Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Tax Masters Accused of Fraud and Deception

State AG says 'Tax Lady', Roni Deutch should be jailed for contempt
per the court case. The “Tax Lady’ spent millions on advertising; hired people off the street with no training to work the telephones in a “sweat shop” type setting and had no intention on really helping the desperate taxpayers that contracted with her.

No sympathy here. It has been frustrating the past few years, seeing the growing number of scammers advertising their supposedly top secret and unique services for settling up past tax debts with IRS.

As anyone capable of using Google can easily see, these services take money from desperate people, do nothing to help them, and leave them even worse off with the tax agencies. Any competent professional tax advisor can help people work on arranging a payment plan or an Offer In Compromise with IRS for far less than the thousands these scam services charge. It's good to see these scammers being nailed by the authorities.

Monday, August 29, 2011


With working with small businesses, I know first-hand the impact of federal and state regulations. The regulations are there to serve a useful purpose, but sometimes enough is enough. It seems like a vicious circle. The more regulations we have, the more bureaucrats we need, and more bureaucrats sit in their office and create more regulations…which create more bureaucrats.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that the administration last week "released version 2.0 of its regulatory review, which looks back at existing regulations to determine which regulations it can streamline or eliminate." In his commentary at http://www.chamberpost.com/, the U.S. Chamber's regulatory expert, Bill Kovacs writes that while the administration is to be commended for taking the initiative, "results of this look-back will not have a material impact on the real regulatory burdens facing businesses today." In 2007, there were around 110,000 federal regulations. Today, those rules are proliferating at a rate of about 4,000 additional regulations annually. There are currently more than 22,580 pages of federal regulations on environmental protection; 15,700 pages of tax code; 10,800 pages to regulate agriculture; 6,555 pages for the transportation sector; 5,575 pages on banking regulation; and 4,955 pages of labor law. Still, the rules keep coming. According to reports, the federal agencies added $9.5 billion in new regulatory costs in July alone by proposing 229 new rules and finalizing another 379 rule changes.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Each year, the Internal Revenue Service sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Our observation is that most of the time the notices that you receive are in error. Most notices are computer generated and many times it is a matter that the computer has not recorded the information or matched the information properly. Alway, always check the noticed carefully before you respond.

Here are eight steps to know about IRS notices – just in case one shows up in your mailbox.

1. Don’t panic. Many of these letters can be dealt with simply and painlessly.

2. There are a number of reasons why the IRS might send you a notice. Notices may request payment of taxes, notify you of changes to your account, or request additional information. The notice you receive normally covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return.

3. Each letter and notice offers specific instructions on what you are asked to do to satisfy the inquiry.

4. If you receive a correction notice, you should review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return.

5. If you agree with the correction to your account, then usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is due or the notice directs otherwise.

6. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. You should send a written explanation of why you disagree and include any documents and information you want the IRS to consider, along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.

7. Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call to help us respond to your inquiry.

8. It’s important that you keep copies of any correspondence with your records.

Friday, August 26, 2011


In Hollywood, accounting can seem like a pretty glamorous profession, or not.

May 17, 2011 - The Producers

Gene Wilder co-starred as accountant Leo Bloom in "The Producers," the 1968 Mel Brooks madcap comedy. Teamed with Zero Mostel (left) as Max Bialystock, the womanizing theatrical impresario, they try to create the biggest flop ever to hit Broadway, a musical tribute to Adolf Hitler. Their roles were later reprised by Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane in a hit Broadway musical and a 2005 remake.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


It seems like a lot of the talk these days is about the Congressional Committee that is to come up with a deficit plan to present to Congress and the President. On top of that, the President has been saying on his bus tour that he has a plan that he is going to unveil in September. How is this going to impact income taxes? Here are my thoughts:

First of all, I don’t think that anybody thinks that the committee will offer a plan that will be passed so we will default (bad choice of words), to the 1% cutback called for in the deficit bill.

Right now, House Republicans appear to have blocked any new taxes. And all seven Republican candidates participating in the recent presidential debate pledged to oppose new taxes even if they were accompanied by ten times that amount in spending cuts. So, new taxes appear off the table for now.

But look out! The Bush tax cuts expire right after the 2012 election, and rates on ordinary income, capital gains, and qualified dividends will automatically go up unless Congress gets their act together to extend them. Democrats and Republicans are united in wanting to preserve them for "middle class" taxpayers. But the White House has pledged not to extend those cuts for single taxpayers making above $200,000 or joint filers above $250,000. If Obama wins in November, he may have the leverage to pass "enhanced revenues."

A final comment.

I love how the spin doctors in Washington use terms like "enhanced revenues" to mask new taxes. My favorite is the 3.8% "Unearned Income Medicare Contribution" imposed on investment income by last year's legislation that Washington laughingly refers to as “Healthcare Reform.” I swear, those guys have more euphemisms for "tax hikes" than Eskimos have words for snow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Since Virginia had a 5.9 magnitude earthquake and Colorado was also hit with earthquakes yesterday, I thought you might want some earthquake talking points.

1. The first recorded earthquake was in China in 1177 B.C.E.
2. China is also the birthplace of the first seismograph. Built in 132 C.E. by a man named Cheng Heng, it consisted of eight metal dragons holding eight carved balls over eight frog figurines. If an earthquake made the ground vibrate, the dragon facing the quake’s source would (naturally) drop a ball into the mouth of its corresponding frog.
3. Of course, it didn’t really work.
4. But it did look cool.
5. While dragons aren’t that good at predicting earthquakes, other animals might be. According to ancient reports, critters in the Greek city of Helice headed for the hills just before a massive quake leveled the city in 373 B.C.E.
6. There’s some modern evidence, as well. In 1975, Chinese officials evacuated Haicheng days before a massive earthquake, based both on warnings from seismologists and the strange behavior of local pets.
7. Before leaving Alabama, Shawnee leader Tecumseh told a Creek chief, “I … shall go straight to Detroit. When I arrive there, I will stamp on the ground with my foot, and shake down every house in Tuckhabatchee.” Coincidentally (or was it?), he arrived in Detroit on December 16, 1811, the day of the New Madrid earthquake—the largest ever recorded in the contiguous United States.
8. The most violent earthquake ever measured in the world hit Chile in 1960, coming in at a terrifying 9.5 on the Richter scale.
9. The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, was “only” considered a 5 on the Richter scale.
10. In theory, a quake can actually measure 11, or even higher. The formula for the Richter scale has no upper limit.
11. Speaking of Charles Richter, the American scientist was supposedly an avid nudist. Rumors persist that his wife was so distressed by his penchant for hanging out in the buff that she divorced him.
12. One guy not to trust for earthquake predictions? British soldier William Bell. In 1761, right after two earthquakes uncannily hit England 28 days apart, Bell smelled opportunity. He claimed a follow-up quake would be hitting the country four weeks later. Accounts depict Bell running through the streets of London ranting about the impending destruction. Amazingly, it worked. Folks were so panicked that hundreds actually slept in boats on the Thames thinking it would be safer than their homes. Luckily, the quake never hit. But Bell quickly lost his street cred and eventually ended up in an insane asylum.
13. In early 2001, FEMA prophetically listed the three most likely disasters to hit America: a terrorist attack on New York City (check), a hurricane in New Orleans (check), and a massive earthquake in San Francisco. Nervous yet?

This article was written by Jeff Fleischer, and originally appeared in the May-June 2007 issue of Mental Floss magazine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


People ask me all the time about deduction of clothing worn at work. The rule is, if the clothes are suitable for wear in the normal course, they are not deductible. This is proven by a recent court case.

The Tax Court ruled that a television news anchor cannot deduct the cost of her business clothing that she wore only on TVeven though she felt the clothes were too conservative to be suitable for everyday wear. It also disallowed write-offs she took for the cost of makeup, manicures, contact lenses, news magazines, teeth whitening, cable TV and a gym membership. It doesn’t matter that her employer required her to maintain a professional appearance and to keep abreast of breaking news events. They’re still all nondeductible personal expenses.

Monday, August 22, 2011


A safe prescription drug, Natroba, is about to debut. Also here: LouseBuster, a device that resembles a scalp massager and hair dryer, which is 99.2 percent effective against salon’s biggest enemy.



Rap singer, Beanie Sigel has pleaded guilty in a Philadelphia federal court to charges of failing to file tax returns for three years in a row.

