Category Archives: Government
When it comes to running a business, filing taxes can be hectic. That’s true even for homeowners or trust managers, of course. The simple fact is that taxes can be stressful for even the most prepared of individuals. It is important to give your best effort and ensure that your taxes are completed with as accurate information as possible. You will also need to supply various kinds of documents and identification. One of these identification numbers is called an employer identification number (EIN), and IRS-EIN can help you learn how to apply for a California EIN number online.
Do you need a California EIN number?
This is probably the first question you should answer when considering applying for an EIN online. There are a few quick guidelines you can use to help you determine whether or not you need an EIN number.
- Are you running a business, like a partnership or a corporation, with employees?
- Are you managing a trust or an estate that acts like an entity?
- Do you plan to file for excise or employee tax returns?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you probably need to file for a CA EIN. Even if you answered no to all of the above, however, you still might need to apply. If you have household employees such as a nanny, a maid, a yard worker, or a healthcare aide, for example, you will need to obtain a California EIN number.
Apply for a California EIN Number
Are you ready to apply for your EIN? IRS-EIN-Tax-ID.com can help! They offer great service, an easy application process, and quick results. Take a look at what they have to offer!
Today’s guest post comes from William over at Drop Dead Money. I really enjoyed meeting William at FinCon12 and he definitely writes some of the most entertaining, informative posts around. Leave him a comment and let him know what you think or say hello on Twitter!
I don’t think I ever ate more than a single Twinkie in my life. You know, as somebody once said: try everything, keep that which is good — that kind of thing. But there can be no doubt that, for better or for worse, the Twinkie is an icon of America.
As is the case with so many icons, Twinkies have a question mark or two swirling around their virtue. Through the years, it has had its share of critics and would-be assassins. If we had a penny for every scathing review of Twinkies’ nutritional value, we’d all be millionaires.
These days it seems icons of dubious nutritional value are under attack everywhere. In France, they’re indulging their penchant for dramatic outrage as we speak (or read) over something called Nutella. Nutella is a chocolatey nutty spread most French parents put on their kids’ lunch sandwiches. (Personal confession and disclaimer: our pantry reached out and snagged a jar. Don’t ask me how, but it did. Stuff’s not bad at all.)
Well, the French government decided recently Nutella isn’t healthy enough and they could not longer allow parents of today to continue the wanton destruction of future generations that their parents perpetrated on the planet. Disregarding the fact that the passers of the law themselves are Nutella graduates, they decided that the future of French humanity requires government intervention of the most serious kind: taxes. Butter, eggs, pâté and cheese are what France should be built on, it seems, but not Nutella. Politics being politics, they couldn’t just single out a product and tax the living daylights out of it, so they fine-combed the ingredient list until they found something they could pick on. And so the government of France decided to triple the tax on… palm oil. Even though the tax is on palm oil, every citizen of France knows the real target is Nutella. (The fact that the parent company is Italian presumably has nothing to do with this brouhaha.)
Twinkies, though, were not attacked by our government. While Twinkies never were the poster child for health food, it wasn’t all that harmful, either, truth be told. Sure, if you eat a million Twinkies you’d look silly, but so would you if you ate a million muffins, chocolate bars, or even carrots.
And so our government, our infinitely wise government, passed on the opportunity to obliterate Twinkies.
That task, as it turned out, was accomplished by a more effective public enemy: debt. That’s right: debt killed the mighty Twinkie.
The corporate debt ogre is like a chameleon, changing its name with every economic cycle. Back in the 80s and 90s it was called leveraged buyouts, done by LBO funds. Junk bonds were often the source of money for these funds, characterized by more hubris than common sense. When those funds were exposed as nothing more than the age-old ugly corporate debt monster, they changed their names to things like private equity funds.
Was there ever a more inappropriate name for something as “private equity?” Because there is usually very little equity involved in these things. Oodles of debt is what they usually are, with as little equity as meat in a strip of bacon. Private equity funds (or LBO funds, or whatever they will be called five years from now) usually spring up at a time when banks have too much money to lend.
These funds typically raise a million dollars and borrow ten. Then, with their eleven million dollars, they buy a low growth business that generates a lot of free cash flow. Their hope is that in time, this cash flow will enable them to pay off their debt so they can sell the company and move on to the next thing. Once they own the company, they try to speed up the payout by squeezing more cash out of their acquisition.
As a concept, buying solid companies with debt is as old as the ages. J.P Morgan used it a hundred years ago to become one of the most powerful men on the planet. Henry Kravis of KKR does the same thing today. In the UK , Jim Slater of Slater Walker did it back in the seventies.
However, for every buyout success, there are ten failures. J.P. Morgan himself discovered that when his White Star Line’s flagship, the Titanic, sank. The company went under soon after its flagship. What sank the White Star Line was not an iceberg, but debt.
The reason leveraged buyouts fail so often is because they typically are done near the top of the economic cycle, when bank debt is plentiful and lending standards are low.
