Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Archive for March, 2009

The Future of Small Business Under President Obama Focus of March 30 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on March 28, 2009

Jeannette Peten will discuss the future of small business under President Barack Obama’s Administration on the March 30 edition of Economic Perspectives.  Peten is the founder and president of BiGAustin, the 2nd oldest microlender in Texas.  Founded in 1995, BiGAustin provides entrepreneurial training, business counseling, and loans up to $50,000 to small businesses in central Texas.  It has served over 1600 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.  BiGAustin has helped its clients leverage $6 million in financing to start or expand their businesses.

Jeannette Peten

Jeannette Peten

Peten, who has a business degree from The University of Texas at Austin, has been providing financing, training, and technical assistance to small, minority, and women-owned businesses since 1989.  She served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Association of Enterprise Opportunities, the leading voice for microenterprise in the nation.  Peten has also testified in support of the the SBA Microenterprise Loan Program before the U.S. House of Representativess Small Business Committee

She started working with small businesses as a business consultant for Grant Thornton CPA firm while it was operating the Austin Minority Business Development Center.  In addition to her small business experience, Peten worked in corporate finance for IBM and Merrill Lynch.  She also served as

Peten says her passion for helping small businesses came from her family experience in entrepreneurship.  Her father owned a construction firm and her mother operated a beauty salon in her home town of Philadelphia.  Both her parents benefitted from special assistance programs for minority businesses.

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10 Money Saving Tax Tips for the Self-Employed

Posted by Hopeton on March 24, 2009

By Rosheila Motley

Technology and the ease of telecommunication have prompted more consultants, coaches, contractors and freelancers to take business matters into their own hands. Self-employment is no longer a means of making some extra money but a full-time career, and many such full-timers are punching their own time clocks and making excellent incomes. The self-employed have unique tax concerns. Below are ten helpful tax tips to help lessen Uncle Sam’s tax bite:

Rosheila Motley

Rosheila Motley

1. Keep very good records: Unlike a large company in which someone is hired to maintain records of all income and expenses, it is up to you to keep very good records, save all receipts and be able to support your deductions.

2. Office space: Whether you have a separate office facility or are using a portion of your basement or a converted den, you can deduct the percentage of your home used exclusively for business purposes. Take this percentage off of your mortgage or rent payments as well as your utilities. If you have a phone exclusively used for business, deduct those phone bills.

3. Don’t forget business expenses: Keep receipts and good records of business travel and other expenses including office supplies, postage and shipping costs, dues, subscriptions, and anything else business-related, including computer software for your business and upgrades to your system.

4. Deduct child care costs: There are allowable deductions for daycare, nanny care, babysitting and any other type of childcare provided while you are working. Take the deductions allowable.

5. Set up a retirement plan: You should consider setting up a self employed qualified retirement plan (i.e. SEP IRA) not only for tax purposes but for the same of saving money for your retirement years. If you wish to start with more than $2,000, you can opt for a Keogh plan, which allows you to put away more into tax-deferred savings for your retirement.

6. Employ family members: You can deduct medical expenses for your entire family by employing them legitimately.

7. Defer income if necessary: Being self-employed, you can alter your billing slightly to defer income if you see yourself heading into a higher tax bracket.

8. Get money back from FICA: Being self-employed, you pay both the employer and employee portions of Social Security tax. You can, however, deduct half of these payments on your 1040 form.

9. Increase expenses if necessary: Just as you can elect to defer income, if you see that your income is high, you can make many more year-end business purchases to add some tax deductions before December 31st.

10. Get the right help: Look for tax help from someone who is familiar with self- employment, since your needs will differ from those of a company.

Rosheila Motley is the president of Motley’s Financial Services and a member of the Austin Cen-Tex chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. She has a masters degree in accounting.  She can be reached at rmotleynaba@sbcglobal.net.

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$3 Billion in Transportation Contracting Opportunities in Texas Focus of March 23 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on March 20, 2009

Dr. Tamela Saldana will discuss how small and disadvantaged businesses can pursue contracting opportunities on $3.1 billion in new transportation projects managed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and funded in part by the economic stimulus bill on the March 23 edition of Economic Perspectives.  Saldana, Program Manager for the Business Outreach and Programs Services Office of TxDOT, will provide general information on bidding requirements, the timeline for the letting of the contracts, and the certification process for small disadvantaged businesses.  TxDOT will be holding a Small Business Briefing in Houston on March 27 that will include a workshop with information on contracting opportunities available.

