Can You Lower Your Property Taxes?

property taxes las vegas

Property taxes can be confusing, as there doesn’t appear to be an obvious, consistent rate. Still, there is a method to the apparent madness.

How Property Taxes are Calculated

First, understand that property taxes are calculated using the tax rate and the current market value of your property. Tax rates are based on state law and set based on what municipalities feel they need to pay for important services. An assessor hired by your local government estimates the market value of your property, including the land and structure.

The assessed value is a percentage of the home’s market value or the market value itself, depending on the jurisdiction, and your tax bill is based on this assessment. Your tax office multiplies the tax rate by the assessed value to come up with your bill.

Take Charge of Your Situation

Request a copy of your property tax card from the assessor’s office. It will give you information your town has gathered about your property, such as the size of the lot, the precise dimensions of the rooms, and the number and type of fixtures located within the home. It may include a section about improvements made to the existing structure.

Read it carefully, and note any discrepancies. If the information on the card is wrong, inform the assessor, who will either make the correction or conduct a reevaluation. Next, research other assessments on comparable homes. If a similar house has a lower assessment, bring it to the assessor’s attention.

You don’t have to give the assessor permission to access your home, but you should. If you refuse, it’s in the town’s interest to assume that you’re hiding some pricy improvements. Some towns have a policy to let the assessor automatically assign the highest value if not granted access to the property.

Look for exemptions

Your tax burden could be lowered:

  • If you are a senior.
  • If you are a veteran.
  • If you have certain disabilities.
  • Following the death of a homeowning spouse. This is called the homestead exemption; it can also release the surviving spouse from certain debts.

What to Do if You Believe You’re Being Overcharged

You may, after your research, believe you’re being overcharged. In that case, appeal your tax bill. You may have a small filing fee; and you’ll probably need a lawyer, who may take a portion of the savings on your tax bill if your appeal is approved. You may get a reduction, but there’s no guarantee. Sometimes, you even see a raise! So be prudent, and don’t file an appeal with nothing more than hope.

Finally, keep in mind that each state and each locale has its own rules and procedures. Work with local property and legal professionals to make sure your appeal has merit.

Property Taxes: The Bottom Line

The bottom line: Don’t assume your tax bill is set in stone. With research and due diligence, you may be able to reduce your burden. Contact us at Layton, Layton & Tobler. Established in 1971, we are a trusted CPA firm providing highly experienced accounting, auditing and tax services for business and individuals in the greater Las Vegas area.

Property Taxes for 2022 from Las Vegas CPA

Serving Las Vegas, Summerlin & Henderson

Posted on March 9, 2022 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

IRS Presents Filing Tips for 2022

irs filing tips las vegas

The IRS is encouraging taxpayers to make sure they’re well-informed about their tax situation as the filing deadline approaches. The key topics include special steps related to charitable contributions, economic impact payments and advance child tax credit payments. Here are some key IRS filing tips for taxpayers to know before they file next year.

Changes to the charitable contribution deduction

Taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions may qualify to take a deduction of up to $600 for married taxpayers filing joint returns and up to $300 for all other filers for cash contributions made in 2021 to qualifying organizations.

Check on advance child tax credit payments

Families that received advance payments will need to compare the advance child tax credit payments that they received in 2021 with the amount of the child tax credit they can properly claim on their 2021 tax return:

  • Taxpayers who received less than the amount for which they’re eligible will claim a credit for the remaining amount of child tax credit on their 2021 tax return.
  • Eligible families that did not get monthly advance payments in 2021 can still get a lump-sum payment by claiming the child tax credit when they file a 2021 federal income tax return next year. This includes families that don’t normally need to file a return.

In January 2022, the IRS will send Letter 6419 showing the total amount of advance child tax credit payments taxpayers received in 2021. People should keep this and any other IRS letters about advance child tax credit payments with their tax records to share with their preparers. Individuals can also create or log in to an online account to securely access their child tax credit payment amounts.

Economic impact payments and claiming the recovery rebate credit

Individuals who didn’t qualify for the third economic impact payment or did not receive the full amount may be eligible for the recovery rebate credit based on their 2021 tax information. They’ll need to file a 2021 tax return, even if they don’t usually file, to claim the credit.

Individuals will need the amount of their third economic impact payment and any plus-up payments received to calculate their correct 2021 recovery rebate credit amount when they file their tax return.

In early 2022, the IRS will send Letter 6475, which contains the total amount of the third economic impact payment and any plus-up payments received. People should keep this and any other IRS letters about their stimulus payments with other tax records. Individuals can also create or log in to an online account to securely access their economic impact payment amounts.

As for refunds, the IRS is saying that it anticipates that most taxpayers will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically, barring any issues with processing their tax return. However, there are other reports that there will be delays this year because of special challenges.

Need Help Filing 2022 Taxes in Las Vegas? Contact Us for IRS Filing Tips

There’s a good chance you have other issues you should address to minimize any problems or hassle as the filing date approaches. Reach out to a qualified tax preparer to keep yourself on track. Contact us at Layton, Layton & Tobler. Established in 1971, we are a trusted CPA firm providing highly experienced accounting, auditing and tax services for business and individuals in the greater Las Vegas area.

IRS Filing Tips for 2022 from Trusted Las Vegas CPA

Serving Las Vegas, Summerlin & Henderson

Posted on February 15, 2022 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

January 31 Tax Due Date Is Approaching

january 31 taxAs the year winds down, it’s time for businesses to start preparing for their tax filings. January 31 is the due date for many significant tasks, as shown below.

Businesses should keep in mind that state taxing authorities have their own set of due dates. Also, the IRS will grant extensions because of serious weather-related incidents, for example. It’s never too early to work with your accounting and payroll staff to make sure your end-of-year reporting is accurate and on time.

January 31 Requirements

  • File Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return. However, if you deposited all of the FUTA tax when due, you have 10 additional calendar days to file.
  • File Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees if you paid wages to one or more farmworkers and the wages were subject to social security and Medicare taxes or federal income tax withholding under the Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return, for the previous calendar year instead of Form 941 if the IRS has notified you in writing to File Form 944.
  • File Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax, to report any nonpayroll income tax withheld in the previous year. If you deposited all taxes when due, you have 10 additional calendar days to file.
  • File Copy A of all paper Forms W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, with Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, or file electronic Forms W-2, with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to report wages, tips and other compensation paid to an employee. For information on reporting Form W-2 information to the SSA electronically, visit the SSA Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information Web page.
  • File Copy A of paper, Form 1099, Miscellaneous Income, with Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, or file electronic Forms 1099, Miscellaneous Income with the IRS, when you are reporting non-employee compensation payments in box 7. Don’t forget Form 1099-NEC, required for services performed by someone who is not your employee.

Other end-of-year reminders

There are other key issues you need to be on top of as the year ends:

  • You must report the amount of personal use of company-owned vehicles as compensation on employees’ W-2 forms. There is a standard formula used to calculate these amounts based on the value of the vehicle and the percentage of business vs. personal use of the vehicle.
  • You must report the amount of company-paid health insurance premiums for S-corporation owners and their families as compensation on the employees’ W-2 forms. This amount is not subject to Social Security and Medicare withholding.
  • You may have other payroll reporting requirements if you offer other fringe benefits to employees such as disability insurance, life insurance, dependent care and education.

This is just an overview. For details on what your company needs to do—for the end of 2021 and for all of 2022—work with a qualified tax professional.

End of Year and January Tax Help

This is just an overview. For details on what your company needs to do—for the end of 2021 and for all of 2022—work with a qualified tax professional. Ensure your financial statements are appropriately completed and filed by contacting the pros at Layton Layton & Tobler today.

January 31 Tax Help from Trusted Las Vegas CPA

Serving Las Vegas, Summerlin & Henderson

Posted on January 12, 2022 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Payroll Tax Rates and Contribution Limits for 2022

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Below are federal payroll tax rates and benefits contribution limits for 2022.

Social Security tax

In 2022, the Social Security tax rate is 6.2% for employers and employees, unchanged from 2021. The Social Security wage base is $147,000 for employers and employees, increasing from $142,800 in 2021. Self-employed people must pay 12.4% on the first $147,000.

