February 21, 2019

Munchery: No Surprise To Me That This Food Delivery Business Failed.

Munchery.


The San Francisco-based 'artisinal' on demand food delivery business turned its pricey ovens off and shut down last month after chowing through ... no pun intended ... a hot plate of $150 million in venture capital.

Oops!

A food entry from Munchery.
I don't know what it is.
But man, it sure looks gross!

But really.  There is absolutely not one salt shaker of surprise in this business failure.  The company expanded to major cities across the United States before ascertaining its business model had a chance of success.  Munchery built mega-expensive kitchens to produce ... and waste ... mega lots of so-called artisanal food.

And how much waste?  This data is a bit old, but according to Bloomberg's Eric Newcomer:
Financial documents obtained by Bloomberg show that Munchery has been massively overproducing food for years: Between September 2014 and July 2016, Munchery's kitchen in San Francisco made about 653,400 dishes that were never sold. The excess food was both donated to charities and thrown away, according to Bloomberg.
And those food wastage statistics are just for Munchery's San Francisco kitchen!

I mean, really:  How many people are going to pick of their smartphone and order a Seared Slow Poached Chicken Thigh and a side of Vegan Green Soup with Ginger for prompt delivery?  And how could a company, Munchery or any others, believe they could both independently produce this fancy food and deliver it, all the while making a profit.  Munchery's business model has never worked on a mass scale.  It ain't no limited delivery area, small menu Domino Pizza template.

But then again, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

February 19, 2019

Taxes: Did your paid tax preparer sign your tax return?

Paid Income Tax Preparer Responsibilities


I originally published this post last May.  It covers legal requirements paid tax prepares must follow regarding signing tax returns.  As a taxpayer, know your rights and the resonsibilities of paid tax preparers!  With individual income tax season now upon us, it's worth another read.

~~  Originally posted May 23, 2018  ~~

If you pay a Tax Preparer to prepare your tax returns, here are a few things you may not know about requirements for a Tax Preparer's signature.

(1)  A paid Tax Preparer is required by law to sign your tax return.  An exception to this requirement is that a paid employee who prepared his or her employer's tax return is not required to sign the return.

(2)  If you hire a Tax Preparer to review a not-yet-filed  tax return that you (or someone else) has prepared, and you pay the Tax Preparer for reviewing the return, the Tax Preparer is required by law to sign the tax return.  And he or she must sign the return, even if someone else has previously signed the return.  

Also, by signing the return, the Tax Preparer accepts professional responsibility  ... and therefore, professional liability ... or all positions taken on the return.  That is why I do not provide "review" services for tax returns prepared by someone else.  Given the liability I would assume, I would need to re-prepare the return to be certain of the tax return's accuracy.

(3)  If a Tax Preparer prepares your tax return for free - in other words, receives no compensation - the Tax Preparer is not required to sign the return.  Same holds true if a Tax Preparer reviews a not-yet-filed tax return prepared by someone else, yet charges no fee for the revieswservice.  In these instances, the uncompensated Tax Preparer assumes no professional responsibility or liability for the tax return.

Tax Concerns?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

February 17, 2019

California Taxes


Is there anything California politicians won't try to tax or impose a fee upon?

Apparently not.  What's the latest target?

Governor California Newsom wants to tax drinking water in California.  No wonder so many people think California is plain crazy.

Newsom's water tax proposal is vague, but you can read a little about it here.

Tax Concerns?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

February 15, 2019

Lexi the Dog: Making the Best of a Cold and Rainy Day

Lexi the Dog


Lexi, my Faithful Canine Princess.   It has been cold and stormy all week, with 5.26 inches of rain so far this week.  Today has given us cold, rain,  and hail, with a temperature of only 43.7 degrees at 1:00 PM.

But Lexi, still a bit damp from our morning walk, is staying positive and taking the weather in stride.  What could be better than a nice afternoon nap in the comfy guest bedroom?

Lexi, my Faithful Canine Companion
Unconditional love is as close as your nearest animal shelter.  Please adopt, don't shop.  And please spay and neuter your pets.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

February 14, 2019

Amazon Pulls Out of New York City Headquarters Plan After Growing Opposition

Amazon pulls out of New York City Headquarter Plan.


Read about it here in the New York Times.

Just announced today, about a week after the New York Times reported growing opposition to the proposal.  That didn't take long, did it?  Read my February 7 blog post about the issue below. 

Shows you that ordinary people can, in fact, voice their opinions and be heard.  Wonder what Amazon will do now?

~~  Originally Posted February 7, 2019  ~~

Amazon's Proposed New York Headquarters.


Thought it was a done deal?  I sure did.

But guess what? It's not!  As I learned in this very interesting New York Times article yesterday.


Twitter using New York Senator Michael Gianaris is no fan of Amazon's New York plans, specifically the $3 billion in state and local incentives that Amazon will receive.  His ire toward Amazon's plan is such that he he calls the proposal Scamazon.  And much to Amazon's disdain, Mr. Gianaris has been appointed to the  Public Authorities Control Board, a little-known state board that .... guess what? ... must approve the Amazon plan.

