Hottest Web Designing Trends Of 2017 Explored

Just a few days back, we actually came across a question (posted on a forum) regarding the eventual death of web design. Much as we couldn’t gauge why such a question had actually cropped up, we were not even interested in finding out details because of one simple reason – we were more excited to find out what web designing actually has in store in 2017.

Let us tell you that 2017 is going to be a great year for designing and development and today we will walk you through the trends that are going to evolve and become stronger this year. Let us read on to explore further.

Parallax is coming with custom graphics: It’s going to be a great combination

Parallax is going to get stronger with custom graphics. As we all know by now, Parallax enjoys a desirable position in the web designing sphere – thanks to the fresh elements added by it. One of the main reasons why this trend has tasted success is because it allows visitors to pay attention to every stroll. In 2017, expect parallax designs to be backed by custom graphics, complete with the high-resolution screens, retina speed and faster internet connection. Users can enjoy one of the hottest web design trends -i.e. graphics – expected to do away with the minor flaws of parallax. Will Lazy Load continue to be prominent?

Lazy load is one attribute which, it is believed, helps websites to load faster. 2017 in all probability is going to witness improved lazy load functionality when the site images will load even before the viewport appears on your screen. As of now, visitors have to wait for a certain amount of time before the images load properly. In 2017, we are definitely expecting this problem to be done away with.

The rise and rise of flat designs

Flat designs are definitely going to stick around and make their presence felt. Imagine how designers were busy demonstrating their complicated web skills by filling up websites with flashy animations and illustrations. Flat designs stand for simplistic renderings of your designing skills. Simple websites, time and again, have won the battle against their complex counterparts by virtue of being more Google-friendly. They load faster and can easily be comprehended by Google and other search engines. On the other hand, complex sites with an overdose of flashy animations might not even be recognized for the most used keywords simply because Google is unable to recognize flash at present. It is important to use flash within limited spaces. 2017 is definitely going to witness the rise of flat aka more simplistic web designs. Make sure the website designing company hired by you is well aware of the aforementioned trends in order to serve you in the right fashion. In order to be completely sure of the credentials of the designer, make sure you are reading reviews and seeking personal recommendations from peers. While interviewing several designers ask them how much they know about the latest trends in web designing. Keep 2017 in mind while judging answers.

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SEO Tactics That Need to Be Considered

The year is close to the end and SEO consultants are already debating over the strategies and tactics that needs to be followed in the coming year 2017. Several has already researched and published several things and here are we. We have researched and compared several activities to identify which will work and where we did general silly mistakes.

After a clear indication and detailed research, we have identified few tactics that will definitely work in the coming year. Several had already in the marathon & performing much better and few are new (actually not new, but generally misguided prior).

According to the research, traditional approach of “off-page activities” and “on-page activities” will definitely work with few ideological changes. Lets discuss in detail:

On-site SEO Tactics (On-page activities)

To get ready to face hurdles in 2017, SEO Specialists should work first on On-site SEO Tactics. On-site SEO means the work done on the own website instead of other’s. From site structure to website speed, it incorporates several factors, such as-

 

  • UI and Navigation – Great UI always leads to the conversions, user interaction and better impressions. While clear navigation helps to improve visit duration of an individual user. Included in it, they are an essential elements to get rank and get authorized by several active users and webmasters. Use easy navigational formats, proper context placement, elegant web design, etc. to provide better user experience.
  • Site Architecture – A proper architectural design will definitely lead to the ranking and also impact on user experience. While at the different side, it will help to recognize user behavior as well. Site Architecture promises to the proper alignment, proper placement of context and a clearer look. Follow standards of web design, include high level graphics, relevant videos, error-free content, and things to improve user click behavior.
  • Site Interlinking – Interlinking plays a vital role in site ranking. As it leads a user to different pages on the same website and shares the link juice to others, it helps to improve page rank as well as the keyword impressions on Google. Use proper linking structure and anchor on relevant keyword to relevant web page to get noticed by Google crawlers.
  • Site Speed and Crawl ability – Faster loading enhances user experience and help a website to hold users for more duration. To make your website faster on browsers just minify your CSS and JS file and enable the compression of your resources. Even you should work on caching functionality, which amazingly improves crawl speed.
  • Mobile Responsiveness – It is the most essential element to rank well on mobile devices and get higher rate of user interaction. Google has already announced the necessity of responsiveness in its previous update – Mobilegeddon. So, adopt responsive layouts to rank well on search engine’s SERP for both desktop searches and mobile searches.
  • Schema Markup – To identify things accurately, we need few markups that define what it is, why it’s used, who own it, etc. Similarly, search engines also needed few markups to identify site’s elements. That’s why Google itself created Schema Markups that defines the author, title, logo, and several other elements in a website. It helps to index accurately and return back for the accurate search queries.
  • Local Identity Markup – As per Google’s Pigeon update, it’s essential to include Local NAP (Name, Address, Phone no) to get ranked high for local results. This markup results much better for the geocentric searches. So, include your local identity and get ranked better in 2017.
  • Include Authorize trust signals – Authorized websites will get some betterment in the SERP, as they reveal their trust signals. Their trust signals can be their partner’s logo, their SSL certificate, their trademark, etc. So, include trust signals to get user’s trust, this is essential in the near future.

