The Cost Segregation Estate Planning Strategy

12 Oct

estate-planning

If someone dies owning commercial or rental residential real estate, a highly effective tool for reducing the tax burden on the estate might be a cost segregation study.

When a property owner dies. their heirs receive a step up in tax basis to the current fair market value of the property.  Any recapture that the decedent would have been required to pay upon the sale of the property is forgiven.  Using an engineering-based cost segregation study to accelerate the depreciation on the  pre-stepped up cost basis provides a windfall of immediate tax deductions that are never recaptured on the sale.  The estate must, however, act very quickly to take advantage of this benefit.  The study must be conducted and implemented before the due date of the decedent’s final income tax return.

Commercial buildings are normally depreciated over a 39 year period, and residential property is depreciated over a 27.5 year period, straight line.  An engineering based cost segregation study uses accounting and engineering principles to identify non-structural building components that can be depreciated over a much shorter time period (5,7 or 15 years)

The studies do not generally increase the amount of deductions over the life of the property.  By accelerating the depreciation, they generate net-present-value savings.

When this type of study is used in an estate-planning context, a cost segregation study can substantially reduce or eliminate taxes owed on the decedent’s final federal income tax return.  It also avoids a potential disadvantage, namely recapture.

Timing is everything

It is not necessary to perform the cost segregation study before a building owner’s death, but it is vital to complete and implement it before the decedent’s final tax return is filed.  If the deadline is missed, the opportunity is lost, as the benefits of a study cannot generally be claimed on an amended return.

To preserve and maximize the benefits of this strategy, it is vital to identify the opportunity early and to work with a reputable, experienced cost segregation firm that has the experience in implementing this type of strategy.

CSSI – Cost Segregation Services Inc. is the premier cost segregation company in the US.  With over 20,000 studies performed and not one IRS audit caused by our studies, we can help you in all ways to maximize the benefits of an engineering-based cost segregation study.

Contact me today for further information.

3 Debt Collection Agency Myths

8 Oct

mythsvsfacts

The facts show third-party debt collections provide a needed service for businesses of any size.

How much do you really know about collection agencies and how they work? Unless you’ve partnered with a debt collection agency, there’s a good chance that you’ve been misled about how the debt collection process works and the impact it will have on your business.

Here are some common myths about the debt collection industry:

  1. Debt collection agents are a rough-around-the-edges crew that bullies people. TSI’s interactions with customers are always diplomatic. We work WITH your customers to get them back on track.
  1. Debt collectors will try anything to get money. Debt collection is a strictly regulated industry. Professional debt collection agencies stay current with all applicable laws. TSI’s commitment to compliance means customers are always treated with the utmost respect, while your brand is protected from costly compliance violations.
  1. It’s better to take the tax write-off; hiring a debt collection agency is too expensive, even for large companies. Partnering with a professional debt recovery company is an affordable option. Writing off an unpaid invoice may be helpful, but collecting on the debt is even better. Although collection agencies charge for their services, the amount collected and returned to you will likely be more than the taxes saved if you write-off the debt. TSI offers affordable fixed-fee pricing on early-stage delinquent accounts and contingency-based fees for your more challenging or older accounts.

Debt Collection: Take a Closer Look

If your company has been handling collections in-house, you already know that debt collection is governed by a variety of local, state, and federal rules that prohibit and regulate how customers are approached for past due balances. In fact, debt collection is one of the most regulated industries in the United States. These rules prohibit collectors from behaving aggressively or inappropriately with consumers; they even govern when a debt collection agency can contact the past due client.

According to Inside ARM, the debt collection agency industry is a valuable asset to improve the bottom line for businesses in any industry. Their report shows that the industry regularly returns around $39 billion annually to companies that offer consumer credit.

Debt collections activities help replenish the bottom line of businesses that struggle with a high volume of bad debt. Quite simply, the collections industry reduces the risk for businesses offering consumer credit, something that is imperative for keeping the economy going. Companies that seek a healthier bottom line use debt collection companies to recover some of the most difficult past due balances, which frees up internal teams to focus on the job at hand.

