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Nov 29

IRSTargetsThousandsOf Small BusinessesForExtraScrutiny – In 3 Parts

 

Part I – What the IRS is doing.

 The IRS has always been able to match individual tax returns against information statements and propose under reporter adjustments that come in the form of CP2000 notices. ?? But things are changing, and a new era at the IRS is upon us. ?? Now, the IRS is using information statements to find under reporting on business returns.

 

Thetaxagencyisdoingsome targetingofitsown,fingeringatleast 20,000smallbusinesses. Andthatnumber willgrow. Thescrutinyonthisgroupandinthisway isalittlefrightening.   Smallbusinesspeople acrossAmericaarereceivingIRSnotices. Morewillbecoming.TheIRSgathersdata frommanythirdparties-including credit cardcompanies-toseeif youpickedup everynickelofincome. Remembertorecordandpay

tax on all transactions?

 

In September, the IRS started its first information return-matching program for business return Forms 1120, 1120S and 1065. This program matched business return incomes to the total amounts reported on all information returns. ??  That would include merchant reporting of credit cards and third party network payments and cash reporting.

 

This year, business taxpayers also started receiving Form 1099-K, Merchant Card and Third-party Network Payments, reporting amounts received from payment settlement entities (from debit/credit cards and third-party network payers such as PayPal). To avoid taxpayer burden, the IRS stated in a letter to the National Federation of Independent Business on Feb. 9 that it will not require taxpayers to separately report amounts from Forms 1099-K on returns, and has no plans to in the future. ??

 

Wait a minute; not everyone is convinced. One Congressman, Sam Graves (R­ Mo), Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, notes that the IRS’s first sentence begins, “Your gross receipts may have been underreported.” Says Congressman Graves that sounds like the IRS is looking for more than just additionalinformation. It soundslikeitcouldmeanmoretaxes,penalties andinterest,Sam Graves wroteinthislettertothe agency.

Mr.Gravessuggeststhattheletterscouldintimidate businesses.Hesaysthatasmallbusinessowner receivingthisnoticemaybealarmedandfeel threatened. TheIRSnoticegoesontosayyour receiptsareofffromanIRSaverage. Within30 days,pleaseprovidedocumentationtoprovewhy yournumbersdon’tfallwithinIRS’sstandard,the IRSasks.

 

YettheIRSdoesn’trevealitssourceanddoesn’tsay

whatthestandardisorwhereitcamefrom. It soundslikeyouarebeingaskedtoprovethat youdidn’tunderreportyourincome. That’s provinganegative,andcouldrequireextensive correspondenceanddocumentation.

 

AsaresultofForm1099changesandtheever-increasingwebofreporting,theIRSreceives detaileddataaboutcredit-anddebit-card transactions. TheIRSminesthedataandmaythink thatahighpercentageofcardtransactionsmay meanyouarenotreportingall thecashyoureceive.

 

‘Pleaseexplain,’theIRSmayask. – go to Part II

Jul 29

As simple as it may sound, the ex- act required down payment for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan is often a source of confusion for commercial mortgage brokers, borrowers and lenders alike. The reasons vary, but many industry professionals have long relied on hearsay when it comes to the required amount of down payment for SBA requests. Commercial mortgage brokers must keep themselves informed about the guidance provided by the SBA regarding the required down payment for each of its programs — the SBA 7(a) and SBA 504, in particular — as well as relevant industry practices.

A frequent source of confusion stems from the SBA 7(a) program’s requirements regarding borrower down payment versus lenders’ requirements. Although SBA has oversight on credit and eligibility decisions on 7(a) loan requests, lenders often have their own credit criteria geared toward SBA lending. As a result, lenders may decline a loan request for any number of reasons that may not necessarily be related to SBA requirements.

SBA 7(a)

When it comes to the required borrower down payment on 7(a) loans, it is beneficial to know what SBA exactly mandates. According to a document titled “Lender and Development Company Loan Programs” published by the SBA in 2009, “The lender must determine if the equity and the pro forma debt-to-worth are acceptable based on the factors related to that type of business, experience of the management and the level of competition in the market area.”

“The lender must include in its credit analysis a detailed discussion of the required equity and its adequacy,” it adds.

With this in mind, it is clear that lenders rather than the SBA are usually the actual decision makers on the amount of required equity. The SBA typically will raise questions if the amount seems light given the industry or nature of the transaction, but often lenders’ down payment requirements are what borrowers have to meet.

