When the old rules don’t apply, who is making the new ones?

August 10, 2017 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

When the old rules don’t apply, who is making the new ones?…Today, more so than yesterday, and less than tomorrow, the ground below us is shifting. We need to ask better questions in order to get better answers. How do you do that? It really helps to see the forest from the trees, and then back again. Our economy is evolving much faster than our human brains and emotional make-up can accommodate. Now, we need to thing much more deeply, and with more reflection on the implications of these seismic shifts in the Economy. There will always be winners and losers. The key is to be a winner, and to know what it takes to overcome the obstacles on the pathway to success, or failure. Stay tuned for more intuition and datapoints on how to develop your own pathway to success. Stay tuned!, there is much more to come.


Doing away with Self-Employment Taxes – What should you do ? follow @thinkimaginebig

March 20, 2017 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

If you own a profitable, unincorporated business with your spouse, you’re probably fed up with high self-employment (SE) tax bills.

Self-Employment Tax Basics

For 2016, the maximum 15.3% self-employment (SE) tax rate hits the first $118,500 of net SE income. For 2017, the 15.3% rate hits the first $127,200 of net SE income. It includes 12.4% for the Social Security tax component and 2.9% for the Medicare tax component.

Above the Social Security tax ceiling, the Social Security tax component goes away, but the Medicare tax component continues at a 2.9% rate before rising to 3.8% at higher income levels.

If you have an unincorporated small business in which both you and your spouse participate, you may have been treating it as a 50/50 spouse-owned partnership or as a spouse-owned LLC that’s treated as a 50/50 partnership for tax purposes. The more profitable your business is, the more you’re paying in SE tax bills. That’s because you and your spouse must separately calculate your respective SE tax bills. For 2017, that means you will each pay the maximum 15.3% SE tax rate on the first $127,200 of your respective shares of net SE income from the business.

An unincorporated business in which both spouses are active is typically treated as a partnership that’s owned 50/50 by the spouses — or a limited liability company (LLC) that’s treated as a partnership for tax purposes and owned 50/50 by the spouses. In either case, you and your spouse must separately calculate your respective SE tax bills.

For 2017, that means you’ll each pay the maximum 15.3% SE tax rate on the first $127,200 of your respective shares of net SE income from the business. (See “Self-Employment Tax Basics” at right.) Those bills can mount up if your business is profitable. Here are three ways spouse-owned businesses can lower their combined SE tax hit.

  1. Establish that You Don’t Have a Spouse-Owned Partnership (or LLC)

To illustrate the adverse tax consequences of operating a spouse-owned partnership, suppose you expect your business to generate $250,000 of net SE income in 2017. You and your spouse must separately calculate SE tax. So each of you will owe $19,125 ($125,000 x 15.3%), for a combined total of $38,250. To make matters worse, your SE tax bill is likely to increase every year due to inflation adjustments to the Social Security tax ceiling and the growth of your business.

These adverse effects apply only if you have a business that is properly treated as a 50/50 spouse-owned partnership or a spouse-owned LLC that’s properly treated as a 50/50 partnership for federal tax purposes.

Several IRS publications attempt to create the impression that involvement by both spouses in an unincorporated business automatically creates a partnership for federal tax purposes. For example, the Tax Guide for Small Business says, “If you and your spouse jointly own and operate an unincorporated business and share in the profits and losses, you are partners in a partnership, whether or not you have a formal partnership agreement.”

However, in many cases, the IRS will have a tough time making the argument that a business is a 50/50 spouse-owned partnership (or LLC). Consider the following quote from an IRS private letter ruling: “Whether parties have formed a joint venture is a question of fact to be determined by reference to the same principles that govern the question of whether persons have formed a partnership which is to be accorded recognition for tax purposes. Therefore, while all circumstances are to be considered, the essential question is whether the parties intended to, and did, in fact, join together for the present conduct of an undertaking or enterprise.”

The IRS private letter ruling identifies these factors, none of which is conclusive, as evidence of this intent:

    • The agreement of the parties and their conduct in executing its terms,


    • The contributions, if any, that each party makes to the venture,


    • Control over the income and capital of the venture and the right to make withdrawals,


    • Whether the parties are co-proprietors who share in net profits and who have an obligation to share losses, and


  • Whether the business was conducted in the joint names of the parties and was represented to be a partnership.

