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Ten Facts About Claiming Donations Made to Haiti

January 30, 2010 --

By the Internal Revenue Service,

If you are donating to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti, you may be able to claim those donations on your 2009 tax return. Here are 10 important facts the Internal Revenue Service wants you to know about this special provision.

1. A new law allows you to claim donations for Haitian relief on your 2009 tax return, which you will be filing this year.

2. The contributions must be made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.

3. To be eligible for a deduction on the 2009 tax return, donations must be made after Jan. 11, 2010 and before March 1, 2010.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Bradbury’s Bank of Oregon Proposal

January 29, 2010 --

By Patrick Emerson
Oregon Economics Blog

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Bradbury has come out with a proposal to create a “Bank of Oregon” where all state agencies would be required to deposit their funds. Then the bank would be required to invest only in in-state projects. It is an interesting idea, modeled on a similar bank in North Dakota that has been aroundn for 90 years.

The populism of the idea is clear, ‘boo, big multinational corporate banks!,’ but is it a good idea?

Well, it is hard to say. It seems to rest on the premise that worthy in-state ventures cannot get access to capital. This is not hard to believe is true to some extent at the moment, but putting aside a once-in-a-lifetime credit market collapse, is this an accurate premise in general? I am not convinced.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Measure 66 and 67 results by county

New ways business tracks online users, captures data

January 27, 2010 --

Flash Cookie changes how marketers can track users online
By Oregon Small Business Association,

Marketers have a fresh, new tracking tool to follow you online and it’s tougher to beat.  In the past, the best way to preserve online anonymity is to delete your cookies, the bits of computer code embedded in Web browsers that remember the sites you visit and is a pinpoint marketing tool for business. Each action you take online draws a sharper and more useful profile of you. In the past, this crumb trail is erased by simply going to a browser’s “Tools” menu and clicking “clear recent history” or “delete cookies”.  Meet the “Flash cookie.”  With “Flash cookie” this is no longer the case. It acts like a hard drive, storing data online and not on the browser, so it won’t be erased when consumers clear cookies.

The Federal Trade Commission isn’t amused. Chairman Jon Leibowitz is contemplating rules that would penalize companies that track consumers without consent or adequate transparency. His rationale: If people delete cookies, there’s a reason. Congress may also step in. Rep. Rick Boucher (D–Va.) is writing a bill requiring companies to notify users about online cookies and ad targeting.

Read the full article and discuss it »

WA domestic partnership law complicates employee benefits

January 26, 2010 --

NW Business Litigation Blog
Ater Wynne
Oregon Attorneys at Law

Washington’s domestic partnership law, which went into effect on December 3, 2009, provides that for all purposes, registered domestic partners must be treated the same as married spouses, unless doing so would conflict with state law.  “Registered domestic partners” include same-sex domestic partners, and also opposite-sex domestic partners, provided one of them is at least 62 years old.

For employers, this means that employment-related benefits must be extended to the registered domestic partners of employees on the same basis as spouses — that is, unless the benefit is governed exclusively by federal law.  FMLA is one such law; ERISA is another.  This means that employers subject to FMLA and the corresponding state leave laws (the Washington Family Leave Act,  state pregnancy disability laws, and state military leave laws) cannot count against an employee’s annual FMLA entitlement any leave that is covered by state law but not FMLA. 

Read the full article and discuss it »

Employment and a Lost Decade? A Data Analysis Warning

January 25, 2010 --

By Bill Conerly,
Conerly Consulting
, Businomics,

Some say that we have added no jobs in the past 10 years, and they are calling it a “lost decade.”  What they see is a product of bad data analysis.  Here’s the actual U.S. employment data, plotted in blue:

Read the full article and discuss it »

Oregon says hold on tax returns until after election

January 24, 2010 --

State tax agency asks you to wait until after special election to file 2009 tax returns
Oregon Department of Revenue,

SALEM—If you’re in a hurry to file your tax return, the Oregon Department of Revenue asks you to hold on to it until after the January 26 special election.  “If people file before the special election, we’ll hold their returns until we know the election results. But we’d rather everyone wait to file,” said Theresa Schuh, personal income tax policy manager.  The agency doesn’t usually start processing tax returns until mid to late January, anyway, she said.

Even though tax return processing will start a few days later this year, most taxpayers who file electronically will get their refunds five to 10 days after their returns are processed.  “If you e-file your tax return on February 1, you could have your refund by February 8,” she said.

Read the full article and discuss it »

False assumptions business owners make

January 23, 2010 --

By Aaron Crowley,
Oregon business owner and author of Less Chaos, More Cash

My good friend Scott called me the other day and he was shouting, “I shouldn’t have to explain this!  It goes without saying!”   You see, he recently started a small business, detailing luxury cars, and he had just received a nasty call from a customer who was less than pleased to find a French Fry on the floor of his Mercedes after spending $350 to have it cleaned.  It was the first car, his very first employee, had ever cleaned. Scott, like so many small business owners, had made a very common assumption: He believed that washing and waxing expensive automobiles was a labor of intense love that is done with great care by everyone, most especially his new employee.   Accordingly, he sent his very first employee off to his very first detail job with few instructions other than, “Make sure you get a check.”

He made what I like to call the Deadly Assumption(TM) – which is the belief that some work is so basic, fundamental, and obviously important that it need not be explained…which explained his shouting, “I shouldn’t have to explain this!”

Read the full article and discuss it »

Ore. Congressman Defazio eyes $150 Billion Transaction Tax

January 22, 2010 --

DeFazio Introduces Transaction Tax
By Oregon Small Business Association,

Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio and others in Congress are pushing a new concept that would fund spending programs by taxing securities and derivative transactions.  Supporters argue that H.R. 4191, Let Wall Street Pay for the Restoration of Main Street Act of 2009, which would implement a 0.25% transactions tax, will raise revenue without impacting the average investor.  The concept is that the tax is needed to ensure that Wall Street pays for their share of the needed investments.  Opposition states that the bill has many underlying problems and loopholes which would lead to an even worse economic decline.

Below are the pros and cons of the transaction tax

Read the full article and discuss it »
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