Business of the Month:
Kaspar & Lugay LLP
Our newest chamber member, Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, is a relatively new law firm based in Tiburon.

Brent Kaspar began his own law practice in 2013 in an office at The Boardwalk but when business became too much for him to handle alone, he began to search for a partner. He met Arvin Lugay in 2014, the two hit it off and they opened their practice at 1606 Juanita Lane soon afterward.

The firm specializes in family law, tax matters and business litigation. “We pride ourselves in putting together a solid transaction to avoid litigation,” Brent says, “however, when we need to litigate, we step into the courtroom and are successful lawyers.”
When the two met, Arvin was focused mainly on business and commercial litigation. He participated in some of the first stock option backdating cases that were litigated by the Department of Justice in the Northern District of California. Brent loves courtroom work. “It’s very fulfilling to have to prepare and not know the outcome, like a sporting event,” he says. “The courtroom is a great theater.

Brent says he and his partner make a great team. “Arvin is highly competent and one of the best litigators I’ve ever been around,” Brent says. “He’s soft spoken but very intense. I’m outspoken but very intense, so we’re a great fit as to a personality standpoint.”

“I genuinely enjoy the Tiburon community and living and working here,” he says. “Everyone has problems, and if we can help someone succeed through our counsel, we’ll be doing them a service.”

The two partners love what they do. Brent says, “I can’t imagine any other career where our central role determines the outcome.”

Brent grew up on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma and went to Oklahoma State with a major in accounting. He then was a CPA for an international law firm in Dallas, Texas, but after four years realized he’d rather be a lawyer. Although he admits he never really enjoyed school, he enrolled at the University of Tulsa College of Law where he earned his law degree. Brent moved to Marin in 2008 and to Tiburon in 2010. He has a three-year-old son, Nixon, who already attends a local nursery school. Brent is new member of the San Francisco Yacht Club and loves sailing, a sport he learned in Oklahoma. “Lots of water and wind there,” he says.

             Brent Kaspar
Arvin lived in the Philippines until he was 10 years old when his family moved to New York City, and he graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University in New Jersey with a major in political science. He then earned his law degree from U.C. Berkeley in 2005 and worked for five years at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom. He met Brent later while he was employed by a small boutique law firm in San Francisco. A wine aficionado, Arvin also enjoys kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He plans to be married this coming July to a school psychologist, and the pair will continue to live in Oakland.

The office of Kaspar & Lugay is upstairs at 1606 Juanita Lane, Suite B. Phone, 415-789-5881. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.   

For more information, visit                                                                                                                                                                                 Arvin Lugay


Chamber Networking Mixer
Wednesday, February 24

Chamber Mixer @ The Tiburon Tavern

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
5:30 to 7 pm

Tiburon Tavern

1651 Tiburon Blvd.
Tiburon, CA 94920

A great opportunity to try some amazing food from in the warm surroundings of Tibuorn Tavern! Bring your business cards and something for the business card raffle...Tiburon Tavern will lead the way with a super prize! Chamber mixers are open to the public and are a great way to meet your neighbors and your local merchants and business owners. Come tell us what's new in your business.

$10 members | $15 non members
Great Food & Drink | Business Card Raffle | Networking Opportunities

Seminar Series for Small Businesses
    Strategies for Tax Reduction
January 25

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with the Mill Valley & San Rafael Chambers of Commerce to introduce a new Seminar Series for Small Business Owners. Aimed at small business owners and professionals, the seminars are held on the third Monday of every other month from 11 am to noon at Acqua Hotel, 555 Redwood Hwy, Mill Valley, CA. The seminars are free for members of the participating Chambers and $10 for non members.The next seminar takes place on Monday, March 21, on the Marin Green Business Program.

In the third of the series, Eckhoff and Company provided a comprehensive & illuminating review of strategies for tax reduction:

"Dear IRS, I am writing to you to cancel my subscription. Please remove my name from your mailing list" –Charles M. Schulz (Snoopy)

“That’s one tax reduction strategy – but not one that we would recommend,” said Michele Hassid, Managing Partner at Eckhoff and Company, at the outset of “Strategies for Tax Reduction” on January 25, the latest in the Biz Essentials Series from the Mill Valley, San Rafael and Tiburon chambers of commerce.

