Selling globally: How to get started

For many businesses, selling their products or services globally is a natural next step in their growth.  But while the prospect of billions of new potential customers is attractive, going global can be a daunting proposition.  Here are a few tips on how to get started.

Tap your network.  Take advantage of your network for ideas about going global and assistance in finding strategic partners and international customers. This includes your advisors, colleagues, customers, suppliers, employees, trade association contacts and social media connections.

Leverage technology to boost your global presence.  To attract international customers, make the most of today’s technology to “broadcast” your business. Examples include websites, YouTube, blogs, social media networks, and other online platforms.  Regardless of the tools you use, the key is to make your business known internationally and to provide content that attracts international visitors to your website.

Determine how you will sell internationally.  You can sell directly to overseas customers, but keep in mind that you will be responsible for shipping and other logistics, as well as collecting, which can be risky. A safer option may be to set up an e-commerce site or use an e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, to streamline and automate the sales and collection process in exchange for a percentage of your sales. Other strategies to consider include joint ventures or strategic partnerships with firms overseas, outsourcing global sales, using an intermediary to ship products to international consumers, and licensing and franchising arrangements.

Determine how you will collect. Fear of not getting paid is the biggest obstacle to going global for many businesses, so it’s important to have a collection strategy before you dip your toes in international waters.  Strategies to consider include getting paid in advance; online payment platforms, such as PayPal; and banking products, such as letters of credit and sight drafts. In addition, the Export – Import Bank, the Small Business Administration and other organizations have programs that assist businesses in financing international transactions.

Get help.  To mitigate the risks associated with going global, it’s important to work with a team of advisors — including lawyers, bankers, and accountants — with international experience. It’s particularly critical to find a qualified lawyer who can help you preserve your intellectual property, comply with the laws in the countries in which you do business, and draft contracts that clearly spell out the parties’ respective rights and responsibilities and protect your interests.

Here are a few sources for more information about selling globally:
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Five Mistakes That Can Destroy your Career

There all kinds of ways people can end up hurting their careers. Sometimes they make honest mistakes, and in other cases, people make poor choices that can totally ruin their careers.

In most cases, people don’t get the boot or destroy their career by one big mistake or poor decision. It’s more likely to occur little by little with several bad choices or traits. So what kinds of mistakes do you need to be aware of and avoid at all cost if you don’t to send your career into a tailspin? There are all kinds of mistakes but here are five big ones that can have a huge impact.

Having a super ego – never let your ego damage your career. It’s great to be successful, but don’t forget to be humble. Remember, success can be fleeting so don’t let your victories go to your head. As soon as things go downhill, the fall will be painful.

Being negative – no one wants to be around negative people. If you spend too much time being negative, even if things are tough, you’ll eventually drag everyone down with you.

Being a kiss-up – being a brown noser is one of the worst mistakes you can make for your career. Your co-workers won’t respect or like you and your relationship with your boss won’t be real, but rather based on superficial interactions.

Being complacent – complacency is harmful in any situation. As soon as you feel like you’ve arrived and put your career in cruise control so-to-speak you risk becoming complacent, and that can damage your career. It’s important to keep learning, continue improving and expanding your network. Don’t let complacency set in and stall your growth.

Promising too much – everyone wants to impress his or her boss and co-workers, but when you make promises you can’t deliver on you won’t impress anyone. You’ll do exactly the opposite and damage your reputation.

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Yacht Owners Feeling the Tax Pinch in French Riviera

The French Riviera is one of the most popular waterways in the world for high net worth individuals. Luxurious yachts dot the docks up and down these waterways, as some of the world’ wealthiest enjoy spending time basking in the sun. However, all is not perfect in this exotic location.

It appears the French government is putting the tax clamp down on yacht owners, and the wealthy are looking for other places to dock. According to reports, many yacht owners are fleeing the Riviera and heading for more tax-friendly docks in Spain and Italy.

According to several government officials in the region, the port of Saint-Tropez has already lost nearly a third of its business since the year began. Elsewhere, Toulon is hurting even worse, having lost 40 percent of its business in 2017.