In many situations where both spouses have some involvement in an activity that has been treated as a sole proprietorship or in an activity that has been operated as a single-member LLC (SMLLC) that has been treated as a sole proprietorship for tax purposes, only some of the factors listed in the private letter ruling are present. Therefore, the IRS may not necessarily succeed in arguing that the business is a spouse-owned partnership (or LLC).

That argument may be especially weak when:

    • The spouses have no discernible partnership agreement, and


  • The business hasn’t been represented as a partnership to third parties, such as banks and customers.

If your business can more properly be characterized as a sole proprietorship or as an SMLLC that is treated as a sole proprietorship for tax purposes, only the spouse who is considered the proprietor owes SE tax.

Let’s assume the same facts as in the previous example, except that you take a supportable position that your business is a sole proprietorship operated by one spouse. Now you have to calculate SE tax for only that spouse. For 2017, the SE tax bill would be $23,023 [($127,200 x 15.3%) + ($122,800 x 2.9%)]. That’s much less than the combined SE tax bill from the first example ($38,250).

  1. Establish That You Don’t Have a 50/50 Spouse-Owned Partnership (or LLC)

Not all businesses are owned 50/50 by their owners. Say your business can more properly be characterized as a partnership (or LLC) that’s owned 80% by one spouse and 20% by the other spouse, because one spouse does much more work than the other.

This time, let’s assume the same facts as in the previous example, except that you take a supportable position that your business is an 80/20 spouse-owned partnership (or LLC). In this scenario, the 80% spouse has net SE income of $200,000, and the 20% spouse has net SE income of $50,000.

For 2017, the SE tax bill for the 80% spouse would be $21,573 [($127,200 x 15.3%) + ($72,800 x 2.9%)], and the SE tax bill for the 20% spouse would be $7,650 ($50,000 x 15.3%). The combined total SE tax bill is $29,223 ($21,573 + $7,650), which is significantly lower than the total from the first example ($38,250).

  1. Liquidate Spouse-Owned Partnership and Hire One Spouse as an Employee

This strategy is a little more complicated than the previous strategies. First, you’ll need to dissolve your existing spouse-owned partnership or spouse-owned LLC that’s treated as a partnership for federal tax purposes, and start running the operation as a sole proprietorship or SMLLC treated as a sole proprietorship for federal tax purposes. Even if the partnership (or LLC) owns assets and has liabilities, this step is generally a tax-free liquidation under the partnership tax rules.

The second step is to hire one spouse as an employee of the new proprietorship (SMLLC). Pay that spouse a modest cash salary, and withhold 7.65% from the salary checks to cover the employee-spouse’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. As the employer, the proprietorship must pay another 7.65% directly to the government to cover the employer’s half of Social Security and Medicare taxes. However, since the employee-spouse’s salary is modest, the Social Security and Medicare tax hits will also be modest.

The third step is to consider setting up a Section 105 medical expense reimbursement plan for the employee-spouse. Use the plan to cover your family’s out-of-pocket medical expenses, including health insurance premiums, by making reimbursement payments to the employee-spouse out of the proprietorship’s business checking account. Deduct the plan reimbursements as a business expense of the proprietorship. On the employee-spouse’s side of the deal, the plan reimbursements are free of federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes because the plan is considered a tax-free fringe benefit.

The fourth step is to deduct, on the sole proprietorship’s (SMLLC’s) tax schedule, the medical expense plan reimbursements, the employee-spouse’s cash salary, and the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. These deductions also reduce the proprietor’s net SE income and the SE tax bill for the business.

Finally, you’ll need to calculate the SE tax bill for the spouse who is treated as the proprietor. This minimizes the SE tax hit, because the maximum 15.3% SE tax rate applies to no more than $127,200 of SE income (for 2017), vs. up to $254,400 if you continue to treat your business as a 50/50 spouse-owned partnership (or LLC).

Important note: If you have employees other than the spouse, your business may have to cover them under a Section 105 medical expense reimbursement .


Contact us at 949 502-4680 to discuss your tax planning strategies! plan.zNN6ubHmruIhttps://unsplash.com/?photo=zNN6ubHmruI

What does it mean for Real Estate Investors “To do Business in California”?

The State of California, by legislation, incorporates the following activities, as sufficient to require registration in California, with the Secretary of State office (http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/faqs#form).