Off-site SEO Tactics (Off-page activities)

On a parallel side, expert digital marketers needed to work on Off-site SEO tactics to create a better presence on search engines. By making authentic, relevant and themed links, we can face the hurdles and overcome from the obstacles in the coming year. Let’s discuss the major off-page activities that will lead in 2017:

 

  • Authentic Link Building – Authenticity comes first when we talk about user trust. Even for the search engine crawlers, authentic link building makes a website trustworthy and helps to improve impressions on a search engine. So, try to get better outbound links from.edu or.org websites or from highly ranked (high DA, PA and PR websites).
  • Content Marketing – Content appears as one of the most important factor in SEO and used as a lead tactic in off-page optimization. From traditional activities to the modern assignments, content used everywhere. But not ordinary, having creative, unique and effective content is essential for better impressions on search engines and it affects the user behavior as well. So, use relevant, grammar-free, unique, expressive and out of the box content for your SEO campaigns in 2017.
  • Authorize Guest Networking – The term networking will impact negatively for the crawlers and because of that, Google somehow didn’t recognize Guest networking for ranking. But if it used in a positive aspect, guest blog networking will impact much better. As they are highly relevant, most authentic and user centric, so, they directly lead more users to a website.
  • Keyword Optimization – Every strategy begins with the selection of relevant keywords, who takes the lead and makes a website visible in SERP for different search queries. Proper placement of keywords in a content (i.e. Keyword Density) and the proximity are essential to get benefited through selected keywords. So, use highly relevant keywords, keep focus on density and proximity, use them in headings and title, etc.
  • Local Listing for all – As per Google’s Pegion Update, local results will completely influence by local listings, NAP and local keywords. By doing local directory submissions, local citation, classifieds on local portals and promotions using local keywords will improve the rank for local searches. So, try to involve GEO specific keywords and local listings in your strategy for 2017 SEO.
  • Active Blogging – Be active to make your promotions worthy. As content marketing is an essential tactic of promotions, blogging is another way of content marketing. On your own blog, company’s blog or on other’s relevant blogs, continual blogging will improve your impressions. So, actively write informative, effective and relevant content for blogging purpose.
  • Themed Linking – In 2017, try to focus on thematic linking, as it shows more relevant and attract targeted audience. Themed linking simply means to the conceptual back linking or getting backlinks from similar concept websites. So, try to search relevant and similar theme sites through competitor analysis, backlink check or searching Google for similar content and place your backlink there.
  • Link Reclamation – Another technique that will give assurance for the better results. Reclamation simply means to recreate broken links by making them revive. For that you can search broken links on highly authorized websites such as Wikipedia, and target relevant thematic content towards your own website. So rebuild your authenticity by using link reclamation in 2017.
  • Client Testimonials/Reviews – Recommendation always improves user trust as well as the Google’s. By asking client testimonials and reviews (obviously positive) on different portals, such as Google business page, Facebook Page, Glassdoor and others, will enhance the ranks and impressions. So, ask positive reviews and testimonials from clients to rank well in 2017.
  • Improve Visual Content Engagement – Text only content can’t make you enhance your user stay on the website. As it somehow makes them bore and ruin their experience. Even no-one has time to read huge content. So, try to involve expressive and engaging visual content such as graphics, images, videos, animations, etc. to improve user engagement and to reduce bounce rate.