The 37-year-old performer admitted Tuesday to the government’s claim that he did not pay at least $348,000 that he owed in taxes on $1 million in income earned between 2003 and 2005, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Prosecutors believe Sigel, whose real name is Dwight Grant, did not pay taxes in years prior to 2003, but the statute of limitations has run out. They contend that he owes up to $700,000 in unpaid taxes going back to the 1990s. He has previously been in prison on weapons possession charges, but was acquitted of an attempted murder charge. Sentencing in the tax case is scheduled for November. He faces up to three years in jail.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Q. Back to school time can get really expensive! What tax breaks are there for college? I don’t understand my options. ~Terry

A.Terry, this can get a little confusing. There are several tax breaks to help pay for education. Of course, the government can’t make it simple; they have to give us several options which make it complicate the tax code.

American Opportunity Credit

• This credit, originally created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has been extended for an additional two years – 2011 and 2012.
• The credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student and is available for the first four years of post secondary education.
• Forty percent of this credit is refundable, which means that you may be able to receive up to $1,000, even if you owe no taxes.
• Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, course related books, supplies and equipment.
• The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is below $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing a joint return).

Lifetime Learning Credit

• In 2011, you may be able to claim a Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for a student enrolled in eligible educational institutions.
• There is no limit on the number of years you can claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for an eligible student.
• To qualify for the credit, your modified adjusted gross income must be below $60,000 ($120,000, if married filing jointly).

Tuition and Fees Deduction

• This deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000 for 2011, even if you do not itemize your deductions.
• Generally, you can claim the tuition and fees deduction for qualified higher education expenses for an eligible student if your modified adjusted gross income is below $80,000 ($160,000, if married filing jointly).

Student loan interest deduction

• Generally, personal interest you pay, other than certain mortgage interest, is not deductible. However, if your modified adjusted gross income is less than $75,000 ($150,000 if filing a joint return), you may be able to deduct interest paid on a student loan used for higher education during the year.
• It can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $2,500, even if you don’t itemize deductions.

Other rules

• For each student, you can choose to claim only one of the credits in a single tax year.
• If you pay college expenses for two or more students in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. For example, you can claim the American Opportunity Credit for your sophomore daughter and the Lifetime Learning Credit for your senior son.
• You cannot claim the tuition and fees deduction for the same student in the same year that you claim the American Opportunity Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit.
• You must choose to either take the credit or the deduction and should consider which is more beneficial for you.

Every situation is different, so make sure that you explore your options.

Friday, August 19, 2011


The IRS is turning up the heat on employers via its exam program. The agency is in the middle of a special series of random payroll tax examinations, auditing about 2,200 firms a year. Agents are directed in all audits to look for worker misclassification.

The Service is also mining Form 8919 filings for audit prospects. Taxpayers who believe they were incorrectly treated as contractors file this form with the IRS and give information about their employers. The Internal Revenue Service screens the filings and sends the best cases out to the field for examination. In addition, the IRS is looking at businesses that have several 1099’s over $10,000. If a company has several 1099’s, it might indicate that they are using independent contractors.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The actual costs of travel (e.g., plane fare, cab to airport, etc.) are deductible for out-of-town business trips. You are also allowed to deduct the cost of meals and lodging. Your meals are deductible even if they are “personal,” i.e., not connected with business, although, as with all deductible meals, only 50% of the cost is allowed (80% for long-haul truckers, certain airline, train and bus employees, and certain merchant mariners). Additionally, no deduction is allowed for meal or lodging expenses that are “lavish or extravagant,” a term that has been interpreted to mean “unreasonable.”

Personal entertainment costs on the trip aren't deductible, but business-related costs such as for dry-cleaning, phone calls, and computer rentals are.

Some allocations may be required if the trip is a combined business/pleasure trip, for example, if you fly to a location for five days of business meetings and stay on for an additional period of vacation. Only the cost of meals, lodging, etc., for the business days are deductible—not for the personal vacation days.

On the other hand, with respect to the cost of the travel itself (plane fare, etc.), if the trip is “primarily” business, the travel cost can be deducted in its entirety and no allocation is required. Conversely, if the trip is primarily personal, none of the travel costs are deductible. An important factor in determining if the trip is primarily business or personal is the amount of time spent on each, although this isn't the sole factor.

If the trip doesn't involve the actual conduct of business, but is for the purpose of attending a convention, seminar, etc., IRS checks the nature of the meetings carefully to make sure they are not vacations in disguise. Be careful to save all material helpful in establishing the business or professional nature of this travel.

The rules on deducting the costs for your spouse if she accompanies you on a business trip are very restrictive. No deduction is allowed unless she's an employee of yours or your company and her travel is also for a business purpose.