  1. Does your business conduct regular and continuous activities in the State of CA? ……… as an example, do you fix and flip houses ? do you wholesale houses? How about Property Management?
  2. Do you have employees who live and work in CA? do you have independent contractors working on your projects?
  3. Do you need to conduct litigation against another business in the State of CA regarding your business activities?

So, the net result, is that if you are active in any of the above items, you are required to register in the State of CA, and also to pay income and/or franchise tax to the State of CA for California’s share of your revenues.

We want to help you structure your entities in such a way to minimize franchise taxes. We want to assist with planning your business process to help you address the following important issues:

  1. Structuring your Franchise Taxes appropriately (minimum $800 per year per entity)
  2. Ensure strong outside charging order protection – shelter your assets from charging orders due to liability concerns
  3. Consider the usage of a Holding LLC as nominee Manager for the active LLC
  4. Too many damn attorneys in the State of CA  – make yourself appear worthless to the outside world, and to the Government
  5. Income Taxes in the State of CA – do I have to pay CA taxes on income generated outside the State of CA ?

What about Activities that do not qualify for the doing business in CA?

  1. Owning Real Estate
  2. Maintain a trading account, and you are an active trader
  3. Private money lending, where you make the loan (c0nsidered the activity) outside of the State of CA, meaning the borrower and the property is outside of CA.

We’re experts in this field – why not work with our legal and tax team to coordinate a plan consistent with your goals. You should work with experts to secure your investments. Please open, review and complete this form, ( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1epIax5YfvecdZmLg-cpq9MdYkH5kBnkAd83hqcshjlE/edit) and we will follow up with you to schedule your complimentary 30 minute interview. Or, just call us at (949) 502-4680 and we can talk.

IRS Offers Streamlined Approach to Online Payment Agreements

September 29, 2016 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The IRS now offers a new super easy process for a qualified taxpayer or authorized representative (Power of Attorney) the opportunity to avoid long telephone wait times or the need to visit an IRS office to apply for an installment agreement. Here is the link to the application.



Once you complete this simple online process, you’ll receive immediate notification of whether your agreement has been approved. This is a big change!

You can also use these links https://www.irs.gov/individuals/payment-plans-installment-agreementsto revise an existing Online Payment Agreement (unless you have a Direct Debit Installment Agreement) or to modify your e-authentication security profile.


Take a look, it now super easy to start eliminating your tax debts.


Your Life Purpose and why it is the most important issue you’ll ever face

September 29, 2016 · Posted in Community Development, Decision-Making Tips, Uncategorized · Comment 

Truly Amazing insight from the late Shimon Peres – only some of his truth to the generations…..”Most people prefer to remember, but not to think, imagine, and dream – this is the biggest mistake. What do you want to remember? All the mistakes that have been made?”……. We as people have so much to be thankful for, and yet, instead what do we do? …..we complain, sometimes endlessly. Why ???

For what purpose? Will it better you or me, or all of us? Think about it. We all need to move away from disagreements, which is the easy and lazy route, and instead find the unifying purpose in all of us. Which of course is, why I am here? why did God allow me to be here in this time, in this place. Think about that question, consider your the value of your life, and what you want your legacy to be. Think about it. And pray.

How do we collect and analyze data from our Customer Interactions?

March 1, 2016 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Remember last time when you had to collect a large amount of data to make an informed decision? We want everyone to know about the power of Google Forms, which is how we interact with our Customers, and further how we use the information to improve our Customer interactions and onboarding processes.

Read below for more information. I also want to credit Stacy Kildal, creator of http://stacykacademy.com/ for illustrating how Google Forms is so easy to use.

Think about tasks such as the collection of feedback from clients or the organization of a team event! Many see it as a time-consuming task… Not anymore, if you use the powers of the revamped Google Forms! In this episode, Jimmy and James share with us a concrete example of the usage of Google Forms and guide us through some great features and Add-ons that help them process data more quickly.

Google Forms recently got a facelift. It is now easier to collect and manage data. Also, the “Response” section was improved and is now equipped with more granular information. James and Jimmy walk us through these new changes. First, they show that we can create a new form faster, thanks to the roll-out of a new template gallery, located at http://forms.google.com.