What Hassid and her colleagues Janina Thomas and Ron Moss did recommend was to get help from the experts, and come up with a long term plan.

Michele Hassid, Ron Moss and Janina Thomas

from Eckhoff and Company. Photo Carolyn Kohler.

“Tax law isn’t getting any easier to understand,” she said. “What an expert can do for you is to analyze your data, help you get good accounting systems in place and help you to implement a strategy.”

Thomas guided the more than a dozen attendees at the seminar, set in the Acqua Hotel, through a summary of the Internal Revenue Service's tangible property regulations, which went into effect in late 2013 and clarified longstanding and oft-conflicting case law around whether expenses related to buying property – that is, anything from computers and equipment to buildings and land – should be deductible business expenses or non-deductible capital expenses.

The updated regulations allow business owners to expense any “unit of property” – for instance, by definition all of the components of a computer are one unit, and each of the systems (electrical, plumbing, etc.) of a building are part of that building – valued at less than $500, while everything $500 and above would be a capitalized expense.

Each unit of property must pass so-called “BAR,” or Betterment Adaptation Restoration tests, which require that the unit of property not do any of the following:

  • Fix “a material condition or defect that either existed prior to placing the unit of property into service
  • ​Improve a unit of property to a new or different use
  • Restore a unit of property to like-new condition after it has deteriorated to a state of disrepair at which it is no longer functional.

As an example, Thomas cited a remodel of a business office or retail space. “If you’re just refreshing the way things look and not making any change to making that building stronger or giving it higher productivity – you get to expense it now,” she said. “But you must be consistent in your policy.”

Managing your taxes around equipment upgrades is essentially flipping a coin between having less taxable income and thus less tax today versus having more taxable income and more tax tomorrow, Thomas said.

“It’s given us many opportunities for planning but we want to be careful that taking it all up front isn’t always the best answer,” Thomas said. The overarching key, she emphasized, is that every business must establish a policy, and must remain consistent to that policy in terms of how they handle units of property.

Moss then walked business owners through a variety of common mistakes made by small business owners, including being too aggressive and/or not detailed enough in accounting for meal and entertainment expenses that they’re seeking to write off – “be ready to show who you met with and what you talked about,” he said – and not structuring themselves correctly from the outset in terms of being an LLC, a sole proprietorship or as a corporation.​

Moss also emphasized the fluid nature of tax regulations in an election year, noting the varied proposals from the likes of Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“A lot could change,” he said. “Hopefully no one here still thinks they can do all this without a CPA,” Hassid said.

This article reproduced with the kind permission of Jim Welte and the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce.


   Seminar Series for Small Businesses

   Data Security

November 16

Thank you to Kirk Hylan, president of InSite Networks, a San Rafael-based IT firm, who presented an information-laden and oft-jarring presentation about data security Nov. 16 to members of the Mill Valley, San Rafael and Tiburon chambers of commerce, as part of the trio’s "The Essentials" series for small business owners.

There is no such thing as security.” Hylan said. “On this issue, this is the Wild Wild West. Someone walks into a saloon, unholsters their gun, and boom.” From hacks of Donald Trump’s hotels and the data of 15 million T-Mobile customers to massive data breaches at the FBI and CIA, of all places, the headlines from October 2015 alone bore out Hylan’s assertion, as did his point that more than 95 percent of small businesses that suffer a “catastrophic loss of data” never recover and close their doors permanently.

But while he admitted that the subject of data security incites malaise – "cancel all your appointments and go straight to the bar,” Hylan joked – he said small business owners can take a number of essential steps to significantly reduce their risk of catastrophic data loss.

Those steps basically boil down to back up, back up and back up, but with an eye toward not having “a single point of failure”:

1.  Maintain a backup device on your business’ network in the office.

2.  Maintain backups of all of your data off-site, preferably at a location far removed from your primary one, in case of an emergency like fire, an earthquake, or a theft. Rotate those off-site backups to dilute the risk factor.

3.  Maintaining a backup of all of your data “in the cloud,” a backup service that lives on the Internet. For those, “don’t be late on your payment to those services, or you will lose your data,” Hylan added. Most of these services charge based on the amount of data you are backing up, he said. Hylan recommended and said he’d steer away from Carbonite’s service.
While those steps will reduce your risk to losing massive amounts of data in a natural disaster or theft, the world of hackers gets businesses into the aforementioned Wild, Wild West. Whether it’s malware that arrives in your inbox or “robotic spiders,” sophisticated technology that hits IP addresses, hooking into your computer system “looking for money.”

