Marrying a Non-U.S. Citizen? No Tax Honeymoon for You

Marrying a Non-U.S. Citizen? Taxes for Marrying a Non-U.S. CitizenMarriage is a major life event. One that comes with all kinds of change, including financial. After getting married, there is so much to consider, from merging bank and brokerage accounts to setting up a will; from changing your withholding to updating retirement account beneficiary forms. If this seems like a lot to consider, it’s important to keep in mind that when a U.S. citizen marries a non-U.S. citizen, the situation gets even more complex.

Among some of the more complex tax considerations of mixed citizenship marriages are gift and estate taxes, which we will dive into below.

Gift and Estate Tax Overview

Before getting into the details on non-citizen spousal situations, here is a recap of the basics on U.S. estate and gift taxes. In the United States, estate and gift taxes are essentially a type of transfer tax, with the tax paid by the giver. Tax rates range between 18 percent and 40 percent of the assets transferred, but there are exemptions (with lifetime limits) that can reduce or even cancel out these taxes. Currently, the lifetime exemption is $13.61 million per person; however, this is set to drop to about $7.5 million starting January 1, 2026.

Gifting – No Free Ride in Marriage

When both spouses are U.S. citizens, there is an unlimited gift tax exemption, meaning no gift tax period. In the case where the recipient spouse is a U.S citizen, this still applies; however, when the spouse receiving the gifts is a non-U.S. citizen, then it’s different.

In the case where the U.S. spouse gifts to the non-citizen spouse, there are annual limits. For 2024, the annual aggregate limit for tax-free gifting is $185,000. Gifting beyond this amount starts to eat into the total lifetime exclusion.

Leaving Assets to Heiring Spouses

Leaving a bequest to a non-citizen spouse is very similar to gifting in that it also does not benefit from the uncapped marriage exemption. When a U.S. citizen dies and leaves assets to the non-citizen spouse, the estate tax can apply. After using up the lifetime limit, taxes on these bequests can be up to 40 percent. While each situation it unique, estate planning maneuvers such as setting-up trusts can prevent or mitigate the tax hit.

Reporting Requirement – It’s About More Than Just Paying Taxes

The concept of not needing to pay tax due to exemption limitations or gift/estate tax strategies is distinct from the reporting requirements. Here, the reverse situation is the tricky one: When the non-U.S. citizen makes a gift or bequest to the U.S. spouse. Despite having no tax implications, the U.S. spouse may need to comply with informational reporting requirements if the gifts or bequests are technically foreign-sourced and more than $100,000 (in any given year). Failure to comply with reporting standards can yield serious penalties.

Gift-Splitting is Different

Gift-splitting is a technique that allows a married couple to pool their individual annual gift limits and give more tax-free money to the same person. For example, each spouse gets an annual gifting limit of $18,000 they can give to any one recipient (per calendar year), without any tax considerations or use of the lifetime limits. Gift-splitting lets each spouse give this amount to the same person, effectively doubling the amount they can give together to any one person to $36,000. This is not allowed when one spouse is a non-U.S. citizen.

Conclusion

In the end, there is almost always an issue when the U.S. citizen spouse gifts or bequests to the non-U.S. citizen spouse (not the other way around). Keep these details in mind when tax planning and you’ll be on the right path. Also, it’s important to remember that these are the U.S. tax rules and regulations. Any tax implications for the non-U.S. citizen spouse in their country is beyond the scope of this article.

How to Develop a Credit Policy

How to Develop a Credit PolicyA credit policy explains how a company will manage lines of credit for client accounts and what procedures to follow for severely outstanding invoices. It helps a business promote a robust foundation for its working capital level.

Defining a Credit Policy

Unlike personal credit scores, business scores range from 0 to 100; the scores from the FICO Small Business Scoring Service range from 0 to 300. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a first step to establishing business credit is to sign up for a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number for each business location.

There are three components to a company’s credit policy. First, develop an effective system of following up on past-due invoices. Second, define when, how much, and the terms of credit extended to customers. Third, establish how the business underwrites a client’s creditworthiness and put guidelines in place to determine when to increase or decrease lines of credit for clients.

Memorializing a Company’s Credit Policy for External and Internal Uses

The reason why it’s so important to have a credit policy in writing is because 6 in 10 workers in large American business workplaces have found it challenging to get information from their fellow co-workers, according to a report by YouGov and Panopto. This same report found that processes that are not documented result in employees wasting an average of 5.3 hours/week either looking for the right person or waiting for a response.

Internally, it enables employees to understand the policy inside and out, creating more efficient workers. Externally, it sets clear ground rules and reduces the likelihood of mismatched customer expectations.

Considerations Before Writing Out a Credit Policy

Depending on the interest rate environment, clients may have a hard time obtaining financing. If they are able to obtain financing in a high-interest rate environment, it will come with a higher cost for the customer. The business may need to have more stringent policies.

Terms of Sale May Not be One-Size-Fits-All

It is imperative to explain how payment terms work before the company engages with clients. Be it net 15, 30, or 60 days, etc., consider how payment timeframes may incentivize pre-payment or early payment discounts. From there, determine when and how the company takes action to deem when payment is “delinquent,” and when it’s considered uncollectable and finally written off and sold to a debt collector.

Depending on the size/revenue/etc. of the company writing the policy, it is not ideal to treat smaller companies the same as larger/more established companies. For example, giving a company a net 45 term versus a net 30 or net 15 has two available outcomes.

Larger companies may be able to pay faster, but if they are given more time to pay, it can negatively impact the receiving company’s cash flow. And while giving small companies similar terms can create more goodwill, it also can cause a company to take it for granted. This presents the potential to never receive payment for outstanding invoices if the small business faces bankruptcy. Similarly, depending on the type of business and/or sector it’s in, risk should be rated appropriately.

Determine Roles/Responsibilities

Ensure each department and person within each department has a defined role within the credit approval process. The sales department can help craft payment terms to reduce late payments and maximize sales. The credit department can handle reviewing to extend, lower, and increase credit limits. The accounts receivable (AR) department should follow up on late invoices, collect payments, and record incoming payments.    

While there’s no boilerplate form for a business’ credit policy, having a policy in place will help a business navigate its internal and external needs more effectively.

Sources

eBook: Valuing Workplace Knowledge

https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/establish-business-credit

Pre-Retirement Planning Guide

Pre-Retirement Planning GuideStep 1: Develop a Budget

Once you are truly good and retired – no phase-out, no gig jobs, no income-earning hobbies – most people end up living on a “fixed income.” While that income may fluctuate somewhat based on cost-of-living increases and investment gains, those increases may be few and far between. What you really need to work on before you retire is a “fixed budget.”

A fixed budget is a line-item record of your living expenses, from housing and insurance to food and utilities to transportation and healthcare. Bear in mind that those are not exactly “fixed expenses” either. Seasonal changes and inflation can swell prices on household goods and insurance rates, while higher interest rates impact auto purchases and credit card debt. These are all factors a pre-retiree needs to consider when developing a post-retirement budget.

Retirement Income

However, the first step in developing a budget isn’t to add up your expenses, it’s to figure out how much money your retirement income sources will provide. Many folks pull from three basic sources of retirement income: Social Security, a pension, and personal savings – comprised of savings accounts, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and an investment portfolio. Bear in mind that with a few exceptions (e.g., savings accounts, Roth IRA), you’ll need to factor in paying taxes on distributions from these accounts during retirement. Add up how much post-tax income you will likely receive each month/year in retirement.

Retirement Budget

Depending on your retirement goals, you may need less or even more income than you earned while still working. One way to break down anticipated retirement expenses is to categorize them as essential (e.g., food, housing, transportation) and discretionary expenses (e.g., travel, entertainment). Calculate a monthly total with considerations for other outlying expenses, like paying for auto or home insurance and property taxes once a year to take advantage of discount savings.

Also factor in periodic expenses for home and auto maintenance. In addition to your monthly budget, consider how much you should retain in a liquid savings account for emergencies, such as the deductible for a major auto repair to replace the roof on your home or the occasional big-ticket appliance.

Reconcile Income with Expenses

Next, compare the total of your income sources with your total budgetary needs. Bear in mind that if your income comes up short, you have a few options. You can create a plan to reduce your essential expenses, perhaps by selling your home and moving into a smaller, cheaper-to-maintain home. You may want to take another look at your discretionary expenses and decide to cut out country club fees or travel abroad. It is possible to enjoy retirement while playing golf or tennis at public facilities and vacationing at the extraordinary locations that America has to offer.

One retirement strategy is to ensure that all of your essential living expenses in retirement will be covered by guaranteed income sources, such as Social Security, an employer pension, and an annuity. For discretionary expenses, plan to pay for them via an allocation of your retirement assets to other investments that are not guaranteed, but offer growth potential. In fact, you may be more inclined to invest these other retirement assets more aggressively when confident that your essentials are covered through guaranteed income sources.

Income Strategies

One of the more common ways retirees draw income is to simply spend down their assets. This basically means withdrawing however much you need each month above and beyond what you receive in Social Security and pension benefits. Bear in mind that if the amount you withdraw each year is too high, you risk running out of money in the later stages of retirement.

Some investors cap how much they withdraw each year at about 3 percent to 5 percent and adjust their budget to meet this limit. In doing so, they can ensure the rest of their investment portfolio has the opportunity to continue growing. To keep up with annual increases in the cost of living, you may want to allocate an equity component in your portfolio to allow for income growth opportunities throughout retirement. However, be aware that stocks can have down years so that 3 percent to 5 percent distribution might deliver less income when the market is volatile.

You also may consider ways to increase your retirement income. Developing a retirement plan a decade or so before you actually retire will give you time to max out your annual retirement account contributions and perhaps even create some form of passive income to help supplement retirement expenses. Many pre-retirees plan ahead by creating passive income sources, such as rental property or royalty payments on writing, music, or a patent on intellectual property.

The Social Security Caveat

Currently, the trust fund that supplements Social Security benefits is projected to fund 100 percent of total scheduled benefits until 2033. Thereafter, the fund will be able to supplement only 79 percent of scheduled benefits. The upcoming election is important for a lot of reasons, but what is currently under the radar is the need to reform how benefits are funded. The options include reducing benefits, increasing the retirement age, allowing people to invest their account funds privately, and increasing or removing the Social Security tax cap on individual wages ($168,600 in 2024).

Because the direction of Social Security reform is unknown, pre-retirees need to work harder to create their own income sources. While the federal government has the authority to make changes to shore up Social Security solvency, individuals, by contrast, have less flexibility to plug holes in their retirement income plans.

6 Financial Tips for New Dads

6 Financial Tips for New DadsThere are probably few things as exciting and daunting as becoming a new dad, especially when it comes to finances. But we’ve got you! Here are a few tips to help you turn those challenges into opportunities as you walk this new life path.

Create a Budget

This is probably super obvious, but here’s a way to break it down into sections so you’ll have a roadmap.

  • Look at current finances. This includes income, checking, and savings.
  • Plan for new expenses. Make an exhaustive list of everything you can think of that your baby might need.
  • Prioritize and cut. Identify these areas, then make hard decisions about where you need to change things for your new reality.
  • Launch into the changes. Keep tabs on how you’re doing as your life evolves and adjust as you deem necessary.

Review Your Insurance

First thing, add your baby to your health insurance plan so you’ll be covered for doctor visits, vaccinations, and anything else that comes along. Next up, update your life insurance plan – you’ll likely need to increase your coverage. It’s not just about you anymore. It’s about making sure your family’s financial future is secure. If you don’t have a life insurance policy, it’s time to get one.

