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Just in time for tax season, DCL interviewed local tax accountant, Ