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Kane County business law attorneysThe COVID-19 crisis has placed many businesses and their employees in difficult financial situations. Some businesses have had to close or limit their hours of operation, and many employees have been laid off or had their work hours reduced. While some government relief programs have provided aid to those who have been affected by these issues, many people are continuing to experience financial difficulties. A recent executive order may provide some help in this area by allowing employers to defer some of the taxes withheld from employees’ pay.

Social Security Tax Deferral

In August of 2020, President Trump issued an executive order that allows for the deferral of the 6.2% tax employees pay toward Social Security. This deferral will be allowed for wages earned between September 1 and December 31, 2020. To qualify for deferral, an employee must earn less than $4,000 in pre-tax income in a bi-weekly pay period.

While these payroll taxes may be deferred, this order does not provide for the forgiveness of any taxes owed. Deferred taxes will be collected between January 1 and April 30, 2021. During the deferral period, employees will receive a temporary boost in their take-home pay, but they will then see reduced paychecks in 2021 due to the deferred taxes being withheld from their pay along with all other applicable taxes.

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Kane County family law attorneysConcerns about discrimination and harassment affect many employers and employees, and in response to these issues, the state of Illinois has passed the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA). This law went into effect on January 1, 2020, and in addition to addressing employment contracts and non-disclosure agreements, it has placed new requirements on employers regarding sexual harassment training that must be provided to employees. Business owners should be sure to understand these requirements and make sure they take the right steps to maintain compliance with the WTA.

When Will a Business Be Required to Provide Sexual Harassment Training?

The Workplace Transparency Act requires all employers with at least one employee to provide sexual harassment training to all staff members. This training must be completed by December 31, 2020, and it must also be provided on an annual basis to all employees. 

The training requirements apply to all employees who will be working in Illinois, including part-time workers, temporary or seasonal employees, and interns. While training is not required for independent contractors, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) encourages employers to provide training for anyone who will be working at an employer’s office or interacting with their employees.

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Kane County business law attorney for PPP loan forgivenessIn response to the financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many businesses, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March of 2020. One of the key provisions of this act was the ability for businesses to apply for forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, the restrictions and requirements for these loans had caused some difficulties for small business owners, and in response, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, and it was signed into law by President Trump on June 5. This act implemented a number of changes that will give businesses more options for using loan funds, obtaining forgiveness, and repaying loans.

Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program

Under the CARES Act, businesses could apply for a PPP loan, and they were required to spend the funds from these loans within eight weeks after receiving a loan. This time period has been modified to allow businesses to choose a reporting period of either 8 or 24 weeks. However, the 24-week period is from the loan origination date or until December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier (which may result in less than 24 weeks). This period can be used to restore a business’s workforce to pre-COVID-19 levels, and the deadline for doing so has been moved from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020. However, the deadline for applying for a PPP loan has not changed, and applications must be submitted by June 30, 2020.

If a business is unable to fully restore its workforce, there are some new exceptions that may apply that will still allow for forgiveness of PPP loans. These include provisions for businesses that are unable to rehire previous employees or other people with similar qualifications, as well as businesses that were unable to return to their previous level of business activity due to restrictions related to COVID-19.

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Elgin small business attorney CARES act covid-19Over the weekend, the United States Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides new programs and initiatives intended to assist small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers.

Do You Need:

1. Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees?

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans will provide cash-flow assistance to employers through 100% federally-guaranteed loans. The loans are available for employers are who maintaining their payroll during the coronavirus emergency and are eligible to be forgiven if the payroll is maintained. Borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness for up to eight weeks of their payroll, depending on employee retention and salary levels. 

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Elgin trust administration attorneyThere are a variety of estate planning tools that a person can use to protect their assets and pass them on to beneficiaries. Trusts are some of the most powerful and flexible of these tools, allowing a trustmaker (also known as a “settlor”) to place assets in the control of a trustee, who will then distribute the assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. There are certain requirements that must be met during the trust administration process, and trustees and beneficiaries should be sure to understand how recent changes to Illinois law will affect their rights and responsibilities.