Start a Savings Account for Your Child

Opening an account for your baby will help ensure a solid financial future. Look for accounts with good interest rates so you can build a nest egg over time. But wait, there’s more – college! Mind-boggling, yes, but necessary. A 529 plan is a great option because it’s designed specifically for future education and comes with tax advantages. Don’t put this on the back burner!

Set Up an Emergency Fund

Life happens. Unexpected things can pop up at any given moment. A car repair. Your HVAC breaks down. A trip to the ER in the middle of the night. Start small. Set aside a few dollars each month. This way, you won’t have to dip into your savings or use a credit card. Not that this is unwise, of course, but having some non-APR padding in your life provides the peace of mind you’ll undoubtedly need during this amazing, uncertain period of your life.

Plan Your Parental Leave

Make sure you understand all the details about your company’s policies. When you have digested it all, make sure your budget includes resources for your time away. If you’re an entrepreneur, add this to your overall budget. Yes, you’ll have to cut back on spending, but your child’s first few days and months? You can’t put a price on that.

Consult a Professional

If you feel you need extra assistance charting these unknown waters, bring in the pros. Your accountant is a great person to start with. Just talking things out with a human face-to-face might give you the comfort you need to put one foot in front of the other.

Navigating parenthood, specifically as a dad, is one of life’s most important jobs. Make sure you have all the right tools with you as you begin this awesome journey.

Sources

https://www.motherhoodcenter.com/7-financial-planning-tips-for-new-dads

The Role of Data Analytics and Visualization in Modern Auditing

The Role of Data Analytics and Visualization in Modern AuditingModern businesses have become complex mainly due to the exponential growth of data, and traditional auditing methods can no longer keep pace. To cope with today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, data analytics and visualization have become crucial tools. Leveraging these advanced technologies enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of audits and enables auditors to extract valuable insights previously hidden in the vast sea of data.

Understanding the Change

Before the digital age ushered in a new era of auditing, auditors relied solely on manual sampling techniques and paper-based records. Today, data analytics serves as the cornerstone of audit procedures. By utilizing the power of algorithms and statistical models, auditors can analyze large datasets with speed and accuracy. This involves examining data from financial statements, general ledgers, and transactional data. It helps mitigate the risk of overlooking critical information. Data visualization, on the other hand, uses visual elements like graphs, charts, and dashboards that make it easier to interpret data.

Benefits of Data Analytics and Visualization

  1. Enhanced audit quality – Through sophisticated data mining techniques, auditors can identify anomalies, patterns, and trends. This creates audit trails that can help track changes over time and eventually indicate potential risks or irregularities. By scrutinizing entire datasets rather than relying on sampling, auditors can provide stakeholders with a more comprehensive and reliable assessment of financial statements and internal controls.
  2. Detecting fraud and errors – A rise in financial misconduct across various industries has made fraud detection a top priority for auditors in recent years. With the help of data analytics, it becomes possible to flag suspicious transactions, discrepancies, or outliers that may indicate fraudulent activity. By leveraging predictive modeling and anomaly detection algorithms, auditors can proactively identify red flags and conduct targeted investigations, safeguarding stakeholders’ interests and preserving the integrity of financial reporting.
  3. Driving insights through visualization – While data analytics lays the foundation for effective auditing, visualization helps connect raw data to actionable insights. Through charts, graphs,and dashboards, auditors can transform complex datasets into visual narratives that facilitate decision-making and communication. Visualization makes the interpretation of audit findings easy and enables auditors to identify patterns and relationships that may have gone unnoticed in traditional tabular formats.
  4. Improving risk assessment – Risk assessment is crucial in the auditing process and guides auditors in identifying areas of potential concern. Data analytics empowers auditors to conduct more robust risk assessments by analyzing historical data, industry benchmarks, and key performance indicators. By leveraging predictive analytics, auditors can anticipate emerging risks and tailor audit procedures to address specific areas of concern, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness of the audit process.

Embracing Technology-Driven Auditing

As technology continues to evolve, auditors must embrace innovation and adapt to the changing auditing landscape. From machine learning algorithms to artificial intelligence-powered tools, the possibilities for enhancing audit effectiveness are limitless. By investing in training and adopting cutting-edge technologies, auditors can stay ahead of the curve and deliver greater value to their clients and stakeholders.

It is worth noting that while the benefits of data analytics and visualization in auditing are undeniable, its implementation does come with some challenges. Data quality, privacy concerns, and regulatory compliance remain key considerations for auditors when leveraging data analytics. Additionally, the shortage of skilled professionals proficient in both auditing and data analytics poses a significant barrier to widespread adoption. However, by addressing these challenges proactively and fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation, auditors can harness the full potential of data analytics and visualization in modern auditing.

Conclusion

The integration of data analytics and visualization has revolutionized the field of auditing, enabling auditors to conduct more efficient, effective, and insightful audits. By leveraging advanced technologies and analytical techniques, auditors can enhance audit quality, detect fraud and errors, drive actionable insights, improve risk assessment, and embrace a technology-driven approach to auditing. Although there are some challenges, the benefits far outweigh the obstacles, making data analytics and visualization indispensable tools for auditors in the digital age. As businesses continue to generate massive amounts of data, auditors must embrace innovation and harness the power of data analytics and visualization to navigate the complexities of modern auditing successfully.

Funding for Federal Aviation, Reinforcing Supply Chains, and Deterring Iranian Terror Attacks Around the World

HR 3935, HR 4581, HR 6571, HR 3033, HR 6015, HR 5826FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 (HR 3935) – This bipartisan bill reauthorizes funding and direction for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSBB) for another five years. The legislation is designed to improve air travel safety, provide increased protections for consumers, hire more people to the aviation workforce, and modernize the U.S. national airspace system for the future. It authorizes more than $105 billion for FAA funding through fiscal year 2028. The bill passed in the Senate on May 9, in the House on the next day, and was signed by the president on May 16.

Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act of 2023 (HR 4581) – introduced by Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) on July 12, 2023, this bill funds additional research and activities with the goal of preventing stillbirths. It passed in the House on May 15, 2023, and is currently in the Senate.

Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act of 2023 (HR 6571) – Introduced on Dec. 4, 2023, by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), the purpose of this bipartisan bill is to establish supply chain resiliency and a crisis response program within the Department of Commerce. Given the potential threat of pandemics, extreme climate events, and even war with anti-democracy adversaries, this bill would help secure American supply chains, reduce reliance on other countries, and develop our own emerging technology resources. The bill passed in the House on May 15 and currently lies in the Senate.

Solidify Iran Sanctions Act of 2023 (HR 3033) – The purpose of this bill is to enact a permanent requirement for the president to sanction individuals or entities that aid Iran’s ability to acquire or develop certain chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, among other provisions.

This bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) on April 28, 2023. It passed in the House on April 16 of this year and currently lies with the Senate.

Iran Sanctions Accountability Act of 2023 (HR 6015) – This legislation was introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) on Oct. 20, 2023. The bill would establish protections to ensure that humanitarian exceptions to Iranian sanctions do not inadvertently facilitate international terrorism or the sale of weapons to terrorists. The bill passed in the House on April 16 and is now in the Senate.

No Paydays for Hostage-Takers Act (HR 5826) – This bill, which was introduced by Sen. Joe Wilson (R-SC) on Sept. 28, 2023, passed in the House on April 16 and is currently in the Senate. It would empower the president to deny a U.N. diplomatic representative entrance to the country if that person is sanctioned due to ties to terrorism and distribution of weapons of mass destruction. The bill also would require the president to issue reports to Congress on matters such as blocked Iranian assets, any U.S. hostages taken by Iran, and if travel to Iran by U.S. citizens would put them in imminent danger.

Liquidation Value Versus Going-Concern Value

Liquidation Value Versus Going-Concern ValueWhether it’s a company firing on all cylinders or a company on the verge of liquidation, determining correct valuations is not a cut-and-dry process. Understanding the importance of going-concern values and liquidation values is essential when determining a business’ worth.

Quantifying Going-Concern Value

When it comes to defining this type of value, it factors in the likelihood of a business operating indefinitely with continued profitability. With a company’s demonstrated ability to maintain profitability comes inherent value, reducing the likelihood of a business going bankrupt. 

In contrast to a business’ liquidation value basis, which might only be $20 million due to unsold goods, real property and associated physical assets, the going-concern value might be worth $120 million. The difference and increase in value are due to the additional equity embedded in its competitive position in its industry, its projected future cash flows, goodwill, etc. Goodwill consists of the company’s name, its intellectual property (IP) patent, trademarks, customer loyalty, etc.

When one company looks to acquire another, the company bases its valuation on the calculated going-concern value of the acquiree. When formulating its offer to purchase the other, it will factor in its future profitability, intangible assets, customer loyalty, and goodwill.

Liquidation Value Defined

Liquidation value is determined by establishing the net value of a company’s physical or tangible assets if they were to go out of business. It’s important to distinguish that intangible assets (intellectual property, brand significance, and goodwill) are not included in liquidation sales. Assets are often sold at a loss because the seller must turn the assets into cash quickly. Generally, liquidation valuation is higher than salvage value but less than book value. Though, to contrast with a traditional, non-acquisition sale, intangible assets are considered part of the sale/offer price.

One important concept for determining liquidation value is the recovery rate. Cash is naturally the highest level, usually at 100 percent. From there, assets such as accounts receivable (AR), inventory, property, plant, and equipment (PPE) have progressively lower recovery values. Determining these values will accordingly govern the success of a liquidation sale.

Comparing Values: Market vs. Book vs. Liquidation vs. Salvage

It’s important to highlight the hierarchy of values to illustrate why these types of valuations differ so much. Market value is the highest, though market conditions can temporarily lower them below normal valuations. Book value is the second highest, also known as historical, and it is what’s listed on the company’s balance sheet. Book values must be looked at through the lens of history and relative to inflation, etc. Salvage value is the second lowest valuation, which is also referred to as scrap value, or when an item is “at the end of its useful life.” Liquidation is the lowest value because tangible assets must be sold quickly, lessening the chance to find a buyer at a fair price.

How Liquidation Works

Liquidation is the difference between a company’s tangible asset value and liabilities. For example:

  1. Liabilities of a business are $750,000

  2. Balance sheet assets show a book value of $1.5 million

  3. Salvage value of assets is $250,000

  4. Auction sale estimate value is $1.2 million, or 80 percent

Liquidation Value = Auction Value – Liabilities ($1.2 million – $750,000 = $450,000)

Many variables must be studied to effectively determine a company’s value, regardless of what spectrum is being evaluated. Employees and consultants who have a better grasp of these methods will provide everyone involved with a fair assessment.

‘Master’ The Augusta Rule and Save Money on Your Taxes

 Augusta Tax Rule, short term rental taxesAnyone who lives in a highly seasonal tourist destination knows you can make money on short-term rentals during events and festivities in your city or town. Think high concentration, short-term, tourist-driven events such as horse racing season in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., or The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.

As a result, it is common for locals to get out of dodge and rent out their place during these highly lucrative periods. Typically, this is just for a very brief period while they are on vacation somewhere else themselves, for instance.

Given these circumstances, Congress realized it does not make sense to tax rental income for very short-term periods the same way that long-term rentals are taxed. In response, the government passed the Section 280A exclusion, often called the Augusta Rule in reference to the famous Masters golf tournament.

