La Incubadora Podcast: Elevate Your Voice: Introducing EGBI’s Toastmasters Chapter with David Fuentes

Conversation with David Fuentes:

How did you become involved with ToastMasters?

I had no idea what it was. I had an invitation from a coworker, they had this idea for Toastmasters and so I started going over to Oak Hill chapter here in Austin to try and learn a little bit more about what it is and how these communication skills are developed. I went in not knowing anyone and not really knowing anything about Toastmasters. Then I slowly saw that each meeting runs very efficiently so you have an agenda and you have an hour to go through the whole meeting and part of the process is everyone having a role to play in the meeting, so we each hold each other accountable. Each Toastmaster meeting has a different role, so someone who counts who gives 10 minute speeches and initially I was very scared but then sometime in life you just have to raise your hand. That was my first moment where I got involved with Toastmasters. Ever since then I’ve been participating every Wednesday here at EGBI. I’m still learning more about what it is and how to form that community through Toastmasters.

Can you provide an overview of Toastmasters International and Its mission? 

 It’s an international nonprofit, focused on developing professional, personal skills, communication, and leadership. Toastmasters is creating a community and a safe space where you’re able to practice those skills. Some of us come from backgrounds where public speaking is something that can be very stressful. Getting into the meeting and learning the structures and roles. Toastmasters holds everyone accountable in different ways so they are learning pathways that you undergo depending on the skill that you want to develop whether it’s time management or organizing your speech. We offer Toastmasters in different languages. It’s for number 1: building community and creating a safe space. Then also having accountability and practicing speeches that are personal or professional. Toastmasters empowers entrepreneurs to refine their communication skills and excel in their business. It gives people an opportunity to practice their public speaking abilities and also their leadership abilities. Toastmasters really helps people be able to develop those fantastic skills. 

How has being involved in Toastmasters impacted your personal and professional development? 

I found myself in this professional and personal development purpose. It’s been very useful, I’ve never been very adept at public speaking. It’s always something that’s gotten me nervous, but once you practice something over and over again it becomes easier. Maybe that fear never goes away but it becomes easier and it becomes a routine. On top of that you learn to use your body language in order to communicate. It’s a big part of the way you try to engage with your audience. Another thing is being aware of your audience and conscious of who is listening to you. Whether it’s a bilingual audience or an audience of small business owners of community leaders. You have to adapt your speech to communicate your message. In my personal life whether we consider it public speaking or not we do this a lot in our family events. We want to be able to communicate quickly,  efficiently, and be very vulnerable in our message but also have that organization so your message is clear. 

What are the primary benefits for individuals who join? 

The primary benefits that I’ve seen so far is whether you have to prepare for your speech for personal or professional life. It helps having an audience accounting for the factors you can’t control. Toastmasters is a place to prepare you for the unexpected. 

How does Toastmasters specifically benefit small business owners, and what skills can they expect to develop?

The way you communicate in your marketing can really help differentiate yourself. Toastmaster is where you learn how to do that because you have two minutes to communicate a clear message, you have to explain what you do as a  business owner. Usually it takes 3 minutes for someone to stop listening so it learns how to communicate efficiently. It’s a skill that we’ll use either in a small business or in life. 

How does Toastmasters foster a supportive and constructive environment for improving communication skills? 

A big part of Toastmasters is constructive feedback, so we each tell each other what we do well. We recommend each other to go with our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. I have certain tendencies in my public speaking that I wasn’t even aware of until someone from Toastmasters analyzed the way I speak. Telling me from a place of development positively telling me what I did very well and what I could improve on. At first everyone is nervous, no one knows what to expect after it becomes “How are you?”, “How are your kids?”. You start building that community and start being intimate with one another. You’re not scared of being scared in front of anyone. It’s a positive and safe space. It’s through meeting each other every day and holding each other accountable but making it a fun and safe space. 

For entrepreneurs hesitant about joining Toastmasters, what would you say to encourage them to take a leap? 

I think the best thing is to just show up. The goal of Toastmasters is to get everyone to speak publicly. We always try to get people to speak publicly but that can come in different forms: “Hi, welcome in, can you tell us your name, last name, and what you do?”. That’s enough, the first step is showing up even if you’re scared of speaking publicly. Everything is volunteer based, I really recommend it if you have a fear of public speaking, it’s just a thing where you just put yourself in the position. Once you start doing it you realize you might even enjoy it sometimes and even if you don’t it gives you a voice, it’s a place to practice and prepare. So I recommend you to come in and try it and if you don’t like it you can say that you’ve done it and you tried it. 

Can you share a memorable moment you’ve experienced here in Toastmasters?

My favorite part of Toastmasters is the community that’s built. I’ve been getting to know a bit more of our members and what they do and even beyond that a little bit more about themselves. There was a new participant, this was their first meeting. We didn’t have any speakers in our agenda so I asked for some volunteers and she shot up her hand, never really having met anyone in the room yet, kinda visibly nervous but also excited. She gave an amazing impromptu speech about the importance of getting out of your zone and the importance of raising your hand. It was very inspiring because you hear about their story, they get very vulnerable, they’re honest with the way they are feeling, but they’re doing a good job at it too. After that we saw a bunch of people volunteering. I asked for another ten minute speaker and someone shot up their hand and someone shot up their hand and gave a ten minute speech with little preparation. Later sessions we had people who had not participated in the first meeting, they have finally found their voice, confidence, and were able to present.  Sometimes you just have to volunteer yourself, raise your hand, and figure everything out afterwards you get out of your comfort zone. 

How can we find more information about joining EGBI Toastmasters? 

You can visit our website here at https://egbi.org/toastmasters-en/. Our office phone number is (512) 928-2594. You can also email at david@egbi.org and I’m happy to share more information. 

To find out more information about what we do here at EGBI look at our website here

Find video here.  Find spanish version here. 

La Incubadora Podcast-Using Artificial Intelligence for Effective Hiring in Small Businesses

Andres is a Colombian immigrant, he spent the last 18 years in the U.S.. He’s had many jobs such as construction, cleaning, tutoring, etc. His website uses artificial intelligence to make the hiring process more easier and less of a struggle for small business owners, or even the employees/people looking for jobs. With artificial intelligence you don’t have to rely on word of mouth just because you are in need, but you can actually find the right person with the right qualities that you want in an employee. Moil means hard work, they chose the name to represent the hard work in Latinos. The Moil website is used to connect small and medium size businesses with people to hire in real time.

We share the conversation.

Larissa:  Share with us a little bit about what we were talking. I can’t wait to share our conversations and what you are offering as a solution.

Andres: Absolutely, look I mean over the last 18 years like you mentioned right, I’ve had the opportunity not only to be an employee on construction, cleaning, tutoring, corporate sales, you know but I’ve also had the opportunity to be a business owner so I’ve had the opportunity to experience the pain points on both ends and then with the boom of artificial intelligence, you know we thought, hey what can we do to not only streamline the process for both ends, but what can we do to actually improve the process so that businesses can hire quicker so that businesses can actually find talent in real time and then candidates can actually highlight and showcase those skills.

Larissa: What is Moil and what does it offer?

Andres: The word Moil means hard work, we chose this name to represent our hard working latinos.  I’m a Latino immigrant, and we chose the name because it became a mission for Latinos to learn many skills so that they could actually find a job here,  a job there but, never actually having a place where they can actually utilize all of the skills in one single place. We’re a platform where we use artificial intelligence to connect small and medium businesses with people seeking employment, and we do this in real time so we allow businesses to actually match and connect with candidates and even hire them on the spot.

Larissa:  Why did you decide to launch this app?

Andres:  It comes from two things, it comes from not being able to showcase and highlight their skills for skilled labor and not being able to actually monetize all of their skills and number two it comes from my personal experience. On both ends,   I’ve seen it, I’ve seen the issues that we look to fix both from an employee side and an employer side then with the boom of artificial intelligence it allowed us to actually simplify and streamline these processes and it was the perfect time historically. Technology was meant to actually  reach everyone and anyone.

Larissa: Who can benefit from it?

Andres:  Any small medium business or even a large business that is looking to hire will benefit from our solution because we’ve simplified the process. I encourage small medium businesses who don’t use technology today to give our application an opportunity because they will see that not only is it going to save them time it’s going to save them time it’s going to save them money in the short and long term because it will allow them to find the right people at the right time which is very important for all small and medium businesses who struggle many times to hire the right candidate or who struggle to actually say, hey I can’t hire someone full-time, well through our platform you can hire full-time, part-time, contract.

Larissa: How can a small business owner start using it?

Andres:  I’m glad you asked because you know we actually created this with you in mind, we created this company so that we could use that artificial intelligence to get rid of many obstacles, time, educational levels and language barriers, you don’t need to be very good with computers you don’t need to be very good with technology. You can do this from your phone or your computer and it will take just two minutes to post that job. I will show you exactly how to post that job, once you create your Moil account. You go to our website Moilapp you just need to know the basics of your business in order to create your business account. From your dashboard you have the option to post a job, you are going to click on “post a job”, you get to choose between English and Spanish, we are in the process of making the languages broader, then you just fill in the questions with what you’re looking for. By just putting your business name and the job title we’re going to click on “Generate for me”, and our artificial intelligence is gonna do the rest of it for you, the process takes just a few seconds while it loads, and this will actually create the job description for you and it also fills up the rest of the information about the position. You can edit the response, and once you are done you can E-verify or not-verify and then you click “save and continue”.”

Larissa: What would you like people to take away from this conversation?

 Andres: A few things, for business don’t be scared of technology, technology has proven to actually help you grow, make more money and become a  more efficient business. Today we need to use technology to continue to grow, don’t be afraid because it will actually simplify many many processes for you, now for people looking for employment remember that coming to the US or starting a new job does not mean you have to start from scratch no one can take away your experience and abilities no one can take away your skills so please make sure to highlight them while looking for a new job.”

Translated by Berenice Osorio Alvarez.

Find the Spanish version here.

La Incubadora Podcast: Succession Planning for Small Businesses with Miranda Barcena

By: Rutu Ruparel

In the realm of small business management, one critical yet often overlooked aspect is succession planning. This process ensures the smooth transition of business ownership, safeguarding the enterprise’s future and legacy. In an episode of EGBI’s Podcast, hosted by David Fuentes of the Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), Miranda Barcena, a financial advisor from Barcena Financial Group, delved into the intricacies of succession planning. This article synthesizes key points from the podcast, providing a comprehensive understanding of succession planning and its importance for small business owners.

Introduction to Succession Planning

Succession planning is the strategic process of preparing to transition business ownership from one party to another. This can involve passing the business to a family member, selling it to a third party, or even merging with another company. As Miranda Barcena explains, the goal is to transfer the business to the right person at the right time for the right amount of money. This ensures the continuity of the business and secures the financial future of the outgoing owner.

Importance of Succession Planning for Small Businesses

Small businesses form the backbone of the U.S. economy, with over 90% of all businesses falling into this category. However, less than a third of these businesses survive beyond ten years. One of the primary reasons for this high failure rate is the lack of proper succession planning. Small business owners are often caught up in daily operations, leaving little time to consider long-term strategies. Miranda points out that succession planning is essential not only for the business’s longevity but also for the owner’s retirement and overall financial health.

Common Challenges in Succession Planning

Starting Too Late

One of the most significant challenges small business owners face is starting the succession planning process too late. Many owners dream of selling their business for a substantial amount and retiring comfortably but underestimate the time and effort required to achieve this. Proper succession planning can take years, and starting early is crucial to effectively navigating unforeseen challenges.

Lack of Knowledge

Another common hurdle is the lack of knowledge about where to begin with succession planning. As Miranda mentions, many business owners are experts in their fields but not in financial planning or business valuations. This lack of knowledge often leads to procrastination, further complicating the planning process.

Understanding Business Value

A critical aspect of succession planning is accurately valuing the business. Many owners are unaware of the true value of their business, especially how it might change when they are no longer involved. Miranda provides an example of a surgeon whose business was valued at $3.2 million with him actively working but dropped to $800,000 without him. This stark difference underscores the importance of understanding and planning for business value changes over time. By starting early and working with advisors, the surgeon could have developed strategies to increase the business’s value independent of his presence, ensuring a better outcome for his retirement.

Steps in Succession Planning

Assessing the Business

The first step in succession planning is a thorough assessment of the business’s current state and future potential. This involves evaluating financial health, market position, and internal processes. Understanding these factors helps in making informed decisions about the future.

Identifying Successors

Identifying potential successors is a crucial part of the process. This could be a family member, an employee, or an external buyer. Each option has its own set of considerations, and the choice depends on the business’s specific circumstances and the owner’s preferences.