The types of debt collected impacts companies of all sizes in the following industry sectors:

  • Healthcare
  • Financial services
  • Student loans
  • Government
  • Retail
  • Telecom
  • Utility
  • Auto
  • Small- to mid-sized business

When debt is collected businesses can keep a positive cash flow which not only means they can keep prices low, it also helps ensure the overall success of the organization.

How Could a Debt Collection Agency Help your Business?

A reputable debt collection agency like TSI can deliver outstanding results. Our sophisticated collection activities use a data-driven, client-centric approach. Beyond a basic debt collection agency, TSI can also provide end-to-end strategic accounts receivable management.

TSI can maximize recoveries and boost cash flow, streamline your accounts receivable management processes, and reduce internal expenses and administrative responsibilities. And because TSI keeps a focus on the customer experience, our services will not damage your organization’s reputation.

A quality debt collection service like TSI helps improve the bottom line of the businesses we serve. TSI clients recognize this impact, and we’re proud of these partnerships that are a win/win. Contact TSI today to learn more about our services and the value they can offer your business. For more information, contact me today!  Always ready to help!

The Secret Sauce to Success in Property Management

19 Sep

Source: TSI

property management

The property market will continue to be volatile in 2019.

The ups and downs of the real estate market could make anyone shudder. Technology has added an interesting influx to the mix, and in both residential and commercial real estate, software has proven to be a big disruptor. Despite the swirling chaos in most markets around the country, there are a number of trends that savvy real estate agents, property management, and homeowners’ association management companies will be able to look toward to improve their business. This article will take a look at a few of them.

Property Management Trends 2018/2019

For investors just looking to get into the property management game, we have a few strategic tips that should govern your expansion into the marketplace.

The first trend is that overall market volatility will continue. In large markets, there is an overwhelming need both for new housing and affordable units. This is always a risky venture, but particularly in light of consumer trends that show consumer debt is expected to increase to $4 trillion in the United States by the end of this year. A corresponding increase in defaults should also be expected. This elevates risk for property management firms.

The second trend to mention is that investors, particularly new entrants into the real estate market, should set clear investment goals with a measurable ROI. This is particularly important in light of increasing market volatility and predicted consumer debt. If 2019 brings higher loan defaults on everything from student loans to housing debt, this will put increasing pressure on investors’ cash flow. Setting long-term investment goals that include a specific market rate of return will be important for anyone capitalizing on the real estate industry in the future. This includes mapping out accounts receivables and a clear process for handling past due collections.

Predictive analytics will play a part in the future of buying and selling properties.

The third trend is, of course, technology. Not only will technology continue to impact real estate marketing, it will change how we collect fees, negotiate, and communicate with our patrons. The Close suggests some tech-centric trends that we’ll see as we near the end of 2018 and move into 2019:

  • Online platforms like Zillow will leverage new and existing relationships with real estate agents, property managers, and investors.
  • Mobile-first will be the new strategy for just about everyone in every market niche – not just real estate. It seems new strategies for bill payment, property maintenance requests, and past due collections, are all moving to the smartphone, which is exactly where our customers now live. When you realize that a millennial checks their smartphone an average of 150 times a day, you’ll start to understand why new real estate strategies tied to these devices will impact every area of your business in the future. Enabling smartphone payments as part of your rent and past-due collections process is a necessity for the future.
  • Big data will impact all areas of our lives. We already use big data algorithms for lead generation, appraisal, and investment purchasing decisions. But what about big data to determine the ability and likelihood of a past-due debtor to bring their account current? Predictive analytics will likely worm its way into the real estate market in new and interesting ways in 2019.

In 2019, digital trends will continue to impact the property market in the United States. The secret sauce to success will continue to be developing new strategies to capitalize on these trends to achieve market success.

