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Small Business Reorganization Act arrives in February

The president signed the Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) in August of 2019, but it officially takes effect in February of 2020. Congress designed this popular law to fill a previous gap by providing small businesses and owners with a way to restructure or reorganize in bankruptcy court. Chapter 11 was generally designed for multi-million-dollar companies with staff, and Chapter 13 restructuring could be used by sole proprietors because individuals qualified for Chapter 13. However, Chapter 11 was not always a viable alternative for small businesses that were partnerships, LLC, corporations, or another type of business structure.

In short, the law simplifies the Chapter 11 procedure by defining the small business debtor as an entity with a non-contingent secured or unsecured debt of less than $2,725,625.

Why home inspections are important

Home inspectors likely enter the buying process after the buyers have hired a real estate agent or picked the home, arranged financing as well as dozens of other details. It may even be an afterthought as the buyer tells family and friends about the exciting news that they are moving. However, it is a mistake to gloss over the inspection or work with an inspector who does not take the job seriously.

Texas requires a licensed home inspector to evaluate the property before the transaction, and these professionals have a broad understanding of the fundamental mechanics of the structure, the infrastructure and even the appliances. They walk through the home, but they also dig around to discover the actual condition of the property before the buyer makes one of the most significant financial commitments of their lives.

Choosing the right tax preparer

The IRS issued a list of 12 common tax scams in 2019. Now, as we enter the second tax season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the scams and gambits will change some, but tax preparer fraud will likely remain on the list in 2020.

As is the case whenever working with financial professionals, it is wise to pick a reputable tax preparer who provides high-quality service at a reasonable price. Moreover, it is best to start the process now rather than waiting until April when they will be too busy to take on additional clients.

Preventable problems can derail your estate planning efforts

Making plans for the future is not always easy. It can be complicated to determine what should happen to certain assets and what you want to happen with your medical care down the road. However, every person, regardless of age and wealth status, would benefit from having certain plans in place.

If you have taken the time to draft a plan and have certain documents ready, you may feel confident about your future. It is worthwhile to make sure that your plans are accurate and up-to-date, as various problems could lead to complications down the road. Where there are errors and issues with an estate plan, heirs and beneficiaries could face complications when it is time to settle your estate.

What is a wrongful foreclosure?

Banks and mortgage lenders are supposed to help customers buy homes. However, there are millions of homeowners here in Texas and elsewhere that feel more like victims than customers. This can happen when the lender wrongfully forecloses on the homeowner, particularly if there are instances of fraudulent lending or unethical business practices involving the servicing of the consumer loan.

Common examples of unfair practices

Tax refunds are not free money

Most of us are excited at the prospect of getting a tax refund and will dream of how to spend that money. But while it is fun to contemplate a spring break trip or simply blowing it on fun stuff, it is essential to remember that the IRS is giving taxpayers back money because they overpaid.

Perhaps remembering this vital detail may cast a different light on it. Since it is the taxpayer's money and not some lottery winnings, it may make more sense to put that money to good use. Indeed, some intentionally overpay their taxes as a way of creating a government-assisted approach to reaching savings goals for the year.

Boundary disputes can be a real headache

It is said that a person’s home is their castle. Some further reinforce that assertion by putting up a fence that supposedly provides a demarcated boundary. But what happens if the fence is not an accurate representation of the property line? Sometimes inaccuracies are strategic – they put the fence wholly on their property, so they have control over the size, maintenance and style of the fence. Others may put their fence on your property or build a structure that is partially on your property because it suits their purposes or by accident. Good fences make good neighbors, but bad ones often lead to heated (and expensive) disputes that seem like a good old-fashioned border war.

Steps for settling a border war

Filing taxes early has many benefits

The end of the year is here, which means it is time for most Americans to begin preparing to file their 2019 income taxes. Of course, we have until midnight on April 15 to get it done without penalties, but waiting until the last minute adds expense and can lead to problems.

Financial experts advise taxpayers to shoot for filing by March 15, but people can file as early as mid-January if they have their W-2s.

Commercial real estate is a high-risk high-reward endeavor

Many have found commercial real estate to be an excellent investment. The benefits can include tenants with long-term contracts who lease units that are much larger or more expensive than a residential property. However, risk comes into play because not every business is a success, and there may be long gaps between tenants.

Every commercial real estate professional has their tricks and recipes for success, but it comes down to making sound business decisions based on information and experience. Finding a reliable real estate agent is an excellent way to start, but this should quickly be followed by hiring an attorney who handles real estate law here in Austin and the surrounding area. These legal professionals can help clients avoid costly missteps by providing many essential services.

Not everyone walks away with a Chapter 7 discharge

Dealing with overwhelming debt is not new to many Austin residents, and you may be one of them. You tried everything to get your finances under control, but your circumstances just wouldn't allow it. By the time creditors started calling, you knew you needed to find a permanent debt relief option.

You decided to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The first thing you look forward to is the automatic stay, since it will stop the creditor calls and any other impending financial calamities that could come in the future. The next thing you look forward to is receiving a discharge, but that might not happen if you fail to get through the process without making any mistakes.

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William T. Peckham
1104 Nueces Street, Suite 104
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-487-7604
Fax: 512-478-1790
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