The consensus on the economy (according to Beige Book and various other official sources on the issue) is that we are out of the woods and experiencing, for the most part, some robust economic growth. With an average of 200,000 or more jobs being created each month and most economic indicators showing positives, this year should be better than last. Too often business people wait until late in the year to do their business and tax planning. While there are some actions that can be taken at that point, those who work proactively throughout the year implementing business and tax strategies perform far better than those who put planning off to the last minute. There is plenty of business and tax planning that should be attended to throughout the year.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and most economists, the economy is now in an expansion mode. Given that, businesses should work hard to increase revenue and look to hire additional staff. Lately, the trend has been that American businesses hire temporary staff ahead of hiring permanent full-time employees. Business will continue to build and stabilize; it is therefore the appropriate time to ramp up man power and inventories.
Instinctively, businesses tend to cut investments as well when business is slow. Ordinarily, this response to the stimuli would be appropriate.
However, given the continued tax rules remaining from the past economic down turn, now is an excellent time to increase investments in business property. This is especially true if the investments will create more efficiency in operations. Further, if you do not reinvest now, you may have to reinvest later, when the incentives are not as good as they are today.
The past economic down turn has also brought with it lower financing rates that are currently remaining in the recovery. Financing on buildings and equipment is available for lower refinancing rates. Check with your bank to see if your loans can be refinanced. Just be sure to check the fees and costs before committing to any refinancing.
Many business people have complex lives and complex holdings. Along with the complexity, the average net worth of a business person is substantially higher than an employee. In 2014, the estate tax exemption is $5,340,000.
It is best to begin estate planning early in the year so issues can be resolved throughout the year and the estate plan can have time to operate during the year. Please review your total estate value and start the process of complete estate planning now.
Succession Planning and Conclusion
Along with estate planning, comes business succession planning for those who own businesses. Business succession planning is not as simple as drafting a will. Business succession planning, when done properly, provides a smooth transition for the succeeding generation. The process includes the valuation of the business and the creation of legal documents, such as a buy/sell agreement (the most important legal document a business owner can have.) When succession planning is not done or is done improperly, it usually means the loss of the business and therefore the loss of your lifetime of hard work. Don’t procrastinate, start the process now!
By: Dr. Bart Basi at the Center for Financial, Legal and Tax Planning for Transworld M&A Advisors