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Wanting to maximize your recoveries on past due rent or fees? TSI has made extensive investments in our information security, compliance controls, and data analytics to make sure we stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible solutions for our clients. CollectX, our proprietary data analytics platform, is a great example of our investments. This unique tool tells us how likely a consumer is to pay off a debt and what it will take to get them to pay it, which in turn, provides our clients with more recovered revenue, faster, and at a lower overall cost.

Contact me today at 888-780-1333 to see how we can improve your business bottom line.

4 Tax Tips For Commercial Building Owners

13 Sep

Recently, the regulations for commercial property owners were overhauled in one of the most dramatic changes to the tax law in years.  The Tangible Property Regulations in conjunction with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have major economic benefits for building owners as well as some serious compliance issues.

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Properly applying these new U.S. tax code standards can help you capture economic opportunities to the tune of millions in tax savings that flow from your business to your personal taxes.

I would be happy to work with you and your tax professional to make sure you are taking the greatest advantage of these new tax laws.  CSSI, a company that I represent, can be your calculation experts for the following

  1. COST SEGREGATION – The U.S. tax cost method of identifying and classifying building components that allow you to accelerate depreciation and generate additional cash flow. An engineering-based cost segregation study is the basis for allowing you to capture many of the tax saving opportunities below and it helps you maintain U.S. tax code compliance moving forward with these regulations.
  2. BUILDING SYSTEMS VALUATION – An engineering-based study that will identify building systems and structural components.  Going forward every expenditure cannot be expensed.  The new regulations give very specific instructions on whether expenditures should be capitalized as an “improvement” or expensed as a repair.  We will provide the calculations that your tax professional will need to make these important decisions.
  3. CAPITAL TO EXPENSE “REVERSAL” OPPORTUNITY – Building owners may now expense previously capitalized costs and expense them in the current year by applying the new regulations to prior years.  For example, we helped a client receive $1.1 Million in tax savings on one of his properties through this method.
  4. PARTIAL ASSET DISPOSITION (PAD) – Renovate in the current tax year?  Thinking of an LED lighting upgrade?  A PAD allows you to write down the basis of what you removed and the costs for the removal and disposal of those items.  You can receive a tax deduction in the current year but it is a “use it or lose it” opportunity.  Fail to capture it in the current tax year and you lose the ability to write it down.  Both capital to expense reversals and PADs yield a permanent tax savings at the time of the sale by reducing recapture costs.

Let me provide you and your tax professional a no-cost, no-bligation analysis of the benefits you may receive and the cost for this type of study for your property.

Return the following information, and I will prepare your analysis immediately.

 

DIY Collections – Don’t Risk It!

11 Sep

There are very clear rules about what can and can’t be said during debt collections.

The debt collection industry is governed by so many rules and regulations it could make your head spin. That’s why do-it-yourself debt collections can quickly get a company into hot water with state and federal regulators.

What are the rules that govern debt collections? What are debt collection agents never allowed to say and do? This article explores common mistakes businesses make when attempting DIY debt collections.

Bill Collector

Debt Collections No No’s

Three things you can never say when attempting debt collection:

  • Threaten to tell a boss, coworkers, or family about a past due balance. While you can contact work to try to find the customer, never share details about the debt to any third party.
  • Threaten to arrest the past due customer.
  • Don’t say, “I’ll just keep calling you.” Legally, you can’t call the person before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. If you call the customer at work and they ask you to stop calling there, you have to comply, however, the request must be in writing.

Understanding the rules means following federal legislation called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the guidelines set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Understanding debt collection rules is important for avoiding federal and state penalties.

If all this seems like a lot of rules for you to keep track of, you would be right. Debt collections are a highly regulated activity that makes it risky to take a DIY approach.

The good news is that there are services like TSI to help ensure debt recovery that complies with all rules and regulations. Our proven system is compliant, effective, and guaranteed.

