South Florida Named Luxury Home Market of the Week

Beachfront Luxury HomeReal Estate Marketing Insider (REMI). This area was chosen because it is making a tremendous comeback since the housing crash of 2008, which may have affected luxury homes more so than average priced homes.

During the housing crash, sellers would usually have to wait longer than a year to find a buyer; they constantly slashed prices in the hopes of finding a buyer, but still had no luck. Even waterfront homes priced at 50 cents on the dollar were not selling.

In the last year, however, experts have seen rising prices, increased transactions, and renewed buyer confidence. South Florida was also chosen because the wealthy, cosmopolitan area is a hot-spot for tourists. South Florida offers beautiful, sunny weather year-round, which is very appealing for snowbirds around the world.

REMI says buyers and realtors should be inspired to invest in South Florida with confidence.

Negative Effect of France’s Higher Taxes for 2013

Taxes in FranceSince the election of the new socialist French President, Francois Hollande, in May 2012, over 5,000 senior and chief executives have moved out of France into neighboring countries, according to Forbes magazine, and many are also moving to the United States.

France has always had high taxes for the “super rich,” but now it is affecting an even greater percentage of the population. International companies are moving their executives out of France, businessmen and women who make a good living are also joining this trend, and it is likely to grow in the coming months.

Although the President was elected last year, his policies, especially regarding higher taxes, are seriously questioned by many people who have assets or businesses, sometimes dating back generations, and who have worked to make them grow.

If you are currently living in France and have the skills and assets to invest in a new business, you should consider coming to the United States through an E-2 or EB-5 investor’s visa. The American dream is still alive today and could be a solution for many French citizens with the means.

Here at Boyer Law Firm, we have French-speaking paralegals and attorneys. If you would like to discuss you options, please contact us today.

Source: Forbes

Jaxport Looking for New CEO

JaxportThe Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) is looking for a new CEO, and a state representative and the current interim CEO both want the job. The position opened last month when the former CEO Paul Anderson left to take the top post at the Tampa Port Authority.

Jaxport is a full-service, international trade seaport in Jacksonville, Florida. It handles containerized cargo, automobiles, recreational boats and construction equipment, dry and liquid bulks, breakbulk commodities, and oversized and specialty cargo.

The facilities owned by Jaxport include dock and wharfs, cranes, a passenger cruise terminal, warehouses, paved open storage areas, and road connections to the public highway system. Their mission is to contribute to the economic growth and vitality of Northeast Florida by fostering and stimulating commerce through the Port of Jacksonville.

Here at Boyer Law Firm, we have assisted clients through the processes of trade, importing and exporting goods, and customs law. If you need help with any of these areas in Jacksonville or other parts of Florida, please contact us today.

Sources: Jacksonville Business Journal ; Jaxport.com

 

An Overview of the E-2 Visa Process

An E-2 Visa (investor’s visa) allows citizens from certain treaty countries to come to the United States when they invest a certain amount of capital in a business in the United States.

In order to qualify for an E-2 visa, the applicant must invest a “substantial” amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States. The “substantial” amount is not specified. Certain employees of the applicant or the company may also qualify for E-2 visa status.

Boyer Law Firm has helped clients obtain E-2 visas through investments in:

–          Gas Stations
–          Restaurants
–          Hotels
–          Grocery/ Convenience StoresE-2 Visa
–          Software Companies
–          And more

The process to obtain an E-2 visa can be long (around four months if everything goes smoothly), and a lot of the responsibility will fall on the client to provide documents. The “application” consists of a binder that can be over an inch wide when everything is compiled. Because of this complexity, it is important for both the applicant and their immigration attorney to work together and stick to set deadlines.

Here at Boyer Law Firm, we are very familiar with every aspect of this process. We have customized our own list to comply with USCIS regulation, we can help clients create a corporation or LLC, one of the requirements for the visa, and we can also help them draft a five-year business plan, another requirement.

There are many paths to getting a visa in the United States and they all depend on the applicant’s needs and assets. If you think you may qualify for an E-2 Investor’s visa or any other kind of visa, contact Boyer Law Firm today. We can help you navigate the seemingly complex path of coming to the U.S.

