How to Get Certified as a Minority-Owned Business

Corporations, the federal government, and state agencies all want to do business with minority-owned companies. The Department of Transportation, for example, requires that recipients of its funding award a percentage of contracts to minority-owned businesses and many large companies have goals for buying from minority-owned suppliers.

The reason for such mandates is twofold. First, contracting with minority-owned businesses is important to customers: ‘Corporate America understands that you cannot expect minorities to buy things when you haven’t done business with minorities,’ says Steven Sims, the vice president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Second, it’s responsible: ‘It’s important because we have an obligation in government to ensure that all firms in our state have an opportunity to participate in contracts that are paid for with tax dollars,’ says Luwanda Jenkins, the special secretary of minority affairs for Maryland. Read More

Everything You Should Know About REIT Investing

A REIT, or a real estate investment trust, is a company that owns, operates or finances income-producing real estate. This is often done by pooling investors’ money to buy and possibly manage commercial or residential buildings. The company then collects rent from its tenants and passes that income onto investors in the form of strong dividends.

REITs are essentially just big landlords, says John LaForge, head of real asset strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute in Sarasota, Florida. “They’re a company that has professional money managers who understand real estate,” buying and managing it for investors.

As REIT shareholders, investors get exposure to real estate without the headaches of owning, operating or directly financing properties. Read More

Real Estate Investment Group

What is ‘Real Estate Investment Group’

A real estate investment group is an organization that builds or buys a group of properties and then sells them to investors as rental properties. In exchange for finding tenants, handling maintenance and other responsibilities, the organization receives a portion of the investors’ monthly rent proceeds. Read More

Accounting Practices for LLCs: What Every Real Estate Investor Should Know

In the Forums we always see both new and experienced investors inquiring about entity structuring. Should they use LLCs, and if so, should they use multiple LLCs? The end goal is usually liability protection and anonymity, the latter of course being difficult to achieve.

I tend to find it somewhat disturbing that investors will go through the hassle of setting up an LLC to legitimize their business and protect their personal assets, yet they fail to invest time in learning how to operate the LLC. A lawyer that I refer my clients to told me that “A key reason LLCs’ asset protection veils are pierced is because the owner doesn’t treat the LLC like a business entity.” Read More

Tax preparers: Avoid being speared

The IRS reminds tax professionals to be on the lookout for spear phishing emails. These differ from general phishing emails in that the thief has researched the target before sending the message. An email may appear to be from a colleague, a client, a cloud storage provider, tax software provider, the IRS, or a state government. Spear phishing emails are one of the most common way data thieves enter preparers’ digital networks to steal client information. Read More