Newsletter December 2016
PREMIUM LEGAL SERVICES WITHOUT THE BOSTON PREMIUM
This last month of the year always brings a variety of important events in our lives. A time when we make decisions about our financial and personal affairs.
Here at Baker, Braverman and Barbadoro, we celebrate another year of helping our clients achieve success in their legal affairs. We value every one of you, and wish you all the best during this Holiday Season.
Gene J. Guimond, Partner
Real Estate, Finance
End of Year Tax Tips for Small Business Owners
Buy Now: Take advantage of a federal tax break available for small businesses that spend between $2 million and $2.5 million on certain new or used office equipment, office
furniture, and standard off- the- shelf software. If this applies to you and your business, you may be able to deduct up to $500,000 of what you spend on such eligible equipment for your business in the 2016 tax year. To qualify for the deduction you must purchase or finance the equipment and put it into service before the last day of the year.
Start Saving: If you have not already done so, consider establishing an employer sponsored retirement plan for your employees (and yourself). Choose from various types of plans that are available for small business owners. Regardless of what type of plan you choose, the contributions that you as the business owner make for yourself and your employees can be tax deductible. You may also take advantage of credits available to small business owners to help offset the costs of setting up such plans. Some types of plans must be established before the end of 2016 for you to get any tax benefits with this year’s taxes. Still other types of plans allow you to set them up any time prior to the due date of your 2016 tax return (which is generally April of 2017) for you to realize tax benefits for 2016.
Think about Timing: Most small businesses are pass-through entities that use the cash method of accounting. If this applies to you, the timing of when you incur an expense or when you receive payment for goods or services can either cost you or save you when it comes to taxes. For example if this year’s profits were quite high and you expect next year’s to be lower, it may benefit you to delay payment if possible until after the first of the year, or to incur expenses before the end of the year. You can do this by delaying invoices or by pre-paying certain expenses. Conversely, this year may have been a low profit year and you expect next year to be more profitable. In that case you will want to accelerate payment where possible for goods or services, and delay expenses until after the first of the year.
Clean up: If you have old office equipment or furniture to donate or just want to make a cash donation, now is the time of the year to see how a charitable deduction may help you with respect to your income taxes. Keep in mind that a charitable deduction doesn’t apply just to cash gifts: you are also entitled to a charitable deduction for the fair market value of any other type of property you donate. You can find any number of organizations that will gladly take old office equipment, computers and furniture off your hands.
Plan Ahead: Now is the time to anticipate your tax bill for 2016. It may not be due for four more months but figuring out your tax liability now will give you the time to make sure you will have the cash flow necessary to make timely tax payments.
Brandi S. Cerasuolo, Esquire
Associate, Probate, Tax, Elder Law/Estate Planning
Telephone: (781) 848-9610
BBB in the Community
Our Giving Tree
Every year the firm takes on a charity for our Holiday Giving, and this year we will be participating in a Giving Tree
through Interfaith Social Services in Quincy.
Through this program, IFSS provided us with 18 children’s names, ages and the particular wish that each one has for a gift. Each participant at Baker, Braverman and Barbadoro selected a child for whom to buy a gift. We will take all of the gifts to the IFSS for wrapping and delivery to the children on December 15th.
“What I love best about selecting a child to buy gifts for The Giving Tree project, is knowing that I am helping keep the spirit of Christmas alive for a little
kid who might not otherwise have anything for Christmas,” said BBB Paralegal Christine LaRose. “By making it part of our firm’s commitment to help in the community, my gift becomes part of many more gifts for many more children.”
Preserving the Blue Hills
Attorney Kim Kroha (center) joins Friends of the Blue Hills Maile Panerio-Langer and Therese Joyce
at the ticket sales table at a recent fundraising event for the benefit of the Blue Hills Reservation.
We would like to recognize BBB Associate Kim Kroha for her recent part in helping the Friends of the Blue Hills (FBH) with their fundraising efforts. Kim assisted in acquiring donations for the organization’s Silent Auction to raise money to benefit the Blue Hills Reservation.
“I am very impressed with FBH’s mission to preserve, protect and maintain this great natural resource,” said Kim. “The Blue Hills actually touch five towns in the Greater Milton area, and more than a thousand people volunteer as members of the Friends.”
In fulfillment of its mission, the 1,000-member, non-profit Friends of the Blue Hills organization helps maintain the Reservation’s 125 miles of trails, control invasive plants that threaten endangered species, and advocate for policies that protect the park from inappropriate development. As a result of their volunteer efforts, they preserve and protect the Blue Hills Reservation‘s natural beauty, diverse natural habitats and many recreational opportunities.
We Salute You, Lawrence DiNardo
In marking November 11th as a day to honor our country’s veterans, we recognize and thank BB&B attorney Larry DiNardo for his long-time and continuing
service to his country.
In his current position as President (2016-2018) of the Association of First Corps of Cadets, Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence DiNardo, retired, presided over the
Corps’ celebration of its 275th birthday in October at its original “Castle” building on Arlington Street, Boston. In November, the Corps held its annual Greatest Generation Veteran’s Recognition event honoring twelve veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam, including one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen.
Larry enlisted in the ROTC program at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his commission as Quartermaster Officer in 1970. After completing Law School
at Penn, in 1974 he completed Officer Basic Training at Fort Lee Virginia, and joined the US Army Reserve. His assignment to the 195th Supply Company brought him to the Boston Army Base. After completing his Officer Advanced Course in the Judge Advocate Corps and earning a promotion to Captain, Larry was transferred to the 1170th US Army Transportation Unit, still in Boston, serving as the Judge Advocate Officer.
Upon graduation from the US Army Command and General Staff College and subsequent promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Larry served as Operations Officer. He was eventually transferred to the 1037th USAR School to serve as Operations Officer. Retiring from the US Army Reserve in 1996 with 26 years of service, Larry was presented with the Meritorious Service Medal. He has since served in the First Corps of Cadets.
Founded in 1741, this prestigious military organization boasts Quincy’s John Hancock as its most famous elected commander. Hancock led this unit during the
Revolutionary War, and it has since fought in all our country’s major conflicts and wars, including the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and all our Middle Eastern conflicts.
In Case You Missed the News …
Our Halloween Costume Drive Achieved Great Success!
Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro collect more
than 75 costumes to give to low-income families
Some of the BB&B Law Firm members who collected more than 75 Halloween costumes for children from low-income families include (kneeling, left to right): Amy Morin, Christine LaRose and Cyndi Norton; and (standing, left to right) Rob Hiltunen, Liz Caruso, Esq., Kim Kroha, Esq., Susan Molinari, Esq., Marilyn Wood, Kelley Condon, Melissa Simmons, Brandi Cerasuolo, Esq., Ana Gomez, and Chris Sullivan, Esq.
Three forms of Dispute Resolution in a Divorce:
Which One is Right for You?
When a dispute arises between divorcing parties and it appears that they cannot resolve it on their own, people often immediately think of hiring their separate attorneys and proclaim, “I’m taking you to court.” Court action, or litigation, may not only heighten
the contention between the parties, it may also protract the resolution – possibly for years.
Disputing parties may find that one of two alternative ways to resolve their differences – mediation or conciliation – give them a much more satisfying result achieved with considerably less stress and expense.
Fortunately for BBB clients, partner Lisa Bond has recently augmented her 14 years of family law experience and three years of work as a Certified Conciliator
with an additional Certification for Family Law Mediation.
“When I first talk to clients about resolving their legal disputes, I can give them a clear, neutral explanation of the differences between the three options,”
said Attorney Bond. “Then we weigh the pros and cons of each in the context of their particular dispute.”
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party – such as Attorney Bond — works to open and improve dialogue between the
parties in an effort to achieve an acceptable resolution.
Conciliation is similar to mediation in that the parties continue to work with a neutral party to reach a resolution, but they retain their separate attorneys
and there is typically litigation pending. Conciliators often provide an evaluation or opinion of the case, which may at times be shared with the Court. Mediations, on the other hand, are confidential and privileged.
Both conciliation and mediation offer the parties an opportunity to have a direct impact on the outcome of their case. Through either of these alternative
dispute resolution techniques, the parties, with the assistance of Attorney Bond, are able to craft an Agreement that addresses their specific needs and the specific needs of their families.
Given the overwhelming caseloads of the Probate Court, judges typically do not have the time or resources to draft orders that address individual circumstances
and needs, oftentimes leaving both parties feeling as though their voices have not been heard. In mediation and conciliation the parties drive the process, giving them the opportunity to be more creative, and to form an agreement that works best for them and their families.
“Mediation and conciliation are much less expensive than litigation, and they offer the parties the opportunity to decide their cases privately as opposed to
in open court, in public,” said Attorney Bond. “Of course in the rare cases that the parties cannot resolve the dispute by either of these alternatives, they still have the option of litigation.”
Important Reminders for 2016 – And a Look Forward to 2017
12/01/2016: Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Laws
went into effect on December 1st.
01/01/2017: Massachusetts Minimum Wage is increasing to $11.00
on January 1st.
02/01/2017: Actual real estate tax bills are mailed at the end
of December. Anyone looking to request an abatement must file an application with their local assessor by February 1st. If you have questions or need assistance in filing an application for abatement contact Paul Barbadoro or Susan Molinari.
03/01/2017: Non-Profits need to file their Form 3ABC with the Assessor
by March 1st for FY2018.
According to Associate Brandi Cerasuolo, inflation adjusted tax changes in the Tax Code for 2017 include:
Lunch & Learn Highlights Changes to the FLSA
The 15 clients who participated in our recent the Lunch & Learn held at our office seemed to agree that this format provided them with valuable, timely information
for their small businesses with respect to the changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Exemptions that just went into effect on December 1st.
“I attended the FLSA seminar and was pleased to hear more about the laws that were to go in to affect, have an opportunity to ask questions related to my company’s concerns, and hear questions and concerns from other companies,” said Nancy Stronach, Human Resources Manager at Columbus Global. “It was a great time to meet the team at Baker Braverman and Barbadoro and to network with other business people. I am looking forward to the next seminar.”
The presentation given by Senior Associates Theresa Barbadoro Koppanati and Susan Molinari highlighted the biggest change as the salary test, which increases the salary level for white collar exemptions to $913 per week — or $47,476 per year.
The salary threshold for highly compensated employees (HCEs) was also increased. The new rule raised the salary threshold for HCEs to $134,004 per year — and at least $913 per week.
“The increase in the white-collar exemption salary threshold is significant and can be difficult for many small businesses to achieve in order to keep employees
who would have otherwise met the criteria,” said Theresa. “For our small business clients, this could be a
substantial adjustment if they want to keep from paying overtime to previously exempt employees. If they get help from us early on, we can help them to transition smoothly.”
“The change in the law is a burden,” said Susan. “Business owners will either have to increase salaries of otherwise exempt employees, or if they cannot, they
will be faced with either adding more personnel to avoid paying overtime wages, or make the adjustment to paying more overtime wages.”
To read more about how this might impact your business, please read the previous FLSA article on our blog page.
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