Legal Resources

Taxes: These Basics are for Everyone

Understanding how our tax system works can be tricky for anyone. Whether you’re an adult who never paid much attention to the taxes being withheld from your paycheck or a kid who just got his or her first job, understanding the basics can help refine and define questions you may have. Many schools don’t teach these tax lessons. This results in many people entering life with a pretty incomplete picture of how taxes work, unless someone

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Building a Fortress Balance Sheet

The best way to weather a storm is often by being prepared before the storm hits. In the case of small businesses, this means building a fortress balance sheet. What is a fortress balance sheet? This long-standing idea means taking steps to make your balance sheet shockproof by building liquidity. Like a frontier outpost or an ancient walled city, businesses that prepare for a siege—in the form of a recession, natural disaster, pandemic, or adverse regulatory

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Helping Your Fellow Business Owner

Your firm survived 2020. Now you may be asking yourself when will the economy return to pre-pandemic levels? Will it be this fall? A year from now? Longer? Until the economy fully emerges from the pandemic, small businesses can help one another stay afloat. By collaborating with other like-minded firms, your business can find creative ways to strengthen local markets and encourage consumer loyalty. Consider the following ideas of how you can help each other: Partner

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Tax History Trivia!

With the IRS moving tax day back for all U.S. filers for the second time in as many years, it’s time once again for a fun diversion by looking back at tax history! Test your tax knowledge using these questions to stump your friends and family. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln enacted a flat tax on wages above $800 to help pay for the Civil War. What was the tax rate? 3% 5% 12% 17% a.

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Home Improvement Contracts: What Does Prompt Payment Mean?

Believing Before Seeing? How You Can Handle Home Improvement Contractor Payment Disputes Home Is Where the Legal Liability Is As the old saying goes, a man’s home is his castle—or a woman’s home is her castle, as the case may be. A home is also the largest single investment most of us will ever make and the most valuable asset we will ever own. What goes on in our homes is uniquely our choice, but also

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Tips for DIY home remodeling projects

As people spend more time at home, DIY projects are on the rise. But even if you’re trying your hand at doing it yourself, you need to meet certain local requirements. A permit for any remodeling project is issued by the local building department. If you’re doing the work on your own, you should request the permit. If you’ve hired a contractor, they should request it as they are responsible for compliance. Whether you need a

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Is title theft cause for concern?

You may have heard advertisements warning you that thieves can steal your home by forging your name on a deed. Purportedly, these bad actors can then resell the property or take out a mortgage loan to drain the equity and “stick” you with the mortgage payments. In such cases, the forger hasn’t actually acquired the rights to your property. It’s more like a case of identity theft in which the fraudster can subsequently fool someone into

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Landlord and tenant rights in bankruptcy

As of press time, the CDC had barred residential landlords from evicting most tenants through December 31, 2020. Other eviction bans may apply in your situation, and it’s possible the federal ban could be extended. However, the rules will inevitably expire, and there are several important things tenants and landlords need to know about their rights. Over the course of the pandemic, many landlords and tenants have had to address rental shortfalls. Some renters, unable to

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Emerging law protects inherited property

When a property owner dies without a will, the real estate passes to his or her heirs as tenants in common. This is known as “heirs’ property.” If one of these tenants wants to sell but the others won’t agree, a tenant can file a partition lawsuit to force a sale of the property in its entirety. Property advocates say land speculators obtain a share of an heirs’ property for the purpose of forcing a sale

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‘Renter’s Choice’ laws gaining steam

In October, the Atlanta City Council unanimously approved legislation that would allow tenants to pay their security deposit in installments, or purchase security deposit insurance, in lieu of an up-front cash payment. Atlanta is the second city to pass this type of “Renter’s Choice” law, following Cincinnati in January 2020. More could be coming. Landlords typically require security deposits, usually equal to one- or two-months’ rent, when new tenants sign a lease. The deposit is returned

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