Bonus Tip:

Various government agencies provide guidelines that help ensure that consumer rights are protected. There are specific practices that collectors must always avoid.  

Debt collectors cannot use unfair practices to collect a debt. This means debt collection practice can never include the following [Do not]:

  • Attempt to collect charges in addition to the debt. That is, unless they are allowed by contract or specific state law.
  • Deposit a post-dated check early.
  • Communicate by postcard.
  • Use language or a symbol on the envelope of a letter that indicates the correspondence is from a debt collector.

Consumers have rights that must be honored, which is why strict guidelines and regulations govern debt recovery practices. Not only is it essential that debt collectors treat consumers with respect, in addition, there are specific practices that collectors must always avoid. For instance, did you know that an individual can send a “cease and desist” correspondence to a debt collector – which means the debt collector is required to stop contacting the customer. The problem stems from an overly aggressive debt collector that goes after the customer over and over again in a short amount of time. Under federal law, this is considered harassment and if the activity continues after the cease and desist letter is received, the customer can report the debt collector to governing agencies.

Want higher recovery of past due accounts? Don’t put your business at risk by using a DIY approach; instead, put TSI’s simple system to work for your business. It’s convenient and designed with small- and mid-sized businesses in mind, AND interfaces directly with most accounting and practice management software.

Contact me for more information on how to:
  • Collect more of your A/R
  • Collect your A/R faster
  • Stay 100% compliant while collecting your A/R
  • Save both staff time and money

5 Things to Avoid When Collecting Debt From Customers

22 Aug

Before conducting debt collections, make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts of the industry.

The do’s and don’ts of collecting debt are a sticky wicket. If you do it wrong, you can alienate potential customers, ruin your reputation, and maybe even pick up a hefty fine from regulators. Playing by the rules means compliance with all laws, certainly, but also collecting debt in a way that treats every customer with dignity and respect.

Here are five things to avoid when collecting debt from customers.

Do Not Try This at Home – or at the Office

debt-collector-angry-call-monster

We’ve heard all the horror stories from collections gone awry. Industry publications such as Inside ARM often report on companies fined by regulators for breaking collection regulations. Our biggest complaint, beyond the fact that these techniques are generally not effective, is that conducting yourself in this manner gives the collections industry a bad reputation. Not good!

The best course of action is to partner with a professional collection agency like TSI. But just in case you plan to give debt recovery on your own a try, here are some things that should never be part of your DIY debt collection strategy:

  1. Don’t stalk your customers. Really! This means you (or the debt collector for that matter) cannot show up at someone’s workplace and demand they pay you. The law also prohibits you from publicizing the debt, too, so even though you want to go on Facebook call out someone that owes you money – don’t. Here is the caveat: You may, respectfully, call the customer at work but you cannot let the other workers know that you’re trying to collect on a debt. Plus, if the customer asks you to not call them at work, you legally must comply.
  2. Don’t harass your customers. See #1. But actions such as repeated calls, threats of violence, and extreme language are not only bad form, they’re illegal too. For a small business owner, it feels personal when someone doesn’t pay. But conducting yourself in a professional way will pay off in the long run.

There are rules about pursuing debt collections – make sure you follow them.

  1. You can’t arrest the debtor. Sorry, we know this may not feel fair, but if a customer is 90-days past due, you cannot call 911 for help. However, there may be legal actions you can take in certain circumstances.
  2. You cannot pursue the debtor for things they don’t owe. This happens a lot when the data you have on the customer is inaccurate. So many times we see that the person already paid the debt but the information wasn’t logged properly. A simple mistake can land you in hot water, so use caution and double-check the facts before pursuing a debt.
  3. You cannot call at odd hours of the day and night. Did you know there are rules that state you can only call a past-due customer between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm? For small business owners that work hard all day, this means just because you’re up at 7:30 am you can’t squeeze in a few collections calls.

If you’re worried about running afoul of the rules of collecting debt, you don’t need to.

