February 18, 2019
Mark Turner, President/CEO, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce
John Hennelly, CEO of St. Louise Regional Hospital, will be discussing the future of the hospital at a town hall meeting, Tuesday evening, February 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Old City Hall Restaurant.
The County is looking to purchase both St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy and O’connor Hospital in San Jose. With California Attorney General, Xavier Bacerra, attempting to block the sale, what does the future hold for a region like South County with more than 110,000 residents?
U.S. District Court Judge, Dolly Gee is expected to rule on the Attorney General’s request on February 22. That’s when a hearing is scheduled in Los Angeles. At risk is O’connor’s 358 beds and St. Louise’s 93 beds which the County is hoping to encompass into its healthcare system.
Join us at the town hall meeting as John provides an update on the transition of ownership from Verity to Santa Clara County. Some of the questions people are asking are, "After the transition, can I still go to St. Louise for care? Will the services change? Will the staff change? What questions should I ask?" John will answer these questions and more. Plan on attending to learn more about our community hospital.
Mark Turner, President/CEO, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce
What’s ahead for Gilroy? What’s the economic outlook for our community? What vision does the Mayor and Council have for our City? What challenges do we face and what opportunities exist?
The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce will once again host Mayor Velasco’s State of the City address on Thursday evening, March 7, 2019 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Join us as we hear the Mayor address these questions and more.
The State of the City Address will take place at Old City Hall Restaurant. The cost is $45 and dinner will be served. Contact the Chamber to make reservations or go to gilroy.org.
Eric Howard, Business Relationship Manager, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce
Let the dice roll! Come join the fun at the Carolyn Schell Annual PEO Bunco Night. Along with Bunco there will be hearty appetizers, dessert, refreshments and a no host bar. Great raffle and unique silent auction items will feature a Gourmet Italian Dinner Party for eight and an English Tea Party for six to bid on. PEO Chapter CG, is a non-profit philanthropic educational organization, proceeds benefit college scholarships, grants, awards and loans for women. Enjoy the evening on Friday, March 22, 2019, 6:00 to 9:00 pm, at Old City Hall Restaurant, 7400 Monterey Road, Gilroy. Tickets are available at Nimble Thimble, 7455 Monterey Road, Gilroy or call Paula 408-739-2665. Tickets are $30 per person.
California Passport Tours is a boutique concierge-style tour company servicing Gilroy and Morgan Hill area. We specialize in custom food & wine tasting, farm and outdoor tours that provide everything you need as a full event: from transportation to itinerary planning, to dinner reservations. We partner with The Valley of Hearts Delight to offer behind-the-scene, guided access to local wineries and farms that showcase the history and beauty of South Santa Clara Valley.
Entries Now Being Accepted for 2019 Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant. Royals wanted. Young women between the ages of 18 to 24 who live in Gilroy, Hollister, San Juan Bautista, San Martin, Morgan Hill, or Aromas are eligible to enter. The Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen Pageant will be held on Sunday, May 19. Contestants are judged on personal interview, talent, garlic speech, and on-stage question. The winner is crowned Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival 2019 and receives a $1,000 prize. The First and second Runner-Up’s also receive prizes. Complete contest rules and online application forms are posted on the Gilroy Garlic Festival website at GilroyGarlicFestival.com. Entries must be received by 4:00 pm on Friday, March 8, 2019. For additional information, call 408-842-1625.
Article written by Tara Siegel Bernard, The Times and Ron Lieber, Your Money columnist
The most important changes to the tax code in decades have taken effect — and filers are confused. We asked CPAs and other tax-prep pros to simplify things.
Some level of bafflement attends tax-filing season every year. But in 2019, as Americans examine their returns for the first time under the full effect of the sweeping new Republican tax law, the situation is the most cryptic in memory. Some tax breaks have been erased or capped, while others have been expanded or introduced.
This is equal-opportunity anxiety. Blue-state professionals feel micro-targeted by new limits on state and local tax deductions, while filers elsewhere can’t figure out why they’re no longer getting a fat refund, if the law was supposed to be so good for them.
We asked accountants across the country to tell us their clients’ most common queries. Here are some answers:
I thought my tax bill was going to decrease. What happened?
For many people living in high-tax states like New York, California, New Jersey and Connecticut, there’s one overriding reason their tax bills have risen: Their state and local tax deduction, known as SALT, will be capped at $10,000. This includes state and local income taxes, as well as real estate taxes.
“Prior to 2018, SALT was often most New Yorkers’ largest itemized deduction,” said Tina Salandra, a certified public accountant in New York.
"New York City residents, for example, often have state and city taxes that total nearly 10 percent of their income", she added. So if your state and local taxes already exceed the $10,000 limit, you lose the ability to deduct any of your property taxes.
