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3 Tax Area Questions to Ask Yourself Often Overlooked by Shippers & Transportation Providers (and all Business Owners)

trucker tax questions
Welcome to the maiden voyage of “3PL Tax and Money Matters”! I’m both honored and humbled to have the opportunity to bring you what will hopefully be a valuable combination of tax, financial and business guidance. Your friends here at Cerasis already provide you with one of the best sources in the world of the latest in logistics guidance and developments. Our shared goal is to give you the juice to get from where you are to where you want to be with your business. That means providing content from the Cerasis blog, not just about logistics, but how manufacturers, distributors, and all businesses who either ship freight or are simply passionate about this industry the most valuable content to make your business more effective. And whether you are an owner-operator in Peoria, Illinois scraping together the money to add another truck or your multi-national corporation owns a fleet of freighters and you want to “add a zero” to your income, we want to give you the tax and financial information to get you there faster and more efficiently. If you’ll permit me, I would be privileged to facilitate a dialogue that will hopefully be helpful and beneficial to thousands of readers.

Minimizing Business Mistakes is All About Asking the Right Questions

In more than 25 years of private practice and consulting with businesses of all sizes, I’ve learned that one of the most beneficial exercises is asking the right questions. Running a business effectively and seeing it grow (or shrink), can be a time-consuming process. I am very well versed in making mistakes so I don't blame any business owner for the little mis-cues that get made along the way. The best we can hope to do, is to learn from them. But mistakes made out of improper planning – those are the ones we hope to help you minimize. So, in that spirit, and as we continue into 2015, I've identified six major areas often overlooked by business owners ... I'd like you to read the list (starting with the first three this month), thoughtfully consider the questions I'm asking, and if you like, even send me back an email with YOUR answers. You obviously don't have to email back, of course ... but please do consider these six issues as you work through growing your business.... All of the issues I raise are ones in which our firm is very proficient. Some of them, however, are areas that my firm and I do not directly handle. If necessary, I will gladly recommend to you someone who can assist you with them -- and do it well. May I suggest that you take this chance to look these over ... and make this process part an annual review process for your business, regardless of how big or small. This “Socratic” approach is bit of what I utilize when I speak at business conferences, and if you take it seriously ... it can be a transformative process. And lest you think this is an interrogation or the Spanish Inquisition, let me encourage you to ponder these questions from the comfort of your favorite chair at home, with a good serving of your favorite beverage. Take a look at each of these questions, and if you are troubled by any of your answers -- send me back an email ... and again, if it's not something we're equipped to handle, we can equip you with a good advisor.

3 Tax Issues (of 6) often Overlooked by Transportation Companies and Most Businesses

#1: Is the value of your business firmly established?

Questions to consider:

  • Have I ever had my business value appraised by an outside party?
  • Do I have a formal buy/sell agreement in place?
  • Is my buy/sell agreement funded?
  • Does my buy/sell agreement adequately protect my heirs, my business, and my partners?
  • Has this agreement been reviewed in the last 3 years?
If you have any plans to someday remove yourself from the ownership or operation of your business (and you should ALWAYS consider your exit strategy), these are critical questions.

#2: Is there an emergency plan?

Questions to consider:

  • Do I have a will, and is it up to date with my business and personal wishes?
  • Do I have a plan to retain key employees if something were to happen to me?
  • Are my assets protected from potential litigation?
  • Have I identified and written down my trusted advisors?
Unless you plan to cheat death forever, and you certainly may, it might be unwise to not prepare for that event.

#3: What is to happen next?

Questions to consider

  • Do I have a formal succession plan prepared and on file?
  • Does my succession plan have a provision for disability?
  • Have I involved both family members AND key employees in my succession planning?
  • Do I have a disability buy-sell, or overhead expense coverage?
  • Do I have contribution protection for my retirement if I were to become disabled?
Again, these eventualities always seem remote on the front end ... but if your answer is "no" to more than a couple of the above questions, it would be a good idea to get in contact with someone competent to help you fix it.

Finally, Tax Time!

Unless you’ve been away for awhile, you’re well aware by now that we’ve entered yet another tax season.
  • Are you basically happy with your tax professional? Do you hear from him or her on at least a quarterly basis?
  • When was the last time the two of you sat down to evaluate your corporate structure?
  • Is it easy and comfortable to communicate with them?
  • Or do you have this sick feeling in your gut that they’re just slapping your numbers on the tax forms and not much else?
If you’ve got a good firm and a good relationship with them, you need to stay put – don’t even think about leaving! But if it’s not the right relationship, OR, if you feel deep down that you are overpaying your income taxes year in and year out, it may be time to consider a change.

Who is Dennis Bridges & A Special Offer to Cerasis Readers

breaking the tax codeDennis Bridges is a CPA and recognized leader in tax and financial issues for logistics professionals and logistics-based enterprises.  He is the author of The Truckers Tax Relief Toolkit and On Level Ground with the IRS, and co-author of the Amazon best-seller, Breaking the Tax Code, 2nd Ed. In honor of the sacrificial work effort expended by professional drivers and other logistics professionals, he has created the “Truckers Million Dollars Tax Cut”, a nationwide initiative to save over $2 million in income taxes for at least 2,000 truck drivers and others.  He welcomes inquiries from individual drivers, fleets and logistics companies for tax preparation and tax-cutting strategies. Dennis strives to bring the maximum value to every client relationship, whether income is measured in six figures or nine figures.  He is best known for reaching innovative solutions to tax and business problems. To celebrate his new association as a Cerasis contributor, he has created a special offer exclusively for Cerasis friends and readers. Click here to see his special offer. Additionally, he can be reached at his office in Atlanta at 770-984-8008, or by email at bridgescpa@gmail.com.  Also, he invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.  His office is based in Atlanta, but he consults with individual and business clients throughout the U.S. and internationally as needed.
Dennis Bridges

Dennis Bridges

Principal at E. Dennis Bridges, CPA
Celebrating 25 years in practice as a CPA firm. Our mission is to substantially improve the financial standing of our friends and clients, whether through additional deductions for a business owner or helping a client with a severe IRS problem. The reward for us is in creating legal, reliable solutions for our clients based upon their specific needs and circumstances. Most recently, I've had the privilege of co-authoring a best-selling tax-cutting guide, Breaking the Tax Code, 2nd Ed., published by Celebrity Press. I've enjoyed writing articles published in national journals and speaking to groups ranging in size from 15 to 1500, including conferences of attorneys and CPAs, and groups of transportation professionals.
Dennis Bridges
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