Developing a Transition Plan

A detailed transition plan outlines the steps needed to transfer ownership smoothly. This includes setting a timeline, defining roles and responsibilities, and ensuring that the successor is adequately prepared to take over. This plan should be flexible to accommodate unexpected changes.

Financial Planning

Financial planning is integral to succession planning. This includes valuing the business accurately, planning for taxes, and ensuring that the owner’s retirement needs are met.

Legal Considerations

Legal aspects of succession planning, such as contracts, estate planning, and regulatory compliance, must be addressed to avoid future disputes and ensure a smooth transition. To do this, engaging with legal professionals is advisable.

The Role of External Advisors

Small business owners often wear many hats and may not have the expertise to handle all aspects of succession planning. Engaging external advisors, such as financial planners, attorneys, and accountants, can provide the necessary support and expertise. In the podcast, Miranda emphasizes the importance of having a team of experts to guide business owners through the process, ensuring that all legal, financial, and strategic aspects are covered.

Conclusion

Succession planning is a critical component of small business management, often overlooked due to the daily pressures of running a business. However, as Miranda Barcena articulates, early and strategic planning can significantly impact the business’s future and the owner’s financial security. By understanding the process, recognizing common challenges, and engaging with external advisors, small business owners can ensure a smooth and successful transition, securing their business legacy for the future.

Find the Spanish version here.

La Incubadora Podcast: Brand Identity, Crafting Your Business’s Distinct Persona with Krisi Gaston

By: Rutu Ruparel

In today’s competitive business landscape, standing out is more crucial than ever. Your brand identity isn’t just about a logo—it’s about creating a cohesive and compelling image that resonates with your audience. In an episode hosted by the Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), Krisi Gaston, a seasoned graphic artist and illustrator based in Houston, shared invaluable insights into the art of crafting a powerful brand identity.

Understanding Brand Identity

What Constitutes Brand Identity?

A brand identity encompasses everything that defines your business’s image and reputation. It’s not limited to visual elements like logos; rather, it includes your business’s core values, personality, and the overall experience you provide to your customers. As Krisi Gaston aptly puts it, it’s about how you present yourself to the world and how your audience perceives you.”

Why Does Brand Identity Matter?

Establishing a clear and memorable brand identity is pivotal for several reasons. Firstly, it distinguishes your business in a crowded marketplace, making it easier for customers to recognize and remember you. Moreover, a strong brand identity builds trust and credibility, which is crucial for attracting and retaining loyal customers. It also sets expectations for the quality of products or services you provide, influencing customer perceptions and purchasing decisions.

Practical Tips for Crafting Your Brand Identity

1. Define Your Core Values and Goals: Before diving into design elements, take time to articulate your business’s core values and objectives. Understanding what your brand stands for will guide the entire branding process, ensuring consistency and alignment with your mission.

2. Maintain Consistency Across All Touchpoints: Consistency is key to effective branding. Whether it’ your website, social media profiles, marketing materials, or customer interactions, ensure a unified look and messaging. Consistency reinforces your brand’s identity, fosters recognition, and builds trust among your audience.

3. Invest in Professional Design Expertise: Professional graphic design plays a critical role in shaping your brand’s visual identity. According to Krisi Gaston, who is recognized as an Adobe-certified professional in graphic design and illustration, professional design expertise ensures that your visual assets—from logos to promotional materials—effectively communicate your brand’s values and personality.

4. Build Trust and Credibility: A well-defined brand identity not only attracts customers but also cultivates trust and credibility. Consistent branding signals reliability and professionalism, reassuring customers that they can expect a consistent experience every time they interact with your brand.

Key Takeaways

Crafting a compelling brand identity is a strategic investment in your business’s success. It’s about creating a distinct persona that resonates with your target audience and leaves a lasting impression. By defining your values, maintaining consistency, and leveraging professional design, you can build a strong and impactful brand identity that sets your business apart in the competitive market. In conclusion, developing a robust brand identity goes beyond aesthetics—it’s about strategically positioning your business and shaping how customers perceive you. By implementing the insights shared by Krisi Gaston, you can empower your business with a compelling brand persona that resonates with your audience and drives long-term success.

Find the Spanish version here.

La Incubadora Podcast: Facebook Marketplace, Do You Have a Business & Don’t know About It? with Andrea Harrington

What is La Incubadora Podcast?

