Winter Relief: City Now Offering Micro-Loans to Small Businesses

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It's been a tough winter on all of us, but it's been especially hard on small businesses and on the local economy. Thankfully, the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) has approved a snow storm loan to assist small businesses in their recovery from lost revenue as a result of the storms we've had. MGCC plans on making up to $1 million in micro-loans of $5000-$10,000 to businesses in need. This program is anticipated to run through May of this year. To read more and to learn how to apply for a loan, click here.

 

St.-Patricks-Day

How to Have an Awesome St. Patty’s Day in Cambridge

 

Everyone here at CLF wants to help you embrace your inner leprechaun this St. Patty’s Day. Here are some suggestions for what you can do to make the most of it this year!

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Looking to have a nice Irish brew this St. Patrick’s Day? Visit one of our pubs or taverns!

If you’re looking for a more hands-on experience, check out the Cambridge Brewing Company.

Want to be a little more rebellious? A Whisky Rebellion will fit the bill.

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Want to run off some of that food and drink? Sign up for Craicfest!

If you can’t make Craicfest, the luck of the Irish is on your side! There is another  road race in Fresh Pond on March 14th.

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If you’re looking for some more laid back entertainment, we’ve got you covered.

You can go catch a classic like Conan the Barbarian at the Brattle Theater.

If movies aren’t quite your thing, check out what shows the Middle East has to offer both downstairs and in the corner venue.

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If you want to get in touch with more of the Irish culture, you can attend A Saint Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn at Harvard or stop by the Irish Film Festival! But first browse a huge selection of clothing, ceramics, jewelry, and housewares all from Ireland at Irish Imports.

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If you need a place to hunker down after a day of fun, book a room at one of our fabulous inns or hotels.

We wish you an amazing St. Patrick’s Day celebration, may the luck of the Irish be on your side!

Updates on Taxes for 2015!

Taking guesses on your tax form can quickly turn into the IRS and your business engaging in the world's most dangerous game.

Here are the latest updates on individual mandate and self-employed tax law brought to you by Hajiani CPA. For more details or a consultation on taxes or accounting please contact Alamir Hajiani at al@alamircpa.com! 

The employer Affordable Health Care ACT (ACA) mandate starts to kick in.

 

Companies with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees must offer health coverage to full-timers or pay a tax. Full-timers are those employed at least 30 hours-a-week on average, but there’s a good chance this number will be raised.

 

Starting in 2016, firms with 50+ full time-equivalent workers will be subject to the pay-or-play rules, and the coverage offer will be expanded to dependents, including kids under age 26.

 

The 20 % top rate on dividends and long-term gains starts at a higher level for 2015...singles with taxable income above $413,200 and joint filers above $464,850. The 3.8% Medicare surtax boosts the rate to 23.8%. The regular 15% maximum rate applies for filers with incomes below these amounts, except that filers in the 10% or 15% income tax bracket still get the special 0% rate.

 

The basic Medicare Part B premium remains $104.90 per month in 2015. But the upper-income seniors still have to pay higher Part B and D premiums if their modified adjusted gross income for 2013 exceeded $170,000 for couples or $85,000 for single people. The 2015 Part B surcharge doesn’t change, while the Part D add-on rises slightly. The total surcharges on upper-incomers can be as large as $301.60 a month. 

 

The adoption credit can be taken on up to $13,409 of costs, a $210 boost. If the credit is more than a filer’s tax liability, the excess is not refundable. The full $13,400 credit is available for a special needs adoption, even if it cost less. The credit starts to dry up for filers with AGIs over $201,010 and ends at $241,010. 

 

The kiddie tax has a little less bite. The first $1,050 of unearned income of a dependent who doesn’t work is tax-free, a $50 hike. The next $1,050 is taxed at 10%, and any unearned income over $2,100 is taxed.

 

The standard mileage rate rises to 57.50 cents a mile for business driving, up 1.5 cents. The rate falls to 23 cents a mile for medical travel and moving and remains at 14 cents for charitable driving. Standard rate users can also deduct the cost of parking and tolls.

Many key dollar limits on retirement plans are a little higher this year: The maximum 401(k) contribution rises to $18,000, up $500 from 2014. Individuals who were born before 1966 are allowed to put in as much as $24,000.

 

New Equipment and Machinery: Only $25,000 of assets qualifies, down from $500,000, and the $25,000 phases out once more than $200,000 of assets are put in service.

Questions, concerns, comments? Let us know and we'll put you in touch a quality CPA!

Taxes have a reputation for being difficult and bogged down with official jargon. If you're experiencing difficulty please reach out to Cambridge Local First. We're here for the community and have connections with reputable, local accountants who are willing to give you a complimentary consultation. 

Join us March 18th for our “Understanding Healthcare Benefits” Seminar!

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Have you ever had any questions regarding health care benefits for your employees? Unsure of how recent changes in healthcare legislation, including Obamacare, will impact your business? CLF can help! This seminar, sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company, will discuss how businesses can manage health care benefits for their employees.  

WHEN: March 18th from 9-11AM

WHERE: Cambridge Trust Company at 1336 Mass Ave in Harvard Square 

Our Speaker, Bob McGowan from The CIP Group, is an industry expert in healthcare benefits and reform. The CIP Group is dedicated to providing a complete range of fully integrated employee benefits, executive
benefits, administration services, payroll and HR solutions to clients.

Eventbrite - Understanding Healthcare Benefits

FAQs

Will there be time for questions?

Absolutely! We pride ourselves on small, interactive seminars with plenty of oppurtunity for individualized attention and discussion

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Cambridge Trust Company is conviently located just steps from the Harvard Square T-Stop. There is limited street parking and an affordable public parking garage nearby at 65 JFK Street. 

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Simply send an e-mail to info@cambridgelocalfirst.org. 

Can I update my registration information?

Yes, any changes can be addressed via email at info@cambridgelocalfirstorg. 

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Nope! We will have a list at the event for checkins. 

Here’s How the Local First Initiative Helped Small Business Last Year!

The Institute for Local Self –Reliance has just released the results from its 2015 Independent Business Survey, and the results put a smile on all of our faces! According to the data the ILSR collected, thanks to organizations like CLF, business in an area supported by a Local first network received more business as compared to areas without Local Firsts. In 2014, businesses affiliated with Local First networks had an average sales increase of about 9.3%, and an average holiday sales gain of about 5.7%. Cities without Local First initiatives only saw an average revenue growth of 4.9% and an average holiday sales gain of about 4.2%.

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Aside from the numbers, businesses in areas with Local Firsts were provided with other benefits including: increased local media coverage of independent businesses, improved loyalty of existing customers, new customer growth, more collaboration and support among other local businesses, increased city awareness and supportive of local businesses, and increased overall customer traffic.

We are so happy to be able to offer these kinds of benefits to all of our members, and if you are not a member yet, it’s never too late to join! To read more from the ILSR report, click here.