Thursday, March 6, 2008

For HR And Retirees Alike - The Time to Make Plans Is Now

Just a few years ago, Human Resource professionals had it a lot easier when handling retirements from their organizations. File some paperwork, set-up an interview with the employee, and oversee the retirement party and gifts was about it. Now, with the Baby-Boomer Boom, the retirement process has taken on a very different set of actions, concerns and issues. Succession planning, transfer of knowledge, later life employee and retirees, wellness, retiree pension and healthcare, all have become major issues that require strong HR involvement. And for retirees, what was once looked at as a pleasant and predictable portion of their lives is now threatened by predicted shortfalls in Social Security, instability and lack of funding in many pension systems. Add to that a lack of a plan for long-term health care, substantially increased longevity, a topsy-turvy stock market and we have the formula for a good deal of uncertainty and uneasiness for older workers. Three Telltale Events Three significant events in the last month highlight the changing landscape for Human Resource professionals and employees. Although in different ways, all give clear signals that everyone needs to be on top of this now unpredictable thing called retirement. A recent report released by the US Treasury predicts an eventual $13.6 trillion shortfall in Social Security funds. And, as if this is not scary enough, neither Treasury, nor Congress, nor the White House have any clear plans on how to handle this ominous situation. While Social Security is not the sole income source for all retirees, it will be a substantial resource for millions. This latest report, coupled with the White House s attempts at restructuring Social Security over the last few years, underscores the unpredictability, and therefore the personal uncertainty that retirees must now face. Another recent turnabout in retirement predictability is the result of the recent GM-UAW contract. This agreement, among many things, turns retiree health care benefits management and funding over to the Union, and takes it out of the hands of General Motors. While this could be a win-win for everyone, it can also be a red flag for those who have been making retirement plans based upon decades of old data and practices. And, on October 15, 2007 Kathleen Casey-Kirshling became the first Baby Boomer to file for Social Security. She will eventually be joined by about 80 million people in the US, born between 1946 and 1964 who are classified as Baby Boomers, and who will be faced with the retirement option over the next twenty years. We all knew it was coming. And now the Baby Boomer retirement wave has officially started. All three of these events are clear signals, along with a myriad of other changes and statistics that concretely demonstrate that things are changing in the retirement realm...changing quickly, and changing now. Individuals and Organizations Face Major Issues Consider some of these unknowns facing retirees: 1. Social Security is expecting a major shortfall 2. Pension funds are drying up, and Federally sponsored insurance will cover only a small percentage of the hoped for payouts 3. The long term health of the Medicare system is in doubt, and many employers are actively working to reduce coverage and costs for retiree health care benefits 4. Retirees who leave the world of regular employment at ages 55 or even 65 may have 20 or 30 or more years...and they will need to fund those years 5. A second or third career for retirees will be the standard rather than the exception; 76% of people over age 65 will continue to work 6. The US system, including finances, healthcare, activities, retail sales, housing and careers is not equipped, at this time, to handle our aging population, the way aging will occur for the next twenty years or so. Employers and the Human Resource departments, have their own set of unknowns: 1. The numbers alone tell us that our pool of talent for US companies and organizations will be shrinking with each year of "boomerdom"...plenty of work to go around, but finding the talent will become increasingly difficult 2. Retirees take their individualized talent and know-how with them when they stop working 3. Transfer of knowledge is critical to future success for thousands of organizations 4. In regard to talent acquisition, retirees from other companies, especially competitors, need to be utilized as a talent pool 5. Demands by retirees and pre-retirees for healthcare and other benefits will only rise and dominate staff time and energy 6. Retirees and pre-retirees can become anxious and have their morale significantly deteriorate when their future needs and concerns remain unaddressed 7. Poorly managed retirement preparation and activities can be very costly in terms of lost productivity and low morale. Steps to Take For the last several years, articles, advice columns, emails and spams, ads and media promotions have been highlighting the boomer wave as being here now. But, overall, employers and employees alike have been slow to move on adjusting to this major shift in the US workforce and heading off potential problems. Measures can be taken and plans developed to handle the upcoming boomer wave with success and profitability. While many aging employees will begin to ferret out what actions they need to take in order to transverse the years from full employment to full retirement, Human Resource professionals can get a jump on the problems and begin to set up their own activities and plans. In doing so, time, energy, employees peace of mind, and the company s money will be saved. The ROI can be substantial when action is taken. Bill Byham, founder of DDI and author of the book 70: The New 50 (DDI Press, 2007) offers concrete suggestions. Here are a few: 1. Have leaders buy-in to the idea that retirement education and management is good business; then have them receive training and coaching to best help employees understand the solid benefits of retirement planning 2. Build a retirement library and database and have a campaign of informational emails to keep the topic fresh 3. Offer generic financial planning seminars and workshops 4. Provide for career coaches and counselors to help employees with planning and executing work plans for later years. HR can give employees a solid foundation in retirement planning by exposing them to the fact that retirement is much more than savings, pensions, golf and fishing rods. Work activities such as second and third careers, part-time work, re-education, active volunteering, and even just continued employment will most likely be a substantial part of retirees futures. For the organizations success, HR can take an active role in succession planning, reviewing hiring plans and tapping into the aging talent pool, set up plans for knowledge transfer, and develop an expertise in pensions, 401ks, Social Security, and healthcare benefits. The signs point to the fact that the boomer revolution is here. It is time to pull it together and ensure success for companies and workers who, everyday, are getting older. Dr. Dickson Dawson is a Vice President at CareerCurve, an international Career Transition firm. Dickson is also a certified Retirement Coach working with organizations and individuals on retirement related issues. He is a career transition professional with more tha 30 years experience.

What is Retirement Annuity

Life insurance, social security and even the more classic individual retirement account (IRA) will help you through your retirement age. Counselors from these departments are better equipped with procedures on assisting clients with questions regarding the odds related to your life’s most challenging part. In addition, the individual retirement annuity may work well with you if you intend to use your savings for yourself while living with a partner. In either case, the amount you will get from the accrued earnings and contributions you get from this type of social retirement contribution provides you, your partner and your relatives in turn for a more secure future through continued financial stability through receiving fixed payments, yet economically sufficient. The following section discusses retirement annuity and its benefits. This tool provides a valuable alternative for retirees who are planning on a more financially stable, secured and happy future and eliminate all the possibilities that tend to arise when caught empty-handed during old age. What is Retirement Annuity? Retirement Annuity works more like other insurance policies and individual retirement account (IRA). As you know, an individual retirement account (IRA) works like a life insurance where your beneficiaries will be provided a considerable amount of money in the event of contributor’s death. However, in retirement annuity, your annual contributions (annuity) are meant to give you more financial protection throughout your retirement period. It secures you more of financial loss in cases of bankruptcy and financial loss through lifestyle or business venture. How Does it Work? In this scenario, you can pay a sum of money as your annual contribution (distribution phase) and reap them later during the accumulation phase. Your contribution is based on your ability to subsidize payment for a specific plan you have subscribed to upon enrollment and how long you have contributed for the said plan. Types of Retirement Annuity There are many types of retirement annuity plans to choose from and each tailor to each client’s ability to pay and their preference of payment during distribution upon reaching retirement age. They are immediate annuity, deferred annuity, variable annuity, and fixed annuity. The above retirement annuity types suit individuals depending on their preference, ability to pay and their need for such benefits. Whatever retirement annuity plans you have enrolled to, it a good way to hold tax charges while keeping your savings for retirement intact. Retirement - Retirement Plan - Retirement Annuity - Retire Get one of the best retirement plan provider you can find on the website Make Money at Home See how you can still make residual income from internet even after retirement Low Home Loan Rate Refinance your Mortgage Rate if you still have not paid your home Loan after retiring to see the benefits

Tropical Hurricane Gamma is now forming

Late season Tropical Depression number twenty-seven is here and is forming into what will soon become Tropical Storm Gamma. It will be just South of Jamaica by Friday. The surface temperatures in Caribbean are warm and will easily allow Tropical Hurricane Gamma (pronounced ‘gama’ in the Greek alphabet to form. The chances of Gamma becoming a Large Category Storm are not likely, but possible. The chances of it getting into a position to threaten the United States shoreline is not likely, but too early to completely rule out. The next named storm will be Delta and Epsilon. Tropical Storm or Hurricane Gamma will be the twenty-fourth named storm and is likely to flood up to 15 inches of torrential rains on the Windward Islands, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Leeward Islands, which are already still trying to dry out from previous storms this year. Gamma is building slow and getting bigger each day and we still have over 2-weeks left in the Official Tropical Hurricane Season this year, which could be extended 2-weeks due to warm waters. A Hurricane Gamma could be a significant storm for many islands in the Caribbean and it may not be the last named storm or Hurricane this year. Think on this "Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; . Lance is a guest writer for Our Spokane Magazine in Spokane, Washington