La Incubadora Podcast is part of the Economic Growth Business Incubator, a local non-profit with the mission of providing training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. La Incubadora Podcast is born out of the need to put in video and audio a lot of the success stories we see here at the business incubator. We also want to answer frequently asked questions and connect with small business owners with the resources to succeed in business on your own time and wherever you are while you have access to a mobile device.

For today’s episode we’ll cover a little bit more information about Facebook Marketplace. We will unravel the intriguing concept of unwittingly owning a Business and its tax implications, particularly in the realm of online selling through platforms like Facebook Marketplace. We will explore scenarios where individuals may unknowingly find themselves in business roles and repercussions that it means for their taxes from understanding IRS criteria to proactive compliance.

Meet our speakers:

Our host, David Fuentes, will be diving deep into today’s topic with our guest speaker, Andrea Harrington. Andrea Harrington is a lawyer and team manager at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid small business and nonprofits team based in TRLA Austin Offices. Andrea works throughout Texas to serve the areas representing micro entrepreneurs facilitating Pro Bono small business legal clinics and providing Community Legal education on legal issues relevant to micro entrepreneurs. Andrea represents domestic violence survivors in family law cases and in protective order cases. Andrea obtained her Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University in 1998 and completed her Log Degree at the University Texas school of law in 2003. Andrea offers invaluable guidance to navigate this terrain with essential knowledge and be prepared to manage your tax responsibilities effectively in the digital marketplace.

What work does the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid do?

Andrea Harrington says,

“Texas Rio grande Legal Aid is a non profit law firm and we provide assistance through a wide variety of areas of law from family law to public benefits, housing issues, landlord/tenant issues. We do have eligibility guidelines that we have to meet for our clients.

You can go to www.trla.org/gethelp and there are prompts that can let you know what our legal intake hotline is that can get you started, if you need assistance. To go to through our eligibility screening and get some legal assistance and ,of course, we also offer legal advice to small businesses!

It is a service to the community ,all of our services are free to the community for eligible clients and we have offices here in Austin, all the way west to El Paso and all the way south to Brownsville!”

How does selling on Facebook Marketplace classify someone as a business owner? Does it affect me on my taxes?

Andrea Harrington says,

“The interesting thing about Facebook Marketplace is that people use it for various reasons. For example, if you have a new couch or you’re moving your baby from a crib to a toddler bed and you have to get rid of the old furniture and pull in the new furniture, that is NOT a business.

Other folks are using Facebook marketplace as a way to make some extra money, for example you may go to Goodwill on the buy by the pound day and you receive your items to resell them on Facebook Marketplace.

OR

You purchase furniture or toys, that may be a little bit beaten up, and refurbish them and sell them on Facebook Marketplace. You may be using that extra bit of income to top off your grocery budget, to be able to pay your car insurance

The MAIN thing to know is if you are regularly selling items via Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, or any online platform. The IRS may consider these activities of you being engaged in a business. With that comes tax implications because the IRS is very clear that all businesses income should be reported and is taxable.”

What are KEY FACTORS that the IRS or tax authorities consider when determining whether someone is running a business?

Andrea Harrington says,

“It is considered a business once the intent is to earn more money than I spend, then that is considered running a business.

One should also take into consideration the regularity of operations. For example if you are listing one/two new items a week or one new item a day, then that’s a regularity of engagement of a platform for a business activity/ economic activity and it will be taken into consideration by the IRS.

Additionally, the production of income and ongoing efforts the person may take to improve their profits of the business. For instance if I am selling on Facebook marketplace but I am also advertising items on Instagram, those are going to be other efforts to further the interest of my business. Which would make it look more like business activity than just a personal transaction.”

David Fuentes: “That makes perfect sense, so there’s profit and then the regularity of operations. Right?”

Andrea Harrington: “Yes and the production of income. If you are bringing in income regularly, then it will become a factor.”

“For a long time people could sell on Craigslist , Facebook Marketplace, and eBay and you would get paid via PayPal or Cashapp and that was the end of the transaction but that’s changing.”

Are there specific thresholds or criteria that individuals should be aware of when it comes to selling goods online and triggering business tax obligations?

Andrea Harrington says,

“The big change that is happening this year, that is really important for people to know, is that these transactions that you’re doing if getting paid by Venmo, Cashapp, PayPal, or through Zelle. These payment providers are going to be sending out 1099-s to you. There has been a big change in the law, starting in 2024 if you make more than $600 in income through one of these payment apps you will be getting a 1099 that is reporting your income. If you think about it, what you have been selling on Facebook Marketplace. if you make more than $600 in a year which is not a lot, this is 50 bucks a month!