Medicare tax

In 2022, the Medicare tax rate for employers and employees is 1.45% of all wages, unchanged from 2021. Self-employed people must pay 2.9% on all net earnings.

Additional Medicare tax

In 2022, the additional Medicare tax remains unchanged at 0.9%. This tax applies to wages and self-employment income over certain thresholds ($200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for joint filers).

401(k) limits

In 2022, the maximum contributions to traditional and safe harbor plans are as follows:

  • Employee (age 49 or younger) = $20,500, up from $19,500 in 2021.
  • Employee catch-up (age 50 or older) = $6,500, unchanged from 2021.
  • Employee and employer (age 49 or younger) = $61,000, up from $58,000 in 2021.
  • Employee and employer (age 50 or older) = $67,500, up from $64,500 in 2021.

Employees can contribute up to $14,000 to a SIMPLE 401(k) plan, up from $13,500 in 2021.

HSA and HDHP limits

In 2022, the maximum contributions to a health savings account are as follows:

  • Employer and employee = $3,650 (self only), $7,300 (family).
  • Catch-up amount (age 55 or older) = $1,000.

In 2022, the limits for a high-deductible health plan are as follows:

  • Minimum deductibles = $1,400 (self only), $2,800 (family).
  • Maximum out-of-pocket amounts = $7,050 (self only), $14,100 (family).

FSA limits

In 2022, employees can contribute:

  • Up to $2,850 to a health flexible spending account, increasing from $2,750 in 2021.
  • Up to $5,000 to a dependent care FSA if filing single or jointly, and up to $2,500 if married but filing separately. The American Rescue Plan temporarily raised the dependent care FSA limits in 2021 to $10,500 and $5,250, respectively. These increases do not apply in 2022.

QSEHRA limits

In 2022, employers with a qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement can reimburse employees for health care expenses as follows:

  • $5,450 (self only), up from $5,300 in 2021.
  • $11,050 (family), up from $10,700 in 2021.

Commuter benefits limit

In 2022, employees can contribute up to $280 per month for qualified commuter benefits (e.g., mass transit and parking), up from $270 per month in 2021. This limit includes any employer contributions.

Adoption assistance exclusion limit

In 2022, up to $14,890 in employer-sponsored adoption assistance may be excluded from an employee’s gross wages, increasing from $14,440 in 2021.

Remember, these are all federal rates and limits. Be sure to check with the necessary agencies for state and local payroll rates.

Payroll Tax Help & Financial Monitoring by a Trusted Las Vegas CPA

Whatever your industry, your financial documents must be in order to avoid an unwelcome visit from the IRS. Ensure your financial statements are appropriately completed and filed by contacting the pros at Layton Layton & Tobler today.

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Posted on December 9, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

2021 Tax Tips: A Look at the Future

2021 tax tips

The end of the year always means the possibility of last-minute tax changes, and this year, that’s especially true. Some of the new legislation may mean major changes starting in the new year, but other proposed bills, such as new capital gains and qualified dividend tax rates, may take effect retroactively. And taxes on the wealthy may go up, too. Many are wondering what 2021 tax tips we can offer.

Difficult to Plan with Certainty

These possibilities make it difficult to plan with certainty. Specific provisions under consideration include those discussed here. Note that, if passed, these provisions are likely to be subject to certain exclusions and dollar limits:

  • Increasing the top ordinary income tax rate from 37% to 39.6%, which was the rate prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
  • Increasing the long-term capital gains and qualified dividend rate from 20% to 39.6% for taxpayers with annual adjusted gross income of more than $1 million.
  • Changing the capital gains tax to:
    • Tax capital gains when assets are gifted or transferred to people at death.
    • Tax capital gains when assets are transferred to or from an irrevocable trust or partnership.
    • Tax capital gains on unrealized appreciation of assets held in trust if capital gains have not been paid on a property for 90 years (e.g., property in a generation-skipping trust).
    • Tax carried interests as ordinary income instead of capital gains.
  • Subjecting pass-through income to either the 3.8% Medicare tax or the 15.3% self-employment tax if taxable income is greater than $400,000.
  • Repealing the Section 1031 like-kind exchange rules for real estate so that investors cannot defer taxes by rolling profits from the sale of a property into their next purchased property.

