Monday, June 23, 2014

New tax rules and how they could well affect you!

Remember a few years back the song "The Times They Are A-Changin'" if so the words to the first verse will come to mind if not here they are...

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

And I can't think of a better way to describe the latest changes the IRS has made in real estate depreciation vs capital improvement. As it's now sink or swim when it comes to understanding and using the new IRS Regs relating to real estate depreciation.

The IRS starting this year now dictates 8 different separate components when dealing with real estate property and determining what is an expense and what is a capital improvement . So any cost must be studied to see if it's an improvement/repair based on the overall value of the specific component and not the cost of the building as a whole.

There are more rules (actually over 100 pages) and that certainly sounds daunting but with care this is a HUGE win if you have property. For years, I've talked about cost segregation studies with my clients and I was specific in what they were called. That's because the IRS shut down something called component accounting for buildings years before. There had been a lot of misuse of this tax break and so the IRS reacted by shutting component accounting down. But the general principle of breaking down the different segments of your real estate was still valuable if used as part of an overall tax strategy. So the cost segregation study nomenclature was born.

Now the IRS's new regulation requires you to divide up your property along the very lines of a cost segregation study. That means you'll be able to front-end load your depreciation, if you want, to create more of a tax loss. Of course, this only works if you're able to take advantage of the loss against other income. This is important because not only does it take away the past potential issue with component segregation, but it is actually required to break down your property with something like a cost segregation study.

Anyway if you have real estate that you use as rental or as part of a business and thus have depreciation be sure you take time to study and go over this issue.. and of course if it's all Greek to you feel free to call and I'll be happy to help you understand it.

Remember it's only with knowledge that you have the power to legally lower your taxes so it's keep up or lose out.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 6/15/2014

Fathers day for so many years was a wonderful day when I could tell my dad just how much I loved him. And to remind him that he had also been my best friend and mentor. Sadly that time is now gone as he passed away a few years ago and he's no longer here so we can share our days nor laugh and talk as before. But as one who knows that heaven is true and that our hearts can always connect even across the divide of death I smile knowing that he still hears from me today... for his heart can still feel mine touch his with love. Love you dad see you soon...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Some Day Soon I'll Hold You Mom!

Some day soon I'll hold you mom and we'll share a hug and kiss...and I'll finally get to tell you all that you have missed... and while we'll share a tear or two we'll finally laugh them off... cause now we're back together and never have to part... so save a place beside you there in Heaven's choir for me... that way you and I and dad can sing with joy for God's great gift of love... as time and jobs and worldly ways will matter not at all ... for as He promised time is gone and troubles us no more... and never from that day dear mom shall I miss your loving arms.   

Written in remembrance of my mom on mother's day 2014. Miss you mom... Frank

Monday, January 28, 2013

Do you need to see if your tax refund will be offset by any claims?

Call 1-800-304-3104 and an automated service will take you through a few prompts, you give your name date of birth and social security number, and you will be told if there are any offsets against your refund for this tax year. 

Be aware this can change between when you check and when your return is processed as offsets are placed on refunds as filed. But for the most part if you don’t find an offset at the time you are filing you will usually have little chance of one being filed in time to offset your refund for this year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On This Night Before Christmas… One Thought For Us All

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the net Not a blogger was blogging, nor a tweet was to be found

As all were too busy tracking Santa around

 For ‘twas said it was he who brings gifts to the world on this night

 But while Santa’s a wonderful tail for the us all to enjoy

Santa’s certainly not the true reason to remember this season

As its Christ coming that brought us glad tidings and joy

And it’s His love and salvation that’s our precious gift from above

So share your toys and trinkets and gadgets galore as alway before

But never say Santa’s the real reason to share in this season

Nor think that things of this world are all we should seek and enjoy

As neither like Jesus brings salvation nor peace and love to this world

So remember the story of Santa is fine as a fable

But Christ is the one who was born in the stable.