 

Social Networking Tactics (Social Signals)

Previously, these are known as a part of “Off-Page Tactics”, but now they have an individual preference and an impact on ranking and impressions on search engines. As a recommended tactic, these signals also consider to make conversions and direct connection. So, that’s require to keep your faith and focus over social signals and work on its elements, such as-

 

  • Social Activeness – Be active on social networks to create a recognized identity. A post on a daily basis can help you to transform your business page into a brand and aware relevant audience about your services, products and features.
  • Improve circle/Friend list of relevant fields – Be clear about the audience before selecting one as a friend on your business account. As it is solely for promotions and conversions and somehow work as a showcase, but only for the relevant one. So improve your friend list with most relevant users, which can help you to generate more pennies in less promotion.
  • Enhance Network – Along with the enhancement in friends, that’s also essential to be a part of different, but relevant communities and groups. It will help you to enhance your reach in the same industry and improve the chance of conversions.
  • Active Blogging on Social Networks – As an emerging platform, social networks are the perfect place to do blogging. As they guarantee about the self promotion and highest reach on a single post, they also assured you about more user interaction. Even the content placed on social platforms such as – Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc. will get high authority and index sooner.
  • Ask for Social Reviews – Social networks worth a lot to make your business a brand. So, be active on it to be always identified, authorized and recognized by several. Even, never leave a single day without interacting, sharing your thought and asking your circle for the reviews. As these are much appreciated way to get ranked on search engines.

Analytics and rapid check (crosscheck activities)

Google used to change its search algorithms on a regular basis (several times in a single year), which caused for the failure of several tactics and also amazingly improve few ones. In those changes some are seriously the giants such as previous – Panda, Penguin,

So, it’s an essential thing to cross check the work by keeping eyes on a few things, such as-

 

  • Google Tool Analysis – As an SEO consultant, we are used to with these tools and connected with them regularly. Even these are essential to calculate traffic and to analyze site errors. Moreover, that tools like Google Analytics and webmasters can be utilized to improve the site’s crawl ability, sitemap indexing, user behavior, manual penalties, and much more.
  • In-Page Analysis – To identify user’s behavior on a single page, we generally use In-Page Google Analytics tools. This clears out the user flow, means on which direction user reads the content and interacts with which context more. With a clear percentage, we can analyze the context worth and according to that we can modify our context.
  • Performance Measurement – To identify the worth of work, we need to do performance measurement on a regular basis. It includes backlink checking, broken link checking, 404 checking, link error checking, authority checking, etc. By the rapid checkup, we can make ourselves assure about the results and it will help us to prepare further strategies.
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Unlike Last Season, Early Schedule Will Challenge Cubs In 2017

The celebration has ended, the 108 year drought is over, and baseball on Chicago’s North Side should return to normal. In other words, fans of the Cubs can go back to worrying.

Several big concerns face them as they look toward the 2017 season, in addition to the nearly impossible task of topping the World Series Championship they earned in October. No team has won the Fall Classic back to back in this century, although a much shorter span than the Cubs endured between titles.

That trip to the World Series was made easier by the early schedule, an arrangement the Cubs will not enjoy next April. Chicago did not play a winning team until April 18 against the Cardinals, which was their fifth series of the season. The Cubs did not play another winning team until May 2, when they played the Pirates. Spending the first month against the likes of Cincinnati, Arizona, Atlanta, and Milwaukee would provide nearly any team with the confidence needed to carry them through the most important stretch of the season. To emphasize just how important a hot start is, examine the National League from last season.

All four of the teams who reached the Division Series posted winning percentages over.700 during the first week of 2016, led by the Cubs and Nationals winning eight of their first nine games. The Giants were victorious in six of their first eight, and the Dodgers won seven of their first ten.

The advantage of opening against non-contenders will not be available to the Cubs in 2017, when the early part of their schedule features matchups against the only two teams that had winning records against Chicago last year. They open in St. Louis on April 2nd, a Sunday night game between the two rivals that will be broadcast on national television.

What could make that initial series even more troubling for the Cubs is the strong possibility that one of their most exciting players from last year will be playing for the opposing team. Center fielder Dexter Fowler, Chicago’s spark plug at the top of the batting order, is a free agent. Many baseball writers have projected St. Louis as the most likely team to sign Fowler. After the series in St. Louis, the Cubs must play the team that nearly eliminated them in the NLCS. The Dodgers, who won both of their regular season series against the Cubs in 2016, have the opportunity to avenge their playoff loss on the opening weekend in April.

