Dennis Dachtler: 2013 Tax Change FAQs

 

Dennis Dachtler

Dennis Dachtler

Dennis Dachtler has been the President of Dachtler Wealth Management for 23 years. Through Dachtler Wealth Management, Dennis Dachtler assists clients with family wealth and retirement planning, investment advice and monitoring, and more. With many clients wondering about the tax changes proposed for 2013, Dennis Dachtler recently took some time to answer several issues about which Dachtler Wealth clients are concerned. Below, Dennis Dachtler addresses these questions about the changes to tax laws in 2013.

Q: Are these tax changes confirmed?

Dennis Dachtler: These are only proposed tax changes at this point and have not yet been passed into law.

Q: Why are there such big changes this year?

Dennis Dachtler: The Bush tax cuts are set to expire this year. Unless these cuts are extended, there will be some sweeping changes.

Q: What changes will there be in capital gains taxes?

Dennis Dachtler: The Bush tax cuts brought capital gains taxes down to their current rate of 15%. Once these tax cuts expire, taxes will return to pre-2001 rates of nearly 24%.

Q: What does this mean for the average taxpayer?

Dennis Dachtler: Well, the proposed legislation primarily impacts those who buy and sell real estate for profit. If someone buys a home for $100,000 and sells it for $150,000, the $50,000 earned from that sale would be taxed at 15%, at current rates.

Q: I hear the “top dividend tax rate” is increasing substantially. Who will this affect?

Dennis Dachtler: The top dividend tax, which is proposed to increase from 15% to 44%, targets income earned from certain investments. Currently this income is taxed under long-term capital gain rates but the proposal has that income being taxed as regular income.

Q: Tax brackets will increase on investment income as well. Please explain what this impacts.

Dennis Dachtler: This increase from 35% to 44% will affect short-term capital gains, interest, rental income, royalties, and annuities. Under the proposed tax increases, the cap on estate tax will go from five million dollars to one million dollars.

Q: What is this Medicare tax I keep hearing about?

Dennis Dachtler: This 3.8% Medicare tax will be levied on investment income, if passed. This tax will largely affect wealthier households.

Dennis Dachtler obtained a B.S. in marketing and communications before opening Dachtler Wealth Management. He currently lives in California with his wife and family.

 

 

Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely through Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC).  Member FINRA/SIPC.  AIC and Dachtler Wealth Management are not affiliated.  Additional products and services may be offered through Dennis Dachtler or Dachtler Wealth Management that are not offered through AIC. The opinions and views stated in this publication are solely those of Dennis Dachtler and should not in any way be considered to be an endorsement by Ameritas Investment Corp.

This is not an offer of securities in any jurisdiction, nor is it specifically directed to a resident of any jurisdiction. As with any security, request a prospectus from your Registered Representative. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.  A Representative from Dachtler Wealth Management will contact you to provide requested information.  Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation. Securities products are currently limited to residents of AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IN, KS, LA, MN, MO, NC, NE, NM, NV, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT & WA.

 

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Mendel Mintz Describes Chabad Community Center

 Mendel Mintz


Mendel Mintz

According to Rabbi Mendel Mintz, everyone wants a place where they feel welcome. For this reason, Rabbi Mintz leads the Chabad Jewish Community Center in Aspen with an openness that encourages Jews of all backgrounds to keep coming back. Recently, A Gathering of Experts blog staff spoke with Mendel Mintz about the center, which is located in Aspen, Colorado.

A Gathering of Experts: We understand that Chabad welcomes all, Jews and non Jews alike. Is it challenging to provide programs for both?

Mendel Mintz: Not at all. At Chabad, we try hard to celebrate the history and heritage of Judaism, rather than focusing on one particular aspect or belief.

A Gathering of Experts: Your programs are rooted in the “Ahavet Yisrael” doctrine. How does this impact your programs?

Mendel Mintz: When translated, “Ahavet Yisrael” means love for a fellow Jew. We strive to welcome everyone and make them feel a part of our community.

A Gathering of Experts: How do you avoid alienating some who may believe differently than other members?

Mendel Mintz: Our goal is to focus on fulfilling our members’ spiritual needs by providing programs and services that celebrate the Jewish tradition.

A Gathering of Experts: But your programs aren’t focused solely on the past…

Mendel Mintz: No, we try to provide a balance of Jewish history and tradition with modern-day Jewish techniques to provide each member with a well-rounded perspective.

A Gathering of Experts: Do I have to be a member to attend one of your classes or participate in one of your programs?

Mendel Mintz: All are invited to attend one or all of our programs without joining.

A Gathering of Experts: Are most of your members Orthodox Jews?

Mendel Mintz: Actually, it’s the opposite. Most if not all of our members are not Orthodox.