Combining $1.7 billion in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the economic stimulus bill, with other sources of funding, TxDOT will be letting contracts for 29 construction projects and 22 roadway and bridge maintenance and rehabilitation projects across the state in 2009 and 2010.  In selecting the projects for economic stimulus funding, priority was given to projects in economically distressed areas and those that maximize job creation and economic benefit.

Tamela Saldana

Tamela Saldana

Saldana manages programs through her office that enhance business development and contracting opportunities for small and minority vendors.  The programs include the LINC Mentor-Protege Program, the Technical Assistance Program, and the One-on-One Vendor Appointment Program.  Her office also sponsors Small Business Briefings, a two day opportunity and networking conference for small and disadvantaged businesses

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Podcast: SBA Official Provides Information on Latest Steps to Increase Small Business Loans

Posted by Hopeton on March 16, 2009

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Associate Administrator for Capital Access Eric Zarnikow revealed that the U.S. Treasury Department will commit up to $15 billion to help unlock the frozen credit markets by purchasing small business loan securities currently frozen on the secondary market in his interview on the March 16 edition of Economic Perspectives.  By purchasing these securities the SBA expects to jumpstart small business lending.  Zarnikow said the number of SBA loans this fiscal year has declined 50 percent compared to last year.

Eric Zarnikow

Eric Zarnikow

Zarnikow also discussed the benefits small businesses will receive as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the interview.  The Recovery Act contains a package of loan fee reductions, higher guarantees, new SBA programs, secondary market incentives, and enhancements to current SBA programs that are designed to unlock the credit markets and facilitate the economic recovery of the nation’s small businesses.

Among the key provisions being implemented this week to enhance SBA loans are the following:

  • Temporary elimination of all borrower fees for SBA 7(a) loans and borrower and lender fess for SBA 504 loans until the end calendar year 2009 or until funds are exhausted
  • Temporary increase of 7(a) loan guarantees up to 90 percent until the end calendar year 2009 or until funds are exhausted

Zarnikow will host a web chat on March 19, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Central Standard Time to provide small business owners an opportunity to obtain answers to their questions about how the Recovery Act will assist them.  Participants can join the live web chat by going online to www.sba.gov and clicking the “online Business Chat” icon.

To listen to the Economic Perspectives’ interview with Zarnikow, click here.

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CEO of Online Brokerage Firm to Provide Investing Tips on Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on March 12, 2009

Dan Greenshields, President and CEO of Sharebuilder, an online brokerage firm, will provide tips to help investors minimize risk and maximize gain on the March 16 edition of Economic Perspectives.  Sharebuilder is the 6th largest online brokerage firm with over $2 billion in assets.  Online brokers have seen record numbers of new customers recently as investors have looked for ways to cut brokerage costs.

Dan Greenshields

Dan Greenshields

Some of the tips recommended by Greenshields include:

  • Earn rewards, avoid instant gratification
  • Set-up automatic savings
  • Make investing a way of life
  • Do your research, then diversify

Greenshields also serves as President and Chief Investment Officer of ShareBuilder Advisors LLC and has been with them over 8 years, During this time he served as the Company’s CFO and member of the Executive Management Team securing venture financing, driving M&A activity, managing daily market risk and launching the ShareBuilder 401(k) product.

 

Greeenshields joined ShareBuilder in 2000 as an Executive Officer and CFO; Dan served as a member of the Board of Directors of ShareBuilder Corporation prior to joining full time as an employee. Prior to ShareBuilder Dan worked for the investment and insurance group of GE Capital Services, now known as Genworth Financial. As Vice President, Business Development for GE Capital, he specialized in corporate finance, portfolio risk management, strategic investing and merger and acquisitions.

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Blacks In Technology Focus of Panel at South By Southwest Interactive Festival March 13

Posted by Hopeton on March 11, 2009

Ogilvy North America will host and moderate the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival’s “Blacks In Technology Meet-Up” on March 13th, 6- 9 pm at the Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, Texas. Blacks ln Technology Meet-Up was created to engage the black technology community in the festival and to share ideas on the growing role of social media in the marketing mix.

Jeffrey Bowman

Jeffrey Bowman

The session will be moderated by Jeffrey Bowman, a Partner within the Marketing Strategy practice at Ogilvy North America, and will feature such well known social media evangelizers as:

• Baratunde Thurston, an editor for The Onion and a well-known comic and political pundit, who is also the master of ceremonies for the 12 Annual Web Awards Ceremony at SXSWi.

