Daniel Cullinane CPA
25 Plaza 5 25th fl Jersey City NJ phone 732-516-1648 fax 732-516-9778
2500 Plaza 5 25th fl Jersey City NJ 07311 phone 732-516-1648 fax 732-516-9778
NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER 2
Rather than kill Nafta, Donald Trump and his advisers appear set to push for substantial changes to the treaty governing US trade with Mexico and Canada, an effort that could prove difficult to negotiate and perilous t the regional and perilous to the regional economy. The president elect vilified the North American Free Trade Agreement during the campaign and threatened to pull the US out of the trade deal but only if Mexico does not agreee to substantial modifications. The US trade deficit with Mexico rose 9.5% in 2015 to $60.7 billion, while the deficit with Canada fell 57% to $15.5 billion. Mr Trump has not released a blueprint for his new vision of Nafta, but his comments and those of his advisers suggest they want big changes . Among the likeliest would special tariffs or other barriers to reduce the US trade deficit with Mexico and new taxes that would hit firms that moved production there It may also seek to remove a Nafta provision that allows Mexican and Canadian companies to challenge US regulations outside of the court system
TRUMP POISED TO PUSH NAFTA CHANGES
Smalll firms with health plans that do not meet Obamacare requirements Dec 31, 2016 is the deadline to renew coverage. Thiry five states let smalls keep plans that were in place before the Affordable Care Act took effect, even it the plans do not meet full reauirements The exemption ends in 2018 Come 2018 small businesses will have to reconsdier health care options. Some small firms will drop coverage altogether, sending workers to health exchanges. Expected to take this path : The smallest firms in low wage industries such as retail.
Expect a final rule on sick leave for federal contractors and subcontractors in a week or so from the Labor Dept. Workers get up to seven days of paid sick leave per year, including leave for family care and absences for domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking The rule established by executive order extends leave to nearly 437,000 Workers and applies to contracts entered into after Jan 1,2017. The rule will likely allow contractors to exclude any union contract that already includes provisions for paid sick leave. The rule applies onlyu to employees working on a federal contract, though firms probably will give the leave to all workers Meanwhile, large companies are rethinking opposition to a federal mandate on sick leave. Employers with branches in multiple states want a national standard to replace the patchwork of state and local laws Small firms remain fiercely opposed
In late September, a Manhattan jury awarded Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) $5.5 million to compensate the company for sales of counterfeit diamond engagement rings sold by Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST). A few days later, the jury socked Costco with another $8.25 million in punitive damages.When Tiffany first brought the suit in February 2013 for infringement of its trademark, Costco countered that “Tiffany” had become generic. Costco’s claim was tossed out by the judge and the rest is now history.
The problem of counterfeit goods is an especially pointed one for online retail outlets like eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). Counterfeit awareness and consumer advocate site, The Counterfeit Report, has over the past six months sent notifications to both companies to remove listings for 1.7 million counterfeit items for sale on their websites.Last month Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported that nearly 90% of its chargers and cables labeled as genuine at Amazon.com are, in fact, counterfeit. Apple has sued a New Jersey company, Mobile Star, for putting Apple’s logo on the cables and chargers.Amazon told Bloomberg News at the time that it has “zero tolerance” for counterfeit at its website and that it goes after “wrongdoers” aggressively. What neither eBay nor Amazon does do, according to The Counterfeit Report, is tell customers they’ve bought a fake:
Inexplicably, the e-Commerce giants don’t notify consumers they received a counterfeit, they may be in danger, and are entitled to a refund — even when the websites know or have been notified by the manufacturer the items are counterfeit, or fake (items that don’t even exist in the manufacturer’s product line but bear its registered trademark).Counterfeiting is a $1.7 trillion global criminal enterprise that is profitable, difficult to track and generally unpunished. The damage is not limited to trademark violation, however. According to The Counterfeit Report, counterfeiting costs U.S. manufacturers more than $250 billion and has cost U.S. workers more than 750,000 jobs.
Copyright © Daniel Cullinane CPA.
Facebook will no longer allow marketers buying housing, employment and credit related ads to target ethnic groups, the social media giant said Friday. The company has been under pressure from US lawmakers who have raised concerns that a Facebook feature allowing marketers to target users by ethnic affinity could be discriminatory. Facebook said it would build tools to detect and automatically disab le the use of this type of marketing for some ads purchased on the site. It also will update its ad policies to require advertisers to agree not to discriminate in advertising on Facebook. This is the latest in a string of controversies ensnaring Facebook centered on how the social network is hankling its powerful role as a major source of information for its 1.8 billion monthly users and increasingly important venue for advertisers.
HALF OF BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING WILL BE ONLINE
CHINA MULLS NEW CAPITAL CONTROLS
AMAZON HAS A COUNTERFEIT PROBLEM
Just over half (51%) of an individual’s average $400 Thanksgiving weekend shopping budget will be spent online. That’s $205 compared with $185 (46%) in stores and the remaining 3% ($10) on catalog shopping. Three-quarters of Americans will be shopping on the four-day weekend that runs from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.
Over the holiday weekend, 87% of shoppers will be shopping online, compared with 84% who plan to visit stores, and 86% expect to spend as much or more as they spent last year. Most of the spending (83%) will be directed at gift purchases, while 42% will go for entertaining guests at home.
The data were reported Monday from consultancy Deloitte, and the firm’s vice chairman and head of the US retail practice, Rod Sides, said:
While digital and physical tactics should work in concert, it is critical that retailers’ digital influence fits specific purposes and shopping days this week. Before Thanksgiving, the experience should be informational and inspirational, to influence the consumer in the research phase. Black Friday requires nimble and feature-rich mobile formats while people browse reviews and compare information at the point of purchase. Cyber Monday is purely transactional, where features like prices, free shipping, and online return policies move into focus.
As Sides notes, retailers are under a lot of pressure to get their in-store, online, and mobile programs all singing from the same hymn book. Shoppers will go where they think they can get the best deals with the least amount of hassle. Half think that Black Friday offers the best deals of the season and 56% plan to take advantage of early Black Friday offers made online.
Black Friday will attract about 79% of shoppers to stores while Cyber Monday is expected to draw 71% to online sales.
And while two-thirds of survey respondents say they would prefer that stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day, 22% of respondents plan to shop on the holiday.
The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company between November 9 through November 14, 2016.
It polled a national sample of 1,223 adults (age 18+) who plan to shop during the holiday season and has a margin of error for entire sample of plus or minus three percentage points
Among the top telecom issues facing the next occupant of the Oval Office: Freeing up more airwaves for mobile broadbankd and coming 5G networks Finding ways to spur more investment in internet networks, both wired and wireless. Pushing states and towns to make it easier for telecom firms to install antennas. Spreading high speed web service to moe low income folks via federal subsidies. Charting the course: The next head of the Federal Communications Comm who will be chosen by the new president. The chairman will play an outsize role in overseeing new wireless technology , emerging on line services and other advances. The next administration will push to update the Telecommunications Act, the 1996 law behind the FCC's oversight of radio spectrum television and the web. The long awaited rewrite will reflect vast changes in communications technology
Uncle Sam will increasignly steer new tech with guidelines, not regulations. Technological advances are quickly outsprinting the ponderous rulemaking process, so regulators find they can weigh in faster by simply issuing voluntary measures. New guidelines are likely coming for drones, artificial intellignence and virtual reality Though some firms will skirt guidelines, most will consider them to be de facto rules. look for tach entrepreneurs and execs to forge closer ties with Washington to help churn out business friendly guidance, spelling bigger paydays for lobbyists Firms want to both educate lawmakers on new tech and help shape future rules.
China plans to clamp tighter controls on Chinese companies seeking to invest overseas, intensifying efforts to slow a surge in capital fleeing offshre amid tepid growth and an uncertain economic outlook. The State Council, China's cabinet will soon announce new measures that subject many overseas deals to reviews of strict control according to people with direct knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by the Wall St journal Targeted for particular scrutinyh by the pending measure are extra large foreign acquistions valued at $10 billion or more per deal, property investments by state owned firms about $ 1 billion or more by any chinese company in an overseas entity unrelated to the investor's core business. While the government has been plugging holes to keep more money at home in recent months the new measures would be the first to after big deals by Chinese companies. The planned controls unscore Beijing's concerns about capital flight and a weakening currency
IRS simplified per diems for lodging meals and incidentals are rising a bit. In high cost locations, employees can get up to $282 per day tax free, and increase of $7. In other areas, their daily stipend is capped at $189, up $4. Businesses using this method have the choice of applying these new rates as of Oct 1 or waiting until Jan 1,2017 Firms can opt instead to use federal per diems separtely figured for hundreds of cities. Firms can opt instead to use fedeal per diems separately figured for hundreds of cities. No change to the tares for mels and incidentals only staying at $68 in high cost areas and $57 in other locations. Self employed individuals on travel are allowed to use these rated in lieu of keeping receipts, buth their lodging expenses must be substantiated separately They cannot use the full $282/$189 per diems. The per diem rate soley for incidentals is also for incidentals is also unchanged at $5 a day.
Failing to get IRS's consent to an accounting method change proves costly for a businessman. After years of reporting income and expenses on the cash basis he changed to the accrual method so he could deduct $78,00 in legal fees billed to him Because he did not obtain IRS's approval before switching his accounting method the TAx Court said the he must stick to the cash method His write off is limite to the $12,000 of legal costs that he paid during the year.
A pro-taxpayer court decision involving an accrual method grocer verxes IRS. In the cast a grocer who used the accrual method for reporting income and expenses issued loyalty points to shoppers, who could redeem them for gas station discounts. The Tax Court decided that the store could not write off the value of the awarded points that were unredeemd at year end The Revenue Service disagrees with the appellate ruling and will not follow it outside the third Circuit. Nor will IRS grant reauests for accounting method changes from taxpayers who want to seitch to the method tht was OK'd by the appeals court
Here is a broad based regional look, focusing on industries and economic trends that will largely pace the US through next year. The technology sector will propel the West not just calif, but also Ore Wash Nev and Utah. Robust sales of a variety of technology products are creating jobs and fueling consumer spending. Also, job and population growth is boosting demand for housing, which is in tight supply in the region. The Southwest and South, are generally solid Arizona is poised to keep expanding at a healthy clip, courtesy of financial services and health care concerns as well as construction and service sector businesses. NM will see modest recovery, In Texas, diversification is helping mitigate the downturn in the energy sector. Fiorms engaged in refining and petrochemicals will buoy the Gulf Coast, the new construction projects on tap.
The Southeast as a whole figures to prosper. aided by population expansion in Fla, NC and SC and by auto industries in Tenn, Ga and elsewhere in the area. The region along with others is enlarging its footprint in tech and health sciences. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are a mixed bag. Servic eindustries, ranging from financial and professional activities to biotechnology and health. will provide strength, offsetting weakness in manufacturing , energy, and mining. Big seaports on the Eastern Seaboard face some uncertainty as rising protectionist sentiment threatens global trade.
In the Midwestern and Central states, the farm sector will wight on growth in many places for many agricultural commodities from wheat to soybeans. Factories, other than auto plants, will run below capacity as the strong dollar continues to dent US exports. Growth in the region will be steady albeit modest.
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