Written December 24th 2012 by Frank Woodman Jr

Monday, November 05, 2012

On the Eve of the Election.. One Christian Man's Look at What it Means

At a time of great crises for our country we see hate, division, and anger as never before. And the voting public seems more lost and confused than ever as all the misinformation, lies, and trickery take their tole on us all. But the saddest part is that people just don't get what the problem really is. And it's not our choice between Obama and Romney that we have to fear. It's the very deterioration of who we are as Americans and what we stand for as a people. It's going to take a real movement back to some basic principals that we've lost over the last 20 yrs or so before things get better. We need a movement back to relying on hard work, honest effort, and moral decency. That can only happen when we as a nation again find our way to the simple principals we were founded on. IMO that can only happen when we as a nation find God again. For this election only points out the problems that any electorate will find when they have strayed from faith. What we need is people to demand of those we elect that they have principals and conduct themselves properly and do what what's best for the country as a whole. I guess the issue is; are there enough people left to vote who have "Biblical" values to affect the outcome of the election. Sadly I'm not sure that there are. For most of our problems come from the peoples move away from both the Bible and Christ centered lives not from our leadership. Leadership in a country of open elections as we have only reflects the people's wishes and views. And one has to only see what is shown on TV or read a few comments or posts on social media to realize that Christ isn't in the forefront of the majority of peoples lives anymore. We now have an apathetic non caring worldly based voting majority. As long as that is true the majority of our elected officials will share those views and the selfish self-centered nature that they create. That means that no one race be it president or any other will effect our countries direction. So those of us who still value and keep such a Christ based life must pray for our country for as it is now no matter who gets elected the true problem will remain... the people have lost their way and have turned from Christ and his teachings. No president or elected official can "fix" that problem it's that our roots are rotten not that our branches are damaged or broken that means that the tree of freedom will most likely be up rooted. We as Christians can only try to brace it up and hope that the rot hasn't gone so far as to kill the tree. God Bless America

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Obama or Romney Makes no Difference Financially

No matter who wins this election the truth is that taxes will go up for most working Americans and potentially drastically so for those with children as of January 1st, 2013. And the current talk by both presidential candidates about taxes is only a political smoke screen to woo voters with buzz words and empty promises. For when the current tax credits expire taxes will rise for working class Americans and that’s not a maybe or a possibly that’s a definite fact! Remember among the credits expiring are the tax credits for EIC, the Child Care Credit, and the Child Tax Credit to mention only a few. And it’s going to be Congress that will decide the tax and budget issues before this country at that time not the president. And this is a Congress that will largely be the same Congress that failed to pass a federal budget, failed to reach a compromise on budget reduction, and put off all discussion or voting on any tax legislation until AFTER the election. When that sinks in you realize that whoever becomes president, Obama or Romney, they will have to work with a totally dysfunctional Congress. This current Congress has done absolutely nothing to address even the most basic of our financial issues and shows no signs of changing any time soon now or after the election. So IMO gridlock will result in the failure of Congress to act. If that happens everyone loses as we will effectively face financial disaster! A financial meltdown unlike anything we've experienced since World War II will result For if history is any indication our Congress will again fail to address our budget, tax legislation, or jobs creation in any meaningful way. Our only hope is that everyone wakes up to the fact that what’s important for the financial future of our country is who’s running for Congress and how we can put pressure on Congress after the elections to truly address our financial mess. And I don’t see either Obama or Romney’s winning the presidency effectively making any difference in our tax and financial problems as Congress has shown that it isn't interested passing any real effective legislation. So while the direction of our country in many matters will hinge on who wins the presidency, Obama or Romney, when it comes to our financial quandary neither will have any impact.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Are You Getting the Internet Speed You’re Paying for?

Recently I’ve seen an unusual number of clients complaining that their computers are running many of their browsers based online programs very slow or even having them freeze up and fail to respond along with increased problems with programs and requests being timed out by servers. As in the past these problems have been traced in every case to poor internet speeds from their ISP’s. With some of the speeds as much as 60% to 70% less than those promised. And in every case once the provider was contacted repairs were made and speeds were restored to the ISP’s promised speed. Sadly problems with consistent internet service speed seems to be an ever increasing problem as rising costs and reduced budgets have hit ISP’s hard. Throw in the ever increasing demand caused by a customer base that uses more and more data resource intensive web services like video and SAAS and you have a recipe for terrible ISP speeds. Anyway if you’ve had any problem with your internet response recently be sure to do a speed check on your ISP connection. Luckily this isn’t something that requires any great skill as there are many good sites and services that will check both your download and you’re upload speed quickly, easily, and for free. Remember you should run these tests over several days and at different times as speeds often vary greatly through the course of the day and you want your ISP’s stated speed all the time not just part of the time. Also the download speed will be much faster than the upload speed for almost all ISP’s so be sure to find out what your upload speed should be and watch it as well as your download speed. And be aware that due to some technical issues, you won’t get exactly the speeds your ISP states but your results should be well within 10-20% of your promised speeds. So do yourself a favor and check your ISP’s download and upload speeds and be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Two sites Megapath internet speed test and are the ones that I recommend most often. So give them a try and let me know how your tests come out and if you have a favorite internet tip or tool to share please post it in the comment box below.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Will Fuel Powered Engines Replace Batteries?

Amazingly as this article shows we may see small engines powered by more traditional fuels powering our technology in the near future. And it's technology like this that will be the future of innovation and job growth in the future.

Lets just hope that they don't sell this patent to manufactures out side the US. Far to often our inventions and ideas are sold only to be developed in foreign countries.