He added a few more tips: “don’t EVER email credit card info,” minimize online credit card payments, and don’t EVER use pet-based passwords.

Hyland said the breadth and depth of the abilities of hacker groups should never be underestimated, citing the recent takedown of hundreds of ISIS-related Twitter and Instagram accounts by the group Anonymous.
“Somebody has enough skill that can go out and compromise anything and tear it down,” he said. “That means that any of you can be compromised. Your websites can be absolutely torn down and destroyed in a manner of seconds.”
This article reproduced with the permission of Jim Welte and the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce.

SUP Tiburon!

Tiburon Waterfront Standup Paddle Board Race

May 21, 2016

 A fun race with courses suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced standup paddle boarders. The races will start and end at Sam's Anchor Café in downtown Tiburon and will proceed along the Tiburon waterfront with incredible views of San Francisco, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. Come on out to enjoy incredible people, amazing views, support local business and win some great prizes!

Don't miss this great day on the bay. Register now!

Congratulations to the winner of our first ever #SUPTiburon photo contest from our first race in March: Marissa Miller for her fantastic photo capturing the sky above Angle Island as the beginner class crossed the starting line of the race.

Tiburon Wine Festival
Saturday, May 14, 2016
1 to 4 pm

One of the Bay Area’s premier wine events, the Tiburon Wine Festival pairs 60 of the finest wineries with 20 of the area’s most popular local restaurants to create a unique wine tasting experience that sells out every year. Located in downtown Tiburon, the festival boasts beautiful views of San Francisco and the Bay, live music and a spectacular silent auction with one of kind experiences and special wines from participating wineries. This is a great opportunity to try some amazing wines and the meet and learn from the winemakers themselves!

Click here for more information about the Tiburon Wine Festival.

For more information, click here Tiburon Wine Festival

What to Do on the Tiburon Peninsula

Tiburon's fascinating history and natural beauty also provide a variety of unique attractions. In Tiburon, the 1884 Tiburon Railroad-Ferry Depot Museum-the only dual-use railroad terminal to survive west of the Hudson River-is on the National Register of Historic Places. Old St. Hilary's, a Carpenter Gothic church set in the midst of a wildflower preserve, was built in 1888 and offers stunning views of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

Ark Row, former houseboats on Tiburon Lagoon before it was filled in the 1940s, now houses restaurants and shops along upper Main Street. Tiburon Playhouse, site of the Tiburon International Film Festival, shows first-run domestic and foreign films.

And in Belvedere, the China Cabin is the restored Social Saloon of the SS China (1866), a national maritime monument with a gilded Victorian drawing room. Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society


No time? No muscles? No matter. Tiburon Uplands Nature Preserve, a tiny preserve tucked into a shady canyon along Paradise Drive, offers a very easy, 0.7 mile loop trail that's perfect for a quick hike or a leisurely wildflower walk. This little-known gem wanders through a thick forest of California bay, climbs moderately through woods with coast live oak and toyon, then segues to grassland, crossing a seasonal creek en route.

Angel Island State Park

For a short course in California history, board the Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry for the 10-minute boat trip to Ayala Cove, entry to Angel Island State Park. From here the 740-acre mountain island encompasses the history of the Golden State from its Coast Miwok beginnings to the Army presence through the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and most recently, as a NIKE missile base. Immigration's pivotal role comes to life at the Immigration Station, where thousands of mostly Chinese immigrants were detained-and some denied entrance to the United States-during a period of exclusionary immigration laws.

Directions to the Tiburon Peninsula

After exiting Highway 101, take Tiburon Boulevard (Highway 131) east until you reach the tip of the peninsula. As you approach Main Street, the downtown hub, you'll find the Boardwalk Shopping Center on the right and Point Tiburon Plaza to the left. 

Park your car at one of the several lots downtown. Tiburon is a pleasantly walkable destination. For a helpful map, pick up a self-guided historical walking tour brochure (free) from the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society in the Donohue Building on Paradise Drive or visit the Tiburon Peninsula Chamber of Commerce office at 96B Main Street.

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