The Illinois Trust Code

In 2019, the Illinois legislature passed the Illinois Trust Code (ITC), which took effect on January 1, 2020, replacing the Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act. This new law addresses the rights of trust beneficiaries in a number of ways, including:

  • For trusts that become irrevocable on or after January 1, 2020, the trustee must provide an annual accounting of the trust’s inventory, receipts, and disbursements to ALL beneficiaries. These include beneficiaries who are currently receiving or could receive a distribution from the trust, as well as presumptive remainder beneficiaries who would be eligible to receive a distribution if the trust was terminated or if the interests of other beneficiaries ended. In the case of married couples, it is typical for one spouse to create a trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse during the surviving spouse’s lifetime, and then, upon the death of the surviving spouse, the trust would distribute the trust assets to their children. This new law REQUIRES the children to receive annual accountings during the surviving spouse’s lifetime, which may or may not be desire of the creator of the trust. If not desired, the creator of the trust can “opt-out” of this requirement.   
  • A settlor may create a “silent trust” that waives the requirement for the trustee to provide an accounting of the trust to beneficiaries under the age of 30. However, the trustee will be required to make an annual account to a “designated representative” nominated or authorized by the settlor, and the beneficiary will have the right to receive an annual accounting upon reaching the age of 30.
  • Trustees are not required to provide beneficiaries with advance notice of transactions involving property owned by the trust.
  • A beneficiary of a trust can serve as the designated representative of other beneficiaries, including minors, unborn children, or beneficiaries who have not been located.
  • A beneficiary can serve as the sole trustee of a trust, but in these cases, they will only be able to make distributions to themselves based on an “ascertainable standard.” This means that distributions should be used to provide for needs such as healthcare, living expenses, or education, rather than to pay off personal obligations or debts.

Contact a Kane County Trusts Attorney

If you are the beneficiary of a trust, you should be sure to understand how your rights will change under the ITC. At Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel, P.C., our experienced Elgin estate planning lawyers can answer your questions about trusts, and we can assist you in any matters involving trust administration. To arrange a free consultation, contact us today at 847-695-2400.

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Elgin business formation attorney LLCFor anyone who has suffered a personal injury, coping with the effects that it will have on their life can be incredibly difficult. This is especially true if the injury results in disability that affects a victim’s ability to work and earn an income. While it may be possible to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, many people also rely on public benefits such as Social Security income (SSI) or Social Security disability income (SSDI). However, some recent changes to the rules followed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) may affect a person’s ability to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Updated regulations which went into effect in March of 2017 have changed some of the processes followed by the SSA in Social Security disability appeals hearings. These changes include:

Opinions of Treating Physicians

In a Social Security disability appeals hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is no longer required to give more weight to the opinion of the doctor who originally treated the claimant. Instead, an ALJ will consider the following factors:

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Elgin special needs trust lawyersOver the course of your life, you are likely to save money and acquire assets, and you will probably want to use these resources to provide for the needs of your loved ones. This is particularly true if you have any family members who are disabled or have special needs, since you will want to do everything you can to ensure that they will always be taken care of. However, simply gifting funds to a person or naming them as a beneficiary in your will can actually have some negative effects. To ensure that a beneficiary will continue to have the resources they need, you should consider passing your assets to them through a special needs trust. In some cases, you may also want to use this type of trust to provide for your own needs, especially as you reach an advanced age.

Public Benefits and Special Needs Trusts

A person with a disability will often be eligible to receive certain types of public aid, such as Medicare, Medicaid, public housing, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, this type of aid is only available if a person meets certain requirements. Typically, the total value of the assets they own must fall below a certain threshold, and they will be limited to a certain amount of income earned per month. If a person who receives any of these benefits is named as the beneficiary of significant assets, this could make them ineligible for one or more types of public benefits.

To ensure that a beneficiary will continue to be able to receive public aid, a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust can be created. The assets in this type of trust will be in the control of a trustee, so they will not be considered part of the total assets owned by the person with special needs. The beneficiary can then receive regular payments from the trust that will be used to provide for needs that are not covered by public benefits. Since public aid is intended to pay for a person’s daily needs, including food, housing, and clothing, payments from the trust can be used for other purposes, such as transportation, furniture and household items, education, entertainment, and cell phone or internet service.

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Kane County cohabitation agreement attorneyThese days, more and more unmarried couples choose to live together instead of or before getting married. Consequently, they often buy property such as a house or a car together. However, unmarried couples do not fall under the same property division laws as married couples in Illinois. In order to protect both parties’ interests and assets in case of a breakup or death, it is important to have a formal agreement in place before buying property together. Often known as a cohabitation agreement, this type of arrangement is similar to a prenuptial agreement. When creating this type of agreement, an experienced family law attorney can ensure that all legal issues are addressed correctly.  

