AMC Legal Blog

How the New Federal Tax Law Could Affect Your Estate Plan

    Many people sign an Estate Plan and then lock it away in a drawer and never look at it again.  But every good Estate Plan needs consistent review to make sure it’s up to date with your current needs and current laws. Now is the time to take that Estate Plan out of the drawer and have it reviewed by your attorney. What is Estate Tax.  When assets are transferred after death they could be subject to an estate tax, both at the federal and state levels.  However, there are exemptions based on the value of the estate. The estate will be subject to tax on the amount that exceeds the federal or state tax exemptions. Portability. The concept of portability was introduced by the federal government in 2013. It allows a married couple the opportunity to use the full exemption for both spouses. For example, assume the federal tax exemption were $5 million. If Mary and John are married and John has an estate worth $3 million at his death, Mary could carry over John’s remaining $2 million of exemption and apply it toward her exemption at her death, making her federal tax exemption $7 million. Federal and State Estate Taxes.  Keep in mind, there are separate federal and state estate taxes and Illinois does not allow for portability. New Tax Act. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law on December 22, 2017 brought with it great changes for estate tax planning. The new law eliminated taxes for many higher income families. It doubled the federal estate tax exemption from $5.6 million per individual... read more

Non Profit Annual Filings

Your Non-Profit Deadlines are Approaching Federal Tax Filings It’s time to contact your accountant to be sure your federal tax return is filed properly and on time. Most Non Profit Tax Returns are due by May 15th.   If your gross income is $50,000 or less you can file a very simple electronic postcard tax return.  If your organization fails to file for 3 consecutive tax years then the IRS will revoke your tax exempt status.  Please consult an accountant for other potential state tax filings such as if you have employees, state tax filings, if your gross income is over $50,000 or for other tax questions.     Attorney General Filings Each year you must file an annual report with the Illinois Attorney General which is due no later than June 30th for the previous tax year.You may request a 60 day extension but it must be received no later than June 30th. The annual report fee is $15 and there will be a late fee of $100 assessed if you file late. If you are a church or religious organization and filed for exemption then you will not need to file the annual report. Illinois E Number Have you been in business over year? If so, have you filed for your Illinois E Number?  You can apply for an Illinois sales tax exempt number (E Number) once you have at least one year of financial history for the organization.This will allow you to purchase items for your organization without having to pay sales tax on those items. Need Help? Give us a call. 630-590-3640... read more

Choosing a Company Name

Choosing a Business Name What’s in a name?  When you’re talking about naming your new business? A lot! I’ve had many client come to me when starting a business and have the business plan, their products or services all laid out, we talk about funding and corporate structure and the first thing I need to know in order to start the process? The name…  It sounds superfluous but it is an important part of a business and you want to take some time and thought before diving in. Here are some tips to get you going in the right direction. Unique Name Some business owners want to use a completely unique and made up name.  This is very strong from a trademark standpoint on one hand.  On the other hand you don’t want to have to constantly explain what your business is or what you do to every person you meet. Choosing a business name is really a balancing game. You need to find a name that will fit all the criteria. Descriptive Name With a descriptive name you won’t have the issues of anyone asking what it is that you or your business do.  But you must be sure to keep is short, to the point and make it catchy.  Having a long business name can hurt you.  A long business name can be boring, can lose interest in potential clients, it won’t fit nicely on a business card and the logo would look horrendous. I have had clients with long business names come back to me within 2 years or less to rename the business. This can mean... read more

Top 10 Pitfalls in Commercial Leases

Whether you are a new business owner or have been in business several years, a commercial lease is most likely going to be one of your largest expense.  It is well worth your while to negotiate the lease terms.  It is highly recommended to have an attorney review the lease, not only to help you bring down future costs, but more importantly, to try to limit your liability which can be severe in certain situations. Top 10 Clauses to Watch For 1) Pricing First, compare rents to other local locations and see if your space is competitively priced. If not, this may be a good negotiation starting point with the landlord.  But be sure you’re not comparing apples to oranges.  There are many factors that go into pricing.  For instance, the number one factor is location.  You can’t directly compare a high traffic space to one with low traffic.  Second, look at the condition of the space.  Will it need a lot of work or is it in ready to open condition.  Third, is it ready to go for sprinklers, security, internet etc?  This can save you time and money during the build out phase. 2) Gross vs. Net Leases There are different ways that Landlords can set up a commercial lease. A Gross Lease means what you pay is what you pay and you are certain of your rent from month and year to year. All expenses including CAM and Taxes are included in your monthly rent.  Under a Net Lease the tenant will pay expenses such as insurance, CAM, taxes etc. on top of the monthly rent.... read more

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

What are Digital Assets? Digital Assets are any online account that you may own or any file you have stored on your computer or other digital device. This includes your online banking account, social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, your email account or websites you may own. They may be stored on a desktop, laptop, smartphone, ipad, tablet, flashdrives. The list is endless. If you are good about creating unique and secure passwords, then each account will have its own string of unique and complicated characters to access each. If you’re not good about creating secure passwords… you should be. The Issue When I ask clients if they have any digital accounts a vast majority say they do. When I ask them if something happens to them, where is the information for accessing those accounts, almost everyone points to their head.  “It’s all in here.”  But what happens when your unable to share that information when it’s needed? That’s where Digital Assets Planning enters. I have a Power of Attorney… Traditional estate planning is not enough to plan for Digital Assets. The laws have simply not caught up to the realities these assets have created.  Making things even more complicated, each service provider may have its own policies about dealing with these assets during incapacity or post death, or worse yet, they have no policies at all. That’s why proactive planning in this area should not be overlooked. Why is it Important? Identity Theft Identity theft is a prevalent concern and there are steps that should be taken to prevent this. When an individual become incapacitated,... read more