Finally, note that personal expenses you incur at home as a result of taking the trip aren't deductible. For example, the cost of boarding a pet while you're away isn't deductible.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Unless you have been living in a cave for the last couple of weeks, you know that Congress finally took care of the debt limit...well maybe. By extending the amount that they could borrow, they are allowed to keep sending out checks and avoid defaulting on its debts. Surprise, surprise. Another extension will not be needed until after the 2012 elections. It sounds like a political move to me.

The question that you have to ask is, “How does this impact taxes?”

Lawmakers kicked taxes down the road as part of their grand compromise on the debt ceiling. Republicans wouldn’t accept proposals from Democrats to include billions of extra tax revenues in the package. That money was to come from a major revamping of the tax code; reducing deductions and tax breaks while lowering rates.

The goal of the revised system was to raise hundreds of billions in additional revenue than under the current law. Thus, Congress isn’t likely to tackle serious tax reform anytime soon.

While it is true that the debt deal established a bipartisan deficit reduction panel that could vote to approve tax increases, the chances of that happening are slim. And even if the panel were to propose a tax hike, the House probably wouldn’t pass it.

This whole mess pretty much guarantees that taxes will be a key issue in the 2012 elections. Both Democrats and Republicans remain convinced that a majority of voters will support their position on taxes. Time will tell.


We have a client from California that was just audited by the State Fund Workers Comp Insurance. We thought you might be interested in the results of her audit.

Because her cleaning person does not have a city establishment license, she owes workers comp insurance on the cleaning person. In other words, unless the cleaning person is a valid business she is considered an employee.

Secondly, she had been paying workman’s compensation on tips which according to the state of California, were not wages subject to Workman’s Comp.

WARNING! All states and cities are different, so make sure you check on this within your boundaries.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Longtime Rangel Aide Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges

James Capel, a former aide to Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has pleaded guilty to failing to file tax returns for three years. Capel pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of one count of failure to file a tax return and two counts of tax fraud.

Rangel was censured in the House last December for various ethics violations, including failure to pay taxes on rental income from a villa in the Dominican Islands. Capel’s failure to file tax returns from 2007 to 2009 was unconnected to Rangel’s ethical lapses. However, he worked as a top advisor to Rangel for more than 10 years, according to The New York Times. He ran Rangel’s New York office, according to The New York Post. Rangel was the former chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee until he stepped down in the midst of the ethics investigation.

Capel did have some income taxes automatically withheld from his paycheck, but his failure to file the tax returns led to about $25,000 in unpaid taxes. As part of his plea deal, he will pay over $42,000 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. Capel retired in February from his job, where he earned nearly $160,000 a year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Q. I am a salon owner and we are having a terrible time with our cash flow. To make matters worse, we have not been able to fund our retirement account for the last couple of years. What can I do? I am so in the dark.

A. I have been giving a lot of thought to your cash flow and to the retirement question that you posed. I really think the best thing we can do is to measure exactly where we stand financially to determine what course of action to take. If we can get your books up to date, then we can determine what the break-even point of sales is for you. Once we have measured that number, we can determine what steps need to be taken to make sure that we have the cash flow necessary to prosper.

Don’t forget, there are five ways to have more profits and therefore, more cash flow:

• More clients (referral and marketing programs)
• Come in more often (pre-book)
• Spend more when they come in (retail and ad on services)
• Increase prices
• Cut expenses (except accounting) --A little humor there

Regarding the retirement plan, that really depends on cash flow. Lately, many of my clients have been putting off contributions to retirement plans and working on business growth and debt retirement.

Let’s get the books caught up-to-date and analyze. Remember-- "What you can measure…you can manage.”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


An icon in the industry has been diagnosed with, and is receiving treatment for leukemia. Vidal has been a leader in the hairdressing profession and according to him has lived a charmed life.

According to Tony Beckerman, Vidal is very weak and depressed as the chemotherapy treatments are taking its toll and, of course, Vidal is becoming increasingly frustrated because he cannot carry out his usual routine, which includes a swim in his pool. Vidal is a fighter and he will defeat this illness. Those who have read his book and have seen the movie know him to be an extremely determined individual. We send prayers to him and his family.


Q: What are the tax benefits and expenses when adopting a child?

A: There are two tax benefits available to offset the expenses of adopting a child. For 2011, you may be able to claim a refundable credit against their federal tax for up to $13,360 ($13,170 for 2010) of “qualified adoption expenses” (see below) for each adopted child. The credit is reduced (phased out) if your income exceeds certain limits (see discussion below).

