We are pleased to announce that for the second consecutive year, Dan A. Penning was named a FIVE STAR wealth advisor for 2011 by HOUR Detroit Magazine. The magazine contracted an independent market research company to administer a research process to identify a select group of wealth managers who were exceptional in both their ability and commitment to overall client satisfaction.
More than 102,500 high net worth individuals and 4,200 financial services professionals were asked to evaluate wealth managers including financial planners, investment advisors, estate attorneys and accountants in the Detroit community. The final list was reviewed by a blue ribbon panel of financial services industry professionals. Less than 7% of the wealth managers in the Detroit area, including attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors, were selected.
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Formed
The formation of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is the latest effort of Governor Snyder to create a smaller, yet more centralized Michigan state government. It is not simply a name change, but a reorganization of the Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, and other state departments, which has the potential to make it a little easier for businesses to function and stay in compliance with state laws and regulations.
At a Lansing press conference earlier this year, the governor said that the Department Energy, Labor and Economic Growth has “been kind of a collection basket for a lot of things” and that the reorganization he has ordered will improve its focus, presumably to help Michigan businesses.
In Leelanau County The Penning Group will Sponsor 1st Business Forum of Industry Experts to Discuss Issues Relevant to Small Business Owners
The Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce will launch the 1st Annual Leelanau Peninsula Business Forum on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 from 7:00 am – 9:00 am at the Leelanau Sands Showroom.
Like many business professionals, your laptop and cell phone have become a corporate archive of important and confidential business information about your company. Smart phones have allowed sensitive data to be available at your fingertips that can be carried most anywhere. Identity thieves can have an easy time of accessing data that is legally protected if you don’t address security issues in your overall Information Technology plan. Many businesses find it more cost-effective to secure the information they have rather than try to repair the damage and rebuild consumer confidence after a data loss or breach. Moreover, federal and state laws require companies to implement reasonable information security practices. Depending on your business and the type of information you keep, these laws may apply to you.
A single basic standard for data security
The Federal Trade Commission has tried to develop a single basic standard for data security that strikes the balance between providing concrete guidance, and allowing flexibility for different businesses’ needs. The standard is straightforward: Companies must maintain reasonable procedures to protect sensitive information. Whether your security practices are reasonable will depend on the nature and size of your business, the types of information you have, the security tools available to you based on your resources, and the risks you are likely to face.
Budget Proposal Includes Anticipated Proposals to Change Both Tax and Spending Policies
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called the consideration of his proposed Executive Budget a “defining moment” for the state this week as the Executive Budget was submitted to state legislators for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Snyder commented on his budget as an opportunity to “stop living in the past and start looking to the future.”
New Year – New (Extended) Tax Laws
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. (The “Act”)
After great speculation and debate, Congress has now passed and President Obama has signed a tax package which gives individuals and businesses some predictability for the next two years through December 31, 2012. The Act extends the Bush-era tax cuts, provides estate tax relief, an “AMT” patch, a reduction in employee paid payroll taxes and provides businesses with new incentives to make capital investments by extending depreciation and tax credits.
At the end of July, a federal court in New York issued a decision that put a high price on “open-source” or “free” software. Companies are looking more and more closely at ways to cut expenses, and using open-source software is one way to take advantage of software licensing without purchasing software. Open-source software, however, does not fall outside the bounds of copyright law. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not in the public domain.
The software involved in the New York case is titled BusyBox. It is described as a series of small utility-type programs that are tailored for and embedded in various products, such as wireless routers, firewalls, modems, internet radios, PDAs, media players, and HDTVs. Various manufacturers use the BusyBox software and its source code to make their products work. Although BusyBox and its source code are available without charge, the use of BusyBox is subject to the GNU General Public License (or “GPL”). GPL is an open-source copyright license. Although the software is free, the license places requirements on further distribution of the licensed software. For example, if a product is embedded with BusyBox software, the product’s manufacturer/distributor must provide the source code and any upgrades or modifications available on the same terms, i.e. without charge. The GPL also prohibits licensees from distributing the software under a license that is more restrictive than the GPL. Gartner, Inc., a leading international IT firm, estimates that 85% of companies use open-source software in some fashion (Source: www.groklaw.net).
Proposed “Carried Interest” Tax Purports to Soak Wall Street But Hits Family Businesses
For the time being, the Senate has again abandoned efforts to impose a “carried interest tax” on venture capitalists, investors, and managers of family businesses. The tax would have increased the 15% capital gains tax rate on certain investors’ profits to the top income tax rate, which is scheduled to hit 39.6% on January 1st (H.R. 4213). The share of investors’ profits is called “carried interest.” It might appear at first glance that it’s perfectly fine for investment managers to be taxed at higher rates on their “carried interest.” But venture capitalists and investors don’t reside exclusively on Wall Street. The law was written so broadly that it could have hit approximately 6.5 million people invested in real estate partnerships that own anything from a single dwelling to sizable commercial properties.
The proposed legislation attempts to sway middle America by couching the carried interest tax as imposing a higher rate on “investment management services” and “investment managers” who work for Wall Street houses. In reality, the proposed legislation could have imposed a higher tax rate on any partnerships invested in particular assets. The higher rates would apply to investment gains and also to gains from the sale of the partnership, and therefore, a sale of the family business would not qualify as a capital gains transaction. Family operations are commonly formed as partnerships and managed by a family member. Under the proposed legislation, the managing family member could be subject to the “carried interest tax.” For a family partnership to gain liability protection and also not be subject to the higher taxes, an outsider – not a family member — would have to manage the partnership. The House version of the legislation exempted family farms and ranches held in partnerships. Other family partnerships would have had to wait for the Treasury Department to exempt them through regulations.
We are pleased to announce that Dan A. Penning has been named a FIVE STAR Wealth Manager by HOUR Detroit magazine in its June, 2010 issue.
As detailed below, more than 11,000 wealth managers practice accounting, business planning, estate planning, financial planning, insurance and investments in the metropolitan Detroit area. Out of the 11,000 wealth managers, only 686 of the top-scoring wealth managers were named a FIVE STAR Wealth Manager for 2010. Out of the 686 wealth managers, only 50 attorneys were included in the list and Penning was named as 1 of the 50 attorneys.
Oil and Gas Leases: What Northern Michigan Landowners Should Know
Recently, many of my firm’s clients who own multiple acres of land in northern Michigan have been contacted by petroleum company representatives and offered oil and gas rights leases for their land. While many of these companies are reputable and offer fairly standard terms in their leases, they are generally trying to secure leases that are most favorable to them. The landowner should be aware of provisions that can be included to protect their investment and maximize the owner’s financial return.
Know What Your Oil and Gas Rights are Worth
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