Business of the Month:
Kaspar & Lugay LLP
Chamber Networking Mixer
Wednesday, February 24
Chamber Mixer @ The Tiburon Tavern
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
5:30 to 7 pm
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
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:
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
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”:
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.
Tiburon Waterfront Standup Paddle Board Race
May 21, 2016
Tiburon Wine Festival
Saturday, May 14, 2016
1 to 4 pm
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.
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. www.angelisland.org