5 Tips for Finding a Good Business Partner

Treat the process like dating.Bad Business Partner

Don’t jump in too quickly. You wouldn’t marry somebody after the first date, so don’t go into business with somebody you don’t know. (You probably don’t want to go into business with the guy in the picture.)

Work Networks

If you want a business partner, start looking. Tap into your current business networks, consider co-workers you enjoyed working with, or even tap into your old sorority or fraternity.

Look for someone who compliments you.

It is not necessary for you and your partner to agree on everything, but you should have similar values and goals. On the flip side, don’t partner with somebody who is just going to be a “yes-man.” You and your partner should challenge each other and come to compromises to create the best business possible.

Don’t just work: Play.

If you enjoy being around your business partner in social settings, then it will make the work environment much better. The ability to laugh can make miserable or complicated situations much easier to handle.

Go with your gut.

Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel right about the situation, then don’t go through with it. At the very least, you should talk to your potential business partner about any doubts or concerns you may have BEFORE you go into business together. Don’t rush into a partnership you’re not comfortable with because you don’t want to wait.

 

Once you have found a business partner, it is important to draft a contract detailing things such as how profits and losses will be distributed, who will have rights to intellectual property, what will happen if one of the partners leave, and more. You should consult with an attorney to draft this contract to ensure your assets are protected.

Manufacturing tax affects Exporting and Small Business

Manufacturing taxFlorida Governor Rick Scott plans to eliminate a state sales tax on manufacturing equipment in order to benefit exporting and small businesses in Florida.

Scott noted that other states do not charge sales tax on machinery and said the tax puts Florida at a competitive disadvantage. Currently, equipment purchased for industrial use is only exempt if it will expand a manufacturer’s output by at least 5 percent.

Florida is home to 17,500 manufacturing companies that employ more than 300,000 Floridians. “Building up Florida manufacturing is about building Florida jobs,” said Scott.

Eliminating this tax should benefit the exporting industry and small businesses and provide them with new opportunities. Exporting is a major force in Florida’s economy. There are 15 seaports in the state, and small businesses account for almost 96 percent of the state’s exporting firms and 67 percent of total exports.

If you have questions about your exporting or small business, contact Boyer Law Firm, PL, today.

Source: Florida Small Business Development Center, Manufacturing.net 

 

Venture Capital to Start a Business

Venture capital is the high-risk investment needed to start a business, and venture capitalists, such as angel investors, are investors who are willing to take these risks in order to receive high returns.

The Wall Street Journal points out a flaw in relying on “angel investors” by noting that only 2% of startup companies who applied to the largest angel-capital group attracted enough attention to even be considered.

In reality 90% of entrepreneurs raised their venture capital on their own through personal savings, business partners, family, friends, bank loans, or other means.

Venture CapitalIf you are unable to raise your venture capital through these means, then you need to get investors. The best way to do this is with a solid business plan. Take the television show Shark Tank, for example. The “sharks” ask the person seeking the investment tough questions such as:

–          How much did you sell this past year?
–          What is your profit margin?
–          Where do you see the business going?

If the business owners cannot answer these questions, they will not get an investment. The same is true in the business world. If you can’t answer these questions, then it will be very difficult to find somebody who is willing to invest in your company or idea.

The most professional way to answer such questions is through corporate documents such as a business plan or company bylaws, which should be drafted by a Business Law Attorney. This gives investors confidence in the professionalism and ability of the business to succeed, which will help them achieve their goal of receiving a return on their investment.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Florida has the Nation’s Highest Foreclosure Rate

Florida foreclosureFlorida now has the highest foreclosure rate nationwide, and it is becoming a major problem.

Of the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest foreclosure rates, seven are in Florida. In 2012, foreclosure filings jumped 20 percent, and one in five mortgages in the state are currently delinquent.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Seminole County Judge Alan Dickey had, at one point, scheduled 300 foreclosure cases in three days. He said if everyone showed up, he would have enough time for 30 seconds per case.

The foreclosure process currently takes more than 600 days to run its course in Florida, which is adding to the problem of the courts being backlogged.

