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Los Gatos California Legal Blog

Income taxes and legal help

Whether you have a business, a corporation or just own a lot of property and real estate, taxes can be "taxing." Yes, that is a play on words, but a truthful play on words. Keeping up with everything that is needed to ensure you are legal when it comes to paying or filing taxes can be stressful.

First, you have to have your documents organized; that means keeping track of your statements, receipts, copies of repairs, payroll and any other necessary documents. If you don't already have a fulltime bookkeeper, you may wish you did.

What happens when a business contract is breached?

Business contracts between two parties are meant to be binding. They are contractual agreements defining the obligations to be fulfilled by each party. Unfortunately, there are times when things happen that prevent a party from carrying out his or her portion of a contract.

When this happens, it is considered a breach of contract. Depending on the severity or importance of the breach, it can be considered "material" or "immaterial." These classifications of a breach determine what type of legal action needs to be taken to make things right.

Estate planning: Where do I start?

Preserving what we own for our heirs is important for most people. That is why estate planning is not a task that should be put off. But where do we start?

Here are some tips that can help you get started:

  1. Do an inventory of what you own. Write it down in two categories: tangible and intangible. Tangible items will include homes, property, vehicles, collectibles and other personal possessions. Intangibles will include things such as bank accounts (checking and savings), stocks, bonds, insurance policies, pension plans, 401(k) plans and IRAs.
  2. Place a value on your inventoried items. If you don't have a solid value, think of how your heirs would value them. This will help when planning equitable distribution.
  3. Consider your family, heirs and friends. Do you have children who will need a guardian assigned? Do you need a trustee or executor for your will? Select who will be involved in making decisions for you. Also select who should inherit the items from your inventory list.
  4. Establish a health care directive. This may also be called a living will or an advanced care directive. It is a document that states your medical preferences and names a trusted source to make medical decisions for you in case you are incapacitated.
  5. Select someone who you can designate as a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney for you. You can have "limited" power of attorneys if there are certain decisions you want to set boundaries on.
  6. Review beneficiaries on all insurance policies, retirement plans or similar documents. It is a good idea to set a future appointment with yourself to do this yearly, such as your birthday or the day after New Year's Day. Life changes and so do the people around us.

Why tax audits shouldn't be scary

The words "tax audit" put some people into a panic state. If you are an honest person and have nothing to hide, what is so scary? You might be thinking, "What if they find something I missed, or forgot, or did incorrectly?"

Believe it or not, most tax audits are not nearly as bad as most people think. To begin with, not very many tax returns are selected for an audit -- less than 1 percent. Second, there are three different kinds of audits: a mail audit, office audit and field audit.

A guide to quarterly tax filing for the self employed

Most people agree: filing taxes is complicated. Back when you worked for Corporate America, it wasn’t too bad. Your employer sent you your W-2, you copied that information over to your 1040, and most of the math was done for you.

Then you took the leap. You started your own business, and now you’re your own boss. Good for you! But now you have to grapple with the enigmatic task of filing your taxes as a self-employed person. What are you in for?

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