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) What is an ITIN? Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. Individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA), may apply and obtain ITIN issued by the IRS. ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have U.S. tax return and payment responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code. To be eligible for ITIN, Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return What is the format of ITIN? It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, example 9XX-7X-XXXX. What is an ITIN used for? ITINs are for tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit Who needs an ITIN? IRS issues ITINs to non-US-residents (foreign nationals) and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs. These cases may include the following scenarios: • Non-resident alien filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN • Non-resident alien member of a U.S. LLC (Limited Liability Company) • U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN • Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien • Dependent or spouse of a non-resident alien visa holder Tax ID Number - How To Apply? 1. Print the form at the following link (one for each family member for which you are asking tax ID number): If you are requesting a tax ID number for a child - check box "d" in the reason for submitting the form. If you are requesting a tax ID number for a spouse - check box "e" in the reason for submitting the form. In both cases enter your name and social security in the right side of this section. Fill out all the personal information, date and sign the form. 2. Make a copy of your passport and the applicant s passport (spouse or child) (copy the first page, any extension page and the visa page) notarized it by a PUBLIC NOTARY (go to any bank - they should have one). Attach the filled out form and the notarized copy of the passport TO YOUR TAX RETURN and mail it via certified mail to: INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE PHILADELPHIA SERVICE CENTER ITIN UNIT PO BOX 447 BENSALEM, PA 19020 3. The IRS will process your form within 6-8 weeks, and will send you a notice with the new numbers. Tax USA Inc. ------------ Tax USA, Inc. is a complete tax, accounting and financial management firm specializes in small businesses, corporations and high income individuals. Tax USA Inc. s mission is to exceed clients expectation by providing superb tax, accounting & financial Management services. We offer our clients tax, accounting and bookkeeping services, CFO Outsourcing, Budget Review and Business Plans, Cash Flow Management, Payroll Services and Entities Incorporation. Our Clients We focus on small and mid size businesses, non-profit organization and high income individuals. Client list comprised of corporations, non-profit organizations and high-tech employees. Our corporate clients operate in various industries: - Security - Information Technology - Internet - Retail - Manufacturing - Transportation - Real Estate - Project Management - Business Development

An Alternative Method To Protecting Yourself From Phishing

Phishing is one of the leading trends in cyber crime. Basically, phishing occurs when websites that appear to be the one you are looking for are actually those belonging to people that want to steal your personal information. While some web browsers and internet security softwares will attempt to protect you from phishing attacks, they are not perfect. In many cases, the end goal of phishing is to obtain enough personal information to steal your credit cards numbers, or access to bank accounts. Along with creating websites and emails that mimic legitimate businesses like paypal, phishing is also evolving into other trends. Basically, anything that will get you to transmit personal and financial information can be exploited for phishing purposes. This includes social websites, as well as those set up for the sale of merchandise. One of the best things you can do is make sure that anything you enroll in online does not provide the same information that you gave to your banks and other lenders. This is especially important if you enjoy singing up for news forums, or other groups that ask identifying questions that you answered for your bank. As an example, the last four digits of your social security number, or mother s maiden name are very common questions. Unfortunately, in the hands of someone intent on phishing, this information can be used to obtain your credit card information. Therefore, when it comes to online forums where you do not expect to engage in financial transfers, treat your password backups like a real password. This includes using a different backup for each site you enroll with. Also, you should use a "hardened password" that includes at least 8 letters, one number, and a non alpha-numeric character. Not only will this stymie phishing attempts, if they do try to use the information you gave them, you will know exactly what site the fraudulent activity came from. If you find yourself wanting to open a financial account online, and need to provide information similar to what has been requested by your credit card company, or bank, the same advice applies. Simply treat your backup information like a secure password. With a legitimate bank or credit card institution, you can always call them later on and have these things reset if need be. This is far less troublesome than becoming the victim of a phishing attack. Because cyber crime is only limited by the ideas that people get, many different schemes can be used to steal personal information. Over the years, phishing has evolved as the premier way to gain financial information and steal personal identities. Banks and many other financial institutions often utilize backup passwords or other information to help identify you. When enrolling in social groups, it is vital to treat this information like any other type of personal information. By using words or information different from what you would use with your bank, you may well help prevent a phishing attack, and also help investigators determine where it came from. Matt D Murren owns and operates - Phishing .

Ohio Child Support Laws

Applying for Ohio child support services is quite simple. All you will need to do is fill out an application and you are a step further in receiving the child support benefits you need. Applying for child support is absolutely free depending on what county you applied in. In other counties there is a one time small fee if you wish to apply for Ohio child support. In order to establish child support in the state of Ohio, you must follow the same guidelines that apply in many other states in America. You must first establish some sort of paternity to determine the biological father. Once the biological father is revealed, you must provide the courts with as much information about them as possible. Information such as their social security number, phone number, place of employment, and address. Ohio child support also has laws that help the custodial parent collect payments. There are several methods to enforcing child support laws in the state of Ohio. Those methods are: income withholding, unemployment compensation garnishment, lottery prize winnings, financial assets, etc. These and many more penalties will occur if the non-custodial parents refuse to make child support payments. The custodial parent may also request to have modifications every several years to match the non-custodial parent’s wages. The non-custodial parent may also do the same if they are laid off or received a decrease in pay. Ohio child support is a service that helps the custodial parent provide for their young. This service will also provide assistance in enforcing payments in the non-custodial parent falls behind or refuses to pay. Click for more info on Ohio Child Support Or Visit the Child Support Laws Home Page

Important Pointers in Filling Up Disability Forms

It is understandable that you would find completing several forms during the process of your social security disability claim as one of its most confusing aspects. The first thing you may even question yourself while you complete these forms is: "Will the SSA take the time to look at the forms you have completed and filed?" "Can these forms become one of the deciding factors in winning or losing your disability claim?" However, no matter your assumptions that the way you have completed your form may become the main cause for the decision on your claim, you need to think again. The Social Security Administration (SSA) and/or Administrative law judges do not usually base their approval or denial of a claim on the forms you have completed. They usually base their decisions based on compelling and objective evidences like medical and health records, and/or treatment doctor s opinions concerning your inability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). However, there are times when some innocent statement indicated by the claimant in one of the forms filed as the main evidence that the SSA or judge used in denying his/her claim. Remember that as claimant you have two kinds of inherent problem: - your unawareness to the things that you need to prove for you to win your disability claim - Your consistent downplaying of your medical and health problems seriousness to all those present that may be listening. While you are aware that you are applying for disability claims, therefore you have to prove that you are unable to perform substantial work, you still tend to understate the severity of your condition, symptoms and the limitations you are experiencing. Next thing you know, your chance of being approved of disability benefits is killed because of your false statements. Moreover, these false statements usually begin upon your completing of the disability forms and submitting them to the SSA. Here are the pointers in significantly reducing your unawareness in making mistakes all over the social security disability claim forms you are filling up: 1. Avoid writing too long narrations - remember, "Less words, few mistakes." There are spaces provided for your answers. Limit your answers in these given spaces and answer the questions directly. Avoid writing between the margins or attach additional papers. 2. Try to think that you are in a bad mood while you are answering the questions provided - the key is to indicate and prove that you are unable to perform a regular work activity level on a continuous level. You can have an accurate assessment of the activity level you are able to perform if you answer the questions as if you are experiencing a bad day, since who can, indeed perform well if they are in a bad day? 3. Concentrate on the duration, frequency and the severity of your disability symptoms and work limitations - take care to mention every diagnosis that have even a small bit of an impact on your inability to perform your work and any other kind of work for that matter. Nevertheless, most significantly do not forget to mention these three important issues connected to your disability, which will mainly, provide the reasons for your limitation to work and function, daily. 4. Control and suppress your perfectionist habits - make sure that you do not indicate your proficiency and eloquence in filling up the disability forms. The point is to indicate the seriousness of your condition. Possibly, you may already be having memory and concentration problems and having problems with your motor and coordination skills. Thus, make sure that the condition you indicated in the medical report must show in the way you accomplished your forms. 5. Make sure that you indicate or leave evidence in the forms, of some psychological issues, even if they play just a small part in your inability to continue working. If you are not confident of the way you have completed your disability claim forms, make sure you have it double-checked by an experienced social security disability lawyer or advocate. Get to know more information about filing your social security disability claim through the expert help of Los Angeles Attorneys .

