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IRS sees some loans as gifts

Q: A couple years ago I was stupid and loaned an ex-friend $5,000 to keep his business going. Of course, that money is long gone and I’ve now realized I will never see it again. Can I deduct this on ...

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Worth Considering: Four great books for the intelligent investor

In the investment world, bad ideas are never in short supply. You might say that there is always a bull market in bad ideas being peddled to the investing public. To take just one example, consider the continuing profusion of ...

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U.S. employers successful in controlling health care costs

Employers are getting serious about data-driven health plan design. They understand that in the age of health care reform, they must actively manage their health plans in order to control costs. And their efforts are paying off. A recent study ...

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Save documentation for moving allowances

Q: Our Boise-based company recently hired two new employees from out of state. We gave them a moving allowance to help move their families and household goods to Idaho, but we are a little confused as to whether we need ...

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How to take a great employee snapshot

Whether you need an ID badge or want to share an employee’s achievements, it’s a good idea to have a high-resolution, color photograph available for every employee at your business. But you don’t need to hire a professional to get ...

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Workplace lessons from the election

We live in a country that includes 37 percent minorities. Many political watchers say tapping into that diversity is what led President Obama to victory on Nov. 6. The Obama campaign understood that empowering the nation’s growing minority populations, instead ...

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Courts provide employers with whistleblower lessons

A federal appeals court and a state appeals court recently ruled on separate Oregon whistleblower cases, offering lessons for attentive employers on how to properly deal with such situations. “Whistleblower” is one of those emotionally charged terms that send shivers ...

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Vacation home rentals use special tax calculations

Q: We have a cabin up in the McCall area that we use a few times a year. Since it sits empty for much of the year we are considering renting it on a limited basis. I know we will ...

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Health care system needs triage

I’ve spent my entire life peripherally involved in the medical industry. My paternal grandfather was – and my father is – an orthopedic surgeon. My sister is in nursing school, and my sister-in-law is in medical school. I worked as ...

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Managing the hidden cost of sick days

Do you know how much employee absences are costing you? In the U.S., the average employer cost for unplanned absences is $1,000 per employee each year. This is the second-highest benefit cost to employers after medical benefits. Employers should be ...

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