Fascinating.  This will be some interesting politicking to follow, for sure.  Wish I could be a mouse in the corner to witness the barrage of lobbying that is most certainly going on.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

February 13, 2019

Stupid Criminal Award: Don't Stop For Tacos!

This month's Stupid Criminal Award is a doozy.


Three suspects in a recent car break in and credit card theft at San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge almost got away.

Almost.  Taco's got 'em!

Yes, the perps might have gotten away, if it weren't for tacos.  On their getaway route, the perps decided to stop at the Taco Shop in San Francisco for, well, tacos.  At which the cops promptly arrested all three men as they tried to hide in the bathroom.   All three were charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, including burglary and resisting an officer.

Tacos 1.  Criminals 0!

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  And yes, she likes tacos!  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

February 9, 2019

Employment Related Moving Expenses: Tax Deduction Was All But Eliminated On January 1, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 included a significant change to the tax deductibility of employment related moving expenses.

Unless you are a member of the Armed Forces, all employment-related moving expenses are eliminated.  Yep.  Every single one.

Individual Income Tax Preparation
Employment Related Moving Expenses


Prior to 2018, with certain underlying requirements, employed and self-employed taxpayers could deduct reasonable moving expenses if the move was necessary due to starting work in a new location.  These deductions - which could be significant - included such things as:
  • Packing and transportation of household goods and personal effects, and
  • Travel costs for the taxpayer and family members to the new residence, including lodging but not meals.
Beginning January 1, 2018, employment related moving expenses are only available to members of the Armed Forces.  If you planned to otherwise deduct these expenses on your 2018 individual income tax return, you're out of luck.

Questions about individual income taxes?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

February 7, 2019

Amazon's New York Headquarters: Not A Done Deal After All.

Amazon's Proposed New York Headquarters.


Thought it was a done deal?  I sure did.

But guess what? It's not!  As I learned in this very interesting New York Times article yesterday.


Twitter using New York Senator Michael Gianaris is no fan of Amazon's New York plans, specifically the $3 billion in state and local incentives that Amazon will receive.  His ire toward Amazon's plan is such that he he calls the proposal Scamazon.  And much to Amazon's disdain, Mr. Gianaris has been appointed to the  Public Authorities Control Board, a little-known state board that .... guess what? ... must approve the Amazon plan.

Fascinating.  This will be some interesting politicking to follow, for sure.  Wish I could be a mouse in the corner to witness the barrage of lobbying that is most certainly going on.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

February 5, 2019

Gross: Tech Workers Eat An All Meat Diet To Get An Edge In Their Tech Work

Just when I thought I'd heard it all when it comes to unhealthy fad diets, this comes along.

Get this ... Apparently the employer-provided free meal buffets are not good enough for some tech workers.  You see, some tech workers have adopted an All Meat and Fat Diet.  That's right!  No fruits, vegetables, grains, or fibre.  Just meat and other fats such as cheese.  It's called a Carnivore Diet.

A Carnivore Diet, aka Carnivory


Ryan Parks, a San Francisco Bay Area tech worker who follows this lunatic and unhealthy diet,  had this to say about his Carnivore Diet (also called Carnivory by those who partake in this unhealthy and gross endeavor) in a San Francisco Chronicle article.  And golly gee, we even get to learn about his bowel movements!
"The first week of the carnivore diet was tough, especially on his digestive system. Fiber adds bulk to stool. Without it, bowel movements were “not enjoyable,” Parks said. Still, he felt lighter and more energized. He no longer required Diet Coke to fend off an “undeniable urge to nap” after lunch. The carnivore diet stuck."
Here are photos of Mr. Parks enjoying ... or presumably enjoying ... his breakfast of a pound of browned ground beef topped with 2 slices of provolone cheese. 

Photo credit:  sfchronicle.com

Photo credit:  sfchronicle.com

Geesh!  At least he could sit down and 'enjoy' his breakfast.  All I can say about this unhealthy fad diet is two words:  Gross!  and  Scurvy!

Crazy!  Now let me get back to my breakfast of fruit and toasted homemade sourdough bread.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

February 1, 2019

Employee Benefits: Is Your Business In Compliance?

Employee Benefits are governed by a maze of federal, state, and local laws.  We're not talking just health insurance issues, but family leave, worker's compensation insurance, personal sick leave, unemployment insurance benefits, and on and on.

If you are a business owner with employees, are your employee benefits in compliance with pertinent laws?  California, in particular, has some of the most protective employment laws in the nation.

I bring 31 years of experience to business clients, including consulting services for Employee Benefit matters.  I welcome your call at (510) 421-5457 or email to mary@foutsfinancialgroup.com if you have questions about Employee Benefits selection, compliance issues, and annual reviews of Employee Benefits.

About Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides tax, insurance consulting, employee benefits consulting, and expert witness services to clients throughout the United States.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.