The latest bill introduced to correct this problem, HB 87, was filed in Tallahassee at the beginning of January, but it is already being attacked by consumer advocates. This is the third attempt by the state legislature to correct this problem, and each has been met with consumer outcry.

If you feel like you may be facing foreclosure, don’t wait until it is too late and you are sucked into the court system; contact Boyer Law Firm today to discuss your options. We have successfully helped clients lower their payments and avoid foreclosure through either an in-house loan modification program or government program.

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/04/3167640/new-florida-bill-would-speed-up.html

5 Financial Resolutions for 2013

Lamp on money backgroundReduce your credit card debt.

Try to pay off as much of your credit card debt as possible in order to reduce the interest costs. If you are currently being harassed by creditors, you have rights and may be entitled to sue for damages.

Check your credit report.

You have a right to a fair and accurate report. If your credit report contains errors, you should address this immediately. If the credit bureau does not correct or delete the information, the Fair Credit Reporting Act gives you the right to sue for damages. It also says that the credit bureau must pay attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Diversify your Investments

Stocks, bonds, and CDs are good investments, but you may also want to consider another type of investment: Real Estate. It is a buyer’s market right now, and long-term real estate investments can pay off.

Review your Health Insurance Options

The provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect in 2014. As an individual, you should review your plan to see if there are ways to increase your coverage without increasing your premium. If you are a business owner, you should review the law and clarify the affect it will have on you and your employees.

Draw up or Update your Will

If you have not done so yet, it is important to draw up a will, no matter what age you are. Wills protect your assets and can save your loved ones the trouble of going through a long, drawn-out probate process. In addition to having a will, it is important to update it. Those with large estates should update their will every year, and those with small estates should update their will every four years. You may also consider other estate planning tools, such as a living will or living trust.

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/14/3182481/its-not-too-late-for-financial.html

Foreign Qualify your Business in Florida

When you think of “foreign qualification,” you probably think of a business that operates outside the United States. This is not the case. In order to do business in any U.S. state other than the state where the business was originally formed, the business must foreign qualify in that state.

For example, a business that was formed in Georgia is only domestic in Georgia. In order to do business in Florida, it must first foreign qualify.

Foreign Qualify your BusinessIn order to foreign qualify a business in Florida, the business must register for a certificate of authority for any and all business it will conduct here. The company must also pay all required state fees.

If you do not qualify your business in Florida, there will be serious consequences. For instance, your business will not have access to Florida courts. If a Florida consumer sues your business in a Florida court, you are not allowed to defend yourself because you will not be recognized as a legitimate business.

 

You may also be penalized with fines, penalties, and back-taxes.

As an alternative to foreign qualifying, you may also incorporate your business or form an LLC in Florida, but this will create a separate entity.

If your business is domestic in another state and you want to do business in Florida, contact Boyer Law Firm, PL, so that we can discuss the best option for your particular situation.

Myths about Real Estate Attorneys

Myths about Real Estate Attorneys

Myth: Real Estate Attorneys make things more complicated.

Florida Real Estate Attorneys are trained to provide you with advice that will make a real estate closing as smooth as possible. Because there are so many different professionals involved in real estate transactions (real estate agents, brokers, etc.), it is the job of the attorney to make sure everyone is on the same page so the closing will go smoothly and efficiently.

Myth: I have a Real Estate Agent, so I don’t need an attorney.

Florida Real Estate Agents cannot give you legal advice, unless they are also an attorney. In fact, it is a 3rd degree felony for anyone besides an attorney to give legal advice. Even an attorney licensed to practice law in another state cannot give you advice about Florida Law.

Myth: A Florida Real Estate Attorney is more expensive than the title company.

The title insurance premium rate is the same in Florida whether you go through an attorney or a title company, and both usually charge the same amount for closing costs. In cases where the transaction is not routine and barriers, such as issues in the title, need to be cleared, attorneys may charge fees for these additional services, but they are usually lower than if they were done by an attorney who is not also handling the rest of your closing.

 Myth: The Title Company will handle everything.

Like a real estate agent, title company insurance agents cannot give you legal advice. Some title companies have attorneys, but they work for the title company and are interested in the title company’s best interest, not yours.

