The CPA Desk

A Thought Leader Production by PKFTexas

Prioritizing To Achieve Excellence

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host and I’m here with Carl Lewis, Olympic Gold Medalist, University of Houston alum and entrepreneur. Welcome back to the Playbook Carl.

Carl: Great, thank you, thank you.

Jen: So last time we talked about your success and success in business; now, for those kind of middle school/high school students, what can they do to find success over the long term, whether they’re an athlete or not an athlete?

Carl: Well one of the things we talk about with our company Winning Dimensions, we talk about excellence, the perfect method, trying to be the best possible athlete you can be; so that’s really a start, it’s really about your personal excellence. The second thing is work hard in school. And it starts in 9th grade because me, as a coach, I go our recruiting all the time and I see these amazing young athletes and 9th grade was terrible, we can’t get them in a school. So education is very important, actually because it shows that you’re disciplined enough to have a full life. And think of your entire life; I always say we will merge your career athletically and academically from the day you get here because you have to think about what you’re going to later on in life. Because you know what, every person aspires to live a lot longer old than they are young.

Jen: Now how do you kind of balance that because I know a lot of athletes these days have a lot of demand on their time because of practices and all that kind of stuff and sometimes the school work slips; how do you balance that in making sure that the coaches are on board with balancing that.

Carl: Well I think a lot of it is first of all you have to make choices and I say this all the time, I missed a lot of priorities when I was growing up and now I give them.

Jen: there’s time for that; there’s time for that down the road.

Carl: There’s time for that. You have a lot of time and I think that you can have fun but if you stay in front of the things that are important – you know, get up and study first, get it out of the way so that you don’t have to worry about that later and then study – then you have more time. But the people that procrastinate, the people that put it off, they’re the ones that struggle.

Jen: Perfect. Well thank you so much for sharing that with us, I really appreciate you being here again.

Carl: Great, thank you.

Jen: This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas, The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. Tune in next week for another chapter.

What Drives Your Organization’s Leadership?

Karen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook; I’m Karen Love, Host and Founder. I’m here with Jackie Dryden, Chief Purpose Architect of Savage Brands. Welcome back to the Playbook Jackie.

Jackie: Thank you very much.

Karen: And when you were here before we talked about your unique title and how it fit into the Savage Thinking and the new book that you and Bethany Andell have written, and so the curiosity just really overcomes me of how in the world did you decide that Savage Brands, you and Bethany, would write this book on this topic?

Jackie: That’s a great question because many people ask us that. They say why a branding company that has been around for 40 years did you decide to go in this direction? And I think it stems from the fact that we realized the conversation was changing and we needed to change with it. That companies nowadays feel like they can go out online and buy a logo for $40.00 and that they can have their nephew do a website and they can take pictures on their iPhone and we started saying what of value are we actually adding to the equation? And we realized that our greatest value was to be able to get in with company leadership and talk about what drives them as an organization, who they want to connect with, how to build a culture that is based on something that adds value to the world and not just the looks of it, but how it actually moves people to action.

Karen: Right, it really props up and gives substance to Marketing and Branding, what people traditionally think of it.

Jackie: Nicely put, I like that.

Karen: Thank you, thank you; well I’m buttering my own bread there so thank you.

Jackie: Nice buttering.

Karen: I appreciate that. So let’s talk about the book real quickly, it’s called Get Your Head out of Your Bottom Line and Build Your Brand on Purpose, so we’re hoping that everybody will read it and that you will come back and talk to us more about it later.

Jackie: I would love to, thanks for having me.

Karen: Thank you, thank you. Well this has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

The Tax Consequences of Selling Your Home

As the school year draws to a close and the days lengthen, you may be one of the many homeowners who are getting ready to put their home on the market. After all, in many locales, summer is the best time of year to sell a home. But it’s important to think not only about the potential profit (or loss) from a sale, but also about the tax consequences.

Gains

If you’re selling your principal residence, you can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for joint filers) of gain — as long as you meet certain tests. Gain that qualifies for exclusion also is excluded from the 3.8% net investment income tax.

To support an accurate tax basis, be sure to maintain thorough records, including information on your original cost and subsequent improvements, reduced by any casualty losses and depreciation claimed based on business use. Keep in mind that gain that’s allocable to a period of “nonqualified” use generally isn’t excludable.

Losses

A loss on the sale of your principal residence generally isn’t deductible. But if part of your home is rented out or used exclusively for your business, the loss attributable to that portion may be deductible.

Second homes

If you’re selling a second home, be aware that it won’t be eligible for the gain exclusion. But if it qualifies as a rental property, it can be considered a business asset, and you may be able to defer tax on any gains through an installment sale or a Section 1031 exchange. Or you may be able to deduct a loss.

Learn more

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, please contact us to learn more about the potential tax consequences of a sale.

Discussing Savage Thinking With the Chief Purpose Architect of Savage Brands

Karen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook and I’m Karen Love, Host and Founder. I’m here with Jackie Dryden, Chief Purpose Architect of Savage Brands; welcome to the Playbook Jackie.

Jackie: Thank you very much.

Karen: And what in the world does that title mean? That is a real unique one.

Jackie: Well obviously it’s unique because we made it up and Chief just sounds good; who doesn’t want to be Chief? And we added that in front of Purpose Architect because I am passionate about helping companies understand their why and their what for – why they exist beyond making profits – and then the architecture part is helping them actually get there; helping build that kind of a company.

Karen: This sounds familiar because I had interviewed Bethany Andell, I guess who you co-authored the book with. And the book was Savage Thinking but it is called Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line and Build your Brand on Purpose and so that fits in with all of this, correct?

Jackie: It definitely does.

Karen: Wonderful.

Jackie: And there are times that people are wondering so what is a good time to look for your purpose because some companies start with purpose and others are in a continuum and it’s like when is it a good time to go searching for purpose? And it usually happens when an executive or CEO – head of a company – is looking for something with more meaning.

Karen: Okay.

Jackie: Wanting to leave a legacy and build something lasting that they can rally employees around.

Karen: So he is connecting, or she is connecting, with the purpose that they’re looking for?

Jackie: Yes. I mean people don’t rush into the office on Monday morning and say yay, how do I add shareholder value to my company? They’re interested in something of greater value that they can believe in and attach to, so when a leader realizes that that will be a great direction for their company, it also happens when companies are in Mergers and Acquisitions, new leadership comes in or perhaps a company is just going through a different kind of phase – they’re changing from one type of company to another.

Karen: Right, because that’s one of the biggest…

Jackie: That triggers it.

Karen: Exactly, to say the least. I would like to talk to you a little more about this because this is an intriguing topic. I hope you’ll come back.

Jackie: Wonderful, I’d love to share.

Karen: Thank you.

Jackie: Thank you Karen.

Karen: This has been another Thought Leader production brought to you by the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

Two Ways the QSB Stock Can Benefit You

By investing in qualified small business (QSB) stock, you can diversify your portfolio and enjoy two valuable tax benefits:

1. Tax-free gain rollovers. If within 60 days of selling QSB stock you buy other QSB stock with the proceeds, you can defer the tax on your gain until you dispose of the new stock. The rolled-over gain reduces your basis in the new stock. For determining long-term capital gains treatment, the new stock’s holding period includes the holding period of the stock you sold.

2. Exclusion of gain. Generally, taxpayers selling QSB stock are allowed to exclude up to 50% of their gain if they’ve held the stock for more than five years. But, depending on the acquisition date, the exclusion may be greater: The exclusion is 75% for stock acquired after Feb. 17, 2009, and before Sept. 28, 2010, and 100% for stock acquired on or after Sept. 28, 2010. The acquisition deadline for the 100% gain exclusion had been Dec. 31, 2014, but Congress has made this exclusion permanent.