Armed with more money than brains, these private “equity” funds go searching for decent businesses with solid cash flows. Then they look at the best case cash flow scenario and project it to keep growing from there. Armed with lovely spreadsheets they approach the owners of these businesses and make them a ridiculous offer. No sane person can turn down such a ridiculous offer, and so the business changes hands.
The previous owners take their windfall and go on their merry ways. Before long, the new owners discover this thing called the economic cycle when it crashes, as it always does after a boom period. Then they can’t make the payments on the debt.
And then the solid company, the one whose good products, good workforce, good vendors and good customers, simply disappears.
All because of debt.
I received my first lesson in how this works back in the late 80s. We lived inSouthern Californiaat the time, and we loved a local company, RB Furniture. It was a good company, making good products, and it was growing, as good companies making good products tend to do. However, they got bought out by a leveraged buyout fund run by Gary Winnick. Of course, the company failed when the recession of 1991 rolled around. And we lost our favorite furniture company. Compared to good people losing good jobs, that was nothing, of course. But it was my first close-up acquaintance with the evil of corporate debt.
And the 18,500 people working for Hostess stand to lose their jobs now, because of debt. If the company had been owned by owners with lower (or no) debt payments to make, Twinkies would still be corrupting (or pleasing, depending on your view) the nation, one cream filled angel cake roll at a time and we wouldn’t be talking about it.
Twinkies, of course, may survive. The rights may be bought by someone else, who may employ some of the workers and equipment.
But, if they do the deal with too much debt, we will see this scenario play out again. They may blame the unions, and they may blame the fickle consumer. But the real culprit will be, as it usually is… debt.
Debt does kill. It’s no accident that Warren Buffett’s businesses run with low debt levels. It’s no accident that Heinz Ketchup survived the Great Depression and flourished because they passionately avoided debt.
Debt (or short term loans) on an individual level leads to hardship. It’s true in the business world, too.
Election time is getting close, and despite the fact that there was no Legalize It proposition this time in California, I studied my sample ballot to see if there were any interesting propositions to vote on. Check out Measure B from Los Angeles County:
“Shall an ordinance be adopted requiring producers of adult films to obtain a County public health permit, to require adult film performers to use condoms while engaged in sex acts, to provide proof of blood borne pathogen training course, to post permit and notices to performers, and making violations of the ordinance subject to civil fines and criminal charges?”
In other words, do you want to vote to create new regulations in pornography? Because adult film stars are required, by the nature of their employment, to engage in sex acts which are, by their very nature, prone to spread diseases especially in a multi-partner environment that could allow HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases to spread unchecked, as quickly as a brush fire in Imperial County in the beginning of September? Hmm? Well? Shouldn’t these unsafe acts be regulated somehow? Maybe with some permit-posting and some official inspecting? Wait, is this really a ballot measure? What the hell for?!
I’ve talked about pornographers before. Obviously, there are serious problems in this industry and all this crazy porn (gonzo porn is not the same as gonzo journalism) is changing the way we see a lot of things. But I don’t see the point in spending LA County resources on making sure actors in adult films are wearing condoms, not to mention the actual enforcement of which seems bizarre, like something out of Kafka or a magical realism novel. Rampant drug use and any possible abuse of minors would appear to be much more important areas to focus our concern of the adult film industry, and posting your permit from the public health department is not going to change a damn thing about how porn gets produced.
Tell me: Is this ballot measure crazy or am I? How many times can I use ‘sex acts’ in a post?
*For an unrelated read on Money and Sex, check out L Bee and the Money Tree’s latest post. Blog Post of the Week!
The smart and data-friendly folks at DQYDJ.net and I have collaborated on an article over at their site! That article considers construction spending as a percentage of GDP, and whether that metric means anything at all. It’s an interesting read, so go check it out. In the meantime, I am very interested in understanding the construction industry (since I work in it) and what economic trends change for builders. Residential construction is looking up, with a notable increase from 2011 in both permits and actual starts. But commercial and public construction projects are also worth considering, since those projects are often in our backyards, from transportation (light rail, airports), new schools, commercial centers and public infrastructure that needs regular maintenance and updating. The activity in the public and commercial sector has increased since 2009, but contractors are still not rosy in their outlook. Competition is fierce for each new project, with large numbers of contractors bidding on jobs. Contractors are well aware of this situation, but for the first time, I heard a public official of a very large LA public agency comment on the situation at a recent construction event. He acknowledged that while their organization had had a great few years in terms of building, it had been at the expense of contractors who had sometimes underbid so severely that they hadn’t been able to finish the project. All of us in the contracting community already knew all that, but I was amazed to hear a public official address the situation so frankly and openly. Even though I’ve often been dismissive of government agencies and assumed all of them to be slow, top-heavy and process-oriented versus results-oriented, this frank discussion of the main concern for contractors was exciting and groundbreaking. If key players on both sides can talk about how we can achieve great building results with reasonable margins for contractors, then progress for both sides is possible, not just major profits for contractors at the expense of public agencies or excellent savings for agencies at the expense of contractor livelihood.