If a couple is not married, it can be easier to break up and “go their own way,” since they do not have to go through the legal proceedings involved with a divorce. However, the question of who gets what property in the separation can be a difficult and sometimes contentious decision. If only one name is on the mortgage or car loan, that person is solely responsible for the financial obligations that come with those types of loans, and they will typically remain the sole owner of that property, even if both parties participate in making loan payments. If two names are on a loan or title, both people are held accountable, and the couple may also need to decide between themselves how ownership will be handled when dividing any assets or property.

Tips for a Cohabitation Agreement

A cohabitation property agreement should describe the ways in which their property will be divided, such as by one person buying out the other’s share, as well as the process used to resolve any ownership disputes that may arise. The percentage of the property owned by each party can also be designated. These stipulations should be put in writing, since property might not all be divided equally, depending on how much money each person put in when buying the property.

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Kane County business tax deduction lawyer QBIOn Jan. 1, 2018, Section 199A was inserted into the Internal Revenue Service tax code as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As stated in the code, Sec. 199A says sole proprietors, business partnerships, S corporations, and many trusts and estates could be eligible for a qualified business income (QBI) deduction. This lets qualifying taxpayers deduct a maximum of 20 percent of their QBI, in addition to 20 percent of qualified publicly traded partnership (PTP) income and real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends.

When the new law was announced, uncertainty remained as to what kinds of businesses would qualify for the deduction and the scope of its limitations. In January of this year, the IRS issued Publication 535, in which Chapter 12 addresses the QBI deduction. 

Here are some of the key points that answered questions which had lingered since the introduction of Sec. 199A last year. For a full examination of how Sec. 199A affects your business and taxes, contact an experienced business law attorney

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Elgin business formation attorney LLCIn mid-2017, a 112-page bill from the Illinois General Assembly significantly altered the Illinois Limited Liability Company Act. Its purpose was to align Illinois law with the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act adhered to in most states. In addition to affecting the formation of future companies, the law also applied to LLCs already in existence. Changes that significantly impacted Illinois business entities and individuals starting a new company include:

Clarification of Procedures for Records Inspection and Copying

If an LLC member wishes to assess the business’ transactions and financial status, the company must provide the necessary records within 10 days of the request, unless it is understood the individual already knows the information contained therein. Disassociated members also maintain these rights, and any denial of access must be made in writing by the company.

Verbal and Inferred Agreements Now Accepted 

While this reverses the previous standard regarding oral and implied operating agreements, a written operating contract is still the preferred method. In some situations, a court may decide there is no proof of an oral agreement, but persons who neglected to draft a written agreement now have an avenue to assert their rights.

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Kane County family law and personal injury lawyerThe new year typically brings alterations to existing federal and state laws, and 2019 is no exception. This year’s updates include a change to federal tax laws that will significantly impact both parties involved in divorce, while one change to state laws adds a provision designed to reduce injuries in car accidents.

Spousal Support Tax Changes 

A substantial change in U.S. tax law that went into effect on January 1, 2019 spawned an increased push to finalize divorces before the new year. To help defray the cost of the 2017 tax reform bill, spousal maintenance (formerly called alimony in Illinois) is no longer tax-deductible for former spouses who make payments. Also, maintenance recipients will no longer claim those payments as taxable income. This change applies to couples who finalize their divorce after December 31, 2018.

The previous tax deduction law dated back to the 1940s. This change is expected to save the U.S. Treasury $6.7 billion, but it comes at a price. Many divorce attorneys say it will reduce the amount of money that can be split between former spouses, which is what sparked the run on divorces in the final weeks of 2018.

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Elgin tax planning lawyerThe federal government recently passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which has ushered in major changes to tax laws that will affect nearly every business and individual taxpayer. It is critical to understand these sweeping changes so that you can anticipate your tax burden each year.

According to the Tax Policy Center, under the TCJA, approximately 67% of taxpayers will owe less taxes, 25% will have no change in their taxes, and 7% percent will owe more taxes. However, this may not mean that taxpayers will receive a refund next April.

For most, whether a refund is issued depends on how much tax one pays through income withholding. Experts predict that because the government has reduced the withholding amounts to reflect the reduced taxes, between one third and one half of taxpayers may have a balance due with their next tax return.