Myth: I have to use my mortgage company’s attorney or Title Company.

Under federal regulations mandated by Congress, you have the right to choose your own settlement agent. The truth is, choosing your mortgage company’s attorney or Title Company is probably a bad idea because they will not have your best interests in mind, but the mortgage’s company’s best interests.

In summary, it is a good idea to hire your own real estate attorney for any real estate transactions, commercial or residential. If a problem occurs, it can be solved in a reasonable amount of time without overwhelming additional costs. 

Visas for RNs and other Healthcare Professionals

Visas for Healthcare ProfessionalsRegistered nurses are in short supply in Florida and across the United States. As an example, Broward Health Medical Center, in Broward County, FL, is giving RNs a $5,000 signing bonus if they commit to work for the company for at least two years.

The U.S. economy added 45,000 healthcare jobs in December. In Broward County and Palm Beach County alone, there were 7.000 postings for healthcare jobs, and that number is expected to grow, especially with the new Healthcare reforms coming into play in 2014.

Foreign-born Registered Nurses can qualify for a specific visa, called a HB-1 visa, to be able to come to the United States and work in a healthcare profession. This visa applies not only to RNs, but also to Physicians, Dentists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Pathologists, Chiropractors, and other allied healthcare workers. Physicians can also qualify for E-2 essential visas, J visa waivers, O-1 visas, and even green cards.

With the new healthcare reforms and the abundance of job openings, now is the perfect time for these professionals to consider immigrating to the United States. If you are interested in obtaining a healthcare professional’s visa, contact Boyer Law Firm, PL, today to help you through the complex administrative process.

Escrow Services for a Large Transaction

Making a large purchase or sale that includes shipping can be a scary thing. What if the seller doesn’t provide the item? What if the buyer doesn’t pay for the item? Who should go first?

The answer is: NEITHER. The smartest way to make a large transaction that involves shipping, online or otherwise, is to use an escrow agent.

Escrow Services for a Large PurchaseWhen an escrow agent is used, both the buyer and seller agree to terms. These terms should include a description of what is being purchased, the purchase price, and the estimated time of delivery.

After the terms have been agreed to, the buyer will deposit the money into the escrow account. Once it is confirmed the money is in the account, the seller will be notified to ship the item. Once the buyer accepts the item, the seller will receive the money that is in the escrow account.

If anything goes wrong along the way, the third-party escrow agent will be able to mediate the situation before it blows up into a civil litigation matter that could cost both parties thousands of dollars.

If you are interested in using or learning more about our escrow services, Boyer Law Firm, PL, can help. For example, we recently helped a client purchase a collectible car through the escrow process. We escrowed the funds in addition to sending a mechanic to physically inspect the car before our client purchased it.

Our escrow services can help you with purchases of:

–          Used cars
–          New cars
–          Used Machinery
–          Commodities
–          Marble
–          Used road equipment
–          Spare parts
–          And much more…

Don’t make a large purchase without considering an escrow agent first. We have seen too many people fall victim to fraud, scams, and receiving no or undesirable merchandise.

Florida and Federal Civil Litigation

Unlike criminal cases, which seek to punish the defendant, civil litigation cases seek to remedy the plaintiff of a wrongdoing, usually through a monetary reward. Both Plaintiff and Defendant can be an individual, a non-profit organization, or a business.

Civil litigation trials can be decided by a jury, through mediation, or both parties may agree to let a judge hear the case and make the decision.

Common civil cases include:Civil Litigation

–          Malpractice
–          Contract Law
–          Intellectual Property Law
–          Product Liability
–          Defamation Suits
–          Debt Settlement
–          Class Action Suits
–          Employee grievances
–          And many more

The litigation process in Florida is a complex system. Many people underestimate this complexity, attempt to represent themselves in these cases, and very quickly get in over their head.

Pleadings, pre-trial motions, depositions, motions, and appeals can all be very hard to handle without the right experience. That is why it is important to hire an attorney to represent you, whether you be the complaining party (Plaintiff) or the Defendant. Here at Boyer Law Firm, we represent both Plaintiffs and Defendants in these cases.

