Category Archives: blog

peace of mind

Peace of Mind Even in Troubled Times

peace of mindCOVID-19 exacerbates worries and fears for everyone. What steps can you take to stay safe from a financial and legal perspective? Now is the right time to improve your business and estate planning with practical financial steps and legal documents to protect your assets now and in the future. The solutions may vary by circumstance, but the practical tips below will provide you with concrete ideas you can use right away.

Check out our recent update, FACTS over FEAR – Financial, Legal and Real Estate Updates, hosted by The Sonoma Brain Trust. For related discussions of other finance, real … Read More

ppp reform

PPP Reform Questions and Answers

ppp reformThere are lots of questions about the anticipated changes to the PPP loan that is awaiting presidential signature. Assuming the legislation is signed as passed, our lawyers consulted with local tax manager Nate Lamar, CPA of Pisenti & Brinker LLP to shed some light on this complicated interplay of laws, tax and regulations.

Of course, before getting into the nitty gritty, as professionals we need to provide a disclaimer that the answers are based on current and proposed federal law and guidance from the Small Business Administration available as of June 4, 2020. Interpretations of the law and SBA guidance … Read More

wineries

Current State of Wineries

wineriesSince the onset of the Coronavirus wineries have been operating at a slower rate than normal, by at least more than 60 percent according to Wine America – the national association of wineries.

This based upon a recent survey also indicated that wineries anticipate a decrease in the purchase of grapes from growers for wine production somewhere between 9 to 22 percent. With layoffs of workers and canceled events numbering in the thousands, some estimates tally that financial loss just for the month of March (when the virus went into “Secure In Place” ordinance mode) reached $40,439,764.

While by that … Read More

Eviction Ban Demystified: Resources for Landlords & Tenants

house-with-teens-on-porchIn response to the pandemic, various governmental bodies have acted to provide protections for residential and commercial tenants.  There is a broad eviction moratorium in effect throughout the state as the Judicial Council of California issued an emergency rule effectively prohibiting evictions for 90 days after the lifting of the Shelter in Place requirements.

By way of background, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a COVID-19 Eviction Defense Ordinance formally referred to as Executive Order N-28-20.  While the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors agreed with Gov. Newsom’s executive order last month to limit residential tenants from evictions due to economic impact … Read More

The Scoop on Short Term Rentals

house-on-hillMy team is fielding numerous calls from panicked landowners who have been served with notices.  “How can I reduce this $7,000 fine?” They ask.  “We paid our Transient Occupancy Tax – through Airbnb?” “And, what about Penalties?” The list from clients goes on and on.

For years folks have benefited from renting parts of their dwellings or ancillary buildings without the benefit of permits.  Technology platforms like Airbnb play into this by allowing an individual to list a property as available as a short-term rental without requiring any permit or verification of such.  The result? Many entrepreneurial folks were able … Read More

Get It, Your Peace of Mind

flowers in a fieldA solid estate plan in its simplest sense is a roadmap.  It sets the decision-makers for when you cannot make them before you die and then after you do so.  Specialized planning can also minimize your long term care expenses or eliminate them all together.  Of course, a solid estate plan documents your wishes with respect to your worldly belongings to be distributed according to your stated desires.

A solid estate plan also can provide peace of mind in moments of uncertainty, a light in the dark, or the clarity in the fog.  It’s a rather simple process.  According to … Read More

Demystifying AB 5 California’s New Independent Contractor Law

person on laptopWith more than 30 new laws on the books affecting business in California, many businesses are now facing increased regulation and mounting expenses.

The implementation of AB 5 by the State of California labor code will no doubt cause confusion. It states as follows…a person providing labor or services for remuneration shall be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates that all of the following conditions are satisfied: (This is being referred to as the ‘ABC Test’ or ‘Three-part test.’)

(A) The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity … Read More

Price Gouging – It’s Still a Thing

row housesAs we move away from the local fires of 2017, we may think less and less about certain emergency orders that were put in place.  Those orders are still in effect.  One is of particular importance for businesses or individuals offering goods, services or rentals: the price gouging statute.

In short – for clients or potential clients looking at renting real estate, the safe value of the property should be linked to the pre-fires value plus an additional 10 percent.  This hopefully will change in a few months as an extended ban on raising rents to fair market values places … Read More

Business Succession Planning

wine barrels in a rowOne of the greatest challenges family businesses face is how to hand over the reins to the next generation.

Even faceless corporate entities struggle to ensure their long-term survival; add the potential for interpersonal drama and hurt feelings among parents and children, and it’s no surprise that the odds are stacked against family businesses enduring the transition. Just 30 percent of family-owned businesses make it to a second generation, 10-15 percent make it to the third, and 3-5 percent make it to the fourth generation, according to a Harvard Business Review study.

We need look no further than our own Read More

Employee of Independent Contractor? A New Ruling Changes Things

man with satchelIf your company relies on independent contractors to do business, you may want to reevaluate your relationship with those workers in the wake of a recent California Supreme Court decision changing the way their employment status should be determined.

The April 30 ruling sent shockwaves through the state’s so-called “gig economy” – created by customer service providers such as Lyft, Uber and GrubHub who use independent contractors to avoid the higher costs that come with hiring employees.

It’s not just these tech-centric startups, however, who may now need to restructure their businesses to avoid the risks of fines, restitution of Read More