The taxable portion of any QSB gain will be subject to the lesser of your ordinary-income rate or 28%, rather than the normal long-term gains rate. Thus, if the 28% rate and the 50% exclusion apply, the effective rate on the QSB gain will be 14% (28% × 50%).

Keep in mind that these tax benefits are subject to additional requirements and limits. For example, to be a QSB, a business must be engaged in an active trade or business and must not have assets that exceed $50 million.

Consult us for more details before buying or selling QSB stock. And be sure to consider the non-tax factors as well, such as your risk tolerance, time horizon and overall investment goals.

How Purpose Translates into Profit

Karen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook; I’m Karen Love, Host and Co-founder. I’m here with Bethany Andell, President of Savage Brands. Welcome to the Playbook again.

Bethany: Thank you Karen.

Karen: Well we had you here the first time to talk about the book Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line; I’m going to pick up the book now and put it so that our audience can see it. And we had talked about the Savage Thinking and the purpose, but what I was wondering if we could talk about is why now? Why the timing of this book?

Bethany: Sure. It’s actually – this type of methodology, this type of thinking – it’s perfect timing. Companies really have an obsession right now over the short term and you can blame it on Wall Street or whatever is going on, but we’re thinking more about long term success. And why this is happening is if you’re so short term focused and short term decision making, you’re not thinking about the inter-dependence of all of your stakeholders and what it takes to get them engaged and loyal with your company. And so some of the big problems we’re seeing is internally with culture where you’ve got very low employee engagement, they say about 30% of employees are engaged which means 70% are coming to work every day not that happy.

Karen: Which means turnover.

Bethany: Absolutely. There’s a distrust in leadership, I think it’s 18% of the American workforce trusts their leadership.

Karen: That’s scary.

Bethany: And then a huge opportunity is what we call the perfect storm where you have Baby Boomers that are looking behind and saying what’s the legacy I’m leaving; what’s the positive wake that’s going to be there behind me? Along with the Millennial workforce that’s coming in where money is not the priority, right? They want to make sure that their values are aligned with the company, that they’re making a contribution to the world. And if you can be a company that brings people along towards one common purpose, something they’re really contributing to the world, then you’re going to find yourself in a better place. We like to say that purpose drives performance and performance drives profit.

Karen: Well I love that and that’s Savage Thinking.

Bethany: That’s Savage Thinking.

Karen: And you can help companies do that?

Bethany: Yes ma’am.

Karen: Fantastic, well thank you for sharing that with us.

Bethany: Thank you Karen.

Karen: This has been another Thought Leader production brought to you by the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.

Tax Deadline Extended For Houston Flood Victims

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced on Tuesday, April 26 that victims of the deadly floods that took place on April 18, 2016 will have until September 1st to file their tax returns and make tax payments. Individuals who have homes or businesses in Fayette, Grimes, Harris and Parker Counties may qualify for the extension relief under Treas. Reg Sec. 301.7508A-1(d)2.

This extension includes 2015 income tax returns that were due April 18, the April 18 and June 15 deadlines for quarterly tax payments, along with a variety of business tax deadlines. The IRS will also waive late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits if they are made by May 2, 2016.

The IRS will automatically apply the tax relief to those living in the above counties, but if you reside or have a business in a county outside of these and you were still affected by the floods, please call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227.

For more information, please visit the IRS webpage where they detail the extension and relief guidelines here.

Houston Named One of Five Innovative Cities to Watch by the Wall Street Journal

As Houstonians, we love to see our city thrive and take pride in the unique mix of eclectic and traditional.  We know the miscellany we find around every corner is a part of what makes our city so great. While the lack of zoning has been a topic of criticism in the past, it turns out it may be part of what makes the Bayou City so inclusive and accessible.