Also, It is now simpler to manage responses. If you want to keep track of each submitted answer, you can set up an email notification so that you get alerted every time someone submits a response. Now it is possible to can get a timestamp for each form submission! Also, this feature is helpful if you need to send a friendly reminder to those that haven’t fill out the form yet. Everything you need to do is to go to Responses view, click on the three little dots at right hand corner and select “Get email notifications for new responses”

Finally Add-ons! Our dynamic duo shows how they leverage the management of forms with the use of Add-ons. James explains how to set up his favorite Add-on, Form Mule, that allows him to automatically send a confirmation email to everyone who has answered the form. Jimmy loves the Add-on Form Limiter, which limits Forms from accepting responses after a maximum number of responses. To set up these add-ons, go to the Form Answer sheet and look-up for these add-ons at the “Add-ons” section, “Get Add-ons”. Check out the demo to know more!

The Forms & Add-ons combo does wonders with data. When are you starting to use this dynamic duo as well?…….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-6ev_BsC5U

Message me if you would like to know more.

We encourage you to call us at (949) 502-4680 or email us at peterc@coreperformance.net to set up your no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Ten Facts That You Should Know about Capital Gains and Losses

February 19, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Dear Core Performance Blog Readers:

These tips are very important for both our business owner clients, as well as Individuals who own capital assets. SO I hope you enjoy learning more about this important topic.

When you sell a capital asset the sale results in a capital gain or loss. A capital asset includes most property you own for personal use or own as an investment. Here are 10 facts that you should know about capital gains and losses:

1. Capital Assets.  Capital assets include property such as your home or car, as well as investment property, such as stocks and bonds.

2. Gains and Losses.  A capital gain or loss is the difference between your basis and the amount you get when you sell an asset. Your basis is usually what you paid for the asset.

3. Net Investment Income Tax.  You must include all capital gains in your income and you may be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax. This tax applies to certain net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts that have income above statutory threshold amounts. The rate of this tax is 3.8 percent. For details visit IRS.gov.

4. Deductible Losses.  You can deduct capital losses on the sale of investment property. You cannot deduct losses on the sale of property that you hold for personal use.

5. Long and Short Term.  Capital gains and losses are either long-term or short-term, depending on how long you held the property. If you held the property for more than one year, your gain or loss is long-term. If you held it one year or less, the gain or loss is short-term.

6. Net Capital Gain.  If your long-term gains are more than your long-term losses, the difference between the two is a net long-term capital gain. If your net long-term capital gain is more than your net short-term capital loss, you have a net capital gain.

7. Tax Rate.  The capital gains tax rate usually depends on your income. The maximum net capital gain tax rate is 20 percent. However, for most taxpayers a zero or 15 percent rate will apply. A 25 or 28 percent tax rate can also apply to certain types of net capital gains.

8. Limit on Losses.  If your capital losses are more than your capital gains, you can deduct the difference as a loss on your tax return. This loss is limited to $3,000 per year, or $1,500 if you are married and file a separate return.

9. Carryover Losses.  If your total net capital loss is more than the limit you can deduct, you can carry over the losses you are not able to deduct to next year’s tax return. You will treat those losses as if they happened in that next year.

10. Forms to File.  You often will need to file Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets, with your federal tax return to report your gains and losses. You also need to file Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses with your tax return.

For more information about this topic, COntact Peter Cullen at visionaccounting@gmail.com, or at 949 381-5629 for assistance.

Also, see the Schedule D instructions andPublication 550, Investment Income and Expenses. If you found this Tax Tip helpful, please share it through your social media platforms. A great way to get tax information is to use IRS Social Media. You can also subscribe to IRS Tax Tips or any of our e-news subscriptions.

The New Year has come….what will we do differently?

January 4, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized · 1 Comment 

The New Year has come, and we have had some time to reflect on wins and losses from last year, and consider how to make this year “The” year to fulfill the promise we made to ourselves when we committed to build and develop the very best organization possible. We start with believing in ourselves, our people, our processes, and staying 100% true to the vision we created when diving into our business. Last year is ancient history, it’s over with, and this year we can do incredible things, and make huge advances in delivering on our promises made to customers, partners, suppliers, and team members.

No longer will we struggle with issues of the past, for we have learned so much from our experiences, and amplified our wisdom and understanding of what it takes to achieve the hopes and goals in our hearts and minds. If we are able to perceive fully the errors we made in the past, and 100% be committed to never again making those mistakes, we can certainly do this! With our renewed urgency and fervent passion for doing what is good and perfect in our businesses, we can now run without stopping for our greater purpose.

