Jun 04

Word of the Day

Durable Power of Attoney

This is a legal document wherein a Principal names an Agent to act on his behalf. The Durable part of the Power of Attorney means that even if the Principal loses competency (his legal ability to act on his own behalf), then the Agent still has authority to enter into actions on behalf of the Principal. The Durable Power of Attorney is highly advised for any person who is elderly or has family history of mental or physical illness because the DPOA can be used to avoid guardianship or conservatorship in most cases. The Durable Power of Attorney ceases to grant any power upon the death of the Principal, however, because there has to be a living principal for powers to be granted.

To learn more about agents, powers of attorney, principals and other estate planning options, please contact Brent S. Howard, the only attorney in Altus and surrounding southwest Oklahoma that focuses practice solely on estate planning, taxes, business planning, wills, trusts and probate.

Jun 03

756 Days

It has been 756 days since the discovery of the IRS’s (specifically the Tax Exempt Organization division out of Cleveland) mishandling of tax-exempt applications by conservative groups. As of yet, all we know about is that relevant emails have disappeared and that as of yet, no one has been held accountable.

If you, as an audited taxpayer, tried to withhold the relevant information like the IRS officials, you would be held in contempt and face fines and penalties that would surely end any business you were trying to conduct.

Isn’t it nice to know that our employees in the government are held to a different standard?

Jun 02

Obamacare and Counting Full-time employees

From the IRS:

For the purposes of the Affordable Care Act, employers average their number of employees across the months in the year to see whether they will be an applicable large employer.

To determine if your organization is an applicable large employer for a year, count your organization’s full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees for each month of the prior year. If you are a member of an aggregated group, count the full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees of all members of the group for each month of the prior year. Then average the numbers for the year. Employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees are applicable large employers and will need to file anannual information return reporting whether and what health insurance they offered employees. In addition, they are subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions.

In general:

  • A full-time employee is an employee who is employed on average, per month, at least 30 hours of service per week, or at least 130 hours of service in a calendar month.
  • A full-time equivalent employee is a combination of employees, each of whom individually is not a full-time employee, but who, in combination, are equivalent to a full-time employee.
  • An aggregated group is commonly owned or otherwise related or affiliated employers, which must combine their employees to determine their workforce size.

There are many additional rules on determining who is a full-time employee, including what counts as hours of service. For more information on these rules, see the employer shared responsibility final regulations and related questions and answers on IRS.gov.

Jun 01

Word of the Day

Going to try to pick up on this where I left off

Agent – A person with legal authority to act on behalf of a principal.

An agent is someone that a principal grants authority to most often through a power of attorney. The agent is authorized to do any type of action granted by the specific granting document. The powers can be any action over property, or in the case of health care powers of attorney, being able to make health decisions for the principal. Typically in estate planning we will use a Durable Power of Attorney to create an agent for the principal, who is usually a spouse or aging parent. The principal/agent relationship is the most effective way to avoid court intervention through guardianship/conservatorship and other court proceedings when it is determined that the principal is not able to act on his own.

To learn more about agents, powers of attorney, principals and other estate planning options, please contact Brent S. Howard, the only attorney in Altus and surrounding southwest Oklahoma that focuses practice solely on estate planning, taxes, business planning, wills, trusts and probate.