Should You Ever Refuse to Cooperate in a Criminal Tax Investigation?

No one wants to end up on the IRSs naughty list. But if you should find yourself under the microscopic lens of the IRS, you definitely want to have tax attorneys offering complete solutions to your tax problems on your side. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the tax system and help you decide if you can or should refuse to cooperate in a criminal tax investigation.

What is a Criminal Tax Investigation?

A criminal tax investigation is conducted by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to look into potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and other financial crimes. When a person or a business purposely decides that they are not going to abide by the taxation laws, there is the risk of facing a civil audit or criminal investigation. Both an audit and criminal investigation can end with prosecution, fines or jail time.

Why Are You Being Investigated by the IRS?

The American taxing system relies on voluntary compliance. This means that citizens bear the burden of self-assessments regarding their amount of owed taxes. All income, legally or illegally obtained, is taxable. Persons and businesses that are attempting to circumvent the tax laws and codes raise questions as to further unlawful activity. Some of the more common reasons you may get investigated include:

Can You Refuse to Cooperate in a Criminal Tax Investigation?

You can refuse to cooperate with an IRS investigation. When you or your business is under investigation, you will have multiple chances to choose to cooperate or not with the IRS special agent. The decision to cooperate or not should be taken lightly. Each can have serious consequences. Quite often the decision to cooperate can be synonymous with making a confession.

There are also levels of cooperation. You can fully cooperate, giving the special agent assigned to your case anything and everything they request of you. This is often done when there is not enough evidence against you or if there truly is no wrongdoing or misconduct. There is also selective cooperation, where you agree to cooperate to a certain degree; or only in certain aspects of the criminal investigation. If your attorney deems your case is not defensible, you may fully or selectively cooperate with the hope that you will receive a more lenient punishment or penalty in return.

Then there is the absolute refusal to cooperate. There are circumstances where it is best not to cooperate. This may be your choice is there is little to no advantage to your cooperation. It is important to be realistic and objective when deciding whether or not to cooperate. And the decision should almost always be decided after consulting with an experienced attorney.

Your cooperation with a special agent is not likely to make the investigation go away or keep you out of trouble, but it may change the way the investigation is conducted or the harshness of any assessed penalties or sentences. Choose wisely and carefully.

Profitability Factor for New Products and Services

Entrepreneurs should develop a profitable plan for providing a new product or service, such as for earning income from a reliable group of customers. The customers should have a preference for the product or service or should have a practical purpose for using the product or service. Many customers would probably enjoy the luxury of eating a new gourmet pizza and would probably also benefit from using a new soap.

Specific Level of Income for Potential Customers

The level of income for the customers can be used to evaluate the level of potential profits that could be earned from the product or service. Some business owners decide to earn profits by focusing on the middle-income customers in a city. The property managers at Dallas Luxury Realty only offer services for managing rental property that is for middle-income tenants and only want to participate in a small business market for the Dallas property management companies.

Customers for a New Product or Service

Several factors can influence the decision for providing a new product or service for some customers. A small business owner could decide to make some homemade soft soaps, such as with liquid Castile soap and some grapefruit-scented or clove-scented oil, but there may not be several customers who would want to buy the soft soaps. The business owner would probably earn a low level of profits from a small group of customers for the uniquely-scented soft soaps.

Decisions about Providing a New Product or Service

Small business owners should evaluate the preferences of the local customers and should also evaluate any problems from a lack of products or services in an area, such as services from personal shoppers for busy customers. The decision about offering a new product or service should also be based on the skills of the small business owner. Some entrepreneurs are required to rely on a partner, such as a chef, who has the skills for providing the product or service, such as for preparing gourmet foods for events.

Decisions about New Small Businesses for Entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur could develop a practical business concept into a new product or service for some small business owners, such as developing a new tool caddy or organizing a professional network for plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians. The plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians would be exposed to more business opportunities as members in a new professional organization. With an innovative concept for a new product or service, an entrepreneur could expand a small business operation with franchise contracts for offering the products or services in several cities.