Many lenders typically will require a 10 percent down payment on the purchase of fixed assets. They also will ask for more than 10 percent to be injected if the request is made by a startup or for business acquisition, which reflects prudent lending standards because the risk profile of these requests is higher, meaning that more equity is required to mitigate that risk.

Closing costs

Commercial mortgage brokers also should advise their clients about the possibility of rolling the closing costs into the total loan amount, which may not be the case with conventional loans. For example, if a property is purchased at $1 million and the closing costs are $30,000, many lenders will allow these costs to be financed along with the purchase price. In this case, if a borrower provides a 10 percent down payment on a fixed-asset purchase of $1 million, the loan amount will be $930,000 and the total out-of-pocket equity down payment from the borrower will be $100,000.

In addition, remember that lenders typically consider the totality of the request (credit scores, historical repayment ability, collateral, management experience, etc.) in determining their comfort level with the down payment amount that borrowers are required to inject. As a result, lenders’ decisions can vary and a decline by one lender does not mean necessarily that the request is not suitable for SBA approval. Similarly, lenders may vary in their down payment requirements.

SBA 504

The SBA 504 program is more direct regarding required down payments. This program typically provides as much as 90 percent funding — a conventional first mortgage equaling 50 percent of the total project, and a below-market, 10-year or 20-year fixed-rate second mortgage for as much as 40 percent of the project provided by an SBA certified development company (CDC). The borrowers’ down payment will be about 10 percent to 20 percent.

In the 504 program, which can be used only to purchase fixed assets such as commercial real estate or equipment, the SBA requires that borrowers inject 10 percent as a down payment on the total project inclusive of closing and soft costs. If the business is a startup, an additional 5 percent is required, increasing the down payment to a minimum of 15 percent. If the business is for the purchase of a special-use facility (ice-hockey rink, hotel, car wash, etc.), an additional 5 percent also  is required.

When an additional 5 percent equity down payment is required, the amount typically reduces the second mortgage. For example, if the loan request is for a $1 million startup car wash, the bank makes a 50 percent first mortgage, SBA funding provides a 30 percent second mortgage and the borrower injects $200,000 as a down payment.

The SBA provides CDCs with some latitude in determining whether a business is considered a startup. Many CDCs will consider the business a startup only if it has been operating for two years or less, however. Finally, commercial mortgage brokers should know that payments made upfront by borrowers toward soft and closing costs — if documented — can be counted toward equity requirements if these were explicitly used for the project being submitted to the SBA.

***

Commercial mortgage brokers should look for new ways to help their clients and clarify the areas in the loan process that can be sources of confusion. Kruse and Crawford can provide advice on down payment requirements and assist in determining the right loan source for your business funding.

As published in Scotsman Guide’s Commercial Edition, July 2013. By Jim Noone

Jim Noone is vice president at Prudent Lenders. Prudent Lenders provides U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loan processing, closing and portfolio servicing to community banks across the country with speed and efficiency and the added peace of mind that it has been “done right.” http://prudentlenders.com/  Reach Jim Noone at (610) 768-7792 and jnoone@prudentlenders.com.

May 30

As either a commercial property owner or a commercial property tenant you may take advantage of qualified leasehold improvements before midnight December 31, 2013.

 What will the qualified leasehold improvements mean for you in 2013 and 2014?

 In 2013, you’ll be able to take a 15-year depreciation, a Section 179 deduction of up to $250,000 and a 50% bonus depreciation.

 In 2014, you’ll be able to take a 39-year depreciation.

 $1,000,000 in leasehold improvements applied to 2013 tax year’s 15-year schedule rather than 2014’s 39-year schedule allowing a $24,610 deduction confers these huge savings:

  1.     $250,000 deduction straight from the top

  2.     $375,000 bonus depreciation

  3.     $12,488 additional via IRS’s first year midyear convention on the 15-year depreciation

 Adding it all up, you’ll be writing-off $637,488 versus $24,610!

 What sort of leasehold improvements qualifies under the 2013 rules?

 1.     The improvement is made under or pursuant to a lease by the lessee (or sublessee) of the building’s interior portion, or by the lessor of that interior portion.

 2.     The interior portion of the building is to be occupied exclusively by the lessee (or sublessee) of that interior portion.

 3.     The improvement is placed in service more than three years after the building was first placed in service by anyone.

 Under Section 168(k)(3)(B), the qualified leasehold improvement property does not include any expenditures:

 .                 To enlarge the building

 .                 To any elevator or escalator

 .                 To any structural component benefiting a common area

 .                 To the internal structural framework of the building

  Improvements qualifying under the 2013 rules include among others these:

 .                 Utilities

 .                 Framing

 .                 Walls

 .                 Doors

 .                 Windows

 .                 Pipes and Fittings

 .                 Plumbing Fixtures

 .                 Fire Protection

 .                 HVAV

 .                 Permanent Interior Finishes

 .                 Permanent Floor Coverings

 .                 Millwork and Trim

Other qualifying improvements include movable partitions or carpeting that is not part of the property’s structure.  Such improvements will not qualify as leasehold improvements under 2014’s 39-year rules and are generally depreciable over five to seven years.

Cost-segregation is a good way to look at faster depreciation deductions for qualified leasehold improvement property.  These depreciations are tax law-approved.

Using cost-segregation, you’ll first pay the cost-segregation fees necessary to obtain the cost-segregation study.  The study will show whether or not your cost-segregation passes IRS muster.  Qualified leasehold property improvements require no such study and it’s relatively easy to identify property qualifying for the tax breaks.

 Putting qualified leasehold improvements in practical terms, imagine the case of a lessee who’s made improvements to the HVAC serving a stand-alone commercial building used for retail sales.  The improvements serve only the space occupied by the lessee and the HVAC improvements:

 1.     Do not benefit a common area.

 2.     Are not part of the building’s internal framework and structure?

 3.     Do not enlarge the building.

 4.     Placed in service more than three years after the building first entered service.

Per the IRS, the HVAC improvements qualify as either 39-year property or as tax-favored 15-year qualified leasehold improvements.  Neither the IRS nor the lessor put forward an accelerated five-year personal property depreciation claim on the HVAC improvements.

Per the IRS, the HVAC improvements do not qualify as leasehold improvements made by the lessor as they’re located on the building’s rooftop and are not located within the building’s interior.

 The taxpayer in the example above unfortunately undertook the costly HVAC improvements without good tax advice.  Had the taxpayer received knowledgeable advice first, he’d have perhaps considered installing the HVAC upgrades within the leased space.

 Landlords and tenants:  Remember to take a good look at qualified leasehold improvements.  Keep in mind the property in question must have been in service for at least three years and the improvements must be in service before midnight December 31, 2013

Call Kruse and Crawford to assure you get this done correctly.

 

May 30

Deciding to move a loved one to a long-term-care facility is never easy. Finding the right facility may be even harder.

You may spend months wrestling with the decision to move your loved one to a facility providing 24-hour care.  The time you take in researching facilities is well worth it because you will find the right facility

 

A loved one with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other disability may someday need to move into a long-term-care facility. Many Americans needing care receive are fortunate to receive home care from family or friends while those with Alzheimer’s are more likely to receive care in a nursing home. A2012 Alzheimer’s Association states 75% of people diagnosed with the disease will be admitted to a nursing home by age 80 versus 4% of the general population. Knowing how to choose the right care facility for an Alzheimer’s patient is essential in providing proper care for an Alzheimer’s patient.

 

1: Determine Needs

 

Understanding the sort of care an individual with Alzheimer’s requires comes before selecting a care facility for that individual.  Facilities typically provide several levels of care:

 

 

 

Assisted living for those requiring support with one or two daily living activities such as dressing or bathing.

 

Skilled nursing for those requiring the attention of a nurse every day including those bedridden or exhibiting more complicated behavior issues.

 

Memory care for those demonstrating dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

 

A facility may provide varying levels of care under one roof offering the option of first moving to a senior-care residence then moving on to another level of care as the need arises.

 

Matching a facility’s location to a loved one’s desired location is important. Will an urban or suburban setting be the right choice? Will the city of current residence or somewhere else nearer the family be the right choice? Will the facility allow pets and accommodate special dietary needs? These are the sort of considerations to take into account before starting a long term care facility search.

 

2: Assess Ability to Pay

 

Financial considerations such as the lack of long term care insurance may limit options. Assisted living on average costs about $3,600 a month and memory care on average about $4,700 a month. Skilled nursing facilities cost an average more than $6,700 a month with some costing as much as $10,000 a month.

 

Health insurance and Medicare do not cover this level of care.  Veterans may qualify for assistance for long term care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Be aware Medicaid rules vary by state.  Generally, the government programs pay for long-term-care services such as nursing home care.  Remember that assets must first be exhausted before becoming Medicaid eligible.  Medicaid covers assisted living in more than half of the states if the cost is less expensive than a nursing home.  The Medicaid waiting list for assisted living is long.

 

3: Start the Search

 

After determining the sort of facility and services needed, the search begins.  Professionals, doctors, friends and family are all good information resources.  Other resources such as the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator provide invaluable help.

The nation’s largest senior-care adviser service is A Place for Mom and has a directory listing 19,000 senior care facilities including those specializing in dementia care.  The service’s advisers provide free assistance in finding care options.  A senior care facility listed in A Place for Mom pays the service a referral fee when a senior chooses that facility. The fee is a percentage of the first month’s rent and all facilities pay the same percentage.  Another resource, Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare tool, compares skilled nursing facilities based on the quality of care each provides.

 

 

 

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers’ member directory provides links care managers in a given area. Professional geriatric care managers help families evaluate care options in selecting a senior care residence. Professional geriatric care managers charge on average$100 an hour.

 

Assess the needs and level of care services needed then create a list of facilities best meeting those needs and services.  Make sure each facility is properly licensed by checking your state’s health and human services department or Medicare.gov.  Use the Eldercare Locator site to contact information your local long-term-care ombudsman.  Ask the ombudsman if a given facility may have received any citations.  No facility is perfect.  Be alert to citations for significant lapses in patient care such as serious injury, neglect or error in medication management. Ask whether the properties have recently changed ownership or management.  A facility in transition is not a good choice.

 

 

 

4: Visit Facilities

 

Sound long term care facility research means personally visiting at least three facilities.  Be proactive: go in, walk around, meet residents, have a meal.   Schedule appointments to tour facilities and speak with the staff during the week.  An impromptu weekend visit is also a good idea.  How does the facility operate when the admin staff isn’t present?

 

What to look for:

 

Be aware of overall cleanliness.  Is ‘clean’ really clean?

 

Trust the senses.  Are there strong, offensive odors in common areas or emanating from residents’ rooms?

 

Observe the residents.  Are they in common areas and are they active?  If not, where are they are and what are they doing?

 

Watch employees. Do they smile and say hello?  Do they clearly enjoy their jobs?  Do they encourage residents to participate in activities by command or social invitation?  Are nurses behind their stations or are they engaged with residents?

 

Observe an activity. The facility should post a list of daily programs.  Make sure programs and activities actually take place.

 

Look at the physical setup. Does it look like a residence and not a hospital?   To create a more home-like setting, residents should be able to bring their own furniture and belongings.  Resident safety is of the greatest importance: confirm the facility is secure.   Memory care facilities require a simple floor plan, typically one with a single hallway encircling a common area.  Active decorative elements encourage positive attitudes:  Aquariums, caged birds, potted plants and gardens give residents a reason to smile.

 

 

Important Questions:

 

Is a particular care facility able to meet the needs required?   What are those specific needs?  Be open and honest in discussing the needs required.

 

What are basic monthly costs?  Are there added costs should a resident require extra help with medications or incontinence?  Levels of care vary and additional help may bring additional costs.  Some facilities may charge a community fee or one-time payment covering the administrative cost of moving someone into the facility and making a room ready for that person.  Is that refundable should the resident not to stay?

 

What kinds of activities are provided?

Are there on-site or off-site religious services?

 

What is the caregiver-to-resident ratio? Ideally, the ratio is not less than 1 to 15 for assisted living and 1 to 8 for memory care.

 

What conditions necessitate a resident’s moving to another level of care?

 

Are doctors regularly visiting the residence?

 

Is the staff regularly trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care?

 

Is the facility licensed to provide dementia care?  Is there a dedicated dementia care unit with a dementia daily routine?

 

Are residents happy living there? Ask visiting friends or family who might be visiting their thoughts about the facility. First and always: trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. 

Happy Hunting!

 

 

 

 

 

May 20

Some businesses make the mistake of bringing a product or service to the market without fully understanding the total costs involved and the prices they can charge. As a result, they discover they can’t sell enough of the product or service to make a profit.