• Denise Jacobs, a web solutions consultant and social media enthusiast, who is also hosting her own panel at the festival “Can the Afrosphere Survive the Age of Obama?

• Nichelle Stephens, a blogger, social media strategist, public relations consultant and accounting profession who will also participate in the “Finance 2.0: Money Management to Save this Generation panel at SXSW.

• Lynne d Johnson, the Director, Social Media for Fastcompany.com where she oversees both content and community functionality, and writes the Digital Media Diva Blog.

“Partnering with SXSWi to create the festival’s first diversity driven event builds awareness of the tremendous talent and thought leadership in the technology space strategist,” explained Jeffrey Bowman of Ogilvy. “The attendees and the event expand on both the festival and the agency’s efforts to foster greater diversity and inclusion within the industry.” SXSW is seeking to promote diversity and inclusion as a cornerstone of the Festival and has created a series of panels that feature diverse thought leaders within the festival. The event is free and open to all new media professionals and those hoping to break into the industry. Details are available at www.sxsw.com/node/1082.

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Tax Tips for Small Businesses and Individuals Focus of March 9 Economic Perspectives

Posted by Hopeton on March 6, 2009

Accountants Marlon Green and Rosheila Motley will discuss how individuals and small business

Rosheila Motley

Rosheila Motley

owners can reduce  taxable income by taking advantage of some of the key tax deductions available on the March 9 edition of Economic Perspectives.  Some of the areas that will be covered by Green and Motley include: • Recordkeeping • Miscellaneous Deductions • Home Office Deductions • Retirement Plans • Child Care Costs • Job Search Expenses.  They will also discuss some of the tax changes from the recently passed economic stimulus bill, the  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Marlon Green is the owner of MSG Accounting services and has a bachelors degree in accounting.  Motley is the owner of  Motley’s Financial Services and has a masters degree in accounting.  Green and Motley are members of the Austin Cen-Tex Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).

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Ten Important Tax Tips For Individuals

Posted by Hopeton on March 4, 2009

By Marlon Green

1. Home insurance premiums maybe tax deductible. To qualify the insurance policy must be for home acquisition debt on a first or second home and the insurance contract must have been issued on or after January 1, 2007. Mortgage Insurance premiums are reported on for 1098 which is sent out by your lender.

Marlon Green

Marlon Green

2. Job search expenses that you incur while looking for employment related to your current occupation are deductible, even if you do not get a new job. These expenses include but are not limited to employment agency fees, resume preparation fees, travel and transportation fees.

3. Tax preparation fees incurred in the year you pay them are deductible. These fees include any amount that you pay to a CPA or tax preparation professional, tax software programs and tax publications, and the fee you pay for electronically filing your return.

4. First-Time Homebuyer credit applies to individuals who purchase a home after April 8, 2008 and before July 1, 2009. This credit only applies to your main home located in the United States and will either increase your refund amount dollar for dollar or reduce your tax bill.

5. Education Tax Credit options should be carefully considered when preparing your tax return. The Hope Credit applies for the first two years of post-secondary education at any accredited college or vocational school and can be worth up to 1,800 per student. The Lifetime Learning Credit applies to undergraduate, graduate and professional degree courses with a credit up to $2,000 per tax returns. There is also the Tuition and Fees deductions up to $4,000 per student and The Student Loan Interest deduction up to 2,500 per return.

6. Charitable contributions are deductible in the year that you paid them as long as you itemize your deductions. Be sure to obtain a written receipt from the charity of your choice when you are giving $250 or more. Make sure that the organization is recognized by the IRS as a qualified organization under 501(c) (3) regulations.

7. Medical Expenses are deductible if you spend more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income on non reimbursed medical expenses which include co pays, prescriptions, and mileage to and from medial facilities.

8. The Real Property Tax deduction maybe claimed by individual who elects not to itemize and can claim an additional standard tax deduction for state and local real property taxes. The maximum amount is $500 for singles and $1,000 for a joint return.

9. Claiming Dependents who are full time students, live with you and whom you provide half of their support, and are between the ages of 19 and 24 will increase your refund when filing your tax return.

10. Educator Expenses are deductible up to $250 for classroom supplies that you purchased during the year. You may claim the deduction even if you do not itemize deductions. You must be an eligible educator who worked at least 900 hours during the school year.

Marlon Green is a member of the Austin Cen-Tex Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants and the owner of MSG Accounting Services.  He may be reached at mgreen1@mail.com.

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