Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In the News -- Chris Peterson

The Burton Creek TIF (TIRZ #19) was approved by the Bryan City Council in a meeting on June 26, 2007. To read more about the final vote, see the article from the Bryan-College Station Eagle from June 27, 2007. Once again, Chris Peterson represented the developer, Burton Creek Development, Ltd., before the City Council.

If you need help with a real estate project, please contact us at 979-680-9993 or through our website, Brazos

Do I geta tax break for officing at home?

Yes, you can but it is subject to certain rules. The IRS website generally explains them as follows:

"If you use a portion of your home regularly and exclusively for business purposes, you may be able to take a percentage of your expenses as a home office deduction. Expenses may include the business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, insurance, depreciation, painting and repairs."

Related Links from the IRS:
Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home
Form 8829, Expenses for Business Use of Your Home
Form 8829 Instructions
FS-2006-25, Home Office Deduction Reminders
Publication 4035, Home-Based Business Tax Avoidance Schemes

For all of your business' legal needs, contact Peterson & Swearingen, LLC at 979-680-9993 or through our website,

Monday, June 18, 2007

Are Limited Liability Partnerships really required to have insurance?

Absolutely yes! The San Antonio Court of Appeals recently concluded that individual LLP partners were personally liable on a commercial lease because the LLP failed to comply with the requirement that it carry insurance covering errors, omissions, negligence, incompetence, or malfeasance. (Edward B. Elmer, M.D., P.A. v. Santa Fe Properties, Inc., No. 04-05-00821-CV, 2006 WL 3612359 (Tex.App.--San Antonio Dec. 13, 2006, no pet. h.)). This decision was made despite the fact that one of the partners did have insurance. The court focused on the fact that the partnership itself was not a named insured under the policy. Thus, if you have an LLP, you need to make sure that the LLP is covered by a qualified policy. The individual partners will probably also want to be named on the policy too.

For all of your partnership needs, contact Peterson & Swearingen, LLC at 979-680-9993 or through our website,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In the News: Chris Peterson

Today, the Eagle again featured a story on Chris Peterson and the City of Bryan's Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #19. Chris is representing Burton Creek Development, Ltd. in its planned development near the Bryan Post Office. For the complete story, click here.

If you have a real estate development project and need legal help, please contact us at 979-680-9993 or through our website,

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I sold my home for a profit. Do I have to pay taxes on that?

If you sell your home, you may be able to exclude from income any gain (the amount of your profit) up to a limit of $250,000 ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases). To exclude the gain:

1. You must have owned and lived in the property as your main home for at least 2 years during the 5-year period ending on the date of sale.

2. You must not have, within the past 2 years, sold another home at a gain and excluded all or part of that gain.

If you cannot exclude gain, you must include it in income.

To determine the maximum dollar limit you can exclude and for additional information, refer to IRS Publication 523.

Unfortunately, you cannot deduct a loss on the sale of your home.

For any real estate need, please contact Chris Peterson at 979-680-9993 or

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How do we report taxes for a small business owned by my husband and I?

New legislatiev changes by Congress have simplified this procedure. The following article is from the IRS website and explains these changes.

"Legislation signed last week simplifies reporting for husband and wife owned businesses.
The new law, effective for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2006, allows a husband and wife who file a joint return to elect to report income or losses in proportion to their interest in the business and not as a partnership.

"The husband and wife must be the sole owners of the business and both spouses must materially participate in the business to make this election.

"See page 10 of the technical explanation of the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act Of 2007 for more information on the Section 8215, Family Business Tax Simplification."

If you are a small business owner and need legal advice or help in starting up, please contact us at 979-680-9993 or via our website,

Friday, June 01, 2007

Where can I find information on housing options for my parents?

Another lawyer sent me a link the other day to an internet comparison of nursing homes. It has some basic information comparing types of independent living, assisted living, and nursing home facilities. Click here for that website,

Also, you will want to check out the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) website for more information, including consumer complaints about particular advisers.

For more information about elder law issues, check out our website, If we can be of assistance to you and your family, please contact us.

What is the plan for growth and development on the east side of College Station, Texas?

Since we are located in College Station, Texas, we get asked this question a bunch. College Station, which is home to Texas A&M University, is booming. This surge in jobs, residents and development has led to a myriad of traffic problems not previously seen here. However, there has been a plan proposed by a traffic consultant hired by the City. The plan extensively changes traffic patterns in east College Station, and will lay the groundwork for future subdivision and retail development in that area of town. The report can be found by clicking here.

If you are planning to develop land in College Station, please contact us if we can be of assistance. Our website is

What can I depreciate in my business?

The rules for what can or has to be depreciated are promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service. The following is an explanation from the IRS about the general rule on depreciation:

"In general, if business property is expected to last more than one year, the entire cost cannot be deducted as a business expense in the year you place it into service. It must be depreciated over the property’s useful life (as defined by the Internal Revenue Code). Most types of tangible property (except land) such as buildings, machinery, vehicles, furniture, and equipment are depreciable. Likewise, certain intangible properties such as patents, copyrights, and computer software are depreciable.

"You can elect to recover all or part of the cost of certain qualifying property (not buildings), up to a limit, by deducting it in the year you place the property in service. This is the section 179 deduction.

"Related Links:
FS-2006-27, Depreciation Reminders
Publication 946, How to Depreciate Property "

For more help with small business questions, please contact us or check our website,