Author Archives: Jonathan Kravitz, Esq.

Public Disclosure of Tax Returns: A Potential Political Nightmare for Donald Trump

As we all know, the prudent taxpayer is expected to openly report their tax liabilities and business ventures.

Donald Trump, the outspoken GOP nominee, has denied rumors that he has any financial ties to Russian Oligarchs.shutterstock_78835723Trump has been asked to release his tax returns. In response, his campaign manager has stated that Trump’s taxes are under audit and that he will not release them at this time. This reluctance, to some, is troubling. The release of a candidate’s taxes is a political tradition that dates back almost half century. The idea is to provide taxpayers with information about their potential candidate (i.e. spending habits, charitable donations, potential conflicts of interest).

One may argue that there is no legal obligation to release one’s tax return. However, amidst rumors that the Russian government was behind the DNC hack, it may be a wise choice for Trump to clear his name. The U.S. government has not made a final determination as to whether the hacks were run-of-the-mill espionage, or a larger calculated plan to manipulate the presidential election.

Taking it a step further, Trump would need to release more than just the top two pages of his 1040 to gain valuable information into his Russian ties. We would need to see the attached forms and schedules, as it is here that will reveal potential tax credits for taxes paid to foreign governments. The U.S. government requires filers to disclose money held in foreign bank accounts. Failure to do so results in harsh penalties.

Further, if Trump received income from an investment partnership, he would have to report it, but it may not be clear whether that partnership has a lot of Russian investments or investors. He would have to include the partnership’s legal address. While the address alone wouldn’t necessarily indicate a strong Russian tie, more might be revealed by looking at the tax returns or other documentation from the partnership itself.

The “Outside-In” Approach to Your Business – Business Law Massachusetts

An “outside-in” perspective is premised on the idea that dependably successful companies begin with an external market orientation, whereby utilizing customer trends to design their business strategy. In more simple terms, this approach aims to deliver, above all else, something of value to customers, in lieu of simply developing a product.shutterstock_28891771

Times are difficult for many businesses, yet some consistently thrive. Starbucks, Target and Cisco, to name a few, remain resilient during turbulent markets. These Corporations pride themselves on their customer-centric approach. In doing so, they remain titans in their respective industries.

Some of the challenges faced by businesses are perennial – finding customers, securing investment, hiring the correct people – but it is important to remember that success is very much a product of customer satisfaction. With the involvement of technology in essentially all aspects of life, it is important not to forget we are humans, interfacing with other humans.

A seemingly simple illustration of the benefits of the “outside-in” perspective is bagged salad. Bagged salad has risen to be a $2.5 billion-a-year industry. Yes, chopped lettuce is an astoundingly profitable business, and will likely remain so into the foreseeable future. Companies, such as Fresh Express, realized the busy consumer not only wants to purchase salad, they want companies to make the salad for them!

In a similar fashion, Best Buy profited, immensely, from “outside-in” thinking. During an era where computer manufacturers were dropping costs and cutting back services, Best Buy launched Geek Squad. Geek Squad addressed the consumer demands for home and business computer support. Best Buy intelligently assessed the market from a customer’s point of view, not a product-first perspective. They even broadened their footprint into installation of equipment. Perhaps this explains why Best Buy is still in existence, while its main competitor, Circuit City, no longer has a pulse.

Toyota is an excellent example of a company who fell victim to the fruits of the short-term shareholder gains through the internally focused “inside-out” strategy. A once commendably successful company, Toyota shifted their goal from meeting customer needs, to superseding General Motors and maximizing growth. Naturally, the quality of their vehicles suffered resulting in a significant loss of revenue and a shrink in their customer base.

Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Ranjay Gulati states:

“The role of employees is absolutely critical as companies strive for an outside-in perspective. If the organization does not have people who can explore, comprehend, and meet its customers’ needs, the pursuit of customer-centricity is doomed from the start. To me, a key distinction for managers to focus on is the one between coordination and cooperation.”

In essence, employee and office fluidity and camaraderie are essential for success and allows a business to focus their efforts on profit-making strategies.

Here at Shapiro Law Group, we can assess your business needs and assist you in drafting or modifying employee and office manuals, including a wide variety of related documents. Comprehensive, modern and legally sound employee and office manuals will allow you to reach your business goals in a more efficient and systematized fashion. A business with employees who are working in unity can then, comfortably, shift their efforts towards meeting the needs of their customers.