Jerry Jones CPA
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a CPA that you deal directly with, that knows the Self Storage business, that works in all 50 states and is there for you when you need him?
In addition to being the best tax advisor I have had the pleasure of working with, Jerry is first and foremost a wonderful person. Building my first storage facility and being a rookie to the industry, I was nervous on what I could expect in my first year of development. With all of the ups and downs of this first year all I can say is I had absolutely no worries when it came to the the most important part of our business - the numbers. Jerry Jones took the time to answer every question or concern we had when going though this process. If you are in the storage business give yourself a leg up and apply Jerry’s experience and expertise of this expanding and ever changing industry. You will be thankful you did.
Bill Pederson
Lock it and Leave it storage

Avoid legal and accounting logjams

by Mark Lusky

As with preventive medicine, practicing preventive law and accounting can spare self-storage owners many hours of headaches and heartaches--not to mention dollars. Costs of litigating or defending a legal claim or tax issue can skyrocket quickly.

It doesn't take many motions or other meanderings by the other side of a dispute to make costs soar. So, by far the best protection in the self-storage industry is to put in place a solid legal and accounting infrastructure before you need to defend it. Following are suggestions to help succeed:

1. Spare no expense to develop/update good contracts, develop legally-sound policies, and establish an accounting infrastructure fully defensible to the IRS. One of the biggest reasons businesses fail is a penny-wise-pound-foolish mentality. While much information can be accessed economically through the industry and via internet research, it's wise to have trusted advisors who can make sure everything is airtight-or as close as reasonably possible. And make sure these advisors are up to speed on the latest legal and financial regulations and rulings that may impact today's rules of engagement tomorrow and beyond. Most important, periodically review everything with legal and accounting/financial advisors in the same room, to be sure everything is buttoned down in both arenas. In the long run, you'll likely save money not going back and forth between lawyers and accountants who often suggest seeking input from one another.

Self-storage tax changes for 2013: How to reliably discover what you need to know

by Mark Lusky

When it comes to tax advice, consider the adage, "Don't take too much advice; you could wind up making other people's mistakes." Too often, tha''s what happens when entrepreneurs, self-storage owners/operators included, look solely to the Internet, media reports, or other "single source" for information.

This is a huge reason to have truly trusted advisors--people and organizations that can serve as the penultimate arbiter of what is and isn't relevant and right for your particular situation. That said, researching the Internet and/or media reports is a great way to start gathering information and intel. It can prompt awareness of good questions to ask, strategies to consider, tactics to avoid, and the like. Here are some tips to help ensure getting the right information for your situation:

Want to help your child buy a home?

Are you looking for a way to help your child with buying a home? Some strategies you might consider include lending your child money, gifting under the annual gift tax exclusion, pledging securities, and equity sharing.

Assuming you have enough liquid assets, you can effectively act as the mortgage lender to your child by lending money to pay for the house.

Another option is to give the child money for a down payment on a house. Making a gift to your child for the down payment is an ideal situation for parents who are primarily concerned with decreasing the size of their estate and the taxes on it after their death. Current tax law lets individuals make annual gifts of up to $14,000 per person. If both parents join in the gift, they can give the child $28,000 without any gift tax liability.

With some planning, even larger gifts can be made. For instance, if the child is married, his or her spouse is also eligible to receive gifts. Collectively, a married couple could receive $56,000 in gift-tax-free cash for a home purchase. If the gift is spread over a new year, it can be increased to double the amount, giving the child and his or her spouse $112,000 toward the cost of the home.

Another possibility is pledging securities to secure a child's home loan at a financial institution. By pledging securities instead of selling them, the parents can be saved from a potentially taxable event.

Finally, another alternative is equity sharing where the ownership of the home is shared. Typically, the parent makes the down payment, and the child pays the mortgage payment, utilities, taxes, and other ongoing expenses. The home is jointly owned, and the family can agree on a split of any appreciation in value if the home is later sold.

For details on these and other options available to parents who want to help their child buy a home, give us a call.

What's New: "Chained CPI" — Do you know what it is?

As the politicians in Washington start once again to tackle the same old problems, you're likely to hear more about a new way of measuring inflation called the "chained CPI."

The standard way to measure inflation has been with the consumer price index. It has been used to calculate annual adjustments to social security benefits, federal pensions, military and veterans' benefits, tax brackets, exemptions, deductions, and credits. According to some experts, the consumer price index currently used overstates increases in the cost of living.

So how is the "chained CPI" different? It makes different assumptions about how people spend. An oversimplified example: If a severe freeze drives up the cost of oranges and orange juice by 20%, people are likely to switch to a cheaper alternative, say, apples and apple juice instead of continuing to pay the higher price for oranges. This keeps spending more level than the regular consumer price index would indicate.

A switch to the chained CPI would mean that those government payments linked to inflation would rise more slowly. Applied to the tax code, the chained CPI would mean smaller inflation adjustments to tax brackets and other tax numbers, resulting in higher taxes over time.

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