For the remainder of this article, we will look at the Augusta Rule in more detail and provide practical considerations for taxpayers.

The Augusta Rule, aka the Section 280A Exclusion

At its core, the Augusta Rule creates an exclusion to the concept that real estate rental income is always taxable.Per Section 280A, renting out your residence for 14 days or less, you are exempt from reporting the rental income. This also means no deduction for rental expenses. So, it is like it never happened from a tax perspective. As soon as you rent out that residence for 15 days or more, this exception no longer applies.

Note, it does not matter why you rented out your residence. There is no need for it to be related to an event or any special occasion.

Technical Workings of the Augusta Rule

While the basic rule itself is quite simple, there are details you need to meet in order to qualify for the exclusion – in addition to the 14-day time limit.

  • The property must be a home or similar. This means the properly must be a “dwelling unit” per IRS definitions, meaning houses, apartments, condos, etc. (although houseboats do qualify).
  • The rental price must be reasonable. Look at comparable rents in the area to get an idea of what to charge. Luckily, this is easy today with Airbnb, VRBO, etc.

Practical Considerations

First, the above rules only apply to federal income taxation. State and local tax regulations may differ, so make sure you are up to snuff on these for your area.

Second, just because the IRS does not consider this kind of rental activity a real estate business does not mean you are exempt from local, state or other business licensing or permit needs.

Conclusion

Qualifying under the Augusta Rule can be a wonderful way to save taxes. It can be especially beneficial to those who live in or around major events that occur for only a brief period and bring in massive amounts of tourists, creating high demand and soaring prices as a result. Moreover, it can be a terrific way to a make some tax-exempt income while you are enjoying a personal vacation.

In the end, you must pay attention to the timing – and most importantly, keep excellent records.

How to Calculate Operating Return on Assets

How to Calculate Operating Return on AssetsDuring Q3 of 2023, businesses in the United States made approximately $3.3 trillion, according to Statista. This is right behind the third quarter of 2022, when corporations in America made even more money. These figures are the net income of the respective periods, according to the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA).

With profits reaching all-time highs since Q3 of 2012, understanding how businesses can analyze their profitability ratios through the Operating Return on Assets (OROA) ratio is another helpful tool for number crunchers.

Defining OROA

This calculation helps business owners and analysts determine how well a business is run. It shows the percentage, per dollar, that a business makes in operating income relative to assets involved in day-to-day operations. Unlike the regular return-on-assets (ROA) calculation, the Operating Return on Assets ratio takes a more selective consideration of assets. The primary consideration for the assets in OROA’s calculation is to only consider assets employed in a business’ traditional operations.

The calculation is as follows: 

OROA = Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) / Average Total Assets

Another way to look at EBIT for the calculation is to look at the Income Statement’s Operating Income. For the average total assets, it’s taking a look at the business’ Balance Sheet and determining the two most recent yearly Total Assets for the company, that are used in its normal business activities.

Putting the OROA into practice, it’s calculated as follows:

OROA = $85,000 (Operating Income) / ($425,000 + $450,000) (Total Assets) / 2 =

  = $85,000 / 437,500

   = 0.1942 or 19.42 percent

This means that for every dollar of operating assets, the company has produced $0.1942 in operating income.

There are two important distinctions between OROA and the traditional ROA assets calculation. When it comes to income, OROA uses EBIT or Operating Income, but ROA uses net income as the numerator. With assets considered, OROA uses assets used for regular business operations, while ROA accounts for total assets in the calculation.

Interpreting Operating Return on Assets

One important way to use the result includes looking at a company’s OROA on a trended basis to determine if a business is declining, stagnating, or increasing its profitability.

Especially for investors, it’s important to contrast the OROA of the company at hand against rival businesses within the company’s same industry. When it comes to comparisons, the higher the OROA is, the better the result.