Qualified adoption expenses. To qualify for the credit or the exclusion, the expenses must be “qualified adoption expenses.” These are the reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging) while away from home, and other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of an “eligible child” (defined below).

Qualified adoption expenses don't include expenses connected with the adoption of a child of a taxpayer's spouse, expenses of carrying out a surrogate parenting arrangement, expenses that violate state or federal law, or expenses paid using funds received from a federal, state, or local program. Expenses that are reimbursed by an employer don't qualify for the credit, but benefits provided by an employer under an adoption assistance program may qualify for the exclusion.

Expenses in connection with an unsuccessful attempt to adopt an eligible child before successfully finalizing the adoption of another child can qualify. Expenses connected with a foreign adoption (i.e., one in which the child isn't a U.S. citizen or resident) qualify only if the child is actually adopted.

Taxpayers who adopt a child with special needs will be deemed to have qualified adoption expenses in the tax year in which the adoption becomes final in an amount sufficient to bring their total aggregate expenses for the adoption up to $13,360 for 2011 ($13,170 for 2010). They can take the adoption credit or exclude employer-provided adoption assistance up to that amount, whether or not they had $13,360 for 2011 ($13,170 for 2010) of actual expenses.

Eligible child. An “eligible child” is a child under the age of 18 at the time the qualified adoption expense is paid. A child who turned 18 during the year is an eligible child for the part of the year he or she is under age 18. A person who is physically or mentally incapable of caring for his or her self is also eligible, regardless of age.

Special needs child. This refers to a child who the state has determined cannot or should not be returned to his parents and who can't be reasonably placed with adoptive parents without assistance because of a specific factor or condition, e.g., ethnic background, age, membership in a minority group, medical condition, or handicap. Only a child who is a citizen or resident of the U.S. can qualify as having special needs.

When to claim the credit or take the exclusion. If the qualifying expenses are paid before the year the adoption becomes final, the credit is claimed for the year after the one in which the expenses are paid. If the expenses are paid in the year the adoption becomes final or in a later year, the credit is claimed for the year in which the expenses are paid. For example, say $3,000 was paid in 2009, $2,000 in 2010, and $4,000 in 2011, when the adoption becomes final. The taxpayer claims a $3,000 credit in 2010 (for the 2009 expenses). The $2,000 of 2010 expenses and the $4,000 of 2011 expenses are combined to be claimed in 2011. In the case of a foreign adoption, the credit may not be taken until the year in which the adoption becomes final.

Adoption credit is refundable. The adoption credit is a refundable credit. So, if the sum of your refundable credits (including any adoption credit) exceeds your tax liability, the excess amount is an overpayment that can be refunded to you.

Phase out for high-income taxpayers. The credit allowable for 2011 is phased out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) over $185,210 and is eliminated when AGI reaches $225,210. (For 2010, the phase-out begins at $182,520 and is completed at $222,520.) The 2011 credit is reduced by a percentage equal to the excess of AGI over $185,210 divided by $40,000. (For 2010, the credit is reduced by a percentage equal to the excess of AGI over $182,520 divided by $40,000). For example, say taxpayers who could otherwise claim a $2,000 credit have an AGI of $195,210 in 2011. Their $195,210 AGI minus $185,210 equals $10,000, and $10,000 divided by $40,000 is 25%. Accordingly, the taxpayers “lose” 25% of their credit ($2,000 times 25% is $500) and can only claim a credit of $1,500. (Special rules for determining AGI apply in some cases.) The phase out rules for high-AGI taxpayers apply for the exclusion as well.

Child's taxpayer identification number required for credit or exclusion. The IRS can disallow the credit and the exclusion if a valid taxpayer identification number (TIN) for the child if not included on the return.

Adopted child may qualify for dependency deduction, other tax benefits. Your legally adopted child will qualify as your dependent if the other dependency tests are met, e.g., you provide more than half of the child's support. Even if the adoption isn't yet final, the child will be your dependent if he or she was placed with you for legal adoption by an authorized placement agency and was a member of your household for at least part of the year. Special requirements apply to adoptions of foreign children who aren't U.S. citizens or residents. Once the child is your dependent, you will qualify for the dependency deduction and for other tax benefits, such as the child tax credit.

I can help you to make sure that you get the full benefit of the substantial tax savings available to adoptive parents.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Singer R. Kelly Faces IRS Tax Lien

The Internal Revenue Service has reportedly filed a tax lien against singer, R. Kelly for $837,442.59. The IRS filed the tax lien against the Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter in January 2010, according to the Detroit News. Last month, however, the IRS lifted an earlier tax lien for $1,036,858.