As a result, some families may find that instead of itemizing, it’s better to take the larger standard deduction. “But even if you can still itemize, your total deductions will be limited regardless,” said Ms. Salandra, “which may likely result in higher taxes.”Her property-owning clients with incomes in the $200,000 to $400,000 range are feeling the most significant pinch. Though their tax rates have decreased, that usually does not make up for the loss of their largest itemized deductions.
I was told there would be a tax cut for most people. So why is my return showing a tiny refund, or even an amount due?
In early 2018, the I.R.S. took its best shot at offering guidance to employers about how to change tax withholding from paychecks. In general, it suggested decreases, since the 2017 law was supposed to be a cut. That should have resulted in bigger paychecks for most people.
But if you were an employee receiving those checks, you may not have noticed the increase. If that was the case, you won’t be seeing the usual April refund: You’ve already gotten it, just parceled out into slightly higher 2018 paychecks.
Want to get a refund next year? If that’s your goal, Julie A. Welch, a Leawood, Kan., accountant, suggests using the I.R.S. withholding calculator to adjust your paycheck. Most people never bother.
Should I take the standard deduction or itemize my deductions this year?
Before breaking down what’s changed, let’s back up and explain the basics: Taxpayers are entitled to take a standard tax deduction amount, or they can itemize their deductions individually; they can deduct whichever amount is higher, resulting in a lower tax bill.
Under the new tax law, the standard deduction has doubled (to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for joint filers), while several itemized deductions have been eliminated or limited. TurboTax estimates that as a result, nearly 90 percent of taxpayers will now take the standard deduction, up from about 70 percent in previous years. To help you figure out the best choice, the company has posted a three-step interactive tool on its blog.
Have any popular deductions and credits changed? What did we lose, and what can I still claim?
Dependent exemption: Under the previous law, families were able to claim a $4,050 exemption for each qualifying child, but that deduction has been eliminated. Instead, if you have children under the age of 17, you may qualify for the child tax credit, which was raised to $2,000 from $1,000 for each child. More people will qualify now that the credit begins to phase out at $400,000 in income for joint filers ($200,000 for individuals), according to Claudell Bradby, a certified public accountant with TurboTax Live. The law also introduced a $500 credit for other dependents, which could include elderly parents or children over the age of 17.
Mortgage interest: If you itemize, you can deduct the interest paid on the first $750,000 in mortgage indebtedness on loans taken out after Dec. 15, 2017 (on first and second homes). Older loans are grandfathered: You can still generally deduct interest on up to $1 million in mortgage debt on loans taken out before Dec. 16, 2017.Interest on home equity loans or lines of credit are now only deductible if the debt is used to “buy, build or substantially improve” the home that secures the loan. You can no longer deduct the interest if you pay off credit card debt, for example.
Alternative minimum tax: Far fewer people are expected to be snared by it because so many of the old tax breaks that set off the so-called A.M.T. have been eliminated or reduced. In addition, the minimum exemption level has increased to $109,400 for joint filers, up from $84,500; and to $70,300 for individual filers, up from $54,300. The exemption begins to phase out at $500,000 for single filers and $1 million for joint filers.
Unreimbursed employee expenses: A number of employees’ business expenses that weren’t reimbursed by their employers — like classes and seminars — are no longer deductible.
Moving expenses: Workers moving for a new job were once able to deduct related expenses. That has been wiped away, except for members of the military.
Tax preparation fees: If you itemized, you could typically deduct the amount your tax preparer charged or similar tax-related expenses, like software bought to file electronically. This is no longer possible, unless you are self-employed.
Is it true that alimony is no longer deductible?
It depends, said Tyler Mickey, a tax senior manager at Moss Adams in Wenatchee, Washington.
Under the previous law, spouses paying alimony could deduct those payments on their returns, while the recipients had to include the income on theirs. That remains the case for divorce agreements finalized on or before Dec. 31, 2018 (unless a couple changes the agreement after then). Therefore it’s true for returns filed this year.
But for divorces completed in 2019 and later, alimony payments will no longer be deductible, and recipients will not have to include them on their returns, added Mr. Mickey, who is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ personal finance specialist committee.
I heard that small business owners can’t deduct meals and entertainment anymore. Is that true?
It’s half true, said Carol McCrae, a certified public accountant in Brooklyn. You can no longer deduct entertainment or amusement, generally defined as taking a client to, say, a basketball game. But you can still deduct 50 percent of what you spend on meals, as long as you are dining with clients, traveling for business or attending a business convention (or something along those lines). The meals cannot be lavish or extravagant — so forget about the tasting menu at Le Bernardin. Providing meals to employees for an office party or a meeting, she added, are still 100 percent deductible.
There are specific rules you may need to follow. If you paid for a show and dinner on one bill, for example, it must be itemized — and the amount paid for meals must be clearly stated. If it’s not, she added, then no deduction is allowed.
Do I qualify for pass-through status and its 20 percent deduction?
The new tax laws allow some business owners — those who are set up as so-called “pass-through” companies — to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income. Cue the rush to the tax professionals.