 

 One of the most important tools you can use to make better business decisions is the break-even analysis; it enables you to determine with great accuracy whether or not your idea is a profitable one. Best of all, you can use this tool to evaluate every product or service you offer.

 

 A break-even analysis is a simple way to determine how much of the product must be sold to generate a specific level of profitability. Keep the following in mind:

 •Each business has certain fixed costs that must be paid every month, whether or not any sales take place.

 

 •Each product or service has variable costs that are incurred when the product is produced and sold.

 

 •There are semi-variable costs that go up or down depending on the level of business activity.

 

 After all costs attributable to bringing that product to market are deducted, each product or service yields a certain amount of profit. This profit contribution can then be divided into the “fixed costs” to determine how many units must be sold to break even.

 

 Here’s a simple example of the break-even model:

 

 The total costs of operating the business each month are $10,000. Each product the company produces can be sold for $1,000. Each product costs an average of $800 per unit to produce, sell and deliver. The profit contribution per unit is therefore $200 each. The amount $200 is divided into $10,000 to determine the break-even point. Next, $10,000 divided by $200 equals 50 units. The company must therefore sell 50 units per month to break even, or approximately two units per business day. Only after the company has sold 50 units in one month does it begin to earn a profit of $200 per unit.

 

 Conducting an accurate break-even analysis requires a careful examination and study of costs and prices in your business. You must know what your product or service costs in total to deliver to the final customer, as well as the price you can charge for the product or service. Include and deduct all miscellaneous expenses involved in operating your business.

 

 To get started, analyze every product or service you produce and sell on a regular basis. Make a list of these products or services, starting from the largest volume seller. Next, calculate the average sales price of each unit, and then calculate the total cost of each unit. Then, calculate the net profit that you earn on the sale of each unit, and calculate the cost of the investment to produce and sell each unit. Determine the percentage of return/profit that you earn from the sale of each unit.

 

 It’s important to organize each of your products and services by priority, in terms of their contribution to profitability. The analysis should be done on each of your important products or services. Get started by determining:

 

 •Your single most profitable product or service.

 

 •The volume of sales of each product.

 

 •The total profit per unit of each product sold, after deducting every direct and indirect expense.

 

 •The total profit contribution to the company of each product.

 

 Businesses may decide to completely discontinue a product or service after conducting this kind of analysis. They immediately see it would be better to invest time and money in producing and selling something else.

 

 As market conditions change and consumer desires evolve, you may find that a product or service that was once popular and profitable is no longer successful. It will then be time for you to begin offering a product or service that is easier to sell, sells at a higher price and yields a better profit.

 

Questions?  Need help, call Kruse and Crawford and we’ll do just that.

 

Feb 14

The IRS has a new tool to see if you may be eligible for an offer in compromise.

http://irs.treasury.gov/oic_pre_qualifier/

 An offer in compromise (offer) is an agreement between you (the taxpayer) and the IRS that settles a tax debt for less than the full amount owed. The offer program provides eligible taxpayers with a path toward paying off their debt and getting a “fresh start.” The ultimate goal is a compromise that suits the best interest of both the taxpayer and the IRS. To be considered, generally you must make an appropriate offer based on what the IRS considers your true ability to pay.

Go to web site and enter our financial and tax filing status to calculate a preliminary offer amount. They make their final decision based on your completed OIC application and their  associated investigation. This tool should only be used as a guide. Although it may show you can full pay your liability, you may still file an offer in compromise and discuss your individual financial situation with the IRS.

Submitting an offer application does not ensure that the IRS will accept your offer. It begins a process of evaluation and verification by the IRS, taking into consideration any special circumstances that might affect your ability to pay. Generally, the IRS will not accept an offer if you can pay your tax debt in full via an installment agreement or a lump sum.
A booklet is also available and will lead you through a series of steps to help you calculate an appropriate offer based on your assets, income, expenses, and future earning potential. The application requires you to describe your financial situation in detail, so before you begin, make sure you have the necessary information and documentation.

http://irs.treasury.gov/oic_pre_qualifier/

 

Feb 13

Straight from the horses mouth . . . IRS Tax Tip 2013-11

Your children may help you qualify for valuable tax benefits, such as certain credits and deductions. If you are a parent, here are eight benefits you shouldn’t miss when filing taxes this year.