More from Capitol Hill

Although we have not yet seen a final draft of the proposed legislation, these are changes that should be considered as part of 2021 year-end tax planning. In addition, at least two other tax topics still might be included in the final bill: (1) a change in the $10,000 state and local income tax and (2) an increase in the estate and gift tax rate. (However, the $11.7 million allowance is scheduled to sunset on Dec. 31, 2025, unless it is extended.)

2021 Tax Tips: Six Proactive Measures

Debate around all these provisions is ongoing, but prudent taxpayers should become familiar with how they can change business and estate plans going forward. Here are six proactive measures that can result in lower taxes should these changes in the tax code be enacted:

  1. Transfer any appreciated assets you were planning to transfer by the end of 2021. Waiting until 2022 may expose these gifts to a capital gains tax. This is a good idea even for transfers to a spouse, revocable trust, not for profit, small business or family farm because we do not yet know whether transfers to any or all of these entities will be excluded from taxation.
  2. Review any estate tax planning strategies involving irrevocable trusts or partnerships to assess whether a capital gains tax may be triggered on appreciated assets to be contributed or distributed in the future.
  3. Consider selling investment real estate and buying new property in 2021. This may help avoid triggering taxes if the Section 1031 exchange rules change.
  4. Maximize contributions to retirement plans. Be aware that backdoor Roth IRAs may be eliminated in 2022.
  5. Cash out any carried interest positions.
  6. If you’re thinking about selling a business in 2022, consider doing so in 2021 instead, before there is a change in the capital gains rate. The proposed capital gains rate is nearly double the current rate, which means you would nearly double the amount of tax paid on the sale.

2021 Tax Tips, Tax Preparation and Planning in Las Vegas

Keep in mind that the situation is changing rapidly, and your best bet is to keep in close touch with financial professionals. Ensure your financial statements are appropriately completed and filed by contacting the pros at Layton Layton & Tobler today. We are also payroll and auditing experts.

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Posted on November 10, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

State and Local Tax Considerations for Remote Employees in Las Vegas

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When the COVID-19 pandemic started, no one could have envisioned how long remote work would last or how many people would want to continue working remotely on a permanent basis. Along with the many problems this created in the workplace is one that affects how remote employees pay state and local taxes. In general, there is a difference between employees who work remotely because of their employers’ necessity and those who do so for their own convenience. With hybrid work arrangements becoming a feature of the new workplace, employers should be very deliberate when they communicate and execute policies relating to an employee’s work location.

‘Convenience of the employer’ rule

The core question is this: Which state does the employee pay income tax to: the state where he or she lives or the state where his or her employer is located? In most states, a remote employee must pay taxes wherever he or she resides. However, some states follow a “convenience of the employer” rule that treats days worked at home as days worked at the employer’s location if the employee is working remotely for his or her own convenience and not the employer’s necessity.

Some states have reciprocal agreements stating that employees only have to pay tax in the state where they live, no matter whether they are doing so for necessity or convenience. Employees in this category will only have taxes withheld for one state.

If the employee lives and works in different states and those states do not have a reciprocal agreement, the employee will have to file two tax returns, one for each state. In addition, some cities and localities, such as New York City and Yonkers, New York, have their own taxes, which means some taxpayers will have to pay taxes to three entities.

While taxpayers affected by these rules will not necessarily be double- or triple-taxed because they usually are eligible for tax credits, each state has its own tax rates, and that could affect the taxpayer’s total tax bill.

This issue may eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court recently declined to hear two cases relating to telecommuting tax policy.

Domicile or residency

A person’s state of domicile is the state in which his or her primary residence is located. A person has statutory residence in a state if he or she spends more than 183 days in that state in a given year. Some people also have income from additional states.

In general, personal income taxes must be filed in the state where the taxpayer’s principal residence is located. This is true for both W-2 employees and 1099 independent contractors.

Keep in mind that even states that do not collect personal income taxes usually require the taxpayer to file a return, and that taxpayers who live in one of those states must file nonresident tax returns in states from which they receive a W-2.