Source: TSI

Contact me today at 888-780-1333, and I’ll show you how to collect more money, cut costs, and stay 100% compliant with all of the many laws and regulations that relate to debt collection.

After all…it’s your money!  Keep more of it!!

All You Need To Know About HIPAA Business Associate Agreements

18 Aug

Source:  Jeff Broudy, PCIHIPAA

Medical and dental practices are hearing more and more about large fines and data breaches surrounding HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).   Many are fearful that significant fines could affect their practice, their patients, and their livelihood.  Is this a real threat?  I believe it is.  HIPAA law is confusing and protecting the security and privacy of your patient information is critical.  And with the enactment of the Omnibus Rule back in 2013, HIPAA compliance now extends to your Business Associates.

The Ponemon Institute states that 39% of all Business Associates have experienced a data breach, and in one case a practice was fined $31,000 for not having a Business Associate Agreement on file.  That’s an expensive document!

As HIPAA Compliance Specialists, a day rarely goes by that we don’t receive questions about Business Associates.  “Who’s a Business Associate?”  “Do I have risks if I don’t have execute the proper agreements?“ What does my practice need to do?”  In fact, out partners at PCIHIPAA created a HIPAA Webinar Series for our clients to help answer these questions.  Let me know if you would like more information on this webinar series, and let me help clarify some of these questions.

) “Do I need to have a Business Associate Agreements on file?”

Yes.  If you are a Covered Entity under HIPAA, you are required to execute Business Associate Agreements. The Health and Human Services website (HHS.gov) defines a Covered Entity as health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with transactions for which HHS has adopted standards.

Bottom line:  Examples of Covered Entities under HIPAA are: Doctors, Clinics, Psychologists, Dentists, Chiropractors, Oral Surgeons, Podiatrists, Opthamologists, Nursing Homes, Pharmacies, Health Insurance Companies, HOMs, Company Health Plans, and Labs are all considered to be Covered Entities.

2) “Then, who is a Business Associate?

A Business Associate as any organization or person working in association with, or providing services to, a Covered Entity who handles or discloses Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personal Health Records (PHR.)  A business associate may also be a subcontractor that creates, receives, maintains, or transmits PHI on behalf of another business associate.  Think of it this way, if you contract with a person or an entity that needs access to your PHI to do their job, they are most likely a Business Associate.

Bottom line:  Examples of Business Associates are Lawyers, Accountants, IT Programmers and Representatives, Shredding Companies, Marketing Software Companies, Practice Management Software Providers, Data Backup and Storage Companies, and Billing Companies.   

“Are there exceptions?”

Yes.  HIPAA excludes conduits of information (UPS, FedEx), governmental agencies (Medicare and Medicaid), and anyone else this is not required to handle your PHI to do their jobs (Janitors, Landlords, Water Delivery Services).  Also your employees are not considered Business Associates.  They need to be trained on HIPAA, but you don’t need to execute Business Associate Agreements with your employees. 

3) “What exactly is a Business Associate Agreement, and why is it important?”

A Business Associate Agreement is a binding legal document that is now required under HIPAA for you to execute with all of your Business Associates. It is imperative that your practice has Business Associate Agreements in place, with a log kept for reference. Because your practice (as a Covered Entity) is sharing PHI with your Business Associate, this document ensures that the HIPAA mandates are in place and that your patients are protected.   If you use the right Business Associate Agreement, it also includes an “Indemnity Clause.”  The Indemnity Clause protects you financially, if PHI is compromised under your Business Associate’s watch.  This is a crucial clause that should be included in any Business Associate Agreement you execute.

Contact me for more information and/or assistance in creating a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for your practice.

Click Here to take a free, no-obligation, HIPAA Risk Assessment.  The results will inform you of where you are compliant and where you are deficient in your HIPPA security.

The Problem With Payment Plans

25 May

Medical and dental practices can increase their plan acceptance by offering payment plans to patients who cannot afford to pay the entire amount at once, but payment plans present numerous inherent problems.