Few know that things like the VCR were developed here in the states and the patents then sold to foreign manufactures who made the lions share of the long term profits and benefited most from the job growth created.

Lets start our renewal of America's technology leadership by keeping our patents owned by American firms and only licensed to foreign firms. That has been the strength of countries like Japan and China. What they develop they keep and what other others develop they buy or copy.


SCIENTISTS have built the smallest petrol engine, tiny enough to power a WATCH. The mini-motor, which runs for two years on a single squirt of lighter fuel, is set to revolutionize world technology. It produces 700 times more energy than a conventional battery despite being less than a centimeter long not even half an inch. It could be used to operate laptops and mobile phones for months doing away with the need for recharging. Experts believe it could be phasing out batteries in such items within just six years. The engine, minute enough to be balanced on a fingertip, has been produced by engineers at the University of Birmingham. Dr Kyle Jiang, lead investigator from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: “We are looking at an industrial revolution happening in peoples’ pockets. “The breakthrough is an enormous step forward. “Devices which need re- charging or new batteries are a problem but in six years will be a thing of the past.” Other applications for the engine could include medical and military uses, such as running heart pacemakers or mini reconnaissance robots. At present, charging an ordinary battery to deliver one unit of energy involves putting 2,000 units into it. The little engine, because energy is produced locally, is far more effective. One of the main problems faced by engineers who have tried to produce micro motors in the past has been the levels of heat produced. The engines got so hot they burned themselves out and could not be re-used. The Birmingham team overcame this by using heat-resistant materials such as ceramic and silicon carbide. Professor Graham Davies, head of the university’s engineering school, said: “We’ve brought together all the engineering disciplines, materials, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering. “What better place to have the second industrial revolution in nano-technology than where the first took place, in the heart of the West Midlands.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some Thoughts for the Day

I hope you all enjoy these. Sometimes it's the simplest ideas that bring us the most understanding.

Amplify’d from

The power of Love isn’t the miracle… the miracle is Love its self. ~ F Woodman Jr.

He who gains victory over other men is strong but he who gains a victory over himself is all-powerful. ~Lao-Tze

The man who follows a crowd will never be followed by a crowd. ~ R.S. Donnell

A hug is truly the most powerful way to subdue an enemy. ~ F Woodman Jr.

People don’t judge you on the basis of your mistakes but the manner in which you own up to them ~Jason Fried


Bank of American and Countrywide Finally Face Fraud Charges

Finally we see some legal action on the Countywide mortgage scandal as Bank of American (now owner of Countrywide) faces law suites over questionable ratings of the mortgage backed securities Countrywide sold during the last few years before the mortgage meltdown.

Lets hope that someone is finally held accountable for part of this mess and is made to admit that greed and corruption were the underlying causes of the current mortgage mess we are in.

Amplify’d from

Bank of America sued by mortgage investors for “massive fraud”

Bank of America’s Countrywide mortgage operation was accused of “massive fraud” in a suit by big investors who say they were misled about the quality of mortgage-backed securities.

A dozen institutional investors, including TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Co. and New York Life Insurance Co., filed the complaint Jan. 24 in New York state Supreme Court, according to Bloomberg News.

The litigation is the latest salvo in a battle between BofA, the largest bank doing business in the Wichita area, and institutional investors over mortgage-backed securities and the quality of the loans backing those investments.

“We will review the suit, but on first glance these sound like large, sophisticated investors who now want to blame someone for the fact that the declining economy caused their investment to lose value,” said BofA (NYSE: BAC) spokeswoman Shirley Norton.

In the suit, the investors say they purchased Countryside’s mortgage-backed securities, seeking a low-risk investment. But the plaintiffs allege that Countrywide’s documentation on the mortgage-backed securities was knowingly false. BofA acquired Countrywide in 2008.

“Countrywide was an enterprise driven by only one purpose — to originate and securitize as many mortgage loans as possible into MBS to generate profits for the Countrywide defendants without regard to the investors that relied on the critical, false information provided to them with respect to the related certificates,” according to the suit.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is a Site to Opt Out Of?

A recent post by Jared Brickman caught my eye as I’m always looking for new security issues and online privacy dangers and problems. And with sites like FaceBook always challenging our online privacy I was more than interested to hear about And while I hadn't heard of Spokeo before Jared’s post it only shows the rapid growth of information brokers’ sites and services that can be found on line.

Now with this information comes the confusing question of what if anything I should do about it?

For this is an example of the confusing nature of privacy on line. Many of us spend our online time blogging, tweeting, commenting, and getting Google and others search engines to index it all so it can be found. Then along comes a site like Spokeo that is set up to compile data from many sites, blogs, indexes, and data bases that provides just such public access. But since it’s a site we know little about and have no control over what they show and can only opt out of being listed or leave any search results available we have to decide; Do we opt out of being listed on, or leave our listing there and available?