So why are so many wealthy yacht owners fleeing the Riviera? It comes down to taxes, namely diesel taxes and the national insurance tax on any crew that lives in France. In fact, the insurance tax has jumped from 15 percent to 55 percent, meaning an owner’s insurance taxes for a crew of seven living in France could be as much as €300,000.

So if you’re looking for a good place to dock your luxurious yacht on the Riviera, you might want to check in with Italy or Spain, instead.

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What’s the Difference Between Avoidance and Evasion?

I love paying taxes, said no one ever.  The truth is given a choice everyone would most likely keep their hard earned money rather than give it to the government.  Unfortunately, taxes are a part of life and almost no one is exempt. However, figuring out how to pay fewer taxes is practically a national pastime.

Trying to keep your taxes as low as possible is no crime. In fact, when done correctly, often with the help of a professional, you can keep much more of your hard earned money than you might have expected. The key is doing it legally, which is called avoidance.

Avoidance sounds bad and you might think it is essentially the same as evasion. The reality, however, is that avoidance is totally legal while evasion is illegal. So how do they differ?

Avoiding taxes is the act of minimizing your taxes by using means approved by the IRS, such as tax deductions, taking tax credits and setting up tax deferral plans.  Businesses can also use tax avoidance measures, like leaving income in other countries in order to avoid being taxed on it in the U.S. These are all perfectly legal ways of to avoid paying higher taxes.

Evasion, on the other hand, is using illegal means to pay lower taxes or not pay them at all.  Providing false information about expenses or income or purposely paying fewer taxes than you owe are two common forms of tax evasion.

Essentially, if you knowingly report inaccurate numbers or fail to report your income, period, that is tax evasion and if the IRS catches you there will be consequences.

So, when you’re filing taxes you should definitely take every measure possible to avoid paying taxes. just make sure you don’t cross the line and become guilty of evasion.

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Real Estate Investors Saving Big on Taxes With Like-Kind Exchanges

If you invest in real estate then you might be aware of a little tax-friendly trick known as a like-kind exchange. This tax-saving tip can save real estate investors a lot of money every time they sell a property. Under normal circumstances if you sell a property and make a gain you have to pay taxes on the gain, even if you use the money to purchase another property.

However, if you sell one property and use the proceeds to acquire another property, under Section 1031 of the IRS Code, then you can delay the tax bill by using a like-kind exchange. This has been a priceless move for thousands of real estate investors for many years. That’s the good news.

The bad news is this little tax-saving trick might not be around too much longer.  That’s because it could end up on the chopping block after legislators in Washington finalize their tax reform. Thus, taking advantage of this tax break now is a good idea if you own property.

If you invest in real estate and are looking to replace one or more properties with different properties then now is a good time to meet with a professional tax advisor that can help you with this process. You will learn whether or not your properties qualify for this tax break and how you can get the most out of a like-kind exchange.

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New York Mayor Wants to Improve Subway System With the Wealthy’s Money

Have you taken a ride on New York’s Subway system recently? If you have then you might have noticed that it’s in need of some work. Like many other forms of infrastructure, the Subway is getting old and worn down from years of use and lack of upgrades and repairs.

Of course, this is a problem that the mayor of New York would like to fix. So how does Mayor Bill De Blasio plan to do this? As you might have guessed he wants to raise taxes. However, he’s not looking for everyone to help foot the bill. He wants the state’s wealthiest individuals to pay a little more to help improve the system for everyone else.

According to the recently announced proposal, the mayor wants to increase the tax rate on anyone that makes more than $500k from 3.876 percent to 4.41 percent. His plan would also assist in the funding of half-price subway and bus rides for as many as 800k of the area’s lowest income individuals.

However, governor Andrew Cuomo has stated that the city should take more responsibility for the subway by pulling more money from it’s own budget.  Meantime, De Blasio claims that his plan would increase tax revenue by $700 million in 2018 alone. If the plan were to become law, about 32,000 residents would be affected by the tax increase.
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Look Who the IRS Is Adding to its Staff

For those who believe in giving people a second chance this will be good news. For those who feel the IRS is already rife with crooked employees that will stop at nothing to take more of taxpayers’ money, this news will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

According to the IRS, between 2015 and 2016, the agency rehired more than 200 employees who were previously fired for wrongdoing. In other words, these employees were not let go because of a lack of work or insufficient funds to pay them.

All 213 of these individuals were let go because they were convicted of theft, dodged taxes, used taxpayer data without authorization or falsified documents.  According to E. Faith Bell, the agency ’s acting human capital officer, in a letter she wrote to the inspector general, “to the extent possible by law, the IRS will take all steps allowable to prevent the rehiring of former employees with conduct and performance issues.”

Bell also noted. “she had commissioned a team to implement corrective actions.”  According to the IRS, agency officials in charge of hiring do not have access to applicant’s previous employment history with the IRS. However, only 27 of the 213 applicants did not report that they had been terminated previously.

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IRS Hitting Estimated Tax Filers With More Penalties

The IRS plays no favorites when it comes to taxpayers missing payments or not paying enough. However, those who pay their income tax via quarterly estimated payments had better pay particular attention because lately the IRS has been coming down hard on these individuals with much more frequency.

According to recent IRS data, the number of penalties issued by the agency has jumped 33 percent between 2007 and 2016, from nearly 7.5 million to almost 10 million. These taxpayers, who often work as freelancers and business owners, get penalized because they don’t withhold enough money from their income to pay the necessary taxes.

According to the IRS, the data would appear to indicate that these individuals are either making mistakes in their calculations or they simply aren’t aware they need to pay these taxes. As for the cause of the increase in the number of penalties, the IRS doesn’t really have the answer.

However, the agency believes the increase in the number of taxpayers that now work for themselves, either as business owners or as freelancers, is one factor that is likely playing a role in the rising number of penalties.

The IRS suggests anyone who is responsible to make quarterly estimated tax payments fill out the agency’s annualized income installment method worksheet in order to calculate his or her taxes correctly and avoid the penalty.

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The Fight for Tax Reform Will Be Long and Arduous

Is it starting to feel like the process to simply put up a new stop sign in the Nation’s Capitol would take an act of Congress? These days nothing is simple in Washington and when it comes to tax reform the battle will be anything but easy.

When President Trump took office it was widely believed that tax reform would be fairly simple and would come with only minor headaches. With the Senate and Congress both controlled by republicans, tax reform was just a matter of when, not if. Well, not so fast.

If you thought the battle for healthcare reform was tough, the nation’s lawmakers are just getting started. The interesting thing is, the tax reform battle isn’t just a matter of party lines. Republicans are very divided on tax reform, including what changes to make and how to pay for them.

There are several overriding factors that could delay tax reform even further, not to mention that another election cycle is coming up. First off, Congress needs to pass a fiscal budget for 2018 before it can take on tax reform. Secondly, republicans are divided over whether they should seek a tax cut or complete tax reform.

The battle over many long-standing tax incentives and breaks is also a big sticking point.  Additionally, Obamacare is still unfinished business and it is looming over the current administration. Some lawmakers, including the president, are still focused on resolving that matter first.

Therefore, those still hoping for, or expecting, tax reform this year better prepare to curb their enthusiasm. This looks like another long journey with many twists and turns.
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Do Canadians Get Their Money’s Worth With Taxes?

For those in the U.S. who oppose high taxes the truth is compared to some other countries, most Americans don’t have it too bad. In fact, when compared with the other 34 countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. comes in just below average.

One of those nations is Canada, where for the most part, Americans believe the tax burden is even greater. According to the OECD, Canadians do pay a higher than average amount of total taxes. Canada, like the U.S., also has a progressive tax system so the more you earn, the more taxes you pay, generally.

However, it’s what Canadians receive in return for their tax dollars that makes the difference. In fact, the Canadian government offers a lot more to its residents in terms of social services than the U.S. provides its citizens. That’s one reason Canada is ranked as one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world.

Among the most impressive services Canadians receive is universal healthcare, including up to 18 months of subsidized parental leave when children are born, and free nondeductible heath care. Education is another area where Canadians score with their tax dollars.

Access to high-quality education is much easier and the cost of tuition to attend the best universities and colleges is also less expensive in Canada. Thus, according to the OECD, Canadians generally enjoy a higher quality of life, in large part because of the services they receive from taxes.

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