December 15, 2017

Smooth Sailing

Smooth Sailing

Earlier this week I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal about some unusual flotsam that washed up on the Florida coastline during and after Hurricane Irma last summer. My personal favorites were the 17th century dugout canoe, the Russian buoy (possibly a remnant from Cold War era Cuba), and the 40-ton pirate boat that is still rotting on someone’s lawn in Coconut Grove. Another standout was the sailboat filled with dismembered mannequins, which gave the locals a good scare for sure.

It occurred to me as I read the article that it was a learning opportunity for myself and for all of us; a parable, if you will. Here’s what I took from it:

  1. You can’t bury bad news forever. Eventually, it will surface, like that 500-year old boat (which was thought to have been dislodged from the ocean bottom by the storm).
  2. Plan, plan plan. Don’t leave things up to Mother Nature (or Congress). Be forward-looking, strategic, and proactive to prepare for whatever’s on the horizon.
  3. Don’t shy away from the tough stuff. More than likely, if you avoid having difficult conversations when they’re necessary, someone else will step up. In a service business like ours, that can spell the beginning of the end to a valued client relationship.

With tax reform looming, and 2017 rapidly coming to a close, these truths hit home. Time is running short for honest reckonings about how to prepare for whatever comes next.

If you are a tax client of Marcum’s, I’m sure you’ve heard from your engagement partner about what strategies you can employ now to soften the blow of tax reform in 2018. Even though we don’t know yet exactly how it’s all going to play out, we have developed strategies based on the draft bills from the House and Senate that will make sense for many of our clients. As I mentioned in this column last week, Marcum is staffed and ready, even during the holiday period, to advise you before the year comes to an end.

As it turns out, the House and Senate have reportedly come to an agreement on what should be in (and out) of the new tax bill. A 21% corporate tax rate; a maximum individual tax rate of 37%; state, local and real estate taxes capped at $10,000 per year; interest deductions on mortgages of up to $750,000 just to name a few. It looks like the plan is to get this voted on next week, although with John McCain in the hospital, Marco Rubio holding out for a better child tax credit, Bob Corker saying no, and who knows what other Republican senators with issues, it’s a toss-up that the bill actually passes both houses of Congress and winds up on President Trump’s desk for signature before the self-imposed deadline of before Christmas.

Stay tuned. Next week should be very interesting.