Brilliant Branding – 5 Ways to Turbo-Charge Your Company’s Marketing Profile

In many ways, a successful business is only as good as the marketing measures it undertakes. After all, marketing your products and services to your target customers is essential for getting your brand name out there and attracting new business. If you are feeling a little bit lost on how to market your company without annoying potential, rest assured, you’re not alone. Here are five foolproof ways to boost your marketing profile in ways that don’t come across as intrusive to your target audience. 

1. Be Bold, Get A Banner 

Visual marketing is still an excellent way to make an impact on onlookers and potential customers. Posters and signage are a great way to start, but if you really want to make an impact, putting up some bold fabric banners is a much better way to make a statement. This is especially ideal if you are in a shared office space, at a crowded convention, or just want to brighten up your store or office!

2. Beautiful Branding  

It’s important that any banner or other marketing collateral you put up on display is visually appealing and in line with your professional image. Now that digital marketing and social media have become so widespread in the business world, you cannot afford to skimp on your brand design; consumers will notice. From a gorgeous website, to bold signage and eye-catching branded promotional merchandise, it’s critical to develop an engaging brand and splash it out there wherever you can.

3. Social Media Competitions

There are many ways you can use social media to your advantage in marketing your business and increasing engagement with your existing clientele and prospective customers online. One of the best and easiest ways to grow your presence (and in turn, your leads) is by running social media competitions. 

Depending on your business, these can be in the form of a product or service giveaways or discount codes in exchange for following your business on social media. Including a step that involves tagging a friend or sharing is a great way to spread the word and expand your network by referral.

4. Strategic Partnerships 

Consumers have access to a broader range of services than ever in this new digital era, meaning competition is fierce, and only growing fiercer. Rather than resenting your competitors, teaming up with another name in your industry can actually benefit your business on the marketing front. Partnering with another brand or company can mean a number of different things, but ultimately serves the purpose of growth based on shared goals. You can promote your partner and vice versa by collaborating on products, social media campaigns, referrals, and plenty more. 

5. Consistency: Online and Offline

Whether you choose to rebrand your business with new fabric banners, invest heavily in digital marketing, or implement a mix of both online and offline marketing solutions, consistency is key to achieving results. You want the voice and aesthetic of your marketing to become so synonymous with your brand that you don’t need to reiterate the details again and again in your promotional materials. Consistency is vital to creating a memorable and trustworthy image of your brand in the mind of every customer.

No matter your industry, building up your marketing profile will take time. So, get a headstart today with any of these five tried-and-tested techniques. Over time, you’ll be able to watch your brand name and sales leads grow like never before. 

The Four Elements of a User-Friendly Website

A website is the most important marketing resource a business has. It is the main source of information for the company’s services and products, sometimes even serving as the place where transactions take place. Therefore, it is crucial for these service providers to create and maintain an excellent user experience to attract and retain visitors. The following elements are important in securing a reliable visitor flow.


One of the most attractive features a website can have is simplicity and minimalism. While it is important for companies to create informational content, they should also organize it in a way that visitors can consume easily. Placing only the most useful information with concise language and using images and empty space makes each page appealing. For instance, marketing executive Eyal Gutentag likes the  simple design incorporated in ZipRecruiter’s page that highlighted mostly the site’s features in a few sentences, accompanied by pictures.

Loading Speed

An important and often overlooked element in a user-friendly website is loading speed. Visitors vastly prefer sites where loading screens are very short to non-existent. In fact, according to a study by Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay in loading time can cost up to 7% in conversions. Slow times can have a significant impact on visits and overall sales. Make loading speed a top priority and use the finest web performance tools to reduce downtime.

Mobile Functionality

As technology progresses, mobile phones continue to gain new features and uses. People enjoy the convenience of internet access at the palm of their hands. Savvy companies prioritize the mobile versions of their websites to appeal to these customers. They even develop mobile websites before their desktop counterparts. Mobile site development is also a useful learning opportunity, as companies can learn to focus on basic features and functionality instead of flashy gimmicks, which is helpful for building a minimalist main website.