The hot start Chicago used to build momentum for their World Series run last year is far less likely to befall them in 2017, simply because of the competition. Instead of opening against last place clubs like San Diego and Cincinnati, the Cubs will be tested right out of the chute by teams expecting to be contenders.

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Are Your Prepared for These Year End Income Tax Issues?

Over the course of the year, I’m sure you’ve noticed the ridiculous way our Congress has acted to update our tax laws. By including tax code provisions in a highway bill, a mass transit bill, and a trade package bill- plus within the Bipartisan Budget Act and the PATH (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) Acts. (Those last two were, indeed, logical places to regulate taxes.)

There is a chance that the lame duck Congressional session may act on some tax regulations, but given that these folks work about 1 day a week- and then complain how many lazy folks are out across the US not entering the workforce (that is the pot calling the kettle black)- I am not sanguine they will. So, unless they do- this will be the last year that mortgage insurance will be deductible and foreclosed home debt will not be a taxable situation, among a few other items that expire this calendar year.

But, I figured it would be helpful if I combined all these changes into a coherent mass (which our legislators clearly have not), so you can be prepared for the 2016 tax season. (Remember, you file your taxes for 2016 by April 2017. Oh- and if you are a business, the odds are the date your taxes are due, also changed. More on that below.)

Students and Teachers (PATH Act provisions)

Students got a permanent change for deductibility of tuition via the American Opportunity Tax Credit. This provides up to $ 2500 of tax credit for lower-income filers for the first four years of higher education (with a possibility of 40% of the unused credit being received as a refund- if no other taxes are owed). As long as the students are enrolled at least half time for one term of the year and not convicted of drug violations. The real change is that filers must include the EIN of the college or university involved- and demonstrate that they paid the tuition and fees they claim- not what the institutions may list on the 1098-T form.

On the other hand, the tuition deduction for other students will expire at the end of this year. Oh, and that generous (sic) deduction teachers get for buying supplies for their students that schools don’t supply is now permanent- all $ 250 of it. (Most teachers spend at least twice that!)

Pensions and IRA

Folks older than 70.5 years of age no longer have to rush to transfer their IRA (or portions thereof) to charity, because that provision is permanent. (PATH) Please note that the IRS demands that these transfers not be rollovers. One must employ a trustee to transfer the funds; and that trustee cannot hand you the funds to deliver to the charity. If they do, you lose the exemption. No surprises I am sure when I remind you that there must be a contemporaneous acknowledgement (that means a timely receipt) from the charity for that deductible donation or transfer.

Heirs and Estates

While still in the wrong venue, the Highway Bill did fix a big problem. Folks (or entities) that inherit assets from an estate are now required to use the basis filed in the 706 form for their own calculations. (Just so you know, the rules stipulate that estates can value items as per the date of death, or by alternate choice 9 months after that date. Too many “cheaters” would use a different basis for the property they inherited, thereby cheating the tax authorities with alternative valuations.)

To keep this rule in place, executors are now required to stipulate (i.e., file for 8971 and Schedule A of the 706) said value to all heirs and to the IRS. Which means anyone who inherits property- and thought they didn’t need to file Form 706 because the value of the estate was below the threshold for Estate Tax better reconsider. Otherwise, the heirs may be hit with a penalty for using the wrong basis for that inherited asset when they dispose of same.

Why? Because if a 706 form is never filed, the basis of all assets inherited is now defined as ZERO!!!!! It gets worse. Because if an asset were omitted from Form 706, the basis of that property is now determined to also be ZERO. (Unless the statute of limitations is still opened, when an Amended 706 can be filed to correct this omission.)

Another kicker. If the 706 form is filed LATE, the basis of all assets that should have been included are also set at ZERO. Some tax advisors feel this one little provision could be challenged in court. But, let’s just be prudent and file all those 706 Estate Tax returns in a timely fashion. (Filing a 706 when the estate value is below the filing threshold is called a Protective 706 Filing; we’ve been doing those for years. And, we strenuously examine the assets often to the consternation of the heirs- to ensure that all the non-worthless assets are included. You know, that 36 diamond tennis bracelet your grandma promised you would inherit when you turned 16.)

Oh, yeah. Another really big kicker for this little item. Under IRC 6501, the IRS has three years to catch cheaters who misstate certain items (like income taxes [except for continuing fraud], employment taxes, excise taxes, and for this provision- estate taxes and the results therefrom). No more. If an asset from an estate is misstated so that it can affect more than 25% of the gross income on a tax return will now have a SIX year statute of limitation.

Mileage Rates

Not surprisingly, the mileage rates for 2016 are lower than they were last year. Business mileage is now deducted as 54 cents a mile; driving for reasons that are medical or moving are only worth 19 cents each. When we drive to help a charity, we only get 14 cents a mile.

As is normally true, we have no clue what those rates will be for 2017. The IRS normally prepares those well into the calendar year.

Real Estate

The PATH ACT made permanent the ability of taxpayers to contribute real property to qualified conservation charities.

Health and Health Insurance

The Highway Bill (yup) came up with a bouquet of flowers for our veterans and folks currently serving in the military. No longer will they be unable to contribute or use HSA (Health Savings Accounts) should they receive VA or armed service benefits. Along that same vein, the Highway Bill enabled all those who purchase- or are provided by their employers- high deductible insurances (about $ 1500 for a single person) to use HSAs, too.

Oh, and assuming Obamacare is not overturned, there is a permanent exemption from penalties for those receiving VA or TriCare Health Benefits. (For employers, the Highway Bill also exempts all such employees from being included in determining the 50 employee (full-time or equivalent) threshold provisions.)

Employers

There were more than a few changes for employers. More than the exemption for the VA and armed service personnel from inclusion in Obamacare provisions mentioned above.

Like ALL 1099s and W-2 are now due by 31 January. That’s a big change for many folks who barely get their stuff together to file 1099’s. It means that companies need to contact their tax professionals really early- to let them verify that all relevant contractors and consultants receive those 1099s on time. Because the penalties have also increased.

The Work Opportunity Credit has been extended through 2019. This applies to Veterans (which is why you keep hearing Comcast advertising its commitment to hire some 10,000 veterans over the next few years- they’re no dummies). Other targeted groups include what are termed those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), SNAP (what used to be termed Food Stamp) recipients, ex-felons, and some of those living in “empowerment zones”.

Families and Individuals

The PATH ACt made the enhanced child tax credit (up to $ 1000, income dependent) a permanent provision of the code. As well as the Earned Income Tax Credit provisions that were to expire.

Social Security taxes are not going up per se- but the income basis upon which one pays them is. For the last two years, there was a tax holiday for all wage income (or self-employed income) that exceeded $ 118,500. Next year (2017), the taxes will be collected for totals of up to $ 127,200.

If an employee is working overseas and has income and/or a housing allowance, the exclusion provisions have also changed. For 2016, foreign income of $ 101,300 could be excluded from taxation, as could housing benefits that were $ 16,208 or less. Starting 2017, those exclusions become $ 102,100 and $ 16,336, respectively.

There also is further clarification of these foreign exclusions. In particular, these will affect those in the merchant marine or working aboard cruise lines. Because the IRS now holds that when one is in a foreign port, then one is able to claim foreign income. But… when someone operates in international waters, that is NOT a foreign country. That income must be computed (by the number of days one is on said waters) and is not excludable!

Individuals, Businesses, Trusts, Non-Profits that have Foreign Accounts

Some big changes affect those who must file those FBARs (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts). It used to be you had to report any holdings in a bank, stock account, commodities or future accounts, mutual funds, or [pay attention to this one] poker, gambling or gaming site account that was not a US domicile by 30 June. (This also means a foreign insurance policy that has a cash value or foreign retirement accounts [including inheritances] is a foreign account.) It also covers recent immigrants to the US! These filings are due at the same time as your income tax return. But, while there never was an extension possible for these forms, now there is – for the same six months that obtains for your personal tax filings.

A foreign account does not mean that using the Royal Bank of Scotland to house funds in New York City; but having a Citicorp account that is based in Jerusalem or London does. The critical consideration is where the local branch is situated, where the account was opened. By the way, accessing foreign funds via PayPal means you have a foreign account.