And while Jared elected to opt out, honestly, I personally am still considering what I want to do.

For on the one hand it's a site that is kind of scary as it is a very comprehensive collection of information that I'm not sure I want available all at one site. But on the other hand it's all information that's available anyway and most if not all of it is on Google or other search engines already. And I’m also sure that even if I opt out of Spokeo another site just like it is either out there now or soon will be.

So does opting out of Spokeo really changing anything or do I just have to accept that mega personal search sites are something I have to learn to live with?

Right now I’m just not sure which choice I will end up making.

Anyway you might want to check out and see what info they’ve collected on you. And if you find that information something you don’t want to share the instructions on how to opt out of Spokeo are included from Jared’s post.

Just let me know did you decide to stay or did you decide to opt out?
And do you think is a danger to online privacy or just another search engine?

Instructions on opting out of from Jared’s post.
1) Go here:
2) Search your name or user name
3) Click your listing
4) Copy the full URL from the browser address bar
5) Click privacy (in the footer)
6) Fill out the form
7) Click the link in the confirmation email
And feel the relief of being weirdo-directory site free (at least until the next one comes around).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Angel Investors List for Twitter and FaceBook

If you're searching for an angle investor this list should help. It's nice to know and follow such investors before you contact them. And if you are an angel investor they will add you to the list so contact them.

Amplify’d from

Angel Investors on Twitter and Facebook

One of the best ways to develop a relationship with an angel investor is to stalk them on Twitter, their blogs and Facebook. Before contacting an angel, you should read everything they've written, tweeted, blogged or said (publicly)--that's just startup 101.

We've complied lists of some of the world's most notable angel investors (sorted by location), their Twitter handle, Facebook page and links to a sampling of their investments.

Angel Investors by Region

Are you an angel (or do you know one) who'd like to be on our list? Fill out the form below and we'll make sure to include you.

If you spot an error or omission, please email us at and tell us about it.


Watch out for GPS Problems in the Southeastern US

This article shares some interesting information (though sketchy) about GPS problems that will exist in the Southeastern US between January 20th and February 22nd.

It seems the government will be doing something (they call them tests) that will make GPS in that area be either off or unreliable for a large part of the time.

And while they say they will notify pilots of when these test will take place they don't mention how or even if they will alert drivers and others.

So be warned and watch out using or relying on GPS in that area during that time and mention it to anyone you know that might be affected.

Amplify’d from

FAA warns of ongoing GPS issues in southeastern US due to Defense Department 'tests'

Don't panic, but anyone planning on using GPS in the southeastern US for the next month or so will likely want to make sure they have a fallback option. That's according to a flight advisory just issued by the FAA, which warns pilots that their GPS signal "may be unreliable or unavailable" due to "GPS tests" that the Department of Defense will be conducting between January 20th and February 22nd. Details are fairly light beyond that, but the FAA does note that when the "tests" occur they will be active for 45 minutes, and be followed by 15 minutes of off time -- additional notices to pilots will apparently be issued at least 24 hours prior to any test. Of course, while this particular advisory is directed at pilots, it will presumably will also affect all other GPS devices, as the FAA doesn't mention any GPS issues specific to aviation. The real question, however, is just what those mysterious "GPS tests" are -- if they're, in fact, GPS tests at all...

[Thanks, Brady]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Robotic Manufacturing a Blessing... or a Curse?

As we see in this video robotic manufacturing today is something right out of Star Trek. And it's given us so many of the amazing technological toys and tools we have came to use and enjoy everyday that it's hard to find fault with it.

But this video also shows the amazing amount of manufacturing work that never sees the touch of a human hand today. And while that's good for the cost and efficiency of the products being made it's a disaster for the people who now have no job due to automation.

So how do we both keep our technology and all the wonderful things it provides for us and still find enough employment to keep everyone working. That is a question that will trouble us for some time to come and will only become worse as we see more and more jobs taken over by the very technology we have came to love.

As with so may of our questions today the answers will not come easy and while we have came to love our technology we will also come to hate it's encroachment into our lives and lively hood.

So take a few minutes and enjoy the video. That's still something that a machine can't do for you, at least not yet!

Amplify’d from

Two of the major themes in the public eye here in the US are the outsourcing of jobs abroad and the current economic crisis. We’ve recently explored how workers in the US are (rightfully?) concerned about losing jobs to robots as well as to overseas factories. I think the video above shows that these are, in fact, competing interests. Look at the work done in Asia: is there any doubt that many of the steps humans are performing could be automated? The plugging in of cards for testing, the assembling of components, the placement of products in packaging – I could imagine a robot doing any of these tasks. Which probably means that, in a few years or so, they will. Asia, with its relatively cheap labor markets, is where we have exported manufacturing jobs. Yet if these processes become as automated as the wafer factories in Utah would labor costs still be the deciding factor?