Constant Maintenance

Perhaps the most important of these elements is consistent updates and maintenance to the site. Nothing is ever perfect and certain features in a site can become outdated, malfunction or develop a vulnerability to viruses or malware. Outdated and glitch-riddled sites can harm user experience and hurt the brand. Successful businesses keep a careful watch over their sites and are fast to fix any potential issues or errors that emerge.

A website that draws visitors and keeps them coming for more will help a company build a consumer base. Digital marketing experts should consider these four elements to ensure optimal user experience.

The Top 10 Work Values Employers Look For In 2019

In today’s world, everyone has to work, be it going to an office everyday, working from home or taking in passive income. If there’s no income, you would be pretty restricted. However, if you are already facing financial difficulties, you can opt to take a loan using a reliable personal loan comparison tool . Nonetheless, investing in yourself and your skills is key. One funny thing about the recruitment process is that when you carefully read various job ads, you would think that employers strictly look for individuals with specific types of experience. Nearly every job ad contains a long list of essential requirements such as obscure industry certifications and decades of experience with certain tools.

The moment you get to a job interview, the entire picture changes. Organizations are looking for specific work values that may not be listed in the job description or ad. They need responsible and self-directed people. Surprisingly, no one will ask you to list your top five or top ten work value. Rather, you will bring those values through the specific answers to different interview questions.

Even the stories you tell during an interview will always bring out your sterling work values. While you don’t have to talk about those unique qualities, they will shine through once you let them. Here are the top ten work values and attributes that employers are looking for.

1. Responsibility and dependability

Organizations value workers who come to work on time, handle their duties at the right time and are always responsible for their choices, actions, and behaviour. It is essential to keep your supervisors abreast of all changes in your daily schedule or if you are likely to be late for some reasons. Besides, you should keep your supervisor or superior informed on how you are handling all the tasks you have been assigned. Being responsible and dependable shows that you value your job.

2. Ability to point to success at work

If someone asks you, ‘can you tell a story about a time you felt triumphant?’ What specific stories from your past are likely to spring in your mind? Here, you are supposed to talk about your successes and prove that you can always point successes in a project. You don’t have to have climbed Mt. Everest or competed in Olympics. Just tell simple stories regarding saving the day at home, at work, or even in a volunteer situation.

3. Being proactive

Most workers wait for orders or directions at work, but there are individuals who are proactive and don’t wait for orders. They figure out what needs to be done and simply jump into action. Business and other employers want to hire individuals who will simply get things done.

One way of illustrating this work value is by enquiring about the work that you will be doing. Sadly, most job applicants don’t do that. Asking questions (when appropriate) show that you have been thinking about the entire job description – and your employer will really appreciate it.

4. Strong work ethic

Managers values workers who possess the willingness to work towards achieving the organizational goals. That means mastering the most effective way to complete projects on time while maintaining a positive attitude.

Sometimes, going an extra mile to get the job done is a good way of showing your manager that you have good time management skills and you never waste your employer’s time attending to issues not related to your job. Remember, downsizing in the current job market is common and it’s essential to know and keep the work values that employers want. Whether you are preparing for a job interview or you simply want to maintain your current position, it is always good to maintain a strong work ethic.

5. Self-confidence

Throughout history, self-confidence has always been the critical difference between someone successful and someone who isn’t. An employee with self-confidence can inspire others. Such a person is never afraid of asking questions about areas where they require insights.

A self-confident people do what feels right and are always willing to take a risk if it’s worth the effort. They admit their mistakes, recognize their strengths and weaknesses. They are also willing to correct their mistakes and work on their weaknesses.

6. Honesty

So far, there has been enough corporate scandals to decorate front pages of newspapers. Employers want honest people who can help build a strong brand and keep the entire corporate image positive. Finding an honest employee with integrity is a priority for employers. They need someone who can live up to their values and ideals – there’s nothing wrong with showing the positive attributes you live by, particularly if they align with the organization’s mission and vision.

7. Good teamwork skills

All organizations rely majorly on teamwork to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. As an employee, you must be able to collaborate with other people and handle a project to its completion. If you have been called for an interview, get ready to convince your interviewers that you are a good team player.

8. Loyalty

Employers are looking for workers they can trust fully and who exhibit loyalty to the organization, and the competition to retain this talent is very high. Organizations appreciate workers who aren’t hopping from company to company. Rather, they need an individual who understands his or her career path and is interested in building an outstanding career with their organization.

9. Motivation to learn and grow

The advent of technology has initiated a never-ending evolution in the workplace. This has prompted employers to seek workers who are interested in expanding their knowledge and keeping up with developments in their specific fields. Learning new techniques, skills, and theories through professional development can keep the company you work for at the top of its industry. Besides, it can make your job more exciting.

10. Ambition

Being ambitious simply means you have the objective of getting stronger and smarter in your life. Sometimes, it could imply moving up the corporate ladder, launching your own brand, or even going off the grid for something entirely new. Organizations are looking for ambitious people.

Good work values and attributes are what makes the right foundation for an outstanding employee. Your efforts to practice professional ethics at work, honest, proactive, self-confident and other desirable work values can make you a better employee.

4 Times It’s a Good Idea to Speak to a Financial Advisor

In recent years, DIY money management has become more commonplace. Today, it’s not difficult for anybody to draw up a budget, pay their taxes on their own, or even come up with and follow a plan for investing money for their retirement, thanks to a wide number of money management tools and apps coupled with a vast amount of information freely available online. However, there are some situations where it still makes sense to hire the services of a financial advisor. This is a professional who can provide you with expert guidance in many areas of your finances such as retiring, investing, purchasing property, and much more. Here are some situations where it makes sense to consider hiring a financial advisor.

#1. Getting Your First Job:

Whether you are earning $10,000 or $100,000 per year, getting your first job is a great time to start thinking about speaking to a professional about your finances. A good financial planner can offer guidance on how to best begin saving for your retirement from as early on as possible and help you with putting together your first budget, particularly if you have a large savings goal in mind, such as purchasing your first home. In addition, they may also be able to provide you with valuable advice on how to maximize your employer’s benefits package.

#2. Getting Married or Divorced:

If you are starting a new married life together or ending a marriage, the financial side of things can quickly get messy if you’re not sure where to begin. A financial advisor can help you determine how to best manage your money as a married couple, whether you’re planning to share all or part of your finances or keep your money separate. Or, if you are getting divorced, these Minneapolis financial advisors can help you ensure that you get your share of all finances and assets.

#3. Receiving a Large Sum of Cash:

Have you been lucky enough to receive a windfall of cash, whether it’s a gift or an inheritance? Whether you’ve been left a large amount of money in the will of a relative, have received a gift from a parent, been awarded compensation or have been paid a big bonus at work, a financial advisor can help you put together a sensible plan for what you are going to do with the cash.

#4. When You Have Children:

Finally, it’s good to bear in mind that starting a family often means major financial adjustments. For many couples, this life event also signals the beginning of estate planning, with many feeling it is now time to put together a will or a 529 plan. In addition, expanding your family may mean that you would like further advice on setting up trust funds for your children or on saving now to invest in their college education in the future.

You may also want to consider speaking to a financial planner if you’re thinking about retirement, want to pass on your wealth, or if your financial worth is increasing.

3 Ways to Keep Your Business Profitable

Small businesses run on tight margins, so staying profitable is a serious point of concern. It can seem difficult to stay afloat in your first years, but there’s plenty you can do to cut costs and increase your revenue. These are three strategies you can use to increase the profitability of your business and enjoy a stronger bottom line.

Create a Positive Workplace Culture

If employees like where they work, you’re much more likely to get a good performance from them. Start by creating a comfortable space. Investing in ergonomic desks, chairs, and equipment can make a huge difference, as can maintaining a comfortable office temperature throughout the year.

In addition to making employees comfortable and thus more productive, you should create a positive culture in which they are happy to work. The benefits of a positive environment are similar to that of a comfortable retirement. Your workers will look forward to clocking in every day, and they’ll have less reason to look for a new job. This will reduce turnover, which is a major expense for companies.