A Gathering of Experts: If someone isn’t Orthodox, will the Chabad Community Center try to convert them?

Mendel Mintz: No. Our goal is mainly to educate and celebrate the Jewish faith. We accept everyone who wants to join in learning more about Judaism.

A Gathering of Experts: Do you try to label different Jews and put them into categories?

Mendel Mintz: We believe that we’re all Jews with no reason to put people into groups. Chabad believes that labeling puts walls between different groups.

A Gathering of Experts: According to your website, Chabad’s parent organization is the Chabad World Headquarters, located in New York. Is this where you get your funding?

Mendel Mintz: When it comes to funding, we’re independent, with funding coming from within the Aspen community. That funding stays in Aspen, helping improve and strengthen the Jewish community in the area.

A Gathering of Experts: One last question. Are women well respected at Chabad?

Mendel Mintz: Yes, we work hard to uplift women, believing women are an integral part of the Jewish family.

Rabbi Mendel Mintz lives in Colorado, where he is executive director of Chabad Community Center in Aspen. As Mendel Mintz explains, Chabad Community Center is located on Main Street. For more information, visit them online at jccaspen.com.

 

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Bucket List Tips: Landing a Spot on a Reality Show

At one time, children dreamed of growing up to be movie stars and pop singers, but today the word ‘celebrity’ has much broader connotations. Twenty-somethings create audition tapes to land a spot on a reality show and find instant celebrity…at least until the next reality show airs and everyone forgets about it.

If your lifelong dream is to have a camera crew follow your every move, here are a few tips on getting that coveted spot on a reality show.

  • Think it through. Many people underestimate just how exposed they’ll feel. Not only will the cameras follow you, but your fellow show-mates will talk about you behind your back—with the results aired on national TV. The result can be humiliating, to say the least. Also, take a look at your life. Can you leave your job, family, and friends for several weeks to several months to do whatever show you’re contemplating?
  • Watch the show. You’ll have an edge if you do make it on the show by knowing how the show works. Carefully consider participating in a new show, keeping in mind that not all reality shows are “real.” You may get into a situation that’s scripted or, worse, heavily edited to make it appear as though things happened that didn’t.
  • Check the show’s website. Many reality shows have information on what it takes to get on the show. Some shows ask for video auditions, but these days, one of the best ways to get on a reality show is to attend a casting call. Keep in mind, these calls can attract thousands of people, so don’t feel overwhelmed when you get there.
  • Be unique. Before attending the audition, make sure you have a high-quality photo to present to the casting directors. While most reality shows feature their fair share of beautiful people, if you’ll watch the people that are usually chosen, you’ll notice there are usually unique qualities to each of them. Be yourself but present the side of yourself that makes you stand out from the thousands of other people.

Getting on a reality show is by no means easy, but if nothing else, showing up for the casting call will give you an interesting experience you can take with you.

 

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Kale Flagg on the Importance of Persistence Against Resistance

Kale Flagg

Kale Flagg

Kale Flagg has found that resistance is at its highest in the early days of a person’s career. Flagg compares it to a boat, sitting motionless in the middle of a lake. When a person pushes the throttle to full bore and it hits its highest speed, Kale Flagg points out that the boat is only at its fastest after it has gained some momentum. At maximum velocity the full weight of the boat is no longer in the water, and as the boat moves and rises out of the water, the resistance drops and the speed increases. Kale Flagg emphasizes that the same is true in a business.

Throughout his career, Kale Flagg has seen many innovators embarking on new careers. During the early days, people tend to offer opinions and resistance—often couching those opinions as being the devil’s advocate or simply wanting to help their friend avoid mistakes. Over time, as a person’s career gains momentum, that resistance begins to decrease. Everyone experiences resistance in the beginning, Kale Flagg points out, and there is no going around it. He advises people to simply push through the resistance, shoving that water away. According to Kale Flagg, people are merely testing you to determine how determined you are to moving that boat.

It is one thing to start your motor—i.e., talking about starting a new business venture. It is quite another to pick up the anchor and move your boat, sticking to it no matter what, Kale Flagg emphasizes. The people who are testing you are watching to see if you are so committed to your goals that you will move your boat even if no one follows.

As Kale Flagg has found, a person’s friends and family will be much more likely to follow if they believe you will pick up your anchor and move that boat whether they follow or not. People hate to be left behind, observes Kale Flagg, because it makes them feel as though they’re missing out on something.

Kale Flagg paints two scenarios. The first is one in which you are invited on a trip with close friends who are waiting to see if you will join them or not. The trip will be canceled if you don’t come along. In the second scenario, those friends are planning a trip but plan to go whether you go or not. You have no doubt that if you don’t go, they’ll still take the trip, Kale Flagg states. Most people would be more likely to go with the friends who plan to go with or without them. As Kale Flagg puts it, if no one is going without you, it’s far easier to cancel than if you know people will have a good time in your absence.