When you watch the following video, I want you to compare the creation of the silicon wafers in Utah to the rest of the assembly and testing performed in Asia. The wafer building at Micron Technology (which owns Lexar, by the way) displays a minimum of human presence, even if it has “thousands of workers.” The factories in Asia are very different. Starting around 3:28, the process goes from being almost purely robotic to relying more on human-machine cooperation.
Every product in your home tells a story. Listening to the memory card in your camera or computer will give you a sneak peak into the international world of automated manufacturing. Lexar Media is one of the largest producers of memory chips (SD cards, memory sticks, keydrives, CompactFlash, etc), and they recently released a promo that shows the start to finish process for their goods. What does this video demonstrate? Total automation domination. From the creation of the silicon wafer in Utah to the packaging of the final product in Asia , machines are center stage. Watching these slick industrial robots do their thing is something else. You have to check out the video below and see what I mean. Considering how crucial automation is in modern production, maybe the big surprise at this point isn’t the robotic dominance but that Lexar still employs so many humans.

As robots get cheaper and better you have to pay your workers less and less to compete. At some point, machines win. And not just in manufacturing – automation is creeping in at all levels of the economy, including research science. In the years ahead, human labor is likely to be removed from any repetitive task. Manufacturing, tech services, legal research and other fields could try to make their way to even cheaper labor markets, but I think that robots will ultimately make such geographic concerns a thing of the past. Watching Lexar’s tour through their creation process leaves little doubt that the domination of automation is well underway. It’s only going to get more robotic from here.


For What It's Worth a Little Humor

I think this revision to the 1040 is long over due.

Google Voice Now Offers Number Porting

Google voice has taken another big step forward with the announcement of existing number porting. And that ability to port numbers is going to really allow the service to gain traction.

I know that from my use of Google voice it's a great service but it lacked the ability of people to port existing numbers over to it which greatly limited peoples interest in using it due to the hindrance of its requiring a new number.

With this limitation gone it's going to finally come of age and it spells lots of potential trouble for other phone service providers. For Google voice is both free and allows for calls to most other phones in the United States. So unlike services like Skype that only allow free calls to other Skype users Google allows free calls to about 90% of the US.

So I predict that once this service and its features really become know to more people it's going to take off like a rocket. This is just another area Google is using to gain even more ground in becoming an all inclusive player in just about every area of our lives.

And its things like Google voice that will keep other sites and services from gaining on Google. For none of their competitors not even Microsoft or FaceBook combine so many services as does Google. And unless FaceBook or Microsoft buys a service like Skype or Vonage they certainly have no easy way to enter into the phone market.

It's amazing to me that Google has quietly entered the areas of phone service, internet TV, online business apps, cell phone OS's, and kept its ranking at the top of search and yet few have taken much notice. For IMO it's Google's diversity and growth into a company that is everywhere that dooms all the companies and services like Microsoft or FaceBook from ever pushing it out of number one.

Amplify’d from
Google Voice Is About To Take Off: Number Porting Coming Soon For $20

We’ve been huge fans of Google Voice for quite a while now — it makes screening calls and managing multiple phones a breeze — but there’s always been a huge thorn in its side: it didn’t allow people to port their existing phone numbers over. In other words, in order to take advantage of all of Google Voice’s benefits, you’d have to get a new phone number. Now, after years of waiting, that’s finally changing: Google has quietly enabled number porting for Google Voice.

Update: Google tells us that this is currently just a test available to some users and is not rolling out to everyone yet. However, it seems likely that a wide scale launch is coming soon.

Here’s a statement from Google:

“We’re continually testing new features to enhance the user experience. For a limited amount of time, we’re making the Google Voice number porting process available to users. We don’t have any additional details to share at this time, but plan to offer this feature to all users in the near future.”

The feature was first noticed by Engadget, and I’m seeing it in my Google Voice account as well. The process appears to be fairly straightforward (and yet terrifying at the same time): tell Google your existing cell phone number, agree to some strongly worded warnings, pay $20, and you should be in business.

You can see screenshots of the process below.

Oh, about those warnings. Transferring your number to Google Voice isn’t exactly painless — depending on your current carrier agreement you may have to deal with some steep early termination fees (ETFs) that can run hundreds of dollars. That means you should think twice about doing this (as the warnings make clear). And all of you who are about to buy shiny new Verizon iPhones may want to consider doing so under a new phone number, so that you can transfer your existing number to Google Voice.