Creating a positive workplace looks different for every company. Some options may not be open to you based on the size of your workforce and budget needs, but these are a few general ideas that businesses use to create a positive workplace:

  • Offer a competitive benefits package.
  • Add perks like free coffee and snacks.
  • Create a consistent workflow so employees know what to expect.

Eliminate Redundancies

Business redundancies in this context refer to work that’s done twice. One of the clearest examples of this practice is micromanagement; if you have supervisors working underneath you, it’s a waste of time to micromanage what you’re already paying them to do.

Communication is another common area where businesses are spending too much money. Invest in a universal, streamlined method of communication for your team. This way, personnel won’t be using different channels to communicate, and you’ll reduce the likelihood of wasting time and money on missed or repeated messages.

Use Smart Energy Technology

Energy inefficiency is something that can cost your business thousands of dollars. Especially if you’re using outdated appliances or technology, you’ll only be losing more and more money as your systems become more antiquated and expensive to use. Though the initial cost of upgrading your air conditioning and heating units might seem steep, you’ll be setting yourself up to save money moving forward.

Aside from setting up smart energy technology, it’s important that you book regular HVAC maintenance. This will help you decrease costs for repairs and energy consumption. Plus, the addition of a new HVAC system will help save money year over year since you’ll be using a unit that’s less likely to break than outdated models, and you’ll be using less energy to heat and cool your workplace.

Every business is focused on making money by driving down expense while simultaneously increasing revenue. There are many ways to do this, but some of the best are both affordable and easy to integrate in a short period of time. Try out the three above strategies to save money in the short term and year over year as your enterprise continues to grow.

Marketing Magnetism – 4 Surefire Ways to Make Your Brand Desirable

So you’ve got your killer product or service, you’ve started your business and everything is falling into place. The books are organized, your staff has proper training and now all that’s left to do is start growing profits and kicking goals. But how exactly do you make your brand stand out from the rest?

Front of house.

You know how when you’re trying a new restaurant, your initial opinion about the quality is generally based on how the dining area and staff are presented? That’s because they’re right in front of you. You’ll want to constantly remind your target demographic that you exist in a way that showcases the quality and adds value to their lives. A great way to do this is by having branded promotional products.

Figure out what type of product will be most useful to your customers, select the highest quality item and splash your branding all over it. It’ll become a part of their daily lives so when they need something, their mind will subconsciously direct them to you.

Know your point of difference.

Pretty much everything has been done a million times before so it’s important to have a proper understanding of what makes your product or service different to everything else on the market. It could be the level of customer service you offer or maybe your product has a new feature no other company is including yet. Whatever it is, know it, own it, and milk it. There are many times in life where fitting in with the crowd can be beneficial, but when you’re building your brand, the opposite is true.

Sell a lifestyle, not a product.

Why do people buy Samsung or iPhone over other options that do the exact same thing for half the price? Some would say it’s a status symbol, others would claim pure stupidity. The real reason, however, is because these brands sell a lifestyle.

You’re not buying a phone, you’re buying the happiness shown in their ads and the ability to easily integrate other tech devices in their range with the phone in your pocket. Likewise, you need to build a lifestyle around your brand. Remember, to truly showcase the value you offer and stand out from the crowd, you’re not selling your product or service, you’re selling what they can do to improve the customer’s life.

Targeted campaigns.

This tip brings together all the others. Now you know your point of difference and you’ve integrated yourself into your demographics lives with useful promotional products, you want to expand your reach and make sure you’re the business they think of when they need something. You’ve worked out how you’re going to sell the lifestyle your product or service offers and planted the seeds, now all that’s left to do is become omnipresent.

Find out what else your customers are interested in and align your brand with their interests. For example, if your target demographic follows car racing religiously, sponsor a team if it’s within your means. If you’re looking closer to home, support local initiatives in whatever way works best for you. It doesn’t really matter how you complete this step, the point is to get personal so work out what interests best align with your brand and get out there.

Marketing is a delicate, complicated process, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a winning strategy and ensuring customers turn to you when they need something. Good luck and happy marketing.