Most of Russell Garofalo’s clients at Brass Taxes are self-employed, but many of those who have asked him about the new rules don’t realize that they are already pass-throughs, where income passes through the business to the owner’s personal tax returns. “If you earn money without taxes being taken out, poof, you’re in business,” he said.
Anyone like that in any profession who is set up as a sole proprietorship, partnership or an S corporation (but not a C corporation) qualifies, as long as they are making less than $315,000 and filing taxes jointly, or under $157,500 for other taxpayers. Beyond those income levels and tax structures, it gets complicated and many professions get excluded. The Internal Revenue Service, the Tax Policy Center and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountshave all published good primers.
I have a taxable estate. Should I reconsider gifts I’ve given to family members?
The estate tax affects wealthy people. The amount that people can pass on to heirs without federal tax consequences has roughly doubled. In 2019, it’s $11.4 million per person.But in 2026, unless Congress acts, it goes back to $5 million (adjusted for inflation), which is what it was in 2017. State estate taxes can cloud the picture too.
Micaela Saviano, a senior manager at Deloitte Tax in Chicago, said that, especially, if you hold an investment that is likely to increase in value, it may be better to hand it down to the next generation now. That way, the growth accrues to the younger person’s estate.And paying the federal gift tax now may make sense. Otherwise, the estate may have to pay estate taxes later, using part of the estate itself.
Tara Siegel Bernard covers personal finance. Before joining The Times in 2008, she was deputy managing editor at FiLife, a personal finance website, and an editor at CNBC. She also worked at Dow Jones and contributed regularly to The Wall Street Journal.
Ron Lieber is the Your Money columnist and author of “The Opposite of Spoiled.” He previously helped develop the personal finance web site FiLife and wrote for The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and Fortune.
Opinions expressed by contributing writers are their own.
Article written for Entrepreneur by Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO, AudienceBloom
There are many reasons to become an entrepreneur, but no matter what yours are -- even if they don’t include getting rich -- your business still needs to generate a profit.
Without one, you can’t keep the doors open, and you can’t keep doing what you love.
Unfortunately, the majority of new businesses ultimately end up failing within the first few years. In large part, this is due to an inability to generate a sufficient profit, and it’s not a problem to scoff at -- even businesses built on solid ideas can suffer from a lack of profitability.
So, what prevents businesses from being profitable in the first place? Here are seven major problems.
Setting prices is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll have to make for your business. How you set your prices could easily dictate your future success. Most entrepreneurs immediately caution themselves not to set prices too high; if your product costs more than your competitors', you could turn away your entire target market.
However, if you set prices too low, you’ll end up spending more in production than you can feasibly make back. Consider your margins carefully, and don’t be afraid to charge for quality. If you spend more time making your product better, people will be willing to pay for it.
Too much overhead
There are some things your business absolutely needs to survive. However, you may be overestimating your needs in some key areas. For example, do you really need that 3,000-square-foot office when you have only two employees you're running the business with? Do you really need to invest in that piece of machinery that adds only a marginal value to your finished product?
Think carefully about your overhead; if you spend too much there, you could create a hole too deep to dig out of.
Too many ongoing costs
It doesn’t take much for your business expenses to start spiraling out of control; and because expenses come in so many forms, it’s hard to pin down any one area where you’re bleeding money. Think about how many people you have on staff, what you pay your vendors, how much it costs to produce a single product and even monthly variables like utility costs.
For all these potential expenses, cheaper options likely exist, along with opportunities to make cuts. So, don’t overlook them.
Unseen or hidden costs
You may have a solid expense plan worked out, but there are some expenses you probably haven’t prepared for -- and they generally aren’t lumped into your “regular” expenses. For example, if your business runs into emergency repair needs, that event could instantly demand all the revenue you’ve made for the month.
If you aren’t adequately preparing for taxes or insurance costs, meanwhile, those could end up burning you, too. All it takes is a few unplanned expenses to wreck your profitability model.
It’s possible that your expenses and prices are just fine, but you’re facing competition too tough to keep up with. For example, if your competitors have products similarly priced to yours but objectively better, you won’t sell enough to say alive.
So, find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition, and one-up them in at least one key area, whether that be price, quality or experience.
A lack of market awareness
You may also be suffering from a lack of market awareness; if your product is at an ideal price for both you and your customers, you still might not generate a profit if no one knows it exists. Your greatest tools to overcome this obstacle are marketing and advertising; they cost a bit up-front, but are well worth the investment if you plan them properly.
There’s a chance that you have a perfect way to make your business profitable -- but you’re executing too inconsistently for your business to reap the rewards. For example, your expenses may swing enormously from month to month, or your sales team might perform unpredictably based on individual variables.
Iron out these inconsistencies as soon as you can track them down. It may be tough to pinpoint exactly where your strategy is deviating, but it’s an important step if you want your profit to remain reliable.
Opinions expressed by contributing writers are their own.
February 11, 2019
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