This year in 2024, which is the first quarter is already done, the threshold for receiving the 1099 is $5,000.

What does this mean?

If you make $5,000 in just one payment platform you will get a 1099. Something to keep in mind is that 1099-s are given per payment platform, so for those of you that maybe selling higher priced items such as jewelry or furniture you may hit that threshold in several payment providers, you will be receiving 1099-s from each payment provider. It is not aggregate for your whole business since it’s per payment provider so it’s really important to be aware that this hasn’t been an issue for a lot of Facebook Marketplace sellers for a very long time because the threshold used to be $220,000 and in 2024 it is dropping down $5,000 and further down to $600 for this upcoming year 2025.”

What piece of advice would you give to Facebook Marketplace users?

Andrea Harrington says,

“One piece of advice I would give is to start keeping records as soon as possible.

It is really important that you guys who are selling on Facebook Marketplace that you take the steps to at least start keeping records so you can deduct your business expenses from the money you are making reselling these items. If you’re going to a store and you’re buying by the pound and then you’re reselling some of these items of Facebook Marketplace, you NEED to get receipts of your cost of goods sold.

Another thing that folks need to be really aware of is if you are selling online on Facebook Marketplace or any other platform you should have a sales tax permit from the state of Texas and be collecting sales tax because it is another mandatory rule of the law and it affects all sellers.

It is crucial for everyone to learn what items you are selling are taxable and collect the sales tax on that, collect them, and turn them over on your filing deadlines.”

David Fuentes says,

“It really does operate similarly as a business? It is really useful because I have some clients here, for example someone who owned a tire shop and so they would resell used tires on Facebook Marketplace and that counts as a separate business operation in itself so it’s kind of wrapping our heads around this and specifically for tax implications.”

Andrea Harrington says,

“Yes absolutely!”

How can individuals who sell items online proactively ensure compliance with tax regulations and avoid unintended tax liabilities?

Andrea Harrington says,

“The MAIN way to ensure compliance there’s two big things that folks need to do, one is keep records. You will hear this from your business count to lenders at the bank from anyone who works with small businesses will tell you how important it is to keep good records of the money you spend for your business and keep records of the money that you’re earning from your business. This is because any tax compliance is going to be reliant on the quality of your records.

The other MAIN way to ensure compliance is to report because there is no way around it. You have to report your income, you’re able to deduct your but you must be aware and accept that there will be taxes due on your profit that you’re making from your operations.

Additionally you must research what your state sales tax obligations are and make sure that you’re going to be compliant with those as well. It’s the cheapest way to go about doing this otherwise you might get audited at a state level and on the federal level, which is expensive, if you are going to be having someone representing or helping you and any back taxes that were found to be owed you are going to have to pay as well as interests and penalties. In hindsight, the cheapest way to do this is to do it right from the beginning.”

What are some common misconceptions or pitfalls that people may encounter when it comes to understanding their tax obligations related to online selling?

Andrea Harrington says,

“So a big one is that people think that because they’re selling online, that they don’t have a real business so they don’t have any tax obligations. Additionally some haven’t formed a corporation or an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) or filed a DBA (Doing Business As) so they haven’t formed a business, that is not a threshold that the state or federal government uses to determine whether or not you’re going to owe taxes on business income. What they’re looking at is the reality of the situation, are you engaged in economic activity that’s making you a profit? They are NOT looking at the formalities of whether you filed this paper or that paper. Like we said before, they are looking at the reality of what’s going on. The thing is that when you’re doing stuff online that is a record of itself, that’s evidence that’s out there. You can’t claim that you weren’t doing those activities when posts are up there, so it is essential to have that reality check of yourself and set a budget for these taxes. “

David Fuentes says,

“It’s really important to know before you start doing these things right otherwise you can find yourself in a hard place even without knowing this.”

As a lawyer specializing in this area, what advice do you have for individuals who may be uncertain about their tax status as online sellers?