The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is also facing a $2.9 million foreclosure lawsuit against his mansion outside Chicago, according to Crain’s. He allegedly has not made mortgage payments since June of last year. Kelly has had many hit songs including, "I Believe I Can Fly," for which he won three Grammy Awards in 1998. He has also produced and remixed songs for a number of artists, including the Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross and Vanessa Williams. However, he has also faced arrests and lawsuits for disorderly conduct, sex with underage girls, assault and other incidents.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


International Stem Cell (ISCO) has announced that it’s wholly owned subsidiary Lifeline Skin Care and its new stem cell skin care line has exceeded sales expectations since its trial launch at the tail end of last year. Lifeline carried out the evaluation of the product line in November and December 2010, and with the results, will now look to move forward with its general marketing program. "Sales to date have greatly exceeded our expectations for the trial launch,” said Dr. Ruslan Semechkin, CEO of Lifeline Skin Care. He explained that the initial sales resulted from a very limited product offering made to subscribers of only one of the several newsletters sent out, plus a small direct mailing to interested parties and ISCO's shareholders who had signed up for general corporate information through the website.

Parthenogenetic stem cell extract
Lifeline Skin Care products contain parthenogenetic stem cell extract and were developed by the ISCO research team in collaboration with cosmetic chemists. The company claims the breakthrough products deliver leading advances in skin rejuvenation technology that helped to prevent and repair damaged skin.

Thanks to the evaluation results, the California-based firm says it is now ready to move forward to the next phase of distribution, which will commence near the end of March. That phase will consist initially of a customer solicitation conducted by its marketing partner, John Mauldin's specialty internet and direct response marketing organization. "We almost never endorse or sell a retail product," said Mr. Mauldin, "but the results of both our informal testing and the company's formal studies have convinced us that the Lifeline Skin Care products really are a game-changing advance in skin care. I have not seen such a strong response in online marketing in the last ten years. We are all very excited and proud to be involved," he added.

First to incorporate stem cell
The Lifetime Skin Care line went on sale in the U.S., and was thought to be one of the first anti-aging lines to incorporate stem cell technology. The launch included two products, consisting of a defensive Day Moisture Serum, and Recovery Night Moisture Serum, which was distributed at select retail outlets in the US as well as online. Following the results however, Kenneth Aldrich, Chairman of ISCO, did issue a cautionary comment to its investors.
"We are incredibly excited by the prospects of this new product from our Lifeline Skin Care subsidiary. Selling over 7,000 bottles through a very limited trial launch, as we have done, represents a significant first step, but it would be imprudent for us to base projections of future sales or profits on a sample base of this size."

Thursday, August 4, 2011


And Here’s the Kicker~ On her way home from having dinner and drinks, Melanie from Chicago got angry with her husband and tried to kick him. Instead, she crashed through the window of a beauty salon, suffering several deep cuts. So naturally, she sued the salon. Part of her argument: The store’s plate glass window, which fronts a sidewalk, “frequently traveled by intoxicated pedestrians,” should have been stronger.

Source: wbbm780.com(Chicago)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Imagine this: An owner of a hair salon wakes up in the morning and heads to her studio. When she arrives, she discovers that she has no employees, no inventory, and no equipment. As she looks around, she realizes that she forgot to pay the bills, forgot to make orders, didn’t advertise and therefore, had no clients.

Although this is a pretty silly story, it is very similar to what happens when a business owner fails to prepare a succession plan.

Creating a succession plan is not that difficult once you realize how important communication is. The following are the seven steps that we discuss with clients as we talk about family business succession.

1. Communication
2. Business and estate planning
3. Leadership development
4. Trust
5. Personal resilience
6. Retirement investment planning
7. Non-key employees

All seven of these items need to be discussed as part of your succession plan. With good communication and realization of the hurdles that you need to take twice, a business plan can flourish. If you need some assistance with a family succession plan, please contact our office.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


DOL ‘Refocuses’ on Enforcement; Adds 33% More Investigators

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is promising to “refocus the agency on its enforcement responsibilities”. It’s added 250 new field investigators—a staff increase of more than a third—to look into employer noncompliance on pay and overtime issues. This comes after a scathing report that cited DOL for weak response to complaints. For a free eight-step plan to prepare for a DOL audit, go to