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Kane County divorce lawyer taxes withholdingGoing from married to divorced radically changes one’s finances. Instead of splitting bills with a partner, you now have to pay expenses on a single income. In addition to this, your taxes will likely change in several ways. In most cases, you can anticipate how your taxes will be affected by divorce, allowing you to alter your tax strategy accordingly.

Updating Income Tax Withholding

One area of your taxes you should review is whether you are withholding the right amount of taxes from your paycheck. Typically, married taxpayers who file together are taxed at a lower rate, and they may be able to claim certain deductions to reduce their tax burden.

When someone is no longer married, his or her tax liability will likely go up. If you do not change the amount withheld from your paycheck, you could face a large tax bill when filing your next tax return.

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Elgin real estate attorneyThinking of investing in real estate? Investment deals can be complex, and those not familiar with real estate terminology or the banking industry can be taken advantage of. There are many scams surrounding real estate investing, and one type of scam that seems to be common in the Kane County area is the opportunity to join a real estate investment club.

Generally, this scam operates by asking that investors pool their money to buy properties that will be renovated or rented. Investors who may be priced out of investing in real estate on their own are promised large sums of money in return once the property has been sold.

To be fair, real estate investment clubs can be legitimate. However, some clubs make untrue and inaccurate representations about how the club is structured, what loans may be involved, and what the probable returns will be on these investments.

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How Recent Changes to State and Federal Law Affect Spousal Maintenance

Kane County alimony attorney Illinois spousal maintenance lawsFor many couples, spousal maintenance is an important issue to address during divorce. Alimony payments can help a lower-earning spouse maintain a standard of living similar to what they enjoyed while they were married, and they will also have a major impact on the finances of a higher-earning spouse. However, divorcing couples should be aware that there are significant changes in store for divorces which are finalized on or after January 1, 2019. On that date, both federal and state laws will be going into effect that will change the way courts award spousal maintenance and how alimony is treated for tax purposes.

Changes to Federal Law

At the federal level, alimony will no longer be tax deductible for the paying spouse. For the spouse receiving spousal maintenance, the new law does not require that spousal support be claimed as income. Experts generally agree that this will likely have the effect of smaller spousal maintenance payments, since more of the paying spouse’s income will go toward paying taxes.

Changes to Illinois Law

The state of Illinois has also changed its laws on spousal maintenance in two main respects. The first change to the law concerns how courts will decide if spousal support is appropriate at all between the spouses. Not every divorcing couple will qualify for spousal support. 

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Distracted Driving Can Cause Fatal Car Accidents

St. Charles distracted driving accident lawyerEveryone who uses the road has a duty to protect the safety of others. Unfortunately, many drivers neglect this duty and fail to drive as safely as possible. One of the most common ways that drivers endanger themselves and others is by not paying full attention to the road. Distracted driving can lead to car accidents that result in serious injuries and death, and those who are injured by a distracted driver should be sure to understand their options for pursuing compensation for their damages.

The Dangers Posed By Distracted Driving

Driving is such a commonplace activity that many people divide their attention between the road and a variety of other concerns. While multi-tasking may seem to be an effective strategy in many areas of one’s life, driving is not one of them. Drivers should keep their complete attention on the road, since even momentary distractions can have deadly results. In fact, more than 420,000 injuries and 3,100 fatalities occur in the United States every year as the result of distracted driving. 

Using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving is one of the most common types of distracted driving, yet it is also one of the most dangerous. Drivers who interact with their cell phones increase their crash risk by 360%. But even though the dangers of using cell phones while driving is well known, nearly one third of drivers aged 18 to 64 continue to send or read text messages while they are behind the wheel.

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Essential Elements to Include in Your Illinois Parenting Plan

St. Charles divorce lawyer parental responsibilityIf you are an Illinois parent going through a divorce, your divorce decree will include a parenting plan that specifies how parental responsibility (also known as decision making) and parenting time (also known as custody and visitation) will be allocated between you and your ex-spouse. 

This is an important document that will play a major part in determining how you will interact with your former spouse and your child for years to come. Therefore, it is critical to think through this document and to be as comprehensive as possible. It is also important to make the terms flexible. This plan must be able to grow with your family for years to come. 