An article that ran in the Wall Street Journal claims Houston, along with Detroit, Singapore, Medellín and Vancouver, is a city leading the way in urban innovation. The article states for the first time in history, more humans are living in urban than rural areas. It cites a United Nations projection of nearly two-thirds of the world’s almost 10 billion people will be living in urban spaces by 2050. So where does Houston fit into the innovative idea?

Though our beloved city is growing at an extremely fast rate, our lack of zoning has allowed real estate developers to build new developments in virtually all areas of the city without dealing with rezoning. This, unlike cities such as New York City or San Francisco, has allowed prices to stay relatively affordable. Over half of the homes in Houston, with over 200,000 new units in the past six years, are considered affordable to median income families by the National Home Builders Association. To put that into perspective, only 15% of Los Angeles homes are considered affordable.

The balance between lack of zoning and high demand opens up opportunities for developers and designers, and home buyers for that matter, which they may not find elsewhere.

We at PKF Texas love our opportunity-filled city and love watching it flourish. A huge proponent of our company culture is giving back, which we do by partnering and being involved with organizations who make Houston so innovative.

The original article was written by Michael Totty, News Editor for The Journal Report, and can be found here.

Merging All Aspects of Life to Find Success

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Carl Lewis, Olympic Medalist, University of Houston Alum and entrepreneur. Welcome to The Playbook Carl.

Carl: Great, thank you for having me.

Jen: So you have had so much success, you have gold medal, now you’re in business, what do you attribute that success to?

Carl: Well it really goes back to the core of how I was raised. My parents are both teachers; they were involved in the civil rights movement in the 60s and 50s and so they raised us to be independent, to be strong, but also merge all of the facets of your life together to try to have the most success.

Jen: Perfect. And how has that as Olympic Gold Medalist, now an entrepreneur with – what’s your company – Winning Sports?

Carl: Winning Dimensions, that’s one of my companies.

Jen: Winning Dimension Sports, that’s perfect. Now how have your skills as an athlete and former competitor, how has that translated to business?

Carl: The funny thing about it, when I started at University of Houston back in 1979 I knew that I wanted to be Carl Lewis the rest of my life, so therefore everything that I did in school was preparing myself for retirement. So I merged my athletic career, leveraged the success I could have and also the notoriety I could get to do the things that I wanted to do in business. So really it’s all the same and it’s hard work, discipline, structure, planning, presentation – these are all basic principles that you get in sports that you can apply to your business life.

Jen: That’s perfect. Well thank you so much for being with us on The Playbook, I really appreciate it.

Carl: Great, thank you.

Jen: This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by PKF Texas The Entrepreneurs Playbook, tune in next week for another chapter.

Why It’s Time to Start Tax Planning for 2016

Now that the April 18 income tax filing deadline has passed, it may be tempting to set aside any thought of taxes until year end is approaching. But don’t succumb. For maximum tax savings, now is the time to start tax planning for 2016.

More opportunities

A tremendous number of variables affect your overall tax liability for the year. Starting to look at these variables early in the year can give you more opportunities to reduce your 2016 tax bill.

For example, the timing of income and deductible expenses can affect both the rate you pay and when you pay. By regularly reviewing your year-to-date income, expenses and potential tax, you may be able to time income and expenses in a way that reduces, or at least defers, your tax liability.

In other words, tax planning shouldn’t be just a year-end activity.

More certainty

In recent years, planning early has been a challenge because there were a lot of expired tax breaks where it was uncertain whether they’d be extended for the year. But the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) extended a wide variety of tax breaks through 2016, or, in some cases, later. It also made many breaks permanent.

For example, the PATH Act made permanent the deduction for state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes and tax-free IRA distributions to charities for account holders age 70½ or older. So you don’t have to wait and see whether these breaks will be available for the year like you did in 2014 and 2015.

Getting started

To get started on your 2016 tax planning, contact us. We can discuss what strategies you should be implementing now and throughout the year to minimize your tax liability.