Andrea Harrington says,

“In my experience people generally have a pretty good idea of what their status is whether or not they have a business, it just may be not the answer you wish it was. So my advice would be to be really honest with yourself about your selling activities online, whether its baby clothes, toys, clothes, etc, then you have a business. Like we said beforehand, if you are selling online to make a profit and you have come to terms with the reality of your situation, if you are uncertain do your record keeping because then you may not know if you are making a profit every month. With that you will find out whether or not you have a business. If you really aren’t sure, I can give you information you need. It may not be a huge profit, you might make $100 or $80 a month so I need to take care of this so you don’t get yourself into hot water. “

Where can I find more information?

Andrea Harrington says,

“One of my favorite places to send customers, of course is to EGBI (Economic Growth Business Incubator)!

Additionally if you want more information specifically about taxes, the IRS has an excellent website, a YouTube channel, and a whole web page dedicated to small businesses tax issues!

The Texas Comptroller offers a lot of information on sales tax issues, so if you have any questions you can contact them if you are not sure whether you should be collecting sales taxes you can do that reading online.

Austin has a lot of resources for small businesses and for entrepreneurs! The City of Austin has a department dedicated to small businesses and there are lots of profits here in town that are also dedicated to assisting small businesses.”

David Fuentes says,

Perfect! We have several resources here in the city of Austin such as the IRS, and they also have a Small business and Self-Employed Tax Center which is a great resource and is the first website that popped up.

Appreciation

Huge thanks to Andrea Harrington for being our guest speaker, especially with all of these new changes and folks will have to adapt. None of us desire to deal with tax issues or the IRS, so it’s better to keep records before getting into trouble. It’s been a pleasure once again chatting with you and we hope that you find this episode entertaining and informative!

This episode was produced by Raycast media to be able to launch our podcast. Huge thanks to Raycast Media for this amazing partnership!

If you know someone else that could benefit from this episode share this article with them or share the Incubadora YouTube podcast! Remember that the Incubadora Podcast is part of the Economic Growth Business Incubator, a business incubator in Central Texas that offers training, coaching, and support to small business owners with barriers to achieving success.

If you would like to learn more about the economic growth business incubator and our services visit our website: https://egbi.org/ Thanks for listening!

Find the Spanish version here.

La Incubadora Podcast: Travis County Inventory Asset, Navigating the County Renditions Form

La Incubadora Podcast is part of the Economic Growth Business Incubator, a local non profit with the mission to provide training, coaching, and support to aspiring existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. La Incubadora Podcast is born out of the need to put in video and audio a lot of the success stories that we see at the business incubator. We also want to frequently asked questions and connect small business owners with the resources to succeed in business on your own time and wherever you are while you have access to a mobile device. This episode is produced with the support of Raycast media, EGBI sends a big thank you to Raycast media for their partnership. Today we dive into the intricacies of Travis County taxes, assets, and inventory requirements for small business owners featuring insights from EXP experts at Travis county Appraisal District from understanding what constitutes personal property to navigating rendition forms and filing deadlines. We explore essential questions relevant to entrepreneurs, discover exemptions obligations regarding property value, discrepancies and implications of business changes.

The goal of this episode is to equip you with the valuable knowledge to effectively manage your tax responsibilities and asset inventory in Travis. Travis County Appraisal District business personal property department is responsible for maintaining all personal property accounts including reviewing renditions on personal accounts including renditions on personal property and removing accounts for entities that are no longer in business as of January 1st of each year. Our host will be Amy Cobb and we have two guests from TCAD, our first guest is Nancy Wiatrek, who serves as director of the Business and Public policy department and has more than 15 years of experience working on personal property issues with the district. We also have invited Samantha Leija, who currently serves as a senior personal property appraiser and has been with TCAD’s BPP department for more than two years.

What does Travis Central Appraisal District do and what do you all do?

Nancy says,

This mission of the Travis Central Appraisal District, given the coordinate of the Texas Constitution and the laws of the state is to provide accurate appraisal of all property in Travis County at 100% market value that is equally and that in a professional ethical and economical courteous manner. We work to ensure that each taxpayer only pays their fair share of the property tax burden. To keep our current data correct, business personal property appraisers will conduct an annual canvas for each personal property account in Travis County. Additionally visit each address to encourage compliance in reporting by taxpayers and to discover personal property. Typically if you own a business you are required to report personal property that is used in your business to the appraisal district. The appraisal district uses the information to estimate the market value of your business property for annual tax purposes. Texas requires businesses to pay property taxes to each taxing unit based on the market value of the inventory and assets it owns or uses in the production of income. This year we are estimating 35,000 renditions that will be mailed out to Travis Central business owners within the next week that is due April 15th. We have a lot of renditions that we are going to be provided back and all of our appraisers are going to process through

What counts as personal property, and why do I have to fill out a Rendition Form?