The Importance of a Parenting Plan

Before discussing what should be covered in your parenting plan, it is important to understand the purpose of such a document within the scope of your family law case. You and your ex may be able to work together to create a parenting plan, but if you cannot agree on the terms of the plan, each of you must file your own parenting plan. Typically, each spouse is required to file a parenting plan within 120 days of petitioning for parental responsibilities. A court will review and consider the parenting plans when deciding how parental responsibilities will be divided. 

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The Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on Divorce Cases

St. Charles divorce taxes attorney tax reform maintenance mortgage interestLast December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which represented the largest reform of the U.S. Tax Code in the past 30 years. This law made a wide variety of changes which will affect nearly everyone who pays taxes in the United States, and couples who are planning to get end their marriage should be sure to understand how this law will impact their divorce. Here are three areas of the tax law which will affect divorce cases:

  1. Spousal maintenance - For divorce agreements executed after December 31, 2018, maintenance (alimony) will no longer be tax deductible for the payor, and maintenance payments will no longer be includable as part of the recipient’s gross income. Divorcing spouses should be sure to understand how this change will affect their maintenance payments, and couples with a prenuptial agreement may need to update their agreement to reflect this change to the law.
  2. Mortgage interest - For new home loans taken out after December 14, 2017, the interest is only deductible for the first $750,000 of the mortgage for a first and second home. Taxpayers with existing mortgages can continue to deduct interest on a total of $1 million for a first and second mortgage. However, interest on home equity indebtedness (that is, mortgage debt that is not used to acquire, build, or improve a primary residence) is no longer deductible, even for currently existing home equity. Couples should be sure to understand how these changes will affect the tax implications of dividing real estate property during divorce.
  3. 529 plans - When parents use a Section 529 plan to save for their children’s educational expenses, they are able to withdraw funds from these plans to pay for college expenses without being subject to taxes. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, parents are now allowed to make tax-free distributions of up to $10,000 per beneficiary per year to pay tuition for elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school. Following divorce, parents may be able to use these funds to help pay for their children’s K-12 education.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

The full effects of the tax reform law are still being determined, and couples who are planning to divorce should be sure they understand how their finances will be affected by these changes. At Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C., we can work with you to address every legal and financial issue in your divorce, and we will advocate for your interests throughout the divorce process, ensuring that you will have the financial resources you need as you embark on the next phase of your life. Contact our Elgin divorce lawyers at 847-695-2400 to schedule a free consultation.

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How LLCs Can Benefit from Tax Reform

Elgin business law attorney LLC tax reformThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump last December, made a wide variety of sweeping changes to the United States Tax Code. In addition to reducing the corporate tax rate, the tax reform law implemented some changes which can benefit small business owners, and people should be aware of how they can take advantage of these changes and minimize their tax burden by establishing themselves as a LLC.

Pass-Through Entities and LLCs

One significant change that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made was in how pass-through entities are treated. With pass-through businesses, such as sole proprietorships or LLCs, profits are taxed at the owner’s individual tax rate rather than the corporate tax rate. Under the tax reform law, owners of pass-through entities can now deduct 20% of their qualified business income. 

The pass-through deduction is a “below the line” deduction which is taken from a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI). This means that it will apply to a person’s taxable income after other deductions have been made, such as retirement plan contributions, health insurance premiums, alimony, and interest on student loans.

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How Temporary Maintenance May Affect the Duration of Spousal Support

Geneva spousal maintenance attorneyWhen a couple decides to get divorced, they will be required to significantly reconfigure their lives, separating a shared home and finances into two different households. This can result in a great deal of financial upheaval, and when one spouse earns less than their former partner, they may struggle to make ends meet. In these cases, the lower-earning spouse may be eligible to receive financial support (known as spousal maintenance, spousal support, or alimony) from the higher-earning spouse. However, spouses should be aware of some recent changes to Illinois law related to temporary maintenance awarded during divorce and the total duration of maintenance payments.

Temporary Maintenance As a Credit to the Total Duration of Maintenance

Some changes to Illinois divorce law went into effect on January 1, 2018, and the percentages used to determine the duration that spousal maintenance will be paid are now based on the specific number of years of marriage, for marriages between five and 20 years. However, this duration may be affected by temporary maintenance awarded during divorce.

After a spouse has filed a petition for divorce, but before the entry of the final divorce decree, a spouse may petition the court for temporary relief, asking for decisions to be made about how certain matters will be handled while the divorce is pending. Temporary maintenance is one common type of temporary relief, and a spouse can ask to receive support from their partner based on financial affidavits submitted by both parties.

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