(NewsUSA) - There is no doubt the economy is healthier than it has been in quite some time. One has only to look to the news to discern that the U.S. is in the midst of an economic growth spurt.
Underscoring a strengthening economy is that as of last month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 3 million more Americans were earning paychecks, compared with 12 months ago. And yet, even as unemployment rates are at an all-time low and at levels not seen in six years, there are still those who are struggling to find a job.
If this is the case for you or someone you know, opportunity may be closer than you realize. Here's why: Currently there are approximately 500,000 U.S. companies with annual revenue between $5 million and $25 million dollars -- companies that have succeeded in getting start-up financing with the help of families and friends, but have since grown into needing more capital to continue.
"Today 80 percent of investments in private companies are made within a 50 mile radius of that enterprise," says YourStreet Funds CEO Stephen H. Watkins. "The problem is that Wall Street struggles to find these companies in an efficient manner."
That's where the YourStreet Funds Independent Sales Organization (ISO) members come in. The sales member identifies these "faceless" companies who are on target for growth, but have capital needs too small to attract the attention of Wall Street, yet they typically need more capital than friends or family can spare to continue their growth.
These companies, Watkins says, are where the "economic and employment growth for America will occur if given a chance."
"Unfortunately, this void of companies, this chasm, has few resources and places to go for continued financing," he says.
The answer, according to Watkins, is a joint effort between YourStreet's ISO network identifying those companies in need and the regional and community brokers and sales reps across the nation.
"Mortgage brokers in every community know all the companies that fall into this category, as well as the CEO's and presidents of these growing companies," says Watkins. "Through the ISO network, the YourStreet Funds reach a large number of profitable companies across the nation, companies who would like growth capital for their business, so that in turn, they can hire more employees."
For more information, visit yourstreetfunds.com.
(NewsUSA) - If your vacation home has started to become more of a financial headache than a refuge, it might be time to consider renting out your property.
According to industry experts, an average vacation home can garner an owner an extra $30,000 of income per year.
"Renting out your vacation home can open up a significant stream of revenue," says Mary Lynn Clark, president of Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America. "Understanding the business side, and all it entails, however, is a critical part of increasing your home's value without adding hassle."
Before listing your home for rent, it's important to decide whether you will handle the details yourself (think booking, reservations, marketing, maintenance and management) or hire avacation rental firm.
While doing it all yourself may sound like a good idea (and the Internet has certainly made that a viable option with hundreds of rental listing sites), a recent study shows that owners spend an average of more than eight hours per week marketing and managing their vacation properties. This translates to a heavy time commitment that few people have.
Clark likens it to performing maintenance on your car.
"The average car owner doesn't change their own oil or replace their own brake pads," he said. "They leave it up to the professionals to do that. Why should it be any different for managing your vacation property?"
To take advantage of the added income, without having to invest a significant amount of time, professionally managed vacation rental companies provide the perfect balance. Typically, these firms assume responsibility for marketing and managing your property and taking care of any requests by the renters.
Professional management companies, such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals, can help keep your property occupied by using its vast network of resources and commitment to take care of guests' experiences.
Unlike other vacation rental companies, Wyndham offers a host of unique benefit programs along with dynamic pricing to get owners the most value possible. Most importantly, it offers a Vacation Rental Bill of Rights that assures guests that Wyndham will take care of their needs every step of the way.
To learn more, visit www.wyndhamvacationrentals.com.
(NewsUSA) - That the middle class is being squeezed is a popular sentiment nationwide. Deciphering whether or not this sentiment holds true, however, may be a secondary concern. According to analysts, the prevalence of this perspective alone has severely limited market growth in the United States over the past decade.
In the investment community, many potential investors, especially those with smaller amounts of investment capital or limited experience, are shying away from investing due to perceived risks perpetuated by public sentiment. The number of Americans investing in securities of any type is now at only 54 percent, down 13 percent from its peak in 2002.
But just because Americans are not investing does not mean the money does not exist. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Reserve estimate of privately-held wealth in the country is approximately 80.7 trillion dollars, potentially establishing United States citizens as the world's largest investment bank, by far.
This means that hundreds of billions of potential investment dollars remain sidelined. This is money that could potentially fuel the next wave of growth in the United States. The economic stimulus could be significant enough to reduce the national debt, eliminate annual Federal deficits, replace failing infrastructure nationwide and secure Social Security for future generations, even at lower tax rates.
"This equates to an unimaginable amount of money," says REGULUS CEO David Emery. "If even a small portion not now being productively invested could be deployed in support of Main Street businesses, the economic impact would be tremendous."
Part of the obstacle for many firms is a blend of complicated regulations and vague promises of a fair return. For many middle-sized entities, especially, accessible capital is limited. While small businesses and large corporations have a multitude of resources to choose from, medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ranging from 20 to 500 employees have a more difficult time attracting the necessary capital to take their businesses to the next level.
REGULUS Corporation has pledged to create opportunities for these underserved components of the U.S. economy. Specifically, the organization is helping SMEs make sense of rules, regulations and procedures, such as the ever-important JOBS Act, officially known as Public Law 112-106.
For entities interested in business advice and strategy, REGULUS desires to promote the best traditions of free-enterprise capitalism by allowing private citizens to increase their own wealth which, in turn, helps other fellow citizens to build something of value.
To learn more, visit REGULUS at www.reguluscorp.com.
(NewsUSA) - Congress and the Obama Administration, working in concert, may have produced monumental changes to SEC law and regulation that could stimulate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises throughout the United States.
The changes are potentially significant, affecting millions nationwide. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses in America account for 49 percent of all private sector employment. There are about 28 million small businesses and SMEs, making up about 46 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), with a total value reaching $7.7 trillion dollars.
Despite the fact that these smaller entities account for more than 99 percent of all U.S. businesses, the Federal regulatory climate has been tilted towards the challenge of controlling large-scale companies. The resulting body of complex law and regulation has created a challenging maze for SMEs to navigate. As a result, small businesses have had fewer options for raising capital, depressing job creation and employment opportunity.
"So much of our national focus has been on the excesses of big banks that we have forgotten that the real economic engine of the U.S. is small business," notes REGULUS CEO David Emery. "We need to give small businesses a means to reach their potential."
That is where the changes in SEC law and regulation come into play. In April 2012, President Obama signed a bipartisan bill nicknamed "The JOBS Act." The bill is intended to level the playing field by streamlining regulatory requirements, allowing small businesses and SMEs access to billions of dollars held by private investors.
Now, in theory, smaller business will be able to utilize the same mechanisms previously held by larger corporations to raise capital for growth and expansion.
The law is new and much has yet to be determined regarding its effectiveness and application. In addition, many tough and complicated safeguards remain to prevent fraud and abuse. SMEs hoping to use JOBS Act provisions may want to consider counsel from a qualified and experienced service provider.
One such provider is REGULUS. The entity was established to give advisory services to the SME community, with a specific focus on middle-sized businesses.
REGULUS is comprised of a team of hands-on experts who offer personalized resources, including due diligence review, drafting business plans and regulatory filings, and providing strategic business and management consulting.
As exciting changes take hold, these services may prove invaluable to affected businesses.
To learn more, visit REGULUS at www.reguluscorp.com.
When an extension is filed, it is just an extension on the time to file; it is not an extension on the time to pay. If a taxpayer owes $1,000 on a personal return and files an extension, he or she has until October 15 to file the return. But, if the $1,000 is still owed on April 15, interest and penalties start to accrue.
To avoid paying a penalty, make as accurate an estimate of your tax liability as possible, based on the information you have. If it appears you will have a balance due, make a payment before April 15. If your information changes between the extension and the actual filing of your return, at least you will have minimized your penalty.
"If filing your return by April 15 of this year just isn't going to happen, there are actually several ways you can request an automatic extension of time to file an individual return," says Betsey Buckingham, EA, an enrolled agent with David C. Murray and Company, Inc. of Troy, Ohio, and president of the National Association of Enrolled Agents.
"You can e-file the 'Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return,' which can be found on the IRS website (Form 4868), or you can print that application out and mail it to the IRS," she says. "All or part of your estimate of the income tax due can be paid with a credit or debit card, or by using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System."
You can find a list of service providers on Form 4868 through which you can pay your tax debt by phone or Internet. Just make sure to hang onto the confirmation number, in case the IRS comes calling later.
If the IRS does come calling this year, get in touch with a licensed tax professional. Only enrolled agents (EAs), CPAs and attorneys have unlimited rights to represent you before the IRS. The term "enrolled agent" reflects that an EA can act as your agent before administrative levels of the IRS -- meaning he or she can talk to or meet with IRS in your stead.
To find an enrolled agent in your area, visit the searchable "Find an EA" directory at www.naea.org.
(NewsUSA) - We can all agree that filing taxes can be confusing. Asking questions or web searching for answers only leads to more confusion and misconceptions because when it comes to taxes, one standard answer does not always fit all.
The National Association of Enrolled Agents -- a group of federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxes -- sheds some light on six common tax misconceptions.
Myth: I had a really big loss in the stock market this year, so I won't owe any income taxes.
Fact: Deduction of capital losses against ordinary income is limited to $3,000 per year. Also, whether you reinvest or receive dividends, they are technically still income and are taxed as such.
Myth: I'm filing an extension this year, so I don't need to pay anything yet.
Fact: Tax extensions only extend the time you have left to file, not the time you have to pay any taxes owed. If you owe money and file an extension, you have until April 15 to pay, regardless of the extended deadline date. Otherwise, interest and penalties begin to stack up.
Myth: Income earned in a foreign country is not taxable.
Fact: The operative word is "income," which means it's taxable. The IRS requires taxpayers to report all earned income, even if it's earned abroad.
Myth: They paid me in cash, so I don't have to report it.
Fact: If it's income, you must report it. You always report income, regardless of whether it's cash, tips, bonuses or dividends.
Myth: I'm too young to have to pay taxes.
Fact: Even dependents working part-time while in high school must file a tax return if they earned more than $6,100 in 2013 or if they want to receive their refund.
Myth: Tax preparers only fill out forms that you can do yourself.
Fact: Paid preparers know the intricate (and constantly changing) tax laws, regulations and codes, and how they can be applied for your benefit and save you money. Enrolled agents, America's tax experts, receive annual continuing education so they are knowledgeable of tax laws and how they can apply to you. Enrolled agents not only specialize in tax preparation and tax planning, they can also represent you before the IRS.
Find an enrolled agent in your area on the "Find an EA" directory at www.naea.org.