So, if this is your journey, and I sincerely hope that your answer is yes, let’s do this together. People today are more committed than ever to building world-class companies, that solve very important challenges in our world. For us, for Core Performance, the challenge we solve, is communicating clearly with our clients as to the present financial and operational health of the businesses we work with, and advising our client business owners on the highest and best use of  advanced financial strategies, the options available in the tax code given the businesses’ strategic goals, and maximizing effective processes in their businesses. This is what we do. This is the value we bring to our client Companies. Focusing on this, and executing on this repeatedly, is how we have become successful in our marketplace.

If this is interesting to you, give us a call, drop me a note, or just respond to this blog post with your responses, and what your plans are for 2015. I would love to discuss this with you. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Look forward to chatting with you, and truly, let’s make 2015 the year we all fulfill on the promise.

Peter Cullen

Tips to help you choose a tax preparer

December 3, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized · 4 Comments 

Tips to help you choose a tax preparer who will support you and your interests
Many people look for help from professionals when they file their federal income tax return. If you choose to use a tax return preparer, you’ll need to share your most personal information with them, including details about your marriage, income, children and social security numbers — the details of your financial life. Most tax return preparers provide outstanding service. However, each year, some taxpayers are hurt financially because they choose the wrong tax return preparer.
Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax return preparer:
• Check the preparer’s qualifications. All paid tax return preparers are required to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. In addition to making sure they have a PTIN, ask if the preparer belongs to a professional organization and
attends continuing education classes.
• Check on the preparer’s history. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the preparer has a questionable history. Also check for any disciplinary actions and the status of their licenses. For certified public accountants, check with the
state boards of accountancy. For attorneys, check with the state bar associations. For enrolled agents, check with the IRS Office of Enrollment.
• Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. Also, always ensure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into an
account in your name. Taxpayers should not deposit their refund into a preparer’s bank account.
• Ask to e-file your return. Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients must file the returns electronically, unless the client opts to file a paper return. IRS has safely
and securely processed more than one billion individual tax returns.

• Make sure the preparer is available. Make sure you will be able to contact the tax preparer after you file your return, even after the April 15 due date. This may be helpful in the event questions arise about your tax return.

• Provide records and receipts. Reputable preparers will request to see your records and receipts. They will ask questions to determine your total income and your qualifications for deductions, credits and other items.

Do not use a preparer who is willing to e-file your return by using your last pay stub before you receiveyour Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.
• Never sign a blank return. Avoid tax preparers who ask you to sign a blank tax form.
• Review your return before signing. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
• Make sure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN. A paid preparer must sign the return and include their PTIN as required by law. The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
• Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS on Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or altered a return without your
consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. You can download or order the forms on the IRS.gov website.
If you decide to use a paid tax preparer, remember that you are legally responsible for what is on it — even if someone else prepares your return.

Beautiful Accounting, it’s what we do

October 29, 2014 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Well, it is that time of year. The end of 2014 is rapidly approaching and now is the time to take action, manage and potentially mitigate your 2014 tax liability.

We often find that too much of your time and focus is spent on gathering information and having us prepare your return and that inadequate resources are spent on proactive tax planning during the year, which is a primary beenfit of working with Core Performance, as we do an entire tax plan at the beginning of the tax year for all of our tax clients. How much time do you spend discussing with your Accountant and proactively exploring strategies to mitigate your current and future tax liabilities?

Here are 5 simple strategies to explore before year-end.
1) Review your capital gains/loss schedules and explore harvesting capital losses to offset existing realized gains.
2) Review your current year contributions to ensure that you have maximized your allowable tax deductible contributions to qualified retirement accounts such as a 401k, IRA and Defined Benefit Pension Plan.
3) Explore charitable gifting of appreciated assets. Most charitable entities have brokerage accounts which allow for quick and easy deposits of various types of securities.
4) Do not forget to take your Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) from certain types of retirement accounts such as IRAs. The IRS penalty for a missed or late distribution is 50%.
5) Consult with your Accountant or tax professional and have a 2014 tax projection prepared. Incorporate all pertinent gains or losses, dividends and deductions to address how your tax outlook this year differs from future and prior.

In recent years tax rates have changed and new taxes have been created.
Taxes may be your biggest expense. Play it smart. Give us a call, we can prepare your projection in our first meeting. Peter

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