return, you will need to have the deceased’s National Insurance number to hand when contacting an agency to help you. Any income received after the person’s death, such as rent from a property or income from the person’s business, belongs to their estate. For this type of income, the executor must report this as part of probate, so that appropriate amount of tax is calculated and paid by the estate. If you're the executor of a deceased person's estate, your responsibilities include filing that person's final personal tax return.  Adam Greene CPA suggests three methods on how to file taxes for a deceased person:

One is gathering the complete information. In this one, first you need to gather the income reporting forms that have been mailed to the deceased person, called the decedent. These forms are usually sent after the last day of January for the previous year and should arrive by the end of February. To complete the request to the IRS, you will need the decedent’s complete name, address and social security number, a copy of the death certificate, a notice concerning fiduciary relationship or a copy of Letters Testamentary approved by the court. Then decide whether to file a joint return. If the decedent was married at the time of death, a joint tax return may be filed for that tax year. And finally, for accounts such as mutual funds and bank accounts, change the ownership to your name as the executor as soon as possible.

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Another is to file the final personal Tax Return. First, you need to calculate the person's reportable income. Income earned between the start of the year and the date of the person's death should be reported on the final tax return. Then you must list income, exemptions and deductions just as you would for yourself. If you choose not to itemize, you can take the full standard deduction. If the decedent didn't file taxes in the years preceding his or her death, you may have to file individual incomes for those years as well. If the decedent is due a refund, you can claim it using Statement of a Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer. And last, write the word "deceased" across the top of form, including the decedent's name and the date of death. Also you must add a specific word in place of the person´s signature at the bottom of the form, depending if you are the spouse or not. If not, add the word “deceased”, and if you are the spouse, add "filing as surviving spouse”.


The third method is filing the Estate Tax Return. For this, you can collect information needed to file estate taxes. If the estate generates more than $600 in annual gross income, a separate tax form must be used to file estate taxes, in addition to personal income taxes. Then, file estate taxes. US Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, is the form you need to report income, gains, losses, etc., related to the decedent's estate. A decedent's estate figures its gross income the same way an individual would; however, a decedent's estate is allowed an income distribution deduction for distributions to beneficiaries. And then, you must report a transfer of assets using United States Estate Tax Return. This form is used to report the transfer of assets from the decedent to heirs or beneficiaries. And to conclude using this method, you need to apply for a Certificate of Discharge before selling property. To apply, you will need the inventory and appraisement of the estate assets, copy of the will, and copies of documents related to the sale of property. This releases the property from the automatic federal tax lien that is attached to a person's estate the day he or she dies.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Reduce Your Personal and Business Taxes

Taxes are special kinds of fees or charges that the government requires people to pay in order to live and work in their state or country. The government needs money to operate, and taxes are a way for it to get this money. They are unavoidable, but you can minimize the impact they have on your bottom line. Every scenario is different, but one thing is universal: Planning is the key to taxes. There are different kinds of taxes.  For example, people that have jobs pay taxes on the money that they earn from working, and states usually have sales tax that you pay when you buy something in a store.

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Here is some brilliant financial advice form Adam Greene CPA: become a scholar of the tax law. If you know the tax law and take every tax deduction to which you are entitled, it is going add up to significant savings over the years. For this reason, the Internal Revenue Service website offers resources to help you understand the following tax deductions and credits. Study the credits well, as those benefits reduce your taxes dollar by dollar. Keeping a tax-reduction mindset in your everyday life will serve your finances well, and so, by spending a few hours each year keeping abreast of the tax law, you can save a lot on taxes over the years. Do not count on a tax preparer to know every deduction for which you are eligible. As a consumer you should know the tax benefits you can claim. Every additional deduction you claim increases your disposable income.

So, what can you do to reduce your personal and corporate taxation? Here are some additional financial advice in order to reduce what you pay in taxes:

Starting a savings plan will encourage good habits. Consider setting up a regular transfer into an investment that automatically takes place when you receive your pay, before you spend any of your income. This “investment” could be a high interest savings account, for example, which allows you to take advantage of the power of compound interest. When calculating the cost basis after selling a financial asset, make sure to add in all of the reinvested dividends. That increases the cost basis and reduces your capital gain when you sell the investment. Alternatively, if you have a mortgage then this could mean putting additional money in an offset account, which then reduces the interest payable on your loan.

Take a retirement account. This contributions are a top tax-reduction tool and allow you to deduct from your taxable income the amount paid into the retirement account. Also these funds, grow tax-free until retirement. If you start early, this strategy alone can secure your retirement.

Combine a vacation with a business trip, and reduce vacation costs by deducting the percent of the unreimbursed expenses spent on business from the total costs. If you work for yourself or have a side business, take the home office deduction. This allows you to deduct the percent of your home that is used for your business, for example, if the guest bedroom is used exclusively as a home office, and it constitutes one-fifth of your apartment’s living space, you can deduct one-fifth of rent and utility fees for your home office. Have in mind that the Lifetime Learning Credit is great for boosting education and training. This credit is worth a maximum of $2,000 per year (up to 20 percent of up to $10,000 spent on post-high school education) and helps pay for college and educational expenses that improve your job skills.

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By being charitable, every donation over $2 you make to a registered charity is tax deductible. Your donations don’t come straight back onto your tax refund.  They are subtracted from your taxable income, which means you get a percentage back (depending on your income and taxation rate).

It's also important to understand that taxes are not based on your gross income, but on a taxable income, that can be reduced by deductions. While people with many deductions will itemize them on their tax returns to maximize their refund or lower the amount of taxes they must pay, those without them will use the standard deduction provided by the government to calculate the tax. Simple commitments such as paying down debt or saving more can have a dramatic impact on both your financial and emotional wellbeing. Creating a plan and sticking to it is the first step.

Finally, claiming deductions is one of the best tools in reducing your overall tax payable. If you have to spend money during the year and it relates to earning your income, then keep the receipt and make sure you claim a deduction in your Corporate Taxation for what you are entitled to. Even if you use the item for part work and part personal, you can still to claim an apportioned deduction. If you are not sure whether you can claim a particular item, keep the receipt and ask later, when you prepare your next tax return.