Incorporate Your Business in Florida

Photo Courtesy of StockFreeImages.comFlorida is a wonderful state in which to incorporate and run a business.

All businesses can benefit from incorporating. As an owner, the most advantageous reason to incorporate is to protect your personal assets. This means if the company does not succeed, the owner is not personally responsible for the resulting debts and obligations. Incorporating also provides credibility for the company, name protection, and tax breaks.

There are five types of corporations in Florida: C corporations, S corporations, Limited Liability Corporations, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietorships.

Florida is considered a “business-friendly” state because entrepreneurs who incorporate their business in the state do so with many benefits and few hassles. The biggest benefit of incorporating in Florida is there is no personal income tax, and some corporations are exempt from corporate income tax, which averages 5.5% nationally.

Florida has business-friendly courts and legal systems, it requires only one director to incorporate, and it has some of the lowest annual fees and corporate reporting requirements in the United States. Florida is also home to a skilled, professional, and highly-educated work force.

Although there are sites online which allow you to incorporate your business, it is always best to contact an attorney because there are important tools that are not included with a regular filing. This is the foundation of your business, and an attorney will make sure it is a solid one.

 

Breach of Contract in Florida

When entering into a contract in both business and personal settings, it is important for the participating parties to be fully aware of all aspects of the contract.

There are two forms of contracts: verbal and written. In Florida, certain types of contracts are required by law to be in writing, but verbal contracts are generally otherwise enforceable.

Written contracts are usually preferred because the document may prevent or help with settling disputes about the terms and conditions of the agreement. Written contracts must contain a certain amount of detail in order for it to be enforceable, so they should almost always be drafted by, or at least looked over by, an attorney.

Photo courtest of StockFreeImages.comA breach of contract occurs when one of the parties fails to perform their end of the bargain. This can result in the offended party suing the breaching party. In this case the offended party usually looks for one of two solutions: for the breaching party to fulfill their end of the contract or monetary compensation for the act not being completed. The dispute may go to a certain court or to arbitration, depending on the terms of the contract.

If you are considering entering into a contract, you should consult with a lawyer to make sure you are aware of your rights, obligations, and the consequences if the contract is breached.

As the saying goes, “NEVER sign anything you don’t understand.”

Canadians are “Moving In” to Florida

Watch out, Brazil, Canadians are moving in!

           Last year, 2011, was considered the “year of the Brazilians” by realtors in Florida, but it looks like Canadian home buyers will surpass them in 2013. This was the topic of discussion at the “Doing Business with Canada” hosted by the Broward Council of the Miami Association of Realtors last Wednesday.

The three most popular Florida destinations for Canadians are the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice area, Fort Lauderdale, and Naples-Marco Island.

Michelle Farber Ross, whose MMD Realty partner is Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, was one of the guest speakers at the conference. She posted on her blog the day before the conference that she was excited about speaking. “The Canadian dollar is very strong, prices are still low and Florida offers a great escape to the long Canadian winters,” she said.

When it comes to aiding Florida’s economic development, Canada tops the list when measured by the combination of bilateral trade, foreign investment, real estate purchases, and tourism.

EB-5 Program Allows Residency for Foreign Investors

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor program, enacted in 1990, is a way for foreign investors to help boost the American economy and, in the process, gain residency in Florida or in other states across the U.S.

Foreign investors can obtain an EB-5 visa if they invest $1,000,000, or $500,000 in high unemployment areas, that leads to the creation or preservation of at least 10 jobs. These investors and their families receive a two year visa that allows them to live and work in the U.S., and if the investment is successful, they can eventually receive permanent U.S. residency.

Jupiter, FL, has used this program to construct an outdoor amphitheater, marina slips, and an entertainment hub,  San Bernardino, CA, has used it to redevelop its downtown theatre district, Jay, Vermont used it to help finance luxury condos, an ice hockey rink, and a waterpark at its popular Jay Peak Resort, and Philadelphia has used the program to expand a hospital complex and improve a school for disabled children.

Along with the benefits of the program, there are also risks. Some investors have failed to maintain or create theImage courtesy of StockFreeImages.com required jobs, or failed to otherwise comply with the program, and faced deportation. Others have lost their investment, but have still secured their green cards.

Despite the risks, many foreign investors are still taking the chance. The EB-5 program is one of the fastest ways for wealthy foreign investors who lack the family ties or special skill required for a traditional U.S. visa to establish a permanent U.S. residency.

Sources: LA Times, WCAX.com

Securitized Loans are Creating Warfare

Rising commercial real estate delinquency rates are becoming a concern in the industry, and securitized loans are making the problem even more complex here in Florida and across the U.S.

When a mortgage lender securitizes a loan, it is pooled with similar debts in order to transform the loan into a similar asset that can be sold to another company without losing much value.Photo courtesy of StockFreeImages.com

As a result of this, different classes, called tranches, are formed. There is a senior tranche, middle tranches, and a lower tranche, called the equity tranche. The senior tranche is the first to see cash flow, and the equity tranche is the first to see cash loss.

Therefore, the equity tranche is facing the highest risk. If a property faces foreclosure and the proceeds earned are less than the debt owed, the equity tranche could potentially lose all of their invested money.

The good news is those who hold these junior positions are the “controlling holders.” In order to make a decision, special servicers, or the middlemen, are required to get permission from the junior-most holder in order to act. The different interests of the different tranches are creating a major conflict, which many people have named tranche warfare.

The complexity and uncertainty of these securitized loans has created a need for more legal and professional assistance. Junior lenders need to be informed of their options in order to make the right decision.

Sources: InTheseTimes.com , Bloomberg Law

Last Chance for Short Sale Tax Breaks

If you are facing foreclosure or considering short-selling your home, you need to act FAST! The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 is set to expire December 31, 2012, just over two months from now.

What does this mean?

When you short-sell your home, you end up selling your house for less than the debt owed by making a deal with the bank. The bank will forgive a portion of the mortgage, which becomes a taxable income. The current debt relief act allows homeowners to be exempt from this tax, but this will not be the case starting January 1, 2013.

If short-sellers do not close by the end of the year, they could lose a lot of money, namely 10-35% of the forgiven debt, depending what tax bracket applies. If the bank forgives $200,000 of your mortgage, and you are in the 25% tax bracket, one of the middle brackets, you will have to pay $50,000 in taxes.

While selling your home may not be the most appealing option, it may be the most pragmatic way to prevent future financial hardships.

If you are considering a short-sale or have any questions regarding this or other real estate matters, please contact us at Boyer Law Firm.

Source: Tallahassee.com

Estate Tax Set to Increase in 2013

The current Estate tax – commonly referred to as the death tax – is set to increase on            January 1, 2013.

Currently, the Estate Tax is 35 percent with an exclusion rate of $5,000,000 per individual. In January, the tax is set to climb to 55 percent, and the exclusion rate is set to drop to $1,000,000 per individual.

This significant difference can greatly affect plans in terms of gifting estates, businesses, or assets. Individuals and businesses should take advantage of the current tax rate before it increases.

Small business owners need to be especially aware of this change. Many people believe the Estate tax is only for the extremely wealthy; however, if you have a business that is worth a few million dollars, you will suddenly be in the bracket that is affected by this tax.

Now is the time to plan!

There are options to save you money, but they must be done by the end of the year. It is best to start as early as possible because assessing the value of gifts can take time, and it is expected that appraisers will be increasingly busy as the year quickly comes to a close.

If you need help with retirement or estate planning, contact Boyer Law Firm today!

A New Generation of House Flippers

The housing market is starting to show signs of life again, attracting a new generation of “house flippers.”

Areas of the country that were greatly affected by the housing crash are beginning to regain strength. According to the research firm RealtyTrac, the number of flips nationwide rose 25 percent during the first half of 2012, and the average gross profit was $29,342.

Florida is doing especially well in the recovery process, coming in second to California. Miami, in particular, is ranked the 4th most popular city in the country for flipping houses. There are numerous investors and home buyers competing for a small number of listings, which has led to bidding wars and exuberant offers. As a result, RealtyTrac has found that the average gross profit for flipping a home in Miami is $38,943, well above the national average.

Investors are able to get great deals on foreclosures and short sales, and buyers are eager to take advantage of today’s record-low interest rates. Loan applications have tripled in the past few months and the market shows few signs of slowing, according to Justin Konz, an executive at Restoration Capital, a “hard-money” lender that provides fast, short-term financing for flippers.

The old generation of house flippers relied solely on time to appreciate the value of their houses, but the new generation is buying distressed realty, fixing it up, and then selling it to make a profit. Not only are the flippers benefiting from this, but they are also providing an important function towards the recovery of the housing market.

If you have questions about house flipping or other real estate matters, please contact Boyer Law Firm. We will be happy to help!

Baby Boomer Estate Planning

For the baby boomer generation, periodically evaluating your estate planning can be as important as going in for regular medical checkups.  Estate planning is one of the best ways to manage the distribution of assets bought and sold and the changing beneficiaries who may receive them.  Effective estate planning also eliminates the death tax and ensures the proper distribution of inheritance gifts.  Individuals can avoid the costly court procedure known as probate by taking a few protective measures.

When these matters are not timely addressed, they may create an unexpected burden for individuals, caused by events such as retirement or the death of a loved one.  Whether it concerns your life insurance, investments, tax returns or retirement, contact Boyer Law Firm and its attorneys experienced in estate planning to learn how you can protect your assets from these unnecessary costs today.

Source: “What Boomers Need to Know About Estate Planning,” Casey Dowd.

Collegiate Tuition Rates for Dependants of Illegal Immigrants

A federal ruling has deemed it unconstitutional for Florida colleges and universities to charge out-of-state tuition rates for students who are legal U.S. citizens if they are dependents of parents who are in this country illegally.

This issue arose when The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil-rights organization, filed a lawsuit on behalf of five South Florida students who are legal citizens but are dependents of their parents, who are illegal immigrants. They estimate that 8,000 to 10,000 Floridians 18-24 are in the same situation.

Florida colleges and universities charge two different tuition rates: in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition. If the student is not a Florida resident, they must pay out-of-state tuition, which can be three-times the amount of in-state tuition. Tuition rates for Florida public colleges and universities are based on the student’s legal residency in the state or, if the student is a dependent, the legal residency of the student’s parents.

Other states, such as California and Texas, already allow for these students to pay lower tuition rates.

The Florida Board of Education is currently awaiting a vote to decide whether or not to appeal the federal ruling. The Board of Education is expected to vote on this issue at their next meeting on November 6.

If you are facing this problem or any other immigration issues, please contact Boyer Law Firm. We will be happy to help you!

Source: Orlando Sentinal

National Estate Planning Awareness Week: October 15-21, 2012

October 15 -21, 2012 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. This is the time to update your estate plan in order to protect yourself and your family.

It is estimated that 120,000,000 do not have up-to-date estate plans. Do you have the knowledge necessary to plan for your retirement?

Unfortunately, most Americans do not.

A poll conducted by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants showed that two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65 lack the knowledge to adequately prepare for retirement, and almost half of Americans are unfamiliar with basic retirement tools, such as a 401(k) plan.

Estate planning can be very complicated, and it includes filing of many complex legal documents. Here at the Boyer Law Firm, we would be happy to assist you in your retirement and estate planning in order to protect yourself and your loved ones, so contact us today!

Source: www.estateplanninganswers.org

Florida Home Sold For $47 Million dollars.

The Indian Creek, a Florida home, has been sold for $47 million. The construction of this 10-bedroom residence that has a private golf course, a hidden art vault, a movie theater, and a wine cellar began in May 2008. The sellers built the house with the sole purpose of selling it and are developers of the State of Florida.

This sale constitutes one of the largest sales in the State of Florida followed by other home sales between $10 and $25 million. There has been a significant growth in the high-end market in South Florida and this has become one of the main reasons for people to invest in Florida.

At Boyer Law Firm we can help you with your business and real estate transactions. Please contact us.

Foreign Investment Visas in Florida

Following the example of officials in cities like Miami, the City Council of Tampa recently voted to set up a committee to explore the possibilities of offering government-issued business visas.  In exchange for investing into job-creating projects, foreign investors can be granted temporary visas and eventually permanent resident status under current immigration law.  As cities apply for “regional center” status, investment opportunities are made available for local businesses that can build international interest and lower their risk of investment.

Whether you are a foreign investor or Florida business, Boyer Law Firm is equipped to handle the needs of both international and local clients alike.

Source: “Tampa Explores Jobs-for-Visas Idea to Lure Foreign Investors,” Stephen Nohlgren.

Foreign Real Estate Investment

Price gains for homeowners are on the rise, with Miami the third-highest market in the country.  This may be resulting from an increase in foreign investment.  Nearly one-third of purchases by foreign buyers in Florida are either in Miami or Miami Beach.  Canadians account for the largest portion of foreign investors, followed by Brazilians.  In recent months however, investors from Argentina have passed their counterparts in Brazil, becoming the most active purchasers of Miami real estate, in part due to economic conditions in the countries.

We here at Boyer Law Firm are familiar with the requirements of foreign real estate investment.  Please contact us with any questions.

Sources: “Foreign Investors Buying Miami Commercial and Resident Properties,” Lindsey Zohn and Suzanne Amaducci-Adams; “Argentines Turn Cash Into Condos in Miami,” Alexei Barrionuevo.