“He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” -Proverb

Tax-Deductible Attorney’s Fees

Attorney’s fees paid to help your business or for income-producing reasons are tax-deductible.Tax deduction

Examples include:

–          Business legal fees are deductible by all entities
–          Production of income
–          Management of an income-producing property
–          Tax planning and preparation purposes

These attorney fees are usually filed as miscellaneous itemized deductions, and there are certain limitations to them.

Attorney’s fees that are not tax deductible include:

–          Divorce in general (Exceptions: Collecting alimony; Tax advice relating to the divorce)
–          Personal injury or wrongful death
–          Will or Probate
–          Closing for the purchase of a home
–          Criminal cases that are not work related.

If you have questions about whether or not you attorney’s fees are tax-deductible, you should ask your attorney before he does any work for you. If you will be paying both deductible and non-deductible fees, you should ask for these fees to be on separate invoices for tax purposes.

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Tourism Boosts South Florida’s Economy

South Florida TourismSouth Florida experienced a record amount of tourism in 2012, mostly from international visitors, and this amount is predicted to be even higher in 2013.

This increase is expected to boost economic growth in South Florida, especially in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Florida’s economy should grow by 1.7% in the next six months, according to the Miami-Herald.

Business travel is one of the main reasons for the tourism increase, and the “cheapness” of the American dollar is benefiting South Florida businesses because tourists are not just coming to visit; they’re coming to buy and spend money.

New hotels are popping up, and several airlines have increased the number of flights between south Florida and Latin American Countries. Brazilians remain the No. 1 source of overseas travelers, and Broward County’s tourism bureau plans to hire its first representative country in Brazil this budget year.

Whether you are looking to visit or open a business in south Florida, 2013 looks like a great year to do so.\

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Corporate Tax Returns Due March 15

Corporate tax returns are due on March 15, earlier than individual tax returns, so now is the time to act. All business entities that conduct business or earn income in Florida must file a Florida corporate income tax return, even if there are no taxes due, unless they are exempt.

Exempt entities include:Corporate Tax Return

–          Sole proprietorships
–          Individuals
–          Estates of decedents
–          Testamentary trusts

The process of filing a corporate tax return can be especially stressful on small business owners dealing with these returns for the first time and even on veteran business owners who are just busy with other aspects of their business.

If needed, the IRS will allow you to file a 6-month extension to file your paperwork, but they will not extend your payment deadline, which is April 1.

If you need help filing your return, please do not hesitate to call Boyer Law Firm. We can provide you with a list of CPAs that can help you, and we also offer services such as help with your annual report and registered agent services.

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Mortgage Debt Relief Act Extended

If your home is facing foreclosure and you were unable to sell your house in 2012, there is good news: The Mortgage Debt Relief Act was extended by Congress for another year as part of the legislation that prevented the nation from the “fiscal cliff.”

This is especially good news to homeowners in South Florida, where home prices have dropped drastically since December 2006.

Mortgage Debt Relief ActNormally, when the bank forgives a portion of your loan, it is considered taxable income. The Mortgage Debt Relief Act allows homeowners who sell their homes through foreclosure or short sale to be exempt from being taxed on up to $2 million in savings. Homeowners who choose Loan Modification are also exempt up to the same amount.

Since it was passed in 2007, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act has saved Floridians alone millions of dollars. The bill will be extended until January 1, 2014.

Due to the extension of only one year, realtors are encouraging homeowners facing foreclosures to act, and some are even calling 2014 “the year of the short-sale.”

If you have questions about foreclosures, short-sales, or any other real estate issue, you should contact a Real Estate Attorney.

Source: Newstimes.com//

What is a HUD-1 Settlement Statement?

A HUD-1 Settlement Statement is a document used in a residential real estate closing to show an itemized list of the charges of a transaction and all the incoming and outgoing payments of both the buyer and the seller.

HUD-1 Settlement StatementThe HUD statement should be prepared by a settlement attorney because it is one of the most complicated documents in the closing process. It should be given to the buyer and seller of the house to review the day before the closing, although changes may be made to the document within a few hours of the closing.