Another important consideration for investors is that OROA provides an accurate assessment of a business’ core operations. Since assets analyzed are for a business’ core profits or services, if a business reports profits from selling a division or it reports a one-time profit surge from investments, its core profitability is less likely to be skewed during investment analysis.

When used in conjunction with other accounting and financial metrics, businesses can continually measure and adjust their operations to increase efficiencies to increase their return on operating assets.

Part 2: Pre-Retirement Planning Guide

Part 2: Pre-Retirement Planning GuideThere are many steps to planning for retirement. Some are legal and financial, some are about communication, and some involve introspection – thinking about your life now and how you want to live the rest of it.

By the time most people start thinking about a retirement plan, they have a pretty decent foundation. Perhaps its assets – a house, savings, a retirement portfolio. Perhaps a strong social network comprised of family, friends, and colleagues. Furthermore, most folks have a sense of who they are, what they like, and what they don’t like. Some people may have all three of those factors in hand, while others have just one or two. What’s good to remember is that once you hit a certain age, you have a lot of the knowledge and logistics in place to create a sound retirement plan. And that’s a good place to start.

This article is Part 2 of a two-part primer on pre-retirement planning. The first article previewed the first three steps: 1.) Budgeting; 2.) Setting goals; and 3.) Finances. The following is an overview of the subsequent steps.

4. Health

The good news is that Medicare will cover many of your most basic healthcare needs in retirement. However, if you have extensive medical problems, you could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is a good idea to earmark a separate funding source for potential medical expenses, such as a Health Savings Account (HSA). You can only fund one of these until you qualify for Medicare at age 65; hence the importance of pre-planning years in advance.

Long-term care is even more difficult to plan for because you might not need it. This is one of those high-cost scenarios best covered by insurance. However, be aware that long-term care insurance policies typically provide a limited per diem rate, which might not cover the full cost of caregiving. Therefore, you should keep some assets in reserve in case you need it for caregiving later. Another aspect of your health plan involves end-of-life decisions – make sure you communicate them to your loved ones.

5. Estate Plan

Another gift to loved ones is to leave them a roadmap of what to do with your assets after you pass away. At the very least, complete a will with instructions. And don’t wait until you retire; the burden of determining how to manage your assets is just as egregious if you pass away before retirement.

While there are financial components to your estate plan, there are logistical ones as well. Imagine if you (and your spouse/partner) both passed away suddenly in a car wreck. Is your house in order? Not only should you organize your financial house so loved ones can find your legal documents, but you also get the physical house in which you reside. Now is the time to think about downsizing and decluttering. Go through the closets, the attic, the garage and get rid of things you no longer need. Some of it your children or friends might love to have, some would make valuable contributions to local organizations, and some of it is just junk. Part of your estate plan should be to make it easier for your children to manage your property – and all the things in it – after you’re gone.

6. Legacy Plan

Your legacy is how you want people to remember you after you die. You can create your own legacy in different ways. For one, through philanthropy. If you expect to outlive your assets, develop a legal plan for giving. This could include to your children or grandchildren and/or charitable contributions to causes that represent your passions and priorities.

But your legacy is more personal than that. As you get older, you will lose people in your life, and you could die unexpectedly. Your pre-retirement plan should consider how you can repair and strengthen relationships with people in your life with whom you are estranged or not on easy terms. After all, how they remember you will also be part of your legacy.

7. Find Your Raison d’Etre

If you live a long life, you will lose friends. You may lose your spouse or life partner. You may lose siblings and even children before you pass on. How will you feel/survive/bear it? Translated from French, your “raison d’etre” means “your reason to be.” More than any other time in your life – when all your goals, dreams and relationships were ahead of you – in retirement you or your spouse may end up alone. It is vitally important that you think about and figure out what things make you happy, and are sustainable to keep making you happy should you outlive loved ones or even suffer from health problems. This is not an easy task, and a later article in this series will offer ideas on how to approach it.

The next seven Financial Planning articles in this series will discuss in more detail each of the steps previewed in this pre-retirement planning guide.