Why is that? Kale Flagg believes that it is because everyone hates to be left out. We all hate to be left behind. It’s this same feeling that has your friends and family going along with you on your business venture, Kale Flagg says. When you pull up that anchor and start up that boat, it’s hard for people to watch you take off without them.  So when you are starting a business that you want to succeed, don’t play at starting it, don’t think about starting it.  Go for it without looking back, and KNOW you will succeed, that there is no option but success.  That will turn the naysayers into believers—or at least leave them behind, eating your wake.

Kale Flagg currently serves as a General Partner in the American Redevelopment Fund, a real estate fund that specializes in redeveloping single family residences in California, Nevada and Arizona. Flagg graduated from Yale University, where he majored in economics.

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Says Direct Media Power, Complaints to Better Business Bureau a Good Gauge

Direct Media Power Complaints

Direct Media Power Complaints

According to Direct Media Power, complaints filed with the BBB are a good indicator of how trustworthy a business is. A company with a B rating or better is typically a safe bet. Here, this A rated firm discusses common questions about the Bureau and its rating system and advises consumers to thoroughly investigate any business they intend to patronize. 

How does the BBB complaint system work?

According to Direct Media Power, complaints are sent to the organization by consumers and they contact the firm in question. They are a third party with a neutral stance in all cases.

What disciplinary action does the BBB take when there is a report filed?

The Better Business Bureau does not take any disciplinary action. Says Direct Media Power, complaints are filed and the Bureau acts as a mediator between the two parties.

How much does it cost to open a case file with the BBB?

It is a free service from the non-profit organization. According to Direct Media Power, complaints can be filed free of charge and the Bureau provides their services to the business without costs as well. The only fees the BBB charges are for membership dues.

How does the BBB rate businesses?

There are a number of factors including length of time the business has been in operation and whether or not they provide complete information about themselves. Of course, points out Direct Media Power, complaints against the company are given heavy consideration if they go unresolved. Recommends Direct Media Power, complaints should be handled immediately or they can reflect negatively against the firm’s reputation.

Does the Better Business Bureau handle professional services grievances?

According to Direct Media Power, complaints about professionals such as attorneys and physicians are usually heard by their respective boards.

What about complaints that have been settled in court?

No, Direct Media Power notes complaints which have already been resolved through legal or other venues are considered closed cases. The customer may file a report with the BBB only if a new situation arises.

Are there good businesses with low BBB ratings?

Yes there are. As with all classification processes, a low rating does not necessarily mean bad service. For Instance, Direct Media Power says complaints about the Ritz Carlton Hotel are handled without BBB mediation and the Luxury Hotel chain has been known to get an F grade. Chef Wolfgang Puck has also bore the brunt of a bad BBB rating despite his well-known reputation for superior service, says Direct Media Power. Complaints over the years have cited the BBB as playing favoritism to its members in regards to its grading scale.

Does the BBB monitor for fraudulent companies?

No, says Direct Media Power. Complaints, however, may be a good indication of possible negative activity. If there are a number of unresolved complaints it could be advised to look elsewhere. According to Direct Media Power, complaints may lead to an investigation which could expose fraudulent activity.

Is the Better Business Bureau a government entity?

No, they are a private group with corporate offices in DC.

Does the BBB handle accredited member disputes differently than non-members?

The Bureau claims the only difference between paying and nonpaying members is the level of standards they are held to, says Direct Media Power. Complaints are handled in the same way regardless.

According to Direct Media Power, complaints are not the only factor that the BBB takes into consideration. The group also reminds consumers to expand their search and consider other sources of information if they are truly interested in becoming a customer of a firm with a low rating.

Direct Media Power is a pay-per-call radio advertising provider and is not affiliated with the Better Business Bureau. The information provided above is for education purposes only. For more information, contact Direct Media Power at 888.302.5557

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Joanna A. van der Vant on How to Design an Audit of Documents and Records

 

Joanna A. van der Vant

Joanna A. van der Vant

Joanna A. van der Vant is currently pursuing a Masters of accounting and finance with an emphasis on CPA studies. With an MBA and certification as a bookkeeper, Joanna A. van der Vant already knows the importance of regular auditing of a business’s financial processes. Below, Joanna A. van der Vant discusses how to audit documents and records.

Q: The first step to designing an audit process is understanding how it works. What documents and records do most businesses have?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Eight functions have been identified within the typical business cycle. Those are: processing customer orders, granting credit, shipping goods, billing customers and recording sales, processing and recording cash receipts, processing and recording sales returns, writing off uncollectible accounts, and providing for bad debts.

