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IOLTA – What Is It?

14/08/14 9:01 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts) was created in 1980, when the Congress modified federal banking laws allowing banks to pay interest on checking accounts. The first IOLTA account was created in Florida in 1981.

IOLTA is source of funding to provide access to justice for individuals and to improve our justice system. Every state, along with the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, operates an IOLTA program. These funds, together with private grants and donations enable nonprofit legal aid providers to help low-income people with various civil legal matters and provide education about our justice system. The United States IOLTA programs generated more than $124 million dollars nationwide in2009.

Every attorney and law firm in Nevada are required to create and maintain an interest-bearing trust account for the deposit of clients’ funds when the funds cannot otherwise earn enough income for the client to be more than the cost of securing that income. The trust accounts must be an interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) at participating financial institutions. The client, and not the IOLTA program, will receive the interest if the funds are large enough or will be held for a long period of time. These funds will not be in IOLTA accounts. Each attorney or firm has the discretion to decide whether the client’s funds are nominal or are to be held for a short period of time.

Examples of types of funds to be deposited into IOLTA accounts include:

  •  Retainers from clients, until actually earned
  • Funds of the client held for disbursement at a later time
  • Personal injury settlement and awards
  • Deposits required on closing property transactions

There may be other types of funds that should be deposited into IOLTA accounts.

The interest income from IOLTA accounts payable to a tax-exempt organization is not taxable to the client or the attorney nor is it deductible.

 

Cutting costs for back to school shopping

07/08/14 10:01 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

It’s time for your kids to go back to school, and with that comes a lot of added expenses. With all of the back to school sales it is easy to get overwhelmed, and end up spending much more than planned. Here are a few tips to stay in budget when going back to school shopping this year:

  • Create a plan before you go shopping. Have a list of what you think your kids will need for the year, or at least what they will need to get the year started. For some levels of schooling, the teacher/school provides a list of what supplies the students will need for the year. If that is the case wait until the teacher gives you the required supplies list to go shopping.
  • Take advantage of back to school sales, store reward programs, coupons, bulk sales, and other types of sales the stores may be offering. It is smart to shop around, this can be done easily by looking online to see what the current prices of the items you need are, and what store is selling them at the best price.
  • If the items/clothes are not needed right away, it costs less to buy clothes after the initial back to school period is over. Fall apparel is usually listed at its highest price at back to school time. By waiting a few months you can see lower prices on fall clothing. This also applies to supplies; a lot of stores will put their remaining supplies on sale (or even clearance if they ordered too much inventory) after the back to school rush.

Many people forget to factor in sales tax when creating a budget. These amounts can definitely add up so it is important to include this in your budget. Some states even offer a few days in the late summer where school related items can be purchased tax-free. If you live in one of these states, try to take advantage of this because it will make a difference.

By staying on budget it will make back to school shopping more enjoyable for both you and your children.

 

AUTOmazement

31/07/14 8:24 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

Okay…I confess…I am a little goofy when it comes to cars. However, in my defense, the goofiness is a rather common ailment for many people these days.

Hot August Nights 2014 began earlier this week in northern Nevada and will conclude on August 3, 2014. This will wrap up the 28th year of this event which debuted August 1, 1986. This event has grown into one of the largest, most anticipated annual events in our area. It currently features 10 days of events across the area celebrating the 50′ and 60′s – “a time of innocence, prosperity, cars and the birth of Rock and Roll.” Of course a huge part of this celebration centers around the automobile.

Oh…the automobiles! For me, HAN usually begins in mid-June when I start to see the local enthusiasts breaking out their “classics” and getting them ready for the big event. In late July/early August, the local enthusiasts are then joined by thousands of other enthusiasts during the event week and the party begins. Although I was a bit young to experience this innocent, prosperous time, I nonetheless have a definite appreciation for the four-wheeled artwork that rolled off of the assembly lines in the day. You do not have to be an owner of one of these fine pieces of machinery to participate…simply attend a Show-n-Shine, take in a “Controlled Cruise” through one of our downtown areas or just take an evening stroll down your favorite street. I promise you will be dazzled by the scenery. To access a full schedule of the Hot August Nights events, visit their official website at www.hotaugustnights.net.