This could be a turning point for the service. Up until now many people have only been able to take advantage of a limited set of Google Voice’s features (namely, voicemail) because they didn’t have a way to port their ‘real’ phone numbers over. Google Voice supports deep integration with Android, and comes pre-installed on stock Android builds, so plenty of people are going to be exposed to it, too.

I’ve been using Google Voice with my primary phone for over a year now, after the team offered to port my phone number over to the service (I was under the impression that it would be released for ‘everyone else’ much sooner than this). My experience has generally been quite positive, save for a series of downtime issues a couple months ago.

Yes, Google Voice will probably be a bit confusing to some people — it takes some getting used to the idea that one number can ring multiple phones. But think about where this is heading. Right now, you can make and receive phone calls using your Google Voice number directly from Gmail (which is awesome). Now imagine being able to do the same from your Google TV (which sports Android), your tablet computer, or any other Internet-connected device. It’s not there yet, but it’s only a matter of time.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Reporting Issues for Small Business Corporations Will Catch Many Unaware

Working with taxes and the business reporting requirements for small businesses is a little like being a life guard during shark season. There are the usual dangers of drowning and all the swimmers know about those but there are also the special dangers of shark attack and many of the swimmers aren't aware of those dangers.

Well the sharks (IRS) are at again and with the help of new government regulations will be requiring new reporting requirements for stock and business indebtedness activities.

These are issues that can result in sever penalties but will be missed by many small business owners and sadly even those who have their taxes prepared and their accounting done by professionals won't be advised of these dangers.

So be aware that it's changes like those described in this post that show the need to be sure that you are not only receiving accounting and tax advice but overall advice on all areas of business compliance.

These new Organizational Actions regulations along with the new health care provisions are going to make some of the biggest changes in reporting and compliance requirements for small businesses that have ever taken place.

So be sure that you keep abreast of and consult with advisers that can help with all areas of your business.

Other wise the sharks may come calling.

Amplify’d from

Are You Ready for New IRS “Organizational Actions” Regs?

The United States has a “voluntary” tax system, which means that taxpayers must compute their own tax liability and report (and pay) it to the IRS. Unfortunately for Uncle Sam, not everyone volunteers. The result is a “tax gap”– the difference between tax liability imposed by law for a given tax year and the amount of tax actually paid. For calendar year 2001 (the most recent year for which data is available), the IRS estimated the tax gap (prior to any enforcement activities) at around $345 billion. That’s a 16.3 percent noncompliance rate.

One approach that Congress has used to close the tax gap has been to impose additional require-ments for reporting information to the IRS. These requirements often get little publicity and can catch taxpayers by surprise. One recent example is new Code section 6045B, enacted in 2008 and effective January 1, 2011.

This provision requires any issuer of stock or indebtedness to file a return within 45 days de-scribing any organizational action that affects the basis of that security. It must also describe the quantitative effect on the basis of the security resulting from the action.

What counts as an “organizational action”? Distributions in excess of a corporation’s earnings and profits, stock splits, mergers, and acquisitions, among other things.

The requirements apply to almost all shares of stock — public and private, domestic and foreign — of any entity treated as a corporation for Federal income tax purposes. The only exceptions are for stock of money market funds and of corporations whose shareholders are “exempt recipients” (such as other corporations, tax exempt entities, or governmental entities).

What if you can’t determine all the facts you need to make the “quantitative effect” calculation within the 45-day filing period? The rules allow you to use reasonable assumptions, provided you file a corrected return within 45 days of determining a different result. If you can’t determine what portion of a distribution is a dividend, you must treat the entire amount of the distribution as a dividend.

Statements regarding the basis change must also be made available to holders and nominees. The IRS may waive the filing of a return if the information is made publicly available (for example, if it’s posted on the company’s website for 10 years).

S corporations and certain mutual funds and REITs can be treated as having met the filing re-quirements if they properly report the information on their timely filed tax returns (including in-formation reporting, such as Schedule K-1s or Forms 2438 and 2439).

Because failure to file the required returns and statements can result in penalties, companies should examine their internal processes to ensure that they can obtain the necessary data to comply with these new requirements on an ongoing basis.


Todd Weiss Three Steps to Starting a Franchise

A CFA I've recently started following wrote this article and it does a wonderful job of helping to remind us of some of the important steps that we need to perform as we start or acquire a business.

And while he addressed his advice to franchises it applies to businesses in general and is well worth the read. For I see people all the time that start or acquire businesses that they just don't understand and have no idea what the needs and demands of this business are.

But a business is like any other purchase or expense. What you are acquiring needs to fit your needs and you must be able to afford it. Otherwise you will soon find that things just aren't going to work and by then it's too late to avoid major problems.

So be sure to research and understand all aspects of any business you are looking at acquiring or starting.

That research and planning includes at least the following areas.