The FBAR filing uses Form 114 and must be now filed electronically. The requirement to file applies to all taxable entities (individuals and businesses) that have $ 10,000 or more of value on any given day during the tax year. And, the conversion rate for said value is no longer allowed to be daily- but determined by the value on the last day of the tax year.

There is a new interpretation, too. The requirement to file applies not just to the account owner(s), but to anyone with signature authority. So, that means people like me that maintain client accounts overseas will now have to file these forms, because I can issue checks on those accounts. (I am not responsible for about 100 of them where I write the checks for the clients- but have no signature authority.) It also means employees of corporations or businesses or estates that have foreign funds and have signature authority must also file Form 114.

All business entities (and trusts and non-profits) should recognize that all entities – and individuals who work for or at those entities- that have signature authority for a foreign bank account, stock account, gaming or gambling account are subject to these provisions. In other words, all foreign money holdings may subject employees, not just officers of the institutions, to these provisions.

Oh. The IRS also requires those foreign entities where you may or may not have money to file Form 8938, a FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) filing. This covers those financial accounts, stocks, securities, contracts, interests- anything that exceeds the filing threshold. These rules also apply to American entities (individuals, businesses, trusts, etc. that have such interests in excess of the filing threshold! (If one resides in the US, those thresholds are $ 50K for individuals, $ 75$ for married folks on the last day of the year- or $ 100K and $ 150K at any time during the tax year. Those numbers increase by a factor of 4 if one doesn’t reside in the US; the thresholds are $ 200K, $ 300K, $ 400K, and $ 600K, respectively.)

Businesses

The PATH Act changed the 179 (the capital purchases write-off provisions) Election. For good. The maximum Section 179 write-off is now permanent. (It had been extended for a year or two each time Congress had made a change for a while.) That maximum is also to be adjusted for inflation starting this year, which is why it is now $ 510,000. Moreover, there is a phaseout when the amount of new capitalized property exceeds $ 2.03 million, but not to zero.

Real Estate

For real estate purchases, the maximum Section 179 exclusion is now also $ 500K. (Last year, it was capped at $ 250K.) This includes HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), which is a new change. Any recapture of this credit (due to an early sale) is now considered subject to ordinary income taxes.

The time to depreciate real estate is now 15 years for qualified leasehold improvements, restaurants, and retail improvements. Bonus depreciation is also allowed for the first half of said improvement value (through 2017), decreasing in 2018 to only 40%, 30% in 2019 and removed completely by 2020. The PATH Act also let bonus depreciation apply to 39 year property (for improvements that were already in service by the entity).

Automobiles (Luxury)

The depreciation limits for vehicles is limited to $ 3160 or 20% of the basis in 2016. However, this year one can write off up to $ 8000 in bonus deprecation (which is reduced to $ 6400 in 2018, $ 4800 in 2019 and then removed forever by 2020) for new (not used) automobiles. Of course, these numbers apply only to vehicles that are used completely for business. There is a reduction for vehicle use that is not fully attributed to business usage.

Partnerships

The Bipartisan Budget Act (the one that taxes would normally be addressed) has brought a sea change to the way partnerships will be treated, should the IRS find problems with their tax submissions. The changes do not take effect for a few years- but the time to address the changes is really now.

Basically, the Act stipulates that any change that comes about by an audit are to be collected directly from the partnership- unless the partnership elects out of TEFRA (Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982). So, it means that partnership formation, operations, new partner admissions, etc. will all have to be reconsidered.

What changed is this- the partnership can decide to accept an IRS decision that the underpayment is due from the partnership itself or it can elect to have that decision divided up among the partners, according to their percentage ownership or liability percentage. Most advisors are telling partnerships to elect the latter process. If the partnership does not so choose, then the IRS will assess the partnership at the highest tax rate allowed- 39.6%. Of course, if the partnership can prove (to the satisfaction of the IRS) that a lower rate is appropriate, based upon the individual tax rates of the partners, then a lower rate may be allowed. (Don’t bank on the IRS doing so.) However, this underpayment will not be allowed to change the basis of each of the partner’s interests, if the partnership is taxes for the liability.

If the partnership pushes the issues down to the partner level, then each partner is assessed for the tax at its own rate. And, the partnership can issue an adjusted (amended) K-1 for the IRS revisions that will change the basis and avoid the double taxation possibility. The partnership has 45 days from the date of the IRS notice of change to make this election.