Keeping relevant documents and records, including utility bills and EZ pass statements, can help support your claims if you are audited. Having a daily calendar can be helpful as well.

Employer considerations and Remote Employees

Remote workers can cause additional work for employers, which must be sure to be compliant with payroll tax withholding rules for accurate payroll tax withholding and reporting. Business tax filings may also be affected, including filings regarding passthrough business income, unemployment insurance withholding, workers’ compensation, disability, sales tax and employment requirements.

Sales tax can be a particularly thorny issue since it takes only one employee working in a state to create an economic nexus in that state.

There are many rules to consider, including how long COVID-19 rule suspensions or modifications will be in force. In many instances, these rules have either expired or will expire shortly.

To be sure to avoid any penalties, individual taxpayers and businesses need to be familiar with the tax law in their resident state and any other states in which they operate. Getting professional help is the best option for navigating this changing area of the tax law.

Layton Layton & Tobler is a trusted CPA firm providing highly experienced accountingauditing and tax services for business and individuals in the greater Las Vegas area.

Help with Tax Considerations for Remote Employees in the Las Vegas Area

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Posted on October 13, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Employee Retention Credit: Further Guidance in the Las Vegas Area

In COVID Tax Tip 2021-123, the IRS clarifies some of the confusion surrounding the powerful but complex Employee Retention Credit. The IRS is addressing changes made by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that apply to the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

These changes include:

  • Making the credit available to eligible employers that pay qualified wages after June 30, 2021, and before Jan. 1, 2022.
  • Expanding the definition of “eligible employer” to include recovery startup businesses.
  • Modifying the definition of “qualified wages for severely financially distressed employers”.
  • Providing that the employee retention credit does not apply to qualified wages considered as payroll costs in connection with a shuttered venue grant or a restaurant revitalization grant.

Answers for Business Managers

For business managers who have questions and need authoritative answers, the IRS is answering various questions about the credit for tax years 2020 and 2021, including:

  • The definition of a full-time employee and whether that definition includes full-time equivalents.
  • The treatment of tips as qualified wages, and the interaction with the credit for the portion of employer Social Security taxes paid with respect to employee cash tips.
  • The timing of the qualified wages deduction disallowance and whether taxpayers who already filed an income tax return must amend that return after claiming the credit on an adjusted employment tax return.
  • Whether wages paid to majority owners and their spouses may be treated as qualified wages.

Employee Retention Credit Reporting Clarifications

Eligible employers will report their total qualified wages and the related health insurance costs for each quarter on their employment tax returns, generally, Form 941 Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, for the applicable period. If a reduction in the employer’s employment tax deposits is not sufficient to cover the credit, certain employers may receive an advance payment from the IRS by submitting Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19.

This is just a summary of a series of detailed and technical provisions. The IRS has provided all the details in Notice 2021-49. Managers should consult with a qualified tax professional to make sure they get all the benefits they’re entitled to without inadvertently violating the provisions.

Layton Layton & Tobler is a trusted CPA firm providing highly experienced accountingauditing and tax services for business and individuals in the greater Las Vegas area. Contact us today for help with the employee retention credit.

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Posted on September 12, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

What To Know About ASC 842, the New Lease Accounting Standard

asc 842 las vegas

Every day that passes marks less time for private companies to get ready for ASC 842, the new lease accounting standard. Private companies will have to comply with this standard in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2021, and interim periods within fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022.

What is Its Intent?

ASC 842 is intended to “increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing transactions.” Because ASC 842 applies to most leases and subleases, with limited exceptions (e.g., leases of intangible property; leases of minerals and biological assets, including timber; leases of inventory; and leases of assets under construction), private companies will be required to disclose all contracts, or portions of contracts, granting “control” of the leased asset for a specific period of time.