What does the business do and does it really fit with my abilities and interests? Remember any business you buy or start that you end up hating or finding you can't manage isn't going to work out for long and it certainly isn’t going to end as a happy experience.

What exactly are the needed funds, resources, and assets to both acquire and start this business as well as to run it day to day? If you can't come up with the money to support a business’s daily operation until it returns a sustainable profit you will finally be forced to give it up.

What are the expected returns on that investment and will that amount of return provide for your total support or will you need to continue to have other sources of income? Many people find that their new business just doesn't provide an income level that will support them without other income. If that is the case are you prepared to work two jobs or take income from savings or investments to support yourself? If so, for how long is this arrangement going to be necessary?

And last but not least…. the question that most people never address when starting or acquiring a new business.

What are your plans on how to eventually either sell or recover your equity in the business when that time comes? Everyone starting or buying a business seems to want to forget that someday you will either have to have provided for that business to continue to operate without you or it will have to be sold. The time to consider those issues is at the beginning not when the time finally arrives. That’s because it affects everything from what business structure you decide to use to run the business to how you might structure it to be able to pass it on to heirs or stockholders. And remember your children or family might have no interest in running this business once you are gone. So consider the fact that under many circumstances without planning you well may see most if not all of your owner equity going for taxes at some point in the future. And I would bet paying a big part of what you get out of your business to the tax man is not what you had in mind when you started or acquired that business.

So do your research and seek professional help before you get started as it will avoid many unpleasant mistakes and miscues. Remember good advice doesn’t cost nearly as much as it saves.

Amplify’d from
How much income do you need to support your lifestyle?

Think of it this way, if you were looking for a new job, what is your salary requirement?  The process in franchising is the same approach.  The concept must be able to generate the income needed to support your lifestyle.  The first step is to determine the income you need from the business.

What is a suitable investment level?

There’s no sense researching concepts until you know what you can afford.  If you’ve ever purchased a home, chances are your first step was to get pre-approval for a loan.  Once you figured out what you can afford to invest, you search for houses or condos in that range.  If you are looking at a franchise, it’s a similar process.  Determine a suitable investment level, and then target your search for franchises within that range.

When do I want to open my business?

I generally advise clients to start the formal due diligence process if they want to open within six months or less.  It typically takes between 30 and 45 days to determine if a franchise concept is right for you.  Depending on the type of business (retail, food, etc.) it may take some time to find a location and build out the space.  If your time frame is a little longer, its best to wait before formally engaging talks with a franchise.

Owning a franchise can be a fun and exciting experience.  It’s normal to want to seek new information.  If you’re curious, by all means start looking at different concepts to get a feel for what’s out there.  Focus on the types of businesses you like.  Don’t spend time seeking the details until you’ve addressed the above questions.  This will save time, frustration and help you target specific opportunities to help achieve the ideal lifestyle.  You want to keep your options open.  A targeted approach can help achieve your goals.

Most people who are interested in buying a franchise start the process with a Google search for info on specific concepts.  Since food and coffee are part of our everyday lives, when we think “franchise”, we generally think of food and coffee concepts like McDonalds, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, etc.  While these are all successful businesses, there are other options out there that may be more suitable depending on your personal interests.  It’s estimated there are over 6,000 different franchises available in the United States today.  Almost every industry has a franchise model actively seeking motivated people to invest in their system.  If you are serious about franchising, you don’t want to limit your options.  Rather than researching concepts, your best bet is to start by asking yourself the following questions:


Monday, January 17, 2011

Flying Quad-rotor Robots Build Structures Autonomously

Another amazing robotic accomplishment as a team of students designs autonomous flying robots that can work together. It's going to soon be possible for robots to do all of those amazing things only dreamed of in science fiction. What this brave new world is going look like only time will tell.

Anyway enjoy the video and imagine what a wonderful Christmas present these copters would make as soon as they can work with Lincoln Logs or Lego's.

Amplify’d from

Construction with Quadrotor Teams

Life in the FaceBook Fish Bowl... A lesson in Security

This story is about both a hacker who abused people and in many cases caused damage that's impossible to repair and people who were foolish in what they allowed to be kept on line and potentially available for a hacker to obtain.

For to see someone's reputation destroyed by another with information they obtained by stealth or even just their being embarrassed in front of family, friends, and co workers is a tragic thing. And while this story again shows the dangers of not keeping safety and security in mind it's not the whole story.

As it's a story that also shows the danger of leaving photos or data on line that could prove damaging or embarrassing. Remember it's always possible that someone can break into any site or service. And of course there is also the chance of a mistake by a site or service provider that allows access to an account by someone with bad intentions.

So we see both the value of strong passwords and being careful of what you use as a security question as well as the use of good judgment as to what you leave "lying around" on line. Both are vital pieces in any online security and privacy strategy.