There is another change that affects partnerships- the PAL (passive active loss) issue. Why? Because most partners and partnerships do not maintain pristine time records. (This also affects real estate rentals that are reported on Schedule E, page 1.) There are various definitions that set the PAL issues- for real estate professionals it is a minimum of 750 hours of work a year. The IRS has allowed other partnerships to use different designations, such as 500 hours, or the fact that a particular partner does all the work (even if less than 500 hours), or even when a partner spends 100 hours or more on the partnership and no one else does more.

But, the rules to prove how much participation are gelling. One can use a record of cell phone call records, eMails, or credit card charges. Travel itineraries and receipts can prove how much participation was involved. Even affidavits from customers and clients can be used to prove the time one participated in the venture.

Payments Due

The IRS has been starved to death for years by Congress. Partly because one party was angry that the IRS was not automatically granting those “social welfare” organizations (read as political collections and donation farms) tax exemptions without scrutiny. Partly because the IRS is responsible for collecting the penalties for those who don’t comply with Obamacare. (Hoping that this lack of funds would make it harder for them to do so.)

But, in my humble opinion, the solution Congress came up with sucks. The IRS has now been authorized to hire those bottom feeders- the outside collection agents, that harass and subject folks to all sorts of intimidation. The logic behind this choice? After all, folks who owe the IRS must be the scum of the earth. (Of course, no one ever considers the fact that the IRS makes mistakes, chooses random numbers to assess non-filing taxpayers who may actually owe nothing, etc.)

Many clients fall short of having sufficient funds to pay their taxes when due. This entails the taxpayer submitting a form 9465 (Installment Agreement Request). These must be automatically approved if the taxpayer [individual] owes (or will owe) the IRS $ 50,000 or less, with the addition of this request- and all tax forms have been timely submitted. (Businesses are limited to a $ 25,000 maximum, with the same provisos.) However, the fees involved to have the IRS process the request have been increased to $ 120, unless the taxpayer agrees to have the IRS zap their bank account automatically each month. Then, the fees are reduced to $ 52. (The IRS has way too many taxpayers “forgetting” to make timely payments. This is a way to incur fewer manpower issues for the service.) However, no matter how the payment is to be processed by the IRS, all low-income taxpayers (a family of 4, with $60K or less in income) won’t have to pay more than $ 43 to institute a payment plan. The biggest issue? Any taxpayer who is not in compliance with IRS code, who has no installment agreement in place, and owes $ 50,000 in taxes, penalties, and interest can find his passport revoked IMMEDIATELY. (If one is not yet issued, don’t expect the Department of State to issue one, either.)

Filing Dates

Individuals

There has been no change in the due date for 1040 filing, in that it is still due on 15 April (or the next business day, should the 15th fall on a weekend or legal holiday). Unless you can prove you were out of the country on 15 April- then you have the right to extend the filing date to 15 June. Or, you filed an extension request- that gives you until 15 October (with the same proviso for when it falls on a weekend or legal holiday).

Businesses

Here’s where the big changes arrive. And, it is about time. Because too many pass-through entities have been screwing over their partners, their stockholders by delaying their filing. Oh, sure, they may pay a penalty, but that doesn’t help the multitudes who can’t file their taxes in a timely fashion due to the lassitude of these entities.

So, from now on, all pass through entities- those are partnerships, LLCs, and S entities must no file their tax returns by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of their tax year. Recognize that the IRS allows companies that have “good” reasons to not use a natural year (i.e., 1 January to 31 December) to chose another month to end their tax year. But, for most entities, the due date will now be 15 March. Which gives the partners or the stockholders a month to finish their own tax returns. (Firms that operate on the US Government year, which ends 30 September, for example, must file their taxes by 15 November.)

Regular Corporations (C entities) no longer have to file by the 15th day of the 3rd month, but now have until the 4th month. So, for those companies operating on a natural year basis, the due date has been extended (permanently) from 15 March to 15 April. (A similar 15th day of the 4th month after year-end applies for those not operating on a natural year basis.)

Business, Trusts, Non-Profits, and Pension Plan Extensions

There is one more change for C corporations. Their extension is no longer 6 months long- but 5 months. In other words, before when they had to file by 15 March, but could extend the due date until 15 September… still have that same final extended due date, regardless that the original filing date is now 15 April.