Samantha says,

What counts as a personal property is all assets are used in production of income, so that’s going to include your furniture, such as desks, chairs and tables. Machinery equipment such as restaurant equipment or like your heavier machinery like forklifts, Office machines like computer scanners and phones, we also have computers, vehicles, boats, aircraft, raw materials, finished goods. Businesses aren’t required to render intangible personal properties so you’re looking at your cash, accounts receivable, computer software such as your Microsoft Office. Rendition Forms have to be filled out annually by April 15th or by extension May 15th. That extension is automatically granted so long as it’s been requested before April 15. We have a form on our website that can be mailed in but we can also receive emails for those extensions as well.

The extension form at the bottom has an address to mail to as well as our email address is: bpp@tcadcentral.org

Travis County Appraisal District mailing address is: 850 East Anderson Lane Austin, Texas 78752

What happens if I don’t complete a rendition form, and what if I sold my business last year but still received a property tax bill?

Samantha says,

If you sold your business last year, we do need to be notified which can be done a couple different ways so you can do it by email bpp@tcadcentral.org and you could also mail in a not in business affidavit that can be requested directly from the cad. Email is always better because we can print that out directly and send it via email and it just needs to be returned once we do that, the account will be closed for the year.

Are there exemptions available that would exempt me from having to fill out a rendition or pay property tax?

Samantha says,

Yes we do have a couple different exemptions available that would exempt you from having to fill out a rendition or property tax. We have a religious or charitable exemption so those are going to be your nonprofits and of course your churches. If those are granted, property owners don’t have to fill out an annual addition. Once it’s granted then it keeps that exemption for the life of the property. We do have another exemption for a vehicle used both in the production of income and personal use, you’re looking at your realtors. That makes the vehicle exempt from taxes but all other assets are still required to be rendered and they are still subject to taxes. That exemption is per vehicle not per account, so if the vehicle is sold or replaced a new exemption needs to be applied for. All other exemptions we have such as Freeport Exemption and Biomedical Exemption, those are still subject to property taxes in some form. So an annual application and rendition are still required.

A non profit or church can’t just assume if they have their 501c3 through the state, they still have to file an exemption because it has to be at the county level as well.

My notice of Appraised Value was higher than the amount I rendered, why is that, and can TCAD help me complete my rendition form?

Samantha says,

A property owner is required to file a rendition per the Texas property tax code annually. However we at the district aren’t required to accept it typically because we’re seeing assets that are missing. For example, we’re looking at a rental car place and we want to see those cars along with the assets so we do have alternate methods of evaluation.

If you notice something is not right, there are instructions to file the protest on it and we don’t typically help complete rendition forms just because you’re the one who knows the most about your business so if we try to help you we may not have the most accurate information about what you’re reporting. Although we can answer general questions so what can go in what section or if you’re confused on some verbiage we can answer general questions about that rendition.

I disagree with my property value, can TCAD adjust my value without me having to protest?

Nancy says,

No, so once the market value has been set and a notice of appraise Value has been mailed, the only way TCAD can review accounts to make changes or potential changes is with an active protest on file for the year that the value is in question.

How can I find more information?

Nancy says,

The first thing you need to do is visit our website at www.traviscad.org there we have frequently asked questions you can speak to one of our customer service representatives by phone as well as through the agent and/or taxpayer portal. I do want to say that at the end of February 28th, the BPP department will be hosting an informational webinar at 12 pm to provide further detail in regard to business personal property. If you go to our website you may sign up on our web page. We look forward to seeing everyone at the next webinar and that is typically going to go over the rendition process. The webinar will be about an hour long.

Appreciation

Amy says,

It has been a pleasure chatting with Nancy and Samantha today and we hope you find this episode useful to you. If you know someone who could benefit from listening to this episode please share the link to this episode with them. Remember that La Incubadora Podcast is part of the Economic Growth Business Incubator, a business incubator in Central Texas that offers training, coaching, and support to small business owners with barriers to achieving success. If you would like to learn more about the Economic Growth Business Incubator services please visit egbi.org and see you soon!

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