Once received, the HUD statement should be reviewed by the buyer and seller with their respective real estate agent or real estate attorney. Any mistakes or discrepancies should be brought to the attention of the settlement attorney as soon as possible.

HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development. It is the arm of the government responsible for legislation regarding home ownership and property development.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires a HUD form to be used in all residential transactions in which a federally related mortgage is involved, but it can be used for any transaction involving a buyer and seller, including cash closings.

Sources: About.com ; The Legal Assistant

90 Year-Old’s Birthday Wish: U.S. Citizenship

Marion Steward wanted one thing for her 90th birthday: to become a U.S. citizen. She started the process to citizenship back in 2010 while living in Florida, but the process was recently sped up after she was diagnosed with cancer.U.S. Citizenship

She took her oath to become a U.S. Citizen Thursday, December 17, 2012 from her Michigan hospital bed. She was surrounded by family, and one of her sons-in-law and granddaughters sung her a patriotic song over the phone from Florida.

Ms. Steward thought she was a U.S. Citizen until she tried to apply for a passport to visit family in Canada, where she was born. She quickly found out that she was a Legal Permanent Resident, not a U.S. Citizen, and that her green card had been lost.

With the help of her daughter, she decided to forego the process of applying for a green card because it would be too time-consuming and involve too much paperwork, so she decided to apply for U.S. Citizenship instead.

This case involves special circumstances that made the process easier. Most immigration cases, whether they be for a temporary visa, permanent residence, or citizenship take more time and can potentially become complex if the correct paperwork is not filed. It is important to hire a Florida Immigration Attorney to be sure your request is not denied.

If you are interested in becoming a U.S. Citizen, legal permanent resident, or obtaining a visa, contact Boyer Law Firm.

Source: The News-Herald

Meet with Mr. Boyer over Skype!

Skype AppointmentWe are offering a new medium for appointments with Mr. Boyer. You can now have an appointment over the phone, in person, or on SKYPE!

Now you won’t have to be in the same place to have a face-to-face meeting; you don’t even have to be in the same country! This will be especially beneficial for our international clients.

All Skype communications will be by appointment only. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling.

Corporate Bylaws

By LawsOne of the most important steps when creating a business in Florida is the creation of company bylaws. Bylaws setup procedures and rules for how the company will run and make sure that all of the owners, employees, etc. are on the same page.

Bylaws can help to establish an operational framework, define the relationship between the owners, and settle future disputes in the company. By settling possible disputes in the beginning, it will be easier to fix problems as they occur, when the involved parties may not have such an objective perspective.

Bylaws are also a required corporate formality. Their existence helps to ensure the company’s limited liability protection. Otherwise, a court may “pierce the corporate veil,” in which case the owners and shareholders may be responsible for any debts incurred by the company.

Bylaws are generally required to open a bank account or request a loan. They are also useful to give to investors, shareholders, and other outside sources to better understand how the business will function. If the business plan is clearly described in the bylaws, an investor is much more likely to invest in your company.

Bylaws are only one of the corporate formalities you must follow to protect your assets. With offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami, Boyer Law Firm can help you draft your bylaws as well as provide other incorporation services. By hiring a business attorney to help you with the start-up of your business, you will ensure that you are protected.

Sources: YFS Magazine ; EHow

New Immigration Fee Effective Feb. 1, 2013

Immigration FeeOn February 1, 2013, the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) will implement a new fee applicable to foreign nationals who seek permanent residence (green cards) in the United States.

The fee will be $165, and immigrants seeking permanent residence will have to pay the new fee, the current processing and filing fees that must be paid to the Department of State (DOS), and other applicable government filing fees.

The new fee will cover the cost of USCIS staff time as well as the cost of production and delivering of green cards for the legal permanent residents. The fee must be paid after the person receives their package from the DOS but before departing from the United States. The fee must be paid online at the USCIS website.

Adoptive parents whose child will enter the U.S. through the Orphan or Hague processes are exempt from the new fee.

If you have questions about legal permanent residence (green cards), citizenship, or other visas, contact an immigration attorney today.

Sources: Migration Expert ; USCIS