1. Dependents. In most cases, you can claim a child as a dependent even if your child was born anytime in 2012.   For more information, see IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

2. Child Tax Credit. You may be able to claim the Child Tax Credit for each of your children that were under age 17 at the end of 2012. If you do not benefit from the full amount of the credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more information, see the instructions for Schedule 8812, Child Tax Credit, and Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

3. Child and Dependent Care Credit. You may be able to claim this credit if you paid someone to care for your child or children under age 13, so that you could work or look for work. See IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

4. Earned Income Tax Credit. If you worked but earned less than $50,270 last year, you may qualify for EITC. If you have qualifying children, you may get up to $5,891 dollars extra back when you file a return and claim it. Use the EITC Assistant to find out if you qualify. See Publication 596, Earned Income Tax Credit.

5. Adoption Credit. You may be able to take a tax credit for certain expenses you incurred to adopt a child. For details about this credit, see the instructions for IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.

6. Higher education credits. If you paid higher education costs for yourself or another student who is an immediate family member, you may qualify for either the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. Both credits may reduce the amount of tax you owe. If the American Opportunity Credit is more than the tax you owe, you could be eligible for a refund of up to $1,000. See IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

7. Student loan interest. You may be able to deduct interest you paid on a qualified student loan, even if you do not itemize your deductions. For more information, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

8. Self-employed health insurance deduction - If you were self-employed and paid for health insurance, you may be able to deduct premiums you paid to cover your child. It applies to children under age 27 at the end of the year, even if not your dependent. See IRS.gov/aca for information on the Affordable Care Act.

Feb 13

WASHINGTON One in four consumers found an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study released Monday.

The Federal Trade Commission study also said that 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products.

The study looked at reports for 1,001 consumers issued by the three major agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The FTC hired researchers to help consumers identify potential errors.

The study closely matches the results of a yearlong investigation by The Columbus Dispatch. The Ohio newspaper’s report last year said that thousands of consumers were denied loans because of errors on their credit reports.

The FTC says the findings underline the importance of consumers checking their credit reports.

Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report each year from each of the three reporting agencies.

The FTC study also found that 20 percent of consumers had an error that was corrected by a reporting agency after the consumer disputed it. About 10 percent of consumers had their credit score changed after a reporting agency corrected errors in their reports.

The Consumer Data Industry Association, which represents the credit reporting agencies and other data companies, said the FTC study showed that the proportion of credit reports with errors that could increase the rates consumers would pay was small.

The study confirmed “that credit reports are highly accurate, and play a critical role in facilitating access to fair and affordable consumer credit,” the association said in a statement.

Experian, a British company with international operations, also said in a statement the study confirms that consumer credit reports are predominantly accurate. At the same time Experian said it “is not satisfied with this result and we continue to work toward ensuring credit reports are 100 percent accurate.”

The new U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the authority to write and enforce rules for the credit reporting industry. In September the agency began ongoing monitoring of the credit agencies’ compliance. It’s the first time they have faced such close federal oversight.

The CFPB hasn’t yet taken any public action against the agencies. However, it is accepting complaints from consumers who discover incorrect information on their reports or have trouble getting mistakes corrected. The agencies have 15 days to respond to the complaints with a plan for fixing the problem; consumers can dispute that response.

By contrast the FTC can only take action if there is an earlier indication of wrongdoing. It cannot demand information from or investigate companies that appear to be following the law.

Feb 07

Most start-ups fail because these 20 questions were not adequately considered, maybe not even considered at all . . .

  1. What kind of business and I planning
  2. What products/services will my business provide?
  3. Why am I starting a business?
  4. What is my target market?
  5. Who is my competition?
  6. What is unique about my business and my products/services?
  7. How much money do I need for set up and start up?
  8. Will I need to get a loan or outside financing?
  9. Do I have a financial plan and business plan?
  10. How will I price my product compared to my competition?
  11. How will I market my product/business?
  12. How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
  13. How will I manage my business?
  14. Where will I house my business?
  15. How many employees will I need to start up?
  16. Who are my suppliers and what are their costs?
  17. What kind of insurance do I need to invest in?
  18. Do I need tax planning advice and how do I ensure my taxes are being paid correctly.

Get these questions down pat and reconsider!

Then, you’re ready to roll and good luck!