The scope of the changes is clear from these major changes required by ASC 842:

  1. Leases must be classified as either finance leases (formerly referred to as capital leases) or operating leases. To be categorized as a finance lease, the lease must meet at least one of these criteria:
    1. The lease term covers most of the asset’s remaining economic life;
    2. The asset is specialized for the lessee’s use;
    3. The present value of the sum of the future minimum lease payments exceeds “substantially all” of the fair value of the asset;
    4. The lease either
      1. Transfers ownership to the lessee at the end of the lease term, or
      2. Gives the lessee the option of purchasing the asset, and there is reasonable certainty that the lessee will exercise this option.
  2. The rules for operating leases depend on the term of the lease. That is the first determination that must be made.
    1. Short-term leases are leases that run a term of 12 months or less. In addition, the lessee may not have the option of purchasing the asset at the end of the lease term.
      If the lease is deemed a short-term lease, the lessee may be able to recognize the lease payments over the lease term on a straight-line basis without having to include it on the balance sheet.
    2. Long-term leases are treated differently. For example, lessees will be required to record lease assets (i.e., the lease liability adjusted for certain items such as prepayments and initial direct costs) and lease liabilities (i.e., the present value of lease payments) on their balance sheets.
  3. The following key terms should be understood before your contracts are reclassified:
    1. Right-of-use asset. The right-of-use asset pertains to the lessee’s right to occupy, operate or hold a leased asset during the rental period.
    2. Embedded lease. Contracts sometimes have leases embedded in them. For example, a service contract that specifies the use of specific assets contains an embedded lease.
      Embedded leases are subject to ASC 842, which states: “A contract is or contains a lease if the contract conveys the right to control the use of identified property, plant, or equipment (an identified asset) for a period of time in exchange for consideration.”
    3. Lease component. A lease component is the right to use an underlying asset.

The disclosure requirements under ASC 842 are complicated.

They require digging deep into contracts and leases, which means businesses need to start preparing now. To achieve the transparency ASC 842 is aiming for, a company must, at a minimum:

  • Take inventory of every lease the company has signed.
  • Categorize assets as real estate, equipment, an embedded lease, a variable payment or right-of-use. This is in addition to classifying the assets as operating leases or finance leases.
  • Lease and non-lease components need to be identified and separated because they are accounted for differently.
  • Amortization schedules must be prepared for assets, such as lease liabilities and right-of-use.
  • To ensure compliance going forward, determine which internal controls need to be revised and where new ones are needed.

Performing the many analyses needed for compliance with ASC 842 is both time-consuming and complicated. Companies need to be sure they have the guidance, tools and technology they need to help ease the process initially and in the future. Getting qualified professional advice is essential. Layton Layton & Tobler is a trusted CPA firm providing highly experienced accounting, auditing and tax services for business and individuals in the greater Las Vegas area.

Qualified Professional Advice Regarding ASC 842 in Las Vegas

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Posted on August 10, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Cybersecurity: Essential for All Transactions

Cybersecurity Las VegasCybersecurity — especially data privacy — is one of the biggest problems facing businesses today. These security problems are compounded because every segment of every industry is affected differently, and each is subject to the risk factors peculiar to that segment. Grouping similar data together based on chosen parameters allows businesses to assess the privacy needs of each data segment they are holding. For example, the protections for public data don’t have to be as stringent as the protections for private data.

Protecting the privacy of the data with which they are entrusted is a universal business goal. The best way to get started is to answer the following questions:

  • What types of data does your business have (e.g., credit card information, health information, criminal history, biometrics)?
  • Which departments have access to that data?
  • Who are your data service providers and what are their credentials?
  • Which personnel can access the data?
  • What steps has your company taken to protect the data (e.g., encryption, back-up, internal controls)?

Federal and International Regulations

The United States has no federal law protecting data privacy. A number of states, however, are responding: At least 31 states have already established laws regulating the secure destruction or disposal of personal information. At least 12 states — Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah — have imposed broader data security requirements. Other states, including New York, are considering legislation.

California is a pioneer on the data privacy front. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, is similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Companies that do business in California will be affected by this legislation.

At least some of the activity at the state level is in response to the European Union’s enactment of the GDPR. Any company doing business in a nation that has adopted the GDPR must comply with its consumer protections regarding data privacy. The GDPR covers many types of data, including the following:

  • Personally identifiable data (e.g., names, addresses, date of births, Social Security numbers)
  • Web-based data (e.g., user location, IP address, cookies, and RFID tags)
  • Health (HIPAA) and genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • Racial or ethnic data

The bottom line is that U.S. businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions must consider these categories, as well as any other categories pertinent to their industry, as they segment the data they are holding. Understanding the data they hold is essential to instituting the right level of privacy safeguards.

