Daylight Savings Time This Weekend – Why do we spring forward?

We all know the saying, “Spring Forward, Fall Back.”   Every spring we move our clocks forward an hour when Daylight Savings Time begins, and move them back in the fall when it ends.  This weekend (technically Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 a.m.) don’t forget to change your clocks.  Starting in 2007, Daylight Savings Time was extended by one month – beginning at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and lasting until 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

In recent years, government has paid much attention to energy conservation, offering credits for adapting green technologies, making a home more energy efficient, trading in gas guzzlers, and upgrading to energy efficient appliances.  Many of these credits are a part of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, which actually implements many of the ideas originally introduced in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

One of the main reasons we change our clocks is to conserve energy.  Energy use and demand is directly affected by the number of hours we are awake – TVs are in use, lights are on,  and appliances are in use. The average home spends 25 percent of their electricity on lighting and small appliances, of which a large portion is used when families are home and awake in the evening.  By moving the clock ahead one hour, we can cut our daily consumption of electricity.  Studies have shown that Daylight Savings Time reduces our country’s use of electricity by about one percent each day.

When Daylight Savings Time is in effect, the sun sets an hour later which means homeowners will not have to turn the lights on as much or as early. Also, with the added hour of sunlight many Americans spend more time outdoors instead of inside where they are more inclined to consume electricity.  While that may seem like a small savings per household, the net affect for our country is significant.

HLB Gross Collins, P.C. is committed to green technologies and reducing energy usage. When we moved to our new office in 2009, we completed our initiative to become a paperless office and we incorporated many energy efficient lighting and electrical strategies into the design of the new office.

This weekend when you move your clock forward, don’t think about that precious hour of sleep you will lose. Instead, think about the overall impact that Daylight Savings Time has on our country’s effort to use less energy, and the impact that will have for generations to come.

British American Business Group Gala

Tom Breedlove and Richard Taylor attended the British American Business Group James Bond Gala.   Other attendees included the Consulate General from the United Kingdom, the international executive team from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, members of the Georgia Economic Development office, as well as several state and local politicians.  In total, there were over 155 representatives from the United Kingdom and the United States at the Black Tie Event.

Tom sits on the trade committee for the BABG and for this event he hosted two of his clients from the United Kingdom who are in the service and manufacturing industries.  Richard is our firm’s liaison with HLB International and is also a director of the French-American Chamber of Commerce. By actively participating in many international organizations, our firm is able to maximize opportunities in international markets for clients who are doing business on a global scale.

Proceeds raised from the event will help fund scholarships at Oxford University in the UK as well as the University of Georgia, both Tom (pictured left) and Richard’s (pictured right) alma mater.

Shaken ….Not Stirred

BABG James Bond Gala 2010Richard and Sherrie Photo

Richard Taylor’s 10 Rules of Trading

Rules of trading are different than rules of investing but there are many similarities.  If you are a trader, be careful and maintain discipline.  Here are my 10 rules that you should never violate:

  1. Define how much you are willing to lose before making a trade.  Set a defined dollar and percentage stop before you make the purchase.
  2. Know what you are buying and why you are buying it.
  3. Never buy something just because someone else said to buy it.  Do your own research.
  4. Define where you want to sell.
  5. Don’t place all of your bets in one day.  Phase into a position.
  6. Keep reasonable expectations.  Don’t be too greedy.  Remember, pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.
  7. Never buy a stock that has made strong advances on two consecutive days.
  8. Never short a stock that has made strong declines on two consecutive days.
  9. Be aware of established support for a stock and buy as close to that point as possible.
  10. Know why you are breaking any of the above rules.

Do you need to report debt forgiveness as income?

With the economic downturn, many Americans have struggled to pay their debts. Banks and lenders are often willing to work with struggling taxpayers by allowing work out programs or other debt relief.  The Mortgage Forgiveness and Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from debt relief on their principal residence.  In the case of mortgage restructuring or foreclosure, the amount due to the bank is reduced or effectively forgiven.  While that amount would be considered income, in most instances those circumstances allow the taxpayer to qualify for the relief under the Act.

This provision applies to debt forgiveness during calendar years 2007 through 2012.  To read more about exclusions and qualifications, vist the IRS website.

HLB Gross Collins, P.C. is committed to helping clients minimize the tax bite by taking advantage of every possible deduction or opportunity for tax relief. Be sure to include any information regarding debt forgiveness incurred in 2009 when you are gathering your information for your tax return.


A Reprieve in the Shift to IFRS

On March 3, 2010, the SEC unanimously approved a timeline for mandating use of IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) by U.S. public companies.   For years, U.S. companies have followed Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).   However, in 2007, the SEC set forth to move toward IFRS in an effort to operate by a high-quality, global set of accounting standards.

Initial goals of the SEC ambitiously hoped to have IFRS in place by 2014, but the recently approved timeline looks to 2015 as the earliest possible date. The SEC intends to complete additional studies regarding IFRS.  The SEC is committed to moving toward IFRS, but the additional year provides some reprieve in finalizing the details and requirements.

In addition, the SEC withdrew proposed rules that would have allowed early adoption of IFRS.  There has also been speculation that there would be a choice between using IFRS or GAAP, and the SEC has not ruled this out as a possibility.

The SEC will focus on the plan for IFRS and will be providing frequent progress reports, with the first update expected in October 2010.

You can read the full report, or contact Tom Breedlove for additional information.

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