Banking & Loans

A Little Bit of Tax

It seems like every day brings new questions about the digital currency called bitcoin, which first appeared in 2009. Who is the shadowy "Satoshi Nakamoto" who created the currency's protocol and software? Who stole $450 million worth of bitcoin from the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox exchange? Who was the mystery buyer who used bitcoin to snag a $500,000 house on the Indonesian island of Bali?

Last week, the IRS solved a mystery by ruling on how bitcoin would be taxed, at least here in the United States. And their answer to that question may shoot a hole in bitcoin's hope to become more widely accepted.

What's in a Name?

In Shakespeare's most recognized tragedy, the star-crossed lover Juliet asks "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Now, that may have been true back in Juliet's day. But is it still true now in today's era of celebrity branding?

Here's the deal. Back in 2009, executors for the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, filed an estate tax return reporting the value of his assets at his death. Jackson had been famously extravagant during his life, blowing through hundreds of millions in earnings and borrowing hundreds of millions more. His 2,600-acre "Neverland" ranch in Santa Barbara that included two railroads, a petting zoo, and a Ferris wheel reportedly cost $2.5 million per month to maintain. He spent millions more on travel, entertainment, antiques, and paintings. And feeding "Bubbles," his pet chimpanzee, couldn't have been cheap, either.

Being Smart About Business Loans

Most businesses operate to some extent on borrowed money, but borrowing too much means you’re paying more in interest than you need to. Borrowing too little means you’re under financed and won’t have enough capital to accomplish what you want to do. That’s why you have to work out, as near as possible, just how much money you will really need, and when you’ll need it, before you talk to anyone about borrowing funds for your business. And of course you’ll also have to work out how to repay what you’re borrowing. Here’s a process for estimating your borrowing requirements.

Check your business plan

Start by taking a good look at your business plan. It should be an overall guide to both the amount you need to borrow and to the times when funds will be needed. And if you don’t have a business plan that tells you this kind of information, create one before going any further.

Ten Facts about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness

Yes, the economy is periodically showing some signs of improvement but it is clear the country has a long slow up hill climb ahead before most of us feel the worst is behind us. This is particularly true for families still struggling with what to do with their real estate mortgages when the value of their property is no where close to what they owe on it.

In these situations more and more property owners are finding it makes more sense to take the hit to their credit reports and walk away from the offending property and let the mortgage holder deal with the loss. Setting aside the ethical discussion surrounding this, if you do have mortgage debt forgiven you walk into a whole new complex tax arena. If you're not careful and plan appropriately

Building Your Loan Package

If you're ready to ask your bank for a business loan -- whether for a credit line or a term loan -- before you make your request be sure you have your ducks in a row. This is your chance to demonstrate to your banker that you're a sophisticated business person well worthy of the loan.

So, how can you help your loan process along? Make sure you have all the following documents and information ready to go.

Business profile. This document describes your business, including annual sales, number of employees, length of time in business, and ownership. A very important part of this profile is the professional resume of you, the owner.

Business plan. If you're a new business this document