Three Steps to Securing Your Data

Understanding your data is the first step to securing data. The second step requires knowing the relevant laws and regulations your business must comply with.

The third step is to stay alert for any indications of a breach. The sad truth is that many data breaches go on for quite a while before they are discovered. The time lapse between hack and discovery allows hackers to continue accessing vulnerable data. That makes constant monitoring an important aspect of any data security program. Watching for the signs of a breach — such as an unanticipated spike in bandwidth usage — can indicate a problem.

By following these three steps, businesses can be sure they are doing their best to protect the data they and their data service providers hold.

Let us Help You with All Your Data Needs in Las Vegas!

Let us know how we can help you understand your data better. Layton Layton & Tobler is a trusted CPA firm providing highly experienced accounting, auditing and tax services for business and individuals in the greater Las Vegas area.

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Posted on July 15, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business

Exploding 6 Estate Planning Myths

estate planning mythsPlanning your estate is about defining and living out your legacy during your lifetime. It enables you to enjoy the impact your plan has on the people and organizations you support. But there are several estate planning myths that still need debunking.

Estate Planning Myth #1: It’s only for the wealthy

There’s a common belief that estate planning is necessary for multimillionaires only. But if you own property and assets or have loved ones that depend on you to provide for their income or care, use an estate plan. Basically, if you have money, real estate or a comic book collection, you have an estate. Use estate planning to protect your spouse, minor children or other dependents.

Myth #2: Estate planning is only about distributing your assets after you’re gone

Your legacy includes charitable planning goals and gifting strategies, but you should see your plan as passing down less tangible assets that are meaningful to you. Also, you need to prepare for unexpected events; name a guardian for your kids to take care of them and manage whatever funds you leave for their benefit.

Myth #3: A will oversees the distribution of all your assets

Some assets — life insurance policies and qualified retirement assets like 401(k)s and IRAs, for example — may technically not be covered by your will. A will doesn’t override all your beneficiary designations. Items left to ex-spouses may go to them no matter what your will says. So you must review beneficiary designations to update an IRA account to your new spouse, for instance.

Other important legal documents include a power of attorney to carry out any legal or financial decisions that have to be made on your behalf, a living will and a trust. A trust can accomplish a lot of things more efficiently than a will, even for those with modest estates, so don’t rule it out.

Myth #4: An estate plan is a once-and-done event

Once the plan is in place, it’s not over. Preferences and goals change over time. Laws change. Tax rates are adjusted. You rethink your charitable strategies. You may marry or divorce or welcome a new child or grandchild; minor children become adults. Or you may move to another state — all reasons to revisit your plan.

Myth #5: Taxes eat up the lion’s share of any estate

Although estate taxes are real and the rates are quite high, topping out at 40%, only people with estates worth millions of dollars are affected by federal estate taxes. Many states don’t have estate or inheritance taxes at all, though some that do have lower thresholds than the federal rate.

The estate tax exclusion increased significantly under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Although there may be future changes, the general trend has been the federal estate tax affects only the very wealthy. Keep abreast of any state laws that may change and impose a separate estate or inheritance tax.

Myth #6: None of this matters anyway — I’m too young to need a will

This is one of the biggest myths of all! First of all, even individuals without a spouse or children should make provisions for how their worldly goods will be disposed of after they’re gone. And if your situation changes later, you’ll already have a template in place. Even if you don’t have close family, you may want to leave your assets to a meaningful charity.

Let us know how we can help you create an estate plan that’s right for you. Layton Layton & Tobler is a trusted Las Vegas CPA firm providing highly experienced accounting, auditing and tax services for business and individuals in the greater Las Vegas area.

Trusted Las Vegas Estate Planning Since 1971

Serving Las Vegas, Summerlin & Henderson

Posted on June 16, 2021 | Published by Ignite Local | Related Local Business