Q: What is the auditor looking for in customer billing and recording?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Each transaction should have billing for shipment, with amounts on the invoices accurate and no double billing.

Q: What about companies that do business overseas?

Joanna A. van der Vant: More companies are now doing business internationally. These transactions can often undergo more severe scrutiny than domestic transactions.

Q: Are cash receipts transaction logs and journals helpful?

Joanna A. van der Vant: For auditors, written transaction documentation of any kind can be very helpful. These logs tend to be increasingly more electronic these days.

Q: What methodology will an auditor use to audit my documents and records?

Joanna A. van der Vant: The auditor will note the internal controls for each item and determine if those controls are adequate to prevent risk.

Q: What are some examples of internal controls that would pass an audit test?

Joanna A. van der Vant: An auditor might look at who reconciles accounts each day. One key measure will be whether or not your business has an independent staff member do the reconciling to protect against internal fraud.

Q: What are auditors searching for when reviewing sales returns?

Joanna A. van der Vant: An auditor will review these similarly to the way he or she audits sales. It’s important to have adequate documentation.

Q: I know that auditors search for completeness in the auditing process. What does this mean?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Completeness refers to a transaction being followed through all the way to the end. If an auditor cannot trace a transaction to the end, it can signal a finding.

Q: What type of paperwork can I expect an auditor to ask for?

Joanna A. van der Vant: Receipts, journals, electronic records…all are compared against each other to find any duplicate entries or misinformation.

Q: How does an auditor search for theft of cash? Isn’t that hard to track?

Joanna A. van der Vant: The hardest cash theft to find actually happens before the transaction would have been recorded. Much of this theft has to be found by management watching the employee or having more than one person handle each transaction. For instance, one person could open the mail while the other recorded the cash.

Joanna A. van der Vant is responsible for SOL Property Management’s accounting department, where she handles accounts receivable and payable, among many other activities. A member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, Joanna A. van der Vant is also a licensed managing broker.

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Phil Melugin Discusses Phoenix Home Care

 Phil Melugin


Phil Melugin

Through the years, Phil Melugin has received countless letter and emails with questions about Phoenix Home Care’s lineup of services. Here, he speaks to some of the most common inquiries about the group’s mission, leadership, and beginnings.

What is Phoenix Home Care’s mission?

Phil Melugin says that Phoenix Home Care was developed as a means to help aging or disabled Americans improve their quality of life. Simply put, Phil Melugin believes that these challenges should be met with grace, dignity, and assistance. He has acquired a caring staff of passionate and capable individuals who take pride in caring for those who cannot care for themselves.

Why is the company called Phoenix Home Care when it is not located in Arizona?

According to Phil Melugin, Phoenix Home Care is the namesake of the mythical bird known as the Phoenix. Historically, this bird represents rebirth and celebrates endings as new beginnings.

Aside from Private Duty Nursing, what other services does Phoenix Home Care offer?

There are many, explains Phil Melugin. PHC offers a vast array of services for most any situation. Phil Melugin says that PHC provides occupational therapy, IV infusion treatments, and wound care. In addition to these medical care options, Phoenix Home Care is also available to perform in-home safety evaluations and has a dedicated Medical Social Work team.

Does PHC offer services to children?

Absolutely, says Phil Melugin.  He believes that children deserve extra special care. Melugin and the leadership team at PHC take great care to extensively select and train only the most qualified and compassionate PDNs for their pediatric division. Phil Melugin explains that PHC has the capability to care for children with special needs from infancy into adulthood.

What is the New Beginnings Package?

Phil Melugin has seen first-hand the physical and mental challenges that bringing a new life into the world can have on both new and experienced mothers. With the help of the moms in his life, he has crafted five different plans specifically for mother and child. These plans are the perfect gift for any woman and child, says Phil Melugin.

Does PHC offer emergency care services?

According to Phil Melugin, PHC does offer respite care to families in their service area. Emergency relief services may be utilized when regular care is absent for any reason. Phil Melugin also explains that regular visits may be scheduled to offer time off for a regular caregiver.

Is Phoenix Home Care available to help with self-directed services?

Currently, PHC is able to assist Missouri residents find suitable personal care attendants. PHC acts in an administrative only capacity and the caregiver is the employee of the recipient, says Phil Melugin.

About Phil Melugin

Phil Melugin is the President of Phoenix Home Care. He founded the company after personal experiences led him to believe that more effective PDN care was needed in his home state. Melugin believes that exceeding expectations is the only way to serve his clients and is proud to provide services to patients in both Kansas and Missouri. Phil Melugin holds a Masters of Education and operates his firm with strict core values and Christian principals.

 

 

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