Just let this story serve as a wake up reminder of the dangers and pitfalls that not only FaceBook but all social networks expose us too. Keeping your passwords secrete and strong helps but so does not having incriminating or damaging things available to hackers if they do get into your accounts.

Amplify’d from

Calif. man used Facebook to hack women's e-mails

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In a cautionary tale for users of social-networking sites, a California man has admitted using personal information he gleaned from Facebook to hack into women's e-mail accounts, then send nude pictures of them to everyone in their address book.

The California attorney general's office said Friday that George Bronk, 23, commandeered the e-mail accounts of dozens of women in the U.S. and England. He then scanned the women's "sent" folders for nude and seminude photos and videos, and forwarded any he found to all the women's contacts, prosecutors said.

Bronk coerced one woman into sending him more explicit photographs by threatening to distribute the pictures he already had. One victim told authorities the intrusion felt like "virtual rape."

Bronk, who lives in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights, pleaded guilty Thursday to seven felonies in Sacramento County Superior Court, including computer intrusion, false impersonation and possession of child pornography.

Prosecutors said Bronk would scan women's Facebook accounts looking for those who posted their e-mail addresses. He would then study their Facebook postings to learn the answers to common security questions like their favorite color or father's middle name.

He contacted the women's e-mail providers and used the information to gain control of their accounts. He also often gained control of their Facebook accounts by hijacking their passwords, then posted compromising photographs on their Facebook pages and other Internet sites.

Investigators found 172 e-mail files containing explicit photographs of women when they searched Bronk's computer in September, according to a court affidavit. They were able to track his victims to England, Washington, D.C., and 17 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Piscak said one of her friends alerted her that nude photographs she had sent privately to her husband were posted on her Facebook page last fall. Facebook removed the photos the next day.

"I have a network of like 1,500 people, so they all saw my pictures. So my graduating class of 2007 saw that. I'm in the military, so all my army friends saw that," Piscak said. She had to explain the embarrassing situation to her family and husband, from whom she is separated.

Piscak used a different e-mail account to contact the person who had hacked her page.

"I said, 'Why are you doing this?' and he said, 'Because it's funny,'" Piscak said in a telephone interview. The Associated Press does not identify victims in sex cases as a matter of policy, but Piscak gave permission for her name to be used. She also said she has agreed to tell her story on a nationally televised talk show.

Piscak said she fears the postings could harm her future in the military and her plans for a career in criminal justice, though most people who saw the photos were understanding.

A second victim, Stephanie, 24, of Los Angeles, said she, the FBI and other authorities tried for seven hours to remove an album of 10 photographs that Bronk posted on her account before Facebook took it down.

"Then he wrote just crass, racist, disgusting comments on people's walls that I was friends with," said Stephanie, who did not want her last name used for fear the story could harm her career. She said she felt violated, "kind of a rape-like situation."

Stephanie said she originally had sent the private photos to a boyfriend, only to have them seen by her college professors and co-workers.

Both of the victims, along with Bronk's attorney, said Facebook should have caught Bronk's activities more quickly. Facebook spokesmen did not return telephone or e-mail messages Friday.

Bronk began his hacking in December 2009, prosecutors said. He will have to register as a sex offender because of his guilty plea.

Investigators caught on after a victim called Connecticut State Police, which referred the complaint to the California Highway Patrol. They used information from Bronk's confiscated computer to e-mail questionnaires to 3,200 of his Internet contacts, asking if they had been victimized.

Forty-six women said they had. Bronk was arrested in October and remains jailed on $500,000 bond.

The attorney general's office advised those using e-mail and social-networking sites to pick security questions and answers that aren't posted on public sites, or to add numbers or other characters to common security answers. Additional safety tips are on the California attorney general's website.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Now if We Could Just Get "Beam Me Up Scotty" to Work

Google has released their beta (do they have any other kind of release) program that promises to one day translate speech directly in real time as two people talk to each other. This is something right out of Star Trek and if they ever get it beyond two languages and working with any degree of accuracy it will be a wonderful tool. Anyway it's something I've sure got to play with.

Mean while I've got some Romulans to check up on so I'll catch you later... "Beam me up Scotty."

Amplify’d from

Conversation Mode in Google Translate for Android

Google Translate's app for Android added a feature that has previously announced by Google: conversation mode. The new option is experimental and it only works for English and Spanish, so it's more like an early preview. Conversation mode is a fancy name for making it easy to have a conversation in two different languages.
"In conversation mode, simply press the microphone for your language and start speaking. Google Translate will translate your speech and read the translation out loud. Your conversation partner can then respond in their language, and you'll hear the translation spoken back to you. Because this technology is still in alpha, factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may make it difficult to understand what you're saying," explains Google.

See more at