Here is a solution.

 

Contact me at 888-780-1333 to learn more about this and other ways to increase your cash flow and bottom line for your business or practice.

Click Here to view other “Cash Flow Minute” videos and subscribe to my blog to receive all of the “Tips and Tricks” that I share about your cash flow.

Podcast For Business – Are You Getting Paid?

15 May

Are You Getting Paid with David Wiener – Podcast For Business

The serious problem businesses have with collections is real. And it’s not going to get better any time soon. Today’s talk with David will shed some light into the world of collections and offer some real solutions to businesses who are struggling with receiving payment for services rendered.  Listen to this important podcast by clicking here.

Contacts:
David Wiener
Phone: 770-224-8504
Website: http://cashflowstrategies.us
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/mr_cash_flow
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cashflowstrategies

Taming Your Cash Flow Before It Eats You Alive

23 Apr
Source – TSI  http://tsico.com

There are no shortage of “beasts” your business needs to tame in order to thrive in the marketplace.

Some might read that and think of scaling to meet the needs of a growing client base or managing difficult employees, but cash flow can be one of the biggest monetary monsters you can encounter as a business owner. This far-to-often overlooked financial factor can be contained as easily as it can go out of control. Take a look at these four simple, yet sound, principles for taming cash flow in order to make it your business’ best friend rather than an arch enemy.

Let’s discuss how to keep the cash coming in rather than rolling out.

1. Increasing Incentives to Deter Debt Collection

This might seem like a simple psychological trick, but it is an easy way to tame the cash flow beast. Adding incentives for clients who consistently pay on time (or, even better, early) and/or having consequences for clients who are tardy with the amount due will help you keep your cash flow steady and on time. Another way to ensure cash flow is to offer incentives to clients who decide to pay in full rather than installment payments. You can rest assured you get all the cash you need with only a minor deduction of a discount, or whatever incentive you choose. A small discount now is better than having to pay for debt collection later to support cash flow.

2. Cash Flow Cognizance: Being Present & Aware of Cash Flow

It’s your business, livelihood, and financial future. So, why wouldn’t you want to be as aware of and up-to-date with all of your cash flow details? Analyzing your monthly cash flow and keeping a more frequent check on accounts receivable will help you stay on top of delinquent payments from clients and reel in any out-of-control outgoing cash on your part. Knowledge is truly power, as it can be easy to overlook cash flow issues. Awareness equals accountability for you and for your accounts receivable.

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Being keyed into your cash flow is the best way to continue saving money instead of burning up revenue.

3. Be Crafty With Credit Cards

Utilizing credit cards in the right way is another simple way to tame your cash flow. Not only do credit cards provide you more time to make payments as it can take 1-2 months for money to be deducted from your company account, but you can increase your credit score over time to gain access to even more benefits from your credit cards. The number one thing to remember for this tip to be successful is that you must always pay the balance in full and on time to avoid even more cash out with extra interest fees or penalties.

4. Consider Your Taxes

Taxes are, unfortunately, unavoidable. You have to factor them in when analyzing cash flow. If you are not taking the cost of taxes into consideration, then you are not properly projecting your cash flow and will be doing yourself a disservice. Automatically set aside the taxes that you will need to pay out and don’t even factor this money into anything you could utilize as cash out for your business. Try to even save extra just to have a cash buffer. In tough times, a little buffer can go a long way. You can also check into any tax discounts and creditsthat could be applicable to your business, because who doesn’t like a little help from time to time?

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Stay educated on business taxation to continue to tame cash flow.

Keeping these cash flow tips and tricks in mind will help your business position itself for the most potential profit and the least unnecessary loss. There’s a lot more of these principles to be taught and we can help you learn more about how to optimize your revenue today! content?Action=tp&cid=45676

Call me directly at 888-780-1333 or email me at david.wiener@cashflowstrategies.us for more information.

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