Payroll Record Retention Requirements

Every business must retain certain records on their current and past employees, but which ones and for how long? On the federal level, there are two agencies that regulate record keeping. First is the IRS, which is responsible for enforcing the Internal Revenue Code. The second is the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The Wage and Hour Division of the DOL is responsible for enforcement of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA), the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), and the laws governing wages paid by federal government contractors. Both of these agencies have separate rules regarding the type of records that must be kept and the length of time you must keep the records. To further complicate your requirements there are numerous state, local and other regulatory agencies that may require additional record keeping. State agencies enforce State Unemployment Insurance Tax Acts, state wage and hour laws, child support and creditor garnishment laws and unclaimed or abandoned wage requirements. Keeping these records accurate and up-to- date is extremely important to the health of your business. Without the proper records you will be unable to meet regulatory requirements should you be audited by any of various federal state and local agencies. Failing to meet these requirements can mean large penalties and the potential for large settlement awards should you be unable to provide the required information when requested. Internal Revenue Service The following records must be kept for four years after the tax due date or the actual date paid. Name, address, occupation, and social security number of each employee Total compensation and date paid including tips and non-cash payments Compensation subject to withholding for federal income, social security and Medicare tax Pay period for each compensation period Explanation of difference in total compensation and taxable compensation Employees W-4 Form Dates of employment (beginning and ending) Employee tip reports Wage continuation made to an absent employee by employer or third party Details of fringe benefits provided to employee Copy of employee s request to use the cumulative method of wage withholding Adjustments or settlement of taxes Amounts and dates of tax deposits Total compensation paid to employee during calendar year Compensation subject to FUTA State unemployment contributions made All information shown on 940 Copies of returns filed (941, 643, W-3, Copy A of Form W-2 and returned W-2 forms) Department of Labor The following records must be kept for three years after date of last entry. Employee s name as it appears on social security card Complete home address and date of birth if under age 19 Sex and occupation The beginning of the employee s work week Regular rate of pay for overtime weeks Hours worked each workday and workweek Straight-time earnings including the straight –time portion of overtime earnings Overtime premium earnings Total wages paid for each pay period including additions and deductions Date of payment and pay period covered Records showing total sales volume and goods purchased Following records must be kept for two years after the last date of entry Employment and earnings records, employee hours of work, basis for determining wages and wages paid Order, shipping and billing records showing customers orders and delivery records Wage rate tables and piece rate schedules Work time schedules that establish hours and days of employment Department of Labor In addition to the general requirements of both the IRS and the DOL mandated by several federal acts. They are: Family and Medical Leave Act Basic payroll and employee data Dates FLMA leave is taken Hours worked by employee in last 12 months Hours of FLMA leave for exempt employee Copies of employee notice to employer Copies of general and specific notes given to employees Copies of policy regarding taking of paid and unpaid leave by employee Documents verifying premium payments of employee benefits Records of FLMA leave disputes between employee and employer Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 have no general record requirement under the law, but to meet the requirements all records relating hiring, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff or termination, rates of pay, and selection for training or apprenticeship should be kept for one year from date of action. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 requires that you keep the following records for three years: name address date of birth occupation pay rate compensation earned You also keep the following for one year from the date of action: job applications resumes response to advertised job openings records related to the failure to hire an individual You also must keep all records related to layoff or discharge of an employee job orders submitted to a placement agency employee administrated by employee physical exams used to make personnel decisions job advertisements The Immigration Reform and control Act requires that you must retain copies of the I-9 Form for three years after the date of hire. Charles J. Read, CPA has been in the payroll, accounting and tax business for 30 years, the last fifteen in private practice. Mr. Read is the author of “How to Start a New Business”. For Professional Payroll services at a Budget Price go to a Paperless Payroll Company. Go to For a full service payroll service bureau with CPA s on staff. See an excerpt of Mr. Read’s interviews from William Shatners “Heartbeat of America” television show on the websites linked above.

Eye On I-9

A few weeks ago, I helped facilitate a peer-to-peer conference on HR Strategies on behalf of The New England Mail Order Association (NEMOA). NEMOA was formed in 1947 and is one of the nation’s oldest and largest professional organizations dedicated exclusively to the catalog industry. In attendance were human resource and senior management professionals, representing catalog and e-Commerce businesses, both large and small. One of the subjects discussed at our meeting was I-9 Employment Verification. The new I-9 Employment Verification legislation is on the verge of passing in Congress, so I thought it would be a good time to give the subject a closer look. It’s a process that’s long overdue for establishing viable work eligibility in the U.S. And with some forward thinking on the part of management, and those responsible for human resources, it should be good news for a smooth, compliant transition. Mandatory employment verification on the horizon. Direct marketing organizations, like all businesses, have been collecting I-9 information since the original Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) of 1986, which made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire unauthorized workers. Although your attention may be focused on your hourly workers—typically high turnover individuals working in warehouse, distribution and contact centers—all employees must meet the same scrutiny. Part of the IRCA created the I-9 document and the verification process employers must follow today in order to avoid sanctions. This verification process consists mainly of a physical review of identification documents (e.g., a social security card and a driver license) to establish both the person’s identity and the individual’s authorization to work in the U.S. In the 20 years since passing of the IRCA, the process has changed very little; however this basic and manual process has inherent issues that can result in applicant fraud and error. Recently, the topic of immigration, and specifically illegal aliens, has reached a fever pitch. With the coordinated immigration protests across the country on May 1st as one of its high points, the U.S. government has been looking at the employment eligibility issue for some time. It has recently taken steps towards addressing the current challenges. Step #1 In December 2005, the House took action to minimize illegal immigration by taking the first steps to tighten border controls and stop illegal aliens from obtaining employment in the U.S. The bill includes statutes that require, within two years of the legislation passing, all employers to perform an employment eligibility check directly with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all new employees, or face civil or criminal penalties for hiring illegal workers. Step #2 In April 2006, the Senate responded to the House bill by sending a bill (S.2612) to the floor called the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006.” If passed, the DHS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will be required to implement a countrywide I-9 Employment Verification database and process. The bill also establishes steep civil and criminal penalties for noncompliant employers. What does this mean for you? You would still be required to obtain a signed I-9 form, backed by supporting documentation, from each new employee. What’s new is that you would be required to also submit the new hire’s information to the DHS verification system within three days of hire. Also, the law provides for reassessment of all employees through the system, regardless of hire date, to ensure eligibility to work in the United States. How does the DHS I-9 Employment Verification work? The new hire’s information is sent to the DHS database and the system verifies eligibility to work in the United States, verifies that the name and Social Security Number match, verifies the Social Security Number for wage reporting purposes, discourages the use of false documentation and levies penalties for the violation of hiring and/or employment eligibility laws. What if the result is negative? If the DHS search returns as a non-verification, the new-hire must be notified that their eligibility status was deemed non-verified and be given the opportunity to contest. If the applicant does not contest in the time allowed, the non-verification will be final. If they do contest, the verification will remain tentative until that time the eligibility is deemed either verified or non-verified under further review. Who must conform? Until the new law is passed in Congress, I-9 Employment Verification is currently available in all 50 states on a volunteer basis. If a company decides to participate in the volunteer program, it must screen all new-hires in a search conducted post-hire, within three days of the employee s start date. While the program is still voluntary until the act is passed, you can count on the fact that the government is serious about illegal immigrants and establishing a program to ensure that work eligibility verification will happen soon. There’s every reason to believe that some version of the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006” will exist and companies should start planning to implement an I-9 verification program in the near future. For more information on the summarized bill “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006,” visit the Library of Congress at and search for S.2612. You may also want to check out the services of independent, third party employment verification and screening providers. Much of the information contained in this article was provided through the website of The US Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration: Compliance Assistance—Immigration Reform and Control Act. Les Gore is founder and managing partner of Executive Search International, a Boston-based, nationally recognized search firm and a 23-year vetern of the "recruiting wars."

Outsourcing Personal Data - Just How Secure is it?