If you haven’t attained your fill of beautiful buggies by the end of Hot August Nights, I have another suggestion to whet your appetite. Merely one week after the conclusion of HAN, car enthusiasts can move their operations down to the Monterey Peninsula to continue their oooo’s and ahhhh’s.

The nearly week-long schedule of events culminates with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance which has been described as the World Series or Super Bowl of the automotive universe. Once each year, on the third Sunday in August, about 200 of the most prized collector cars and motorcycles in the world roll onto the fairway of what is often called the best finishing hole in golf — the famed eighteenth at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Tire meets turf and transformation occurs: the stage is set for one of the most competitive events in the automotive world. The occasion is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Like HAN, these events can be enjoyed by non-owners. There are several “free” opportunities to see some amazing pieces of rolling art or you can often become a part of yesteryear by merely hanging out at an intersection in Carmel-By-The-Sea. And once again, I promise you will be dazzled! To access a full schedule of events visit the official Monterey website 

 

Aereo Loses at Supreme Court

24/07/14 11:54 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

In April, I wrote a blog discussing the case of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc v. Aereo, Inc. The case had just been argued in front of the Supreme Court, so a decision was a couple of months off. On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court finally issued its ruling with a 6-3 decision in favor of the broadcasting companies.

The majority’s decision found that Aereo did violate copyright law (I believe more specifically the 1976 Copyright Act). The Court also found that Aereo is basically a cable company, but didn’t necessarily call it a cable company in the ruling. What the six-justice majority didn’t buy into was Aereo’s arguments that they were simply renting equipment to customers instead of re-transmitting copyrighted material. Aereo’s use of thousands of tiny antennas each receiving an over-the-air signal did not sway the court.

The three-justice dissent was very skeptical of the majority’s decision (I guess this is often the case). Written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the opinion scoffed at the “looks-like-cable-TV” standard the majority used and accused the majority of putting together a “totality-of-the-circumstances test (which is not a test at all but merely assertion of an intent to perform test-free, ad hoc, case-by-case evaluation).” Justice Scalia basically argues that the Court is in a sense creating law: “It is not the role of this Court to identify and plug loopholes…[it is] the role of Congress to eliminate them if it wishes.”

The ruling effectively put Aereo out of business, or at least has them pausing their operations temporarily. However, Aereo does see some hope in the Supreme Court’s decision. Since Aereo is basically being called a cable company by the Court, maybe they should be treated the same as one and be allowed to keep operating if they pay the proper fees. Aereo did try its luck with the US Copyright Office and didn’t receive the warm response it was hoping for, but this argument is still to be heard in front of the court as the Supreme Court’s decision remanded the case back to a lower court. For now, all we can do is wait and see what will happen. My hope is Aereo is able to continue in some fashion so that we can see continued innovation and shake up in the traditional broadcast delivery methods.

 

 

Thinking About an IRA Rollover? You’re Running out of Time!

17/07/14 8:00 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

Are you thinking about rolling your Traditional IRAs from one financial institution to another? Or maybe you need a temporary loan for less than 60 days. Whatever the reason may be, beware, the rules have changed.

You have 60 days after the day on which you receive your distribution to complete a rollover of your traditional IRA to another IRA. The entire amount of distribution from your IRA is taxable at your ordinary income tax rate if the rollover is not completed timely. In addition, if you are under the age of 59 ½ when the distribution is made, the amount is subject to the 10% penalty.

There’s a one-year waiting rule for rollovers. Until December 31, 2014, you are permitted to make one nontaxable rollover in any 1-year period for each IRA account, meaning that after you distribute assets from your IRA and rollover any part of that amount, you cannot make another rollover from the IRA to another (or the same) IRA within one year.

For example, you have two IRAs – IRA1 and IRA 2 – and you make a tax-free rollover from IRA1 into a new IRA (IRA3). You cannot make another tax-tree rollover from IRA1 or from IRA3 into another IRA within one year. You could, however, roll IRA2 into any other IRA because you did not roll money in to or out of that account.

A late February 2014 Tax Court case (Bobrow, T.C. Memo, 2014-21) changed the one-year rule. The Tax Court ruled that the limit of one rollover per year applies on an aggregate basis not on an IRA-by IRA basis. The Internal Revenue Server announced that the new rule will not apply to any rollover that involves a distribution that occurs before January 1, 2015.

 

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