Partnerships and S entities still have a 6 month extension- which also falls (for those who use a natural year) on 15 September.

Trusts and Estates of the Deceased file form 1041. The only extension request provided 5 months beyond the due date. Now, the due date is 5.5 months. That means the due date for filing is 15 April, but an extension means the due date can be 30 September.

Non-Profit entities file form 990 on 15 May- or the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of their fiscal year. Extensions used to be provided for 3 months; they now have more time- six month extensions are the new rules.

Employee Benefit Plans (Pension Plans, 401(k), welfare plans) must file their tax returns with the IRS by the last day of the 7th month after their year end. (For natural year plans, that means 31 July). Before the plans could extend that deadline by 2.5 months; now the rule provides for an additional month to 3.5 months.

Late Filing Penalties

The minimum penalty for filing late (more than 60 days) has been increased from $ 135 to $ 205. Except in certain cases, that penalty can be reduced to the amount of tax owed, which ever is smaller. (By 2017, the penalty will go up to $ 210.)

Which entities are affected by this change? Individuals (all forms 1040, including non-citizens). Estates and Trusts (Form 1041). Corporate Files (all forms of the 1120 filing). And, Non-Profit entities that can file a 990-T (they have unrelated business income of $ 1000 or more.)

There are more penalties, too. These were included in the Trade Package Legislation. The act included late filing of 1099 forms, W-2s, and 1095 (Health Care Reporting). You will note that the deadlines for some of these forms have been moved up- so pay attention and file them on time. Because the penalties can be $ 1060 for each delinquent 1099 form- because you have intentionally filed late to the government AND to the payee!

Of course, if you file the 1099 only 30 days late, the penalty is $ 50 (again- for each – the payee and the government). If you get your act together by 1 August, the penalty is $ 100 (again, for each). And, if you miss that date, the penalty is $ 250 each- unless the IRS feels it was intentional (and you know that number is $ 530).

There you have the big changes for the year. Now, you should be ready to file your taxes comes the 1rst of the year. But, don’t expect really fast refunds (as one would have expected before). Because the IRS is going to be checking to make sure the taxpayer is legit- they don’t want all those identity theft and tax fraud situations to obtain.

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Economic Cycles, Stock Market Crashes and the Scary Scenarios

Here we are ready to inaugurate a new president in 2017 and our stock markets are at all-time highs after a huge ‘Trump Bounce’ after the election. Many that study stock market history admit that we are in a need for a pull back as the DOW is almost ready to break 20,000 pts. What does all this mean?

Well, many analysts are suggesting it is very possible we could get a market correction in mid to late 2017 and that it could be 10-20% by the time it is done, the longer this nonsense goes on, and the bigger the bubble builds then the bigger the drop, we are over bought, almost everywhere. Then all that money printed that ended up inflating emerging markets will look for safe haven, coming back here in the short term. As those go one-by-one, that money flies out, because the money is looking for the nicest looking house (for now) in a majorly bad neighborhood, look at the EU, Japan, Middle East, India, and who knows what the hell China’s real numbers are, they have one thing going for them, they own our debt – but that might not be worth much if things go on. All that money coming back to safe haven in the US will cause inflation here, but at what cost?

Cheap loans, another bubble burst and look at the Student Loan issues 35% in default (past 90-days) and cheap car loans is only producing higher repo rates which are hidden by increased sales figures. It’s all lipstick on a big pig, socialism doesn’t work and you can’t have utopia unless you build it, and that takes capitalism which we are crushing into next week for the falsehood of cronyism. But I digress.

If we don’t get a back pedal on the stock market soon, it will all come at once, and 2008 was 8-years ago remember? That wasn’t a recovery that I’d be bragging about – basically we’ve increased regulations, size of government, and cut our military – all very stupid things to do in the present period. We are digging a hole, and I assume when if it starts to fall apart the left will blame capitalism and get their people back into power – and they will just make things worse – this seems to be a repeating problem with humanity doesn’t it? That is what socialists always attempt to do, but it all collapses anyway – Venezuela, Argentina, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Zimbabwe, hell, how about that Arab Spring a few years ago, still in shambles – Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, who’s next? Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia? Civil unrest, food shortages, people will demand what was promised and take down their governments to get what’s left. Beware the socialist mobs. But I keep digressing.

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