Outsourcing Personal Data - Just How Secure is it? As companies seek greater ways to find cost savings, the lure of contracting cheap labor overseas continues to grow. Outsourcing overseas is becoming increasingly common in the banking, financial services, retailing, insurance, and telecommunications sectors. But when companies choose to outsource the processing of sensitive personal information, are they losing control of security as well? Securing personal data within our own borders seems to be challenging enough. On February 7, 2006, one of Massachusetts largest hospitals, Brigham and Women s Hospital, said that it mistakenly faxed sensitive confidential patient information to an incorrect business fax number and is conducting an internal investigation into the matter. Last year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina inadvertently printed Social Security numbers on envelopes it recently sent to 629 of its members. Sending data processing tasks overseas doesn t appear to relieve security concerns. Not long ago, a woman in Pakistan recently struck fear among executives who outsource. She had obtained sensitive patient documents from the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center through a medical transcription subcontractor that she worked for, and she threatened to post the files on the Internet unless she was paid more money. The transcriber ultimately rescinded her e-mailed threat, and the UCSF Medical Center fired the contractor who hired the subcontractor who was ultimately responsible for the Pakistani woman s work, but this incident exposed the fact that the hospital wasn t keeping track of exactly where its medical records were going or who had access to them. To put the risks in perspective, India s National Association of Software and Services companies reported recently that India s outsourcing industry is creating jobs at the rate of nearly 100,000 a year, and its revenue is growing more than 40% annually. Analyst first Gartner Inc. estimates that global spending on offshore outsourcing services will top $50 billion by 2007. Many of these outsourced operations involve handling and processing customer transactions and sensitive personal information, and most U.S. companies aren t ramping up security measures at these locations to manage that growth. The United States has never enacted a comprehensive data protection or privacy law, and even highly-regulated data (such as healthcare information subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations and financial information subject to the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA)) are not subject to any trans-border regulations. However the lack of a data privacy law dealing with outsourcing does not mean that a company s use of off-shore vendors is without risk. The U.S. laws do impose various obligations on companies to maintain the privacy and security of its U.S. databases, and these obligations necessitate that the company ensure the requirements of law are met. But just because a company transfers the performance of a function to a third party, it does not mean that the company can also transfer its legal compliance obligations with respect to the performance of that function. In fact, despite transferring the function, the firm may well remain legally responsible to interested third parties (such as government entities, customers, employees, other vendors) for the successful performance of the function, and in some instances, the company may be responsible for ensuring that the processes used to perform the transferred function conform to applicable regulations. Of course, in addition to legal troubles, the public relations fallout for a company who falls prey to a data security breach can be devastating. So what steps should a company take to secure their outsourcing operations abroad and protect customer data? First and foremost, a strong and well-understood security policy must be put in place and followed vigorously before any data is outsourced overseas. In addition: • Visit the outsourcing site, and require the outsourcing vendor to provide proof of a security audit by a reputable third party or industry group. The vendor should demonstrate policies, procedures and technical safeguards are equal to or better than the company s. • Conduct a remote vulnerability scan to determine what internal information the company can access from the outside. • Require the outsourcing vendor to encrypt all data in storage and in transit, and physical security controls should be in place to mitigate the risk of data leaving the facility via any media, recording devices, cameras and hard copies. • Provide only partial information about a customer - not the full profile. When executing a written contract with the outsourcer, the following provisions should be included: • A prohibition on the service provider from disclosing or using data or information for any purpose other than to carry out the contracted services. • The service provider should provide a copy of all customer data in its possession or control upon request. • Never grant any subcontractor access to the outsourcer s data unless the company has approved the subcontractor and assumes all security provisions of the outsourcing agreement. • The outsourcer should be precluded from holding data hostage in the event of a dispute. • The contract should be reviewed by counsel experienced in the outsourcer s country s laws to determine the enforceability of all aspects of the contract. Finally, a company should develop a formal plan for responding to "worst case scenario" type events, such as misappropriation of personal data. It would identify both local legal resources that could be called upon quickly as well as the legal recourse that would be sought in the event of a security incident or breach of contract. Daniel A. Pepper is the founder of Pepper Legal Consulting Group, LLC, a law firm based in Somerville, New Jersey focusing on representing e-commerce businesses, and users and providers of technology. More information on the firm can be found at or by telephone at 908.698.0330.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Husband & Wife Wills: Why Separate is Better

When a husband and wife are looking to create a Will that leaves their joint property to the surviving spouse and then their children (if any), most couples think they will be creating one document for their family. And while they can choose that option, most legal experts suggests individual Wills for each spouse. While some attorneys and Will authors create a single Will document for both husband and wife (often referred to as a "Combined Will" or "Reciprocal Will"), forward thinking legal advisers finds that the individual Last Will & Testament structure offers a better legal option. With a Combined Will, when one spouse dies, the original Will must be submitted to the probate court. When that happens, the information contained in the Will is often made available to the public for inspection and review, which can create privacy issues for the entire family. Further, the fact that the original Will is submitted to the probate court can create new issues should the other spouse die while the first estate is still being probated. Obtaining a copy of the original Combined Will for filing with the probate court for the "second to die" spouse could create difficulties, especially if the "second to die" spouse has moved his or her home to a jurisdiction different from the location where the first spouse s Will is being probated. Given these scenarios, utilizing separate, individual Wills for each spouse is preferred. The Will for each spouse can be written to mirror each other, so that the first spouse to die leaves his or her property to the surviving spouse and then to children, if any. These separate and individual Wills accomplish the same goal as the Combined Will while eliminating a variety of probate issues. Sometimes, it IS better to stand alone. LEARN MORE ABOUT LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OPTIONS HERE. # # # Standard Legal offers affordable solutions to common legal issues, including do-it-yourself legal forms software, legal document preparation services, and attorney find services. 1-888-888-7712 toll free DISCLAIMER REGARDING LEGAL ADVICE: None of information contained on this web site is intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and you should not rely solely on the information contained on the site for making legal decisions. When necessary, you should consult with an attorney for specific advice tailored to your situation. (c) The Standard Legal Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Article may be distributed in its entirety, including all links and credits.

Are You Prepared For A Nasty Retirement?

Are You Prepared For A Nasty Retirement? I hate to spring bad news on you today, but someone has to warn you about the horrible retirement future that you and 80% of Americans are facing. If you are like most folks, you are anxiously awaiting the day when you can kiss your job goodbye, load up the RV, and head out to see the world. Your pension check, social security check, and your generous savings account funding the life of your dreams. What s that, you don t have a large savings account? Your company pension is underfunded by millions if not billions? Join the crowd. According to a 2005 Retirement Confidence Survey, over 50% of all Americans have less than $25,000 in retirement savings. Now, this number does not include Social Security amounts, but if you are under the age of 50, chances are Social Security will look a lot different when you get ready to retire. It may not even exist in 25 years. If you are relying on a big company pension to fund your life of leisure, you better think again. The pension plans of the largest U.S. companies are currently underfunded by billions of dollars. When United Airlines declared bankruptcy, they were able to get out from under a huge pension liability. Current retirees saw their monthly check drop by 40-60% when the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation took over the United pension plan. Maybe you are looking at your house as a source of retirement funds. While the housing boom of the 1990 s led to some spectacular gains, most Americans were busy cashing out the equity in their homes to purchase SUVs and other consumer goods. Now it appears that we are on the leading edge of a real estate bust and those amazing gains of the 90 s are going up in smoke. There is no way around the fact that if you want to retire in comfort, you are going to have to take charge of your finances and that means increasing your savings. The sooner you start the better off you will be. Do you want to learn more about investing and protecting what you have? I have just completed my brand new guide, Five Things You Must Do Now To Protect Your Investments Download it free here: Five Things You Must Do Now To Protect Your Investments

Los Angeles Disability Insurance Lawyers - Reducing the Burden of the Disabled

Since the introduction of Social Security s Disability Programs to the public, it has been one of the primary sources of financial aid by those disabled workers. It tends to provide relief and monetary support for their hospital bills and other daily expenses. It further helps in alleviating the disabled individuals suffering brought by their serious illnesses. As stated under the Social Security Disability rules, people who have worked long enough and paid their Social Security taxes are eligible to apply for disability insurance benefits. This is regardless of their age. However, they must first meet all the other requirements set by the Social Security Administration, which is the government agency assigned to implement this program. Disability, on the perspective of Social Security, is any ailment that prevents a person to engage in any "substantial gainful activity". This ailment must have also last, expected to last for at least a period of twelve months, or may result in death of the person. In filing an application for disability insurance benefits, the disabled worker is advised to prepare the following documents and information in order to speed up the process: Names, addresses and contact information of physicians, hospitals, clinics, etc., attended to their illnesses A brief summary of the worker s employment history for at least 15 years and the details of his job Because of these important matters, the disabled workers must consider hiring their respective Los Angeles disability insurance lawyers who are very much capable in dealing with these requirements. These lawyers may also increase their chances of getting good results. The SSA also implements a 5-month waiting period before they approve a petition. Yet, if the disabled employee died before the decision, the immediate family may pursue the application within three months prior to the worker s death. The actual disability benefits that a disabled person may get will depend on the amount of his earnings before he has sustained his ailment. This would mean that the higher his monthly contribution, the higher his monthly benefits would be. Yet, this amount may still increase depending on the yearly inflation rate. Nonetheless, Social Security disability benefits are designed for momentary bad health conditions. Hence, the SSA would certainly stop sending disability benefits in these instances: If the beneficiary has already reached the age of 65, (This is when retirement benefits may replace disability benefits) If the beneficiary has already recovered from his disability and get back to work to earn money on his own Then again, for proper guidance and representation in filing a strong disability insurance claim with the SSA, employing the aid of a competent representative is a must to ease the disabled worker s further suffering. Know and understand more about social security disability program and how it lessen the burden of the disabled with the help of Los Angeles Disability Insurance Lawyers Rainier used to work in a publishing company as a writer and eventually became an associate editor. He dealt in writing instructional materials for secondary and tertiary students. His passion in writing inspired him to read a lot and subsequently enabled him to gain more knowledge and skills.

The Knowledge You Must Have

Do you read newspapers? Books? Magazines? Articles? Why? Because you want to be informed and you would like to learn. You want to know what is happening in the world, be helped by the knowledge you ll acquire and solve your problems. Do the things you read really help you solve your problems? Well, sometimes. Not always... Do you know how to properly translate your dreams and understand their messages? No? But you are so well informed! How can you ignore the fresh messages you receive every day in your own dreams? This is a waste! Particularly because these messages are always worthwhile and they are always of help to you. They are not products of human ignorance, but they come from the wisest conscience that has saint characteristics. If you think that your dreams are meaningless images or reflections of your state of mind, you have a lot to learn because your dreams are a source of information and free psychotherapy that is absolutely safe and guaranteed. They are produced by the unconscious mind that regulates your body and constantly protects you from the inherent craziness in your anti-conscience. The bitter truth is that the human being is crazy from birth due to the inherent wild conscience (anti-conscience) that has demoniac characteristics. It is completely evil and violent. It provokes schizophrenia, psychosis, hysteria, neurosis, panic attacks, anxiety and many other mental illnesses and absurd tendencies such as self-abuse and suicidal thoughts. This is the result of an undeveloped conscience; the anti-conscience has not transformed like our conscience. Our conscience understands other people s problems and feels compassion. However, the wild anti-conscience is cruel and selfish. Translating the messages that the unconscious sends in dreams will help you to eliminate this dangerous influence in your conscious and completely develop your brain and psyche. You can transform the anti-conscience into a positive part of your conscience. You ll be far more intelligent than you are today because you ll develop your atrophic psychological functions that are not functional in your conscious because they belong to your anti-conscience. This means that you don t have a global vision of reality: you only have a limited perspective based on 1 or 2 aspects of your psyche: the other 2 psychological aspects are not functional. It is like being blind in one eye and being deaf... Dream interpretation is indispensable in order to eliminate depression and craziness and several other reasons. This is why you should at least learn the basics. I greatly simplified Carl Jung s method of dream interpretation, which is the only correct one, and I continued his research discovering the anti-conscience and many more dream symbols. Today you can learn everything very quickly and easily and start seeing the benefits immediately. Even if you are not an expert in dream interpretation you must learn how to translate the most impressive dreams at least, as these reveal decisive aspects of your character and the future route of your life. Prevent Depression and Craziness through the scientific method of Dream Interpretation discovered by Carl Jung and simplified by Christina Sponias, a writer who continued Jung s research in the unknown region of the human psychic sphere. Learn more at: Click here and download your copy of the Free ebook Beating Depression and Craziness

Important Information For Veterans Regarding Identity Theft

Over 26.5 million veterans found themselves at risk for identity theft in 2006 when a federal employee s lap top computer, containing important personal information such as name, date of birth, address and social security number, as well as benefits eligibility. Another 16,000 veterans were at risk when a government contractor s lap top computer was stolen from his home. It is a common practice for the VA to contract out certain jobs such as software support and insurance billing and claims resolution to a subcontractor. According to a statement issued by the Veterans Administration this is done in order to provide better customer service. But what happens when this "customer service puts the customer at risk of identity theft and false claims for benefits? In this the most recent incident, of a contractor, the contracting company, Unisys Corporation offered free credit reports to those affected. However, free annual credit reports are already available through the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Veteran s Administration also claimed that it works closely with contractors in developing the "highest standards" of protection and security. However, it does not designate what systems are in place to protect a veteran s information. The federal employee who took home veterans information on a laptop computer was required to undergo computer security and regulations training. Thousands of people were or may have been affected by this lack of stringent rules regarding the protection of their information. And the options available to them after the information may have been released were not comforting. They were advised to obtain their free credit report, monitor it (at an additional charge to the veteran) and then to report to local law enforcement authorities any problems with their credit or instances of identity theft. Veteran s circumstances and the effects of identity theft are unique. Many veterans are recipients of additional benefits such as education and medical that most people are not. Their children may also be eligible for specific benefits, either monetary, educational, home buying or medical. This makes identity theft, an already serious problem, even more complicated. Veteran s whether they feel their information is at risk or not should be extra vigilant. In addition to taking many of the steps to protect their personal, financial, and medical information they should go many steps further to protect their information, their benefits and the benefits for their family. Be sure to install virus and anti spyware to protect information contained on your computer. Do not conduct personal or financial business at work, as it puts you at risk of being overheard. You may not be as protected by the business computer security system as you think you are. Consider placing a "credit freeze" on your credit information. This requires the three major credit agencies to contact you to "lift" the freeze before making any changes to or issuing any new credit in your name. You may take steps yourself to perform the credit freeze or you may use a service such as Trusted ID. In the event your credit, personal, financial or benefits information appears to be at risk or "stolen" you should do the following: dispute the information on your credit report and ask the three major credit reporting agencies of TransUnion, Experian and Equifax to place a fraud flag on your credit file. Contact the credit lenders and advise them of the situation as stated on your credit report. Placing a fraud alert insures that additional steps are taken before new accounts or changes to existing account in your name can occur. Although everyone should review their Social Security Benefit information to determine if their benefits have been illegally used, veterans in particular should review both the Social Security Benefits statement as well as their Veterans Benefits eligibility. To order a Social Security Benefits report, contact the Social Security Administration office or order online. The first step for protecting veteran s information is for government agencies and contractors to take those efforts necessary to protect this information. The next step is for veteran s to do all that they can to keep their information private. However, in the event these efforts are not effective veterans much report and dispute false or incorrect information on their credit report or other service reports. It is necessary after reporting to the local law enforcement to contact the Veteran s Administration office, your State s Attorney General s office and The Federal Trade Commission, or visit their web site. Lisa Carey is a contributing author for Identity Theft Secrets: prevention and protection . You can get tips on Identity theft protection, software, and monitoring your credit as well as learn more about the secrets used by identity thieves at the Identity Theft Secrets blog

Do You Know The Biggest Mistake In Most Retirement Advice About Retirement Income?

Do You Know The Biggest Mistake In Most Retirement Advice About Retirement Income? How much retirement income do you really need to retire? After reading many warnings to people about the need to save money for retirement, I have come to the conclusion that most of the financial retirement advice addressed to consumers is bad advice because it is based on a limited understanding of money. Most personal finance retirement planning articles round up the usual suspects of retirement planning and list them as reasons to be afraid that you don t have enough money to retire: Most people have not saved enough money. Prices will go up and up. You will probably need more for medical expenses as you age. And worst of all (!), you might live 20-30 years after retirement at age 65 and will probably outlive your money. Such retirement advice articles explain all the ways you can calculate how much retirement income you will need, what costs will go up and what costs might go down. Most retirement planning articles assume that you will pay off your mortgage. They also assume that your only sources of retirement income will be retirement funds, pensions, and Social Security. These articles often help you calculate how much of your nest egg you can safely withdraw each year to avoid running out of money. The unexamined assumptions of such articles create fear in the minds of people. They do not teach anyone the single most important skill required to live those 20-30 years beyond retirement age in abundance: how to make money. Every single one of these money fears is based on a single assumption. After you retire from your job, your retirement income will be fixed because you won t earn any more money. This is one of the biggest money limitations imaginable. You must anticipate an uncertain future in which the money available to you is limited by the amount of money you amassed in your earning years. According to typical personal finance retirement planning advice, you are supposed to imagine living 20-30 years without making any new money, completely dependent upon what you earned in your working life. This type of retirement advice also depends on an unstated assumption that the amount of money you have available to you as retirement income also depends on the decisions of other people. Other people will decide whether or not you still have a pension, whether or not you still have Social Security income, the amount of interest you earn on your "safe" savings accounts and CDs (certificates of deposit), and the returns on your mutual funds. This is why such articles create fear. They teach that your only security is to amass as much money as you can while you are still earning an income, and then use it very carefully before it is all gone. The underlying assumption is that you will have no other sources of additional income. In other words, you are essentially powerless to increase your retirement income after you retire from your job. Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D. Discover the difference between earning money and making money in a real estate investing book , "No Money Limits." Visit for your Free "52 Heart of Money Insights."

California DUI Statistics

Drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) is the act of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or while in an inebriated condition. It is a common problem in the United States and the rest of the world. DUI is responsible for 41 percent of total traffic deaths. Alcohol tends to get absorbed into the bloodstream and is carried to the brain immediately upon consumption. Laws in the US in relation to DUI have become extremely strict. In the state of California alone there are approximately 200,000 arrests for DUI every year. The law has enforced strict and stringent measures against people who have found to have a blood alcohol count of 0.08% or more. Based on California law, a person under the influence of alcohol is charged on two counts, a Vehicle Code section 23152(a) count, driving impaired by alcohol and 23152(b), driving above a .08% Blood Alcohol Content. California Highway Patrol records, 1998 states that in 1997, a total of 31,189 people were injured in alcohol-related traffic accidents in California. This comes down to approximately 86 people per day. Injuries caused in such accidents comprise of roughly 10.94% of the total 284,871 traffic injuries in California. It also states that in 1997, a total of 1,100 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents in California - this equates to 3 people per day. These deaths roughly represent almost 29.96% of the total 3,671 traffic fatalities in California. Strict and stringent laws have been enacted to deal with offenders caught while DUI. Jail sentences range from 2 days to 120 days depending on the intensity of the offence. Similarly DUI schooling may also be recommended. This may range from 15 weeks to 18 months. Sale of the vehicle or impounding may also take place with the proceeds going towards charity. Statistics have proved that since the enactment of the 0.08% blood alcohol count, the DUI arrests have decreased by an assenting rate of 45%. The number of deaths and injuries has also shown a 50% decrease. This is a positive indication, which proves that to an extent, the imposition of fines and punishments has shown affirmative results. California DUI provides detailed information on California DUI, California DUI Attorneys, California DUI Laws, California DUI Records and more. California DUI is affiliated with DUI Laws .

Second Citizenship

Introduction Second citizenship or dual citizenship is a booming concept and is regarded by many countries of the world. The system of second citizenship gives a benefit of enjoying rights and facilities given by two countries at a time. However, legal rights of both the countries can be different, commensurate to the dual citizenship. Second Citizenship- Meaning The true meaning of becoming a second citizen means becoming citizens of two countries at the same time and enjoys all the legal rights and other amenities provided to any other citizen of those respective countries. This system of citizenship is widely honored because of the benefit associated with it. After becoming a second citizen, a person can escape complex tax and custom regulations, enjoy world travel, avail legal rights and border rules. It also offers a facility to enjoy the better socio-economic conditions of another country. That is why, the concept of second citizenship is gaining popularity, as it never had. Why do we Need Second Citizenship Second citizenship is the easiest way to realize your monetary and better living standards. One can always move to a different nation and enjoy the facility there. However, it is already stated that laws differs country to country. Some country may have strict laws and citizenships may be renewed from time to time. As a bets option, settling to a new country gives the time to renew your passport in the first country and you can also enjoy your rights there. For increasing your investment, the concept of second citizenship can be really helpful. Certain countries put a limit on making investments. So, it is always wise to move another country and take advantage of their investment policy while availing facilities provided by the first country. One of the greatest advantage of seeking dual citizenship is taking benefit of political unrest, terrorism problems and other adverse situation. Myself webmaster of dealing in services Second Passport, Second Citizenship, Instant citizenship, Independent immigration, Economic citizenship program , Diplomatic passport services, Diplomatic passport immigration, Diplomatic passport

What Happened In The UK In 1992?

What Happened In The UK In 1992? Breaking 1992 down into the biggest political, sports and entertainment news; here s what happened... The queen had both an expensive and an embarrassing year; early on announcing that she would bow to public pressure and pay income tax (the first time a British monarch had done so for over 50 years) and, at the end of the year, having her Christmas speech leaked to and published in The Sun ahead of the big day. It was also a bad year for Manchester after the IRA exploded two bombs in centre of the city; injuring 64 people and causing millions of pounds of damage. Politically, the government, led by John Major, made themselves unpopular on two fronts, by firstly signing Britain up to the Treaty on European Union (many saw this as a loss of Britain s identity); then secondly announcing it s plans to close a third of Britain s deep coal mines, with the loss of 31,000 jobs. In terms of sport, 1992 saw Barcelona hosting the Olympic Games; it being the first time in 20 years that every country had been present (with no boycotts or bans in places). Linford Christie was the star of the event by becoming the oldest ever Olympic 100m champion (at 32 years old!). The year also saw The Football Association launch the new Premier League , no-one at the time quite realising the revolutionary effect that it would have on the game. Entertainment wise, the quirky, fast paced breakfast TV programme The Big Breakfast made its debut. There was plenty of chaos and disorder on the show; Chris Evans being the one to lead the fun, games and competitions. The BBC were far, far less successful with their attempt at entertaining the public with Eldorado . Focusing on a community of ex-pats living in a Spanish fishing village, it was slated for its wooden actors and uninspiring storylines (later to be axed after just one year). The big movies of the year were Wayne s World and Reservoir Dogs . The first being about Wayne and Garth s battling it out with a hot-shot TV producer to save their own low-budget TV show (and also win the heart of the lovely Cassandra!). The second being Quentin Tarantino s story of a botched robbery and the hunting out of the rat (was it Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Pink, Mr. Brown or Mr. Blue?). For a full rundown of the best selling 90s songs . ...alternatively, 1992 music here.

Tax Issues - Employee vs Independent Contractor

Employee vs Independent Contractor is a critical decision that can have far reaching impact on both the worker and employer. Many employers attempt to establish the status of an individual as an independent contractor rather than an employee. It is a complex issue and can be pivotal in determining the financial well being of many employers. As an independent contractor the employer is obligated to pay a set amount for the agreed upon job or for hours worked. Once they are paid that s the end of the employer s obligation. As an employee there are a whole series of tax obligations. First there is FICA taxes (Social Security taxes), unemployment taxes, workers compensation insurance and pay for time not worked such as vacations and holidays. Independent contractor s income is reported to the IRS on form 1099-MISC. No tax deductions are made and the contractor receives the entire gross amount. The independent contractor then must report the income on their tax return and pay whatever taxes are due, including, if appropriate, SE FICA taxes. Individuals who are classified as employees are paid a net amount with the appropriate taxes withheld and the amounts, including taxes withheld, annually reported to the IRS on form W-2. The employer must periodically during the year remit the withheld taxes to the IRS. Control, including financial and behavioral and the relationship between the parties are critical in determining the individual s status. Get it wrong and there can be huge tax liabilities and penalties for the employer. Failure to deduct and pay FICA taxes, for example, beyond the financial penalties, could result in jail time for company executives. The IRS guidelines on this issue can be confusing. Control both financial and behavioral along with the relationship between the parties are critical issues. Many a business have assumed that a part-time or project worker is automatically an independent contractor and learned later at their financial peril when the IRS reclassifies the workers as employees and demands back taxes, interest and penalties. So how is it determined if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor? From a tax perspective there is really no specific definition. The courts have ruled that an individual is generally an employee if who he works for has the right to control and direct the work he is doing and how he is to do it. In the absence of this control he is an independent contractor. Determining what is control varies from situation to situation. The analysis, however, has some additional complexity. If the employer determines that the worker is an independent contractor he may still run into problems. The Internal Revenue Code contains definition for individuals that are considered "statutory employees." These individuals are treated as employees for social security tax purposes even if they aren t subject to the employer s direction and control and a court would find these workers to be independent contractors. For example, agent drivers, commission drivers, life insurance sales people, home workers and city salespeople who meet a number of tests are considered employees for tax purposes. The employer would indicate on the workers Form W-2 whether the worker is classified as a statutory employee. Statutory employees report their wages, income and allowable expenses on Schedule C (or schedule C-EZ) Form 1040. Statutory employees are not liable for self-employment tax because the employer treats them as employees for social security tax purposes and deducts and pays the applicable FICA tax. Corporate officers are statutory employees for all purposes. Qualified real estate agents and certain direct sellers are specifically identified by the tax code a being non-employees and are statutory independent contractors and are not employees for purposes of tax withholding. Have you confused? If an employer intends to have people working and is unsure of their status the first step is to get an opinion letter from a tax professional. Further, the IRS has a 20 point questionnaire on Form SS-8 that is used to make a determination as to the workers status. It s infinitely better to get a proper determination before the worker is hired than to find out later that the independent contractor was in fact an employee. The financial and personal costs to the employer are too great to guess or leave it to chance. Andy Andersohn is a small business owner and long time tax preparer. Learn more valuable tax planning resources for business owners and individuals. Get your FREE 11 page Tax Saving Guide . Find up to date tax articles. At his tax planning site , discover more tax help and good ideas.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Saving for Retirement - 7 Retirement Questions You Should Answer for Yourself

Are you concerned about how your life will be when you retire? Whether you have long established plans or you’re just getting started to be serious about retirement, here are seven questions you should answer for yourself. 1. When Do I Plan To Retire? 2. How Much Have I Saved Toward Retirement (401(K), Roth IRA, Passbook, Etc.)? 3. Is My Retirement Income Projected To Be Greater Then, Equal To, or Less Than My Pre-Retirement Income? 4. Would I Like To Live In My Present Home? 5. Have I Made Any Long-Term Care Arrangements? 6. How Much Social Security Income Do I Expect To Receive? 7. How Do I Feel About Possibly Having To Live On Less Income In Retirement? My purpose for writing this article is to alert as many people as possible to the financial realities of retirement for most people. There are various studies around that state that the number of people who will retire to fixed incomes that are less than their “working” income is as high as 85-95%. I refer to statistical studies primarily to indicate how pervasive the problem is, but you and I both know that the only person that really matters in studies is YOU. Are you in that 85-95% or not? Another of my objectives is to suggest to those who which to do something positive to move themselves toward financial freedom, some possibilities as to some actions that are available to you. I am assuming that you have not yet retired, but retirement is finally something you feel deserves more of your attention. When you take a look at how much present income you receive and look at how much is used on necessities or near necessities, the amount remaining is what’s available to enjoy life and set aside for retirement. Now I really encourage you to not get down on yourself too hard if the remainder after expenses is not very large. The truth is most paycheck-to-paycheck employees simply DO NOT EARN ENOUGH income to live the lives they desire and to save for retirement as well. I submit that you do not have to live on less in retirement. No matter where you are right now financially, you can build and enjoy a retirement lifestyle you desire…IF YOU REALLY WANT TO. Peace. My name is Harold L. Lowe and I am a “former” retiree who, at age 62, saw my six-figure income position eliminated. I chose to retire and what I discovered was a shocking 50% reduction in my (combined pension and Social Security) income and what I call the “financial reality of retirement” faced by most paycheck-to-paycheck employees. You can get a copy of my Free, eye-opening Report “Financial Planning for Retirement is not Enough!” at my website:

O.J. Will Go Free

We want him put away for life. Nancy Grace salivates on her TV show for The Juice to be slammered till death. She gets professional guests to back up her thesis. However, once in awhile a professional will counter her thesis that O. J. will rot in jail. It’s then that she gets the jitters. And for Nancy Grace to reveal jitters is something unlike her crisp, alluring persona. Nevertheless, though most of the civil world agrees with the likes of Nancy Grace, what will happen is that O. J.’s lawyers will present such confusion to the jury that they will conclude they cannot jail O. J. Why? Due to reasonable doubt. On what points? No matter. One point would do it. One juror could bring down the tent. There are so many complicated dimensions to this case that I think it impossible for a clear-cut guilty decision to come write the last sentence. Just impossible. All those charges would have to be so utterly solidly in place so that a jury would have to be blown over with concrete evidence that O. J. slip through bars till he breathes his last. That won’t happen. The law-abiding are wishing against cold reality. The law-abiding are commiserating among themselves that it’s a slam dunk against O. J. But preaching to the choir won’t put the double-killer away. As time moves along and the hysteria against O. J. settles, more and more the twisting debacles facing a clear-cut guilty verdict will rise to the top. I believe, though it slays my gut to type this, that O. J. will go free. He will smile his way out of court, his arms lifted in victory and his sociopathic egomania shooting off the charts. No doubt he’ll author still another bloody book. And no doubt a publishing house will put it right out there. Further, no doubt a sizeable gullible public will pay high price to purchase the rag. This world does not make sense in too many instances. Sadly, this is one of those horrific instances. Time will reveal its depression to the law-abiding, civil culture. -- Read:

Legal Thriller Author Analyzes Paper Trails Scams

If 75% of women wear the wrong bra size, and 75% of men wear shirts with the wrong sleeve length, is it any wonder that so many people do not understand paper trails, do not understand their critical roles in con games? Fraud, shell games, scandal-revelation and creation, and rip-offs of every kind flower from this tell-tale debris. And, alas, most importantly, it is essential to understand how all of this paper trail information is tied together by social security numbers. (For the intent to rob you blind, this information collecting method is, obviously, patently illegal. For the lawn mower manufacturer, in his search for demographics trying to sell you a new riding mower, however, society seems to feel this is O.K) Spreading like wildfire, with the aid of an internet stage setting, what are paper trails anyhow? Let s be more specific. Simply put, as they might affect you, they are every sort of record, kept anywhere, that link business transactions back to you. These can be any paper document such as a bill of sale, promissory note, receipt, application, resume filing, customs claim, insurance form, notarized statement, any legal form. These spell out into computer records. It s largely society s propulsion into the computer / internet era of the 1990s that has brought about this current-day fleshing out of the "paper trail." It s now so efficient that the structural schematic of this thought-police invasion--this total assault on your privacy--should indeed frighten you. What next? you might ask. Will you be marked with a tracking device so the government always knows where you are? In this day and age it s computers, computers, internet, internet. Far and wide. They are to blame. It s computer records that pull all these bits of paper information together, to the delight of con artists. Examples: Credit card purchase? Computer. Bank deposit? Computer. House purchase? Computer. And, the list goes on and on. Endlessly. Take a simple, one-time credit card purchase. This is stored in the bank s computer, as well as several way stations along the path back to your bank, in the network s computers. When you deposit cash into your checking account the information is stored in a computer. when you deposit cash into your savings account the information is stored in a computer. when you buy a house you get a triple-whammy, the transaction is stored in a computer, in paper form, and on microfilm at your county recorder s office. Every time you turn around and blink these days, it seems, something about you is recorded in a computer. And, sad to say, the common link that pulls all of your business transactions together is your social security number. It is the commonly used identifier of the present day age. By using only your social security number the con man can put together a near-total list of your business transactions stretching back over the years. So, stealing your ss number--it being the string-tying mechanism which pulls everything together-- then packaging it neatly and presenting your financial affairs to the world as the "whole you"--makes it easy for the con man. These data include such invasion-of-privacy issues as what assets you have, where you shop, what you buy, and what you owe on various credit accounts and loans. The skilled con artist knows precisely how to pull this string. Unfortunately, too many people today regard this as only a mild irritation, like talking to robots on the phone while trying to make a warranty claim on a defective computer. Red flag! It s far more serious than that So, like it or not, the challenge is on you, to weave, dodge, confuse, and bewilder any scam artist who might be about to stalk you. How do you do this? How do you fortify your defenses? You must disrupt your paper trail. This can partially be done in several ways, or combination: 1. A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (seemingly), cash was used. Stash your credit and debit cards. Earmark them for occasional or emergency use only, and for the most part rediscover cash money, paper and coin. Go back to this simpler form of exchange wherever possible. We all feel nostalgia isn t what it used to be, but this step alone will go far toward masking your paper trail. 2. Set up a Trust. This is like turning the porch light on, with nobody home. It somewhat confuses the paper trail by disrupting the con man s view, due to the linkage between you and your Trust. Like the service station attendant washing your windshield with a soapy brush, this will partly obscure the vision of the con man trying to put together a financial profile on you. 3. Refuse to star in the con artist s psychodrama. Go offshore. Not physically. Just export some of your assets This is not considered socially acceptable. Not patriotic, either. But, it s not illegal, and it is most effective. If you make yourself invisible to the bureaucrats--and the scam artists--they will have no address with which to find you. (A page torn from a legal thriller?) 4. You ask, what if the Hokey Pokey is really what it s all about? Incredibly, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that bank records enjoy no privacy protection. That s right, none. They are considered property of the bank, You are not, however required to reveal your social security number when opening a non-interest bearing account, e.g. checking, debit, credit card. So, don t. You are only required to reveal your social security number to a bank when interest-bearing accounts are involved. This is because the bank must report to I.R.S., for tax purposes, on how much they paid you. 5. You can even out-con the con man. Follow the New Hampshire state motto: "Go away and leave us alone." Get yourself a post office box, then write, "Moved, left no forwarding address" on the face of every envelope that the postman tries to deliver to your home. That would certainly leave anyone trying to steal your identity hanging by a quickly-shrinking thread. This would be like giving a seeing-eye sled dog to a blind Eskimo.. These are just a few of the steps you can take to shore up your privacy. These steps will not totally obliterate the scam artist s view of your financial structure. But, it will hinder it to the point of nearly crippling him, leave him babbling to himself, wondering how to write zero in Roman numerals. Consultation with an expert attorney would undoubtedly reveal more avenues of privacy restoration. If such preventive steps were universally adopted, it would be quite a blow to the scamsters. It would leave con men everywhere quaking in their Hummer SUVs and calling their analysts on their cell phones. The Con Man s Blog, and first two chapters of Jack Payne s legal thriller book, Six Hours Past Thursday, are now available online. Both readable for free. You are invited.

Executive Long - Term Disability

Many companies, and their executives, have come to realize that Group Long Term Disability Plans no longer meet the needs of the executives and other key personnel in the organization. An assessment of your current plan may lead to the conclusion that revisions are necessary in order to ensure benefit levels are adequate and appropriate, and that contractual provisions are in-line with your objectives. Why do Group Long-Term Disability (LTD) Plans Fail to Meet the Needs of Executives? Reverse discrimination results from income limitations Benefit maximum (cap) Inability to insure retirement plan contributions Inability to insure incentive-based compensation Inherent instability of group plans can result in unexpected changes in cost and coverage provided There are solutions available to assist the organization in retaining and providing incentives for their executives. The prevalence of "combination" plans is growing, particularly as increases in executive and key personnel incomes have exceeded the benefit limits provided through a group only approach. A combination plan takes advantage of both group and individual disability products working in tandem. Some common Executive LTD objectives that can often be obtained through this strategy include: Providing comprehensive and coordinated benefits to executives and key personnel Optimize benefits and costs using the most effective combination of group and individual products Maximize target benefit level of "total" compensation - often to $30,000 per month Guarantee policy provisions and benefit levels over time Provide rate stability Minimize impact of group LTD claims Provide guaranteed cost structure through individual policies Facilitate acquisition of comprehensive individual policies using the highest level of available guarantee-issue coverage Create enhanced return to work benefits during partial disability and/or following full recovery Provide enhanced benefits for catastrophic loss

Background Check - Going Deep

At some point in your life, someone will likely run a background check on you. Most checks cover fairly innocuous things, but they can run much deeper and be much more detailed. Most background checks simply run through a bit of personal information about you using your social security number, but a deep background check is set in place in order to dig up a lot of personal details. These intrusive investigations are a controversial topic, and some say that they should not be legal at all. They seem to go well beyond the basic details that would be relevant to most situations and delve much deeper. Things such as the names of people you used to share an apartment with; who your neighbors are; where you gained your marriage certificate; and many different records that are not public knowledge will become available to the person conducting your review. For most people, the thought of undergoing a detailed background review is rather bothersome, but for some people, a it is a necessity of life. What are these reviews used for? Those clients are usually employers seeking to find out every bit of information possible regarding a potential employee. Sometimes, financial institutions will also access this information, but a review is nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. Though it may seem slightly intimidating at first, this sort of investigation is far more common than you may think. Many companies run background checks so often that they hardly look over all the information. In fact, many companies have hired people solely to review pertinent information once it comes through, and if nothing seems out of the ordinary, a person is usually in the clear. Then again, there is some discrepancy as to how much personal information should be accessible at all. If you are uncomfortable with the thought of undergoing one of these, simply do not give out your social security number - especially when it comes to the internet. Your number creates a path that can be followed. Many people often argue that personal profiles should be kept to a minimum, and that extremely private details should never be available. While you might agree, companies continue to conduct them. Aazdak Alisimo writes about background check issues for, where you can find background check companies near you.

Conquering Death

The human being is an amazing individual, yet what is the individual s purpose in life? The pursuit for happiness? And if so, how do we define happiness? And how do we define purpose? Traditionally, creating a home and raising a family has been a universal goal, but shouldn t we rethink this concept in the age of overpopulation? After all humans evolve and their habits and notions do too. But why do we procreate anyways? Historically seen, it was a kind of social security; however, nowadays that can only be a reason in underdeveloped nations. Thus, the fear of death and the perceived joy of a family contribute to this desire for extending life. We would like to leave our genes behind, our lineage. However, the reasons are probably more complex, for these desires are ingrained in us. The act of procreation is the most natural and predetermined action in the animal kingdom (understandably sex is extremely pleasurable). Otherwise, certain species would simply cease to exist. Procreation almost appears to be destined, as if there was a mechanism or program dictating our actions. We have inherited this natural philosophy for thousands of years and it is something the bulk of humanity desires to experience. But is this urge to procreate justified for all of eternity? What alternatives do we have? Natural selection is history thanks to the social welfare system, and a rather ever simplistic society has reversed our endeavors. We celebrate the idolatrous and primitive. Just take a look at the entertainment industry. Thus, we not only face the challenges of a rather sick and overpopulated world, but a world which lacks meritocracy and still too much of mediocre stardom. Now imagine a future world where death can be stalled and the desire for sex can be conquered. Wouldn t we reach a new evolutionary stage? Predetermined procreation would disappear from human behavior, which would allow a total change in society. Our purpose in life would not revolve around procreation and familial traditions. We would be free to enjoy more liberties and be allowed to step off the treadmill. Nothing would be determined by age but everything by interest. The human being in our day and age is driven into a system of exploitation and has no time to develop intellectually or spiritually. So let us consider this new world and this new human being. One possibly would have endless time to explore a myriad of things. Finally, we can do what we dreamed of doing. There would be no one on our backs telling us that we have to fulfill certain familial responsibilities. We can enjoy this wonderful world. It is our duty to realize the problems we face and the potential we have as possibly different human beings. Life is never static and there are no limits; everything we imagine can be created. Let us use our fantasy as new individualistic human beings.

Social Security Retirement Benefit

Social security retirement benefits are social security programs implemented to assure the retirement payments of the workers and employees in the United States of America. Social security retirement benefits are established on three important features: the member’s current age, the age when the member will commence receiving reimbursements and the past income of the member. A member has the luxury whether or not to discontinue working and start receiving social security retirement benefits or not once the member has reached the age of sixty-two. The age factor is a major influence on the amount the member will receive. In earlier times, a member would look forward in receiving full social security retirement benefits once the member reach the age of sixty-five, however, recently the law regarding the social security retirement benefit was changed. If you are thinking about using your social security retirement benefits, you must first know when your first pay check will turn up to help you transition your financial plan. If you are going to retire soon and starting your social security retirement reimbursements, the earliest you can start getting your pay check is age sixty-two. If you plan to apply at the age of sixty-two, the earliest you can apply for the reimbursements is three months before your sixty second birth date. If you want to know if your social security retirement benefit can adequately cover all the expenses you will need once you retire, you can find lots of information with regards to that on the internet. As for the great part of the working population in the United States, their social security retirement benefits does not provide enough income to shelter the their daily expenses or make their retirement at ease. Most retirees have the tendency of thinking that once they have settled down their everyday expenditures will be reduced. Finding out the amount of your social security reimbursement may be complicated; however, there are lots of tools on the internet that you can use on how to calculate your social security retirement benefits. You can use these calculating tools get all the data you will need in order to plan for a more relaxed and comfy retirement. You can find additional information regarding your social security retirement benefits just by logging in on the internet and visiting the webpage of the Social Security Administration. You can access them on This website has all the useful information that you will need regarding your social security retirement reimbursements. It is never too late to begin making preparations for your retirement. Most people tend to make arrangements when their retirement is near. It is not too late to start planning for your retirement today. It is better to be prepared than to end up being sorry. Milos Pesic is a successful webmaster and owner of popular and comprehensive Retirement information site. For more articles and resources on Retirement related topics, Retirement Plans, Retirement Communities, Individual Retirement Accounts and more visit his site at: =>

Can I Get Social Security Disability for Fibromyalgia?

Can I Get Social Security Disability for Fibromyalgia? Social Security has Impairment Listings for Heart Ailments, Back Ailments, etc. Fibromyalgia is not found among the Impairment Listings. Thus, an applicant cannot obtain a favorable disability "Impairment Listing" ruling because Fibromyalgia is not found among the Listings. The inquiry must proceed further. Social Security has a five step disabilty process. First, if you are working, then the inquiry stops. Second, if you do not have a "severe impairment," the inquiry stops. Third, if you are not working and you have a "severe impairment" the next inquiry is does your "severe impairment" meet or equal a Listed Impairment. You cannot win a fibromyalgia case at this step because there is no listing for fibromyalgia although it can be a "severe impairment" and get you past step two. Thus, with a fibromyalgia case, you will have to go to step four. At step four the judge must decide if you can do your past relevant work (PRW). This is any work you did in the past 15 years prior to your onset of disability. If the judge finds you cannot do PRW, then you go to step five which is can you do any other work in the national economy. All my fibromyalgia cases have gone to step five. Social Security has begun to recognize fibromyalgia as a legitimate impairment: On May 11, 1998 the Deputy Commissioner for Disability indicated as follows: Fibromyalgia is a disorder defined by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and we recognize it as medically determinable if there are signs that are clinically established by the medical record. The signs are primarily the tender points. The ACR defines the disorder in patients as “widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of 3 months and at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points which cluster around the neck and shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.” Other typical symptoms, some of which can be signs if clinically documented over time, are irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, sleep disorder, severe fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction. Thus, with the above in mind, you try to win a fibromyalgia case with a report from a doctor who specializes in arthritis or rheumatology and who can state the claimant s case meets the above guidelines & the impairment is so severe it affects the claimant s functions to such a degree the claimant cannot work. Of course, the doctor needs to itemize how the fibromyalgia adversely affects standing, walking, lifting, sitting, reaching, etc. The doctor s treatment records need to support his disability report. Recently, I have good success in this area. However, there still is a lot of prejudice out there against fibromyalgia. For more advice, you can contact us at or email us at or reach us at This may be considered AN ADVERTISEMENT or Advertising Material under the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers in Virginia. This note is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed. Gerald G. Lutkenhaus, representing Social Security Disability claimants for 30 years in the Central Richmond Area in Virginia. Given Martindale Hubbell s highest rating in 2003,

Who Are Entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits?

Who Are Entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits? No one can have the assurance of being safe from sustaining disability. According to the studies conducted, around 25% will most likely to be disabled for at least some time during his entire life. These experiences have resulted to their incapacity to perform their jobs and earn sufficient income for either their personal or families needs. However, the federal government, thru its Social Security Disability Benefits program, is providing financial supports to those individuals suffering from disability. This aims to ensure sufficient income to be used for their daily needs since they may not have enough earnings due to their inability to work. If their petitions have been reviewed and then approved by SSA, they will receive monthly benefits until they are able to get back to work regularly and earn their income. Meanwhile, disability in the perspective of Social Security is incurring an impairment that hinders a person to exercise such "substantial gainful activities" and earn sufficient income. This ailment must also be expected to last or has already lasted for at least a period of twelve months or yet to result in his death. The SSA will not pay benefits for those claimants who suffer from partial or short-term disabilities. Generally, disabled employees who have worked long enough and have paid their Social Security taxes are qualified to receive benefits. During their employment, they must at least earned twenty Social Security credits for ten years before he actually incurred his disability. For a complete detail regarding the SSA s requirements, the claimants may visit their website at Other dependents and family members of a qualified worker may also receive their benefits based on his records. They are: - His 18 year old or below unmarried biological or legally adopted children and stepchildren or grandchildren in some instances - His 18 year old or above children, if they have incurred disability before turning 22 - His 62 year old or above spouse, or at any age provided that he or she is taking care of a child below 16 years of age or disabled Aside from these information, the claimants still need to know other matters in order to understand fully everything about Social Security regulations. Thus, it is very necessary for the claimants to seek the aid of a credible and well experienced Social Security lawyer or representative to help them in filing their claims. Although hiring an advocate will not guarantee a positive result, it may still ensure better chances of acquiring their benefits. Los Angeles Social Security Law Attorney is a well-known Los Angeles law firm with professional Social Security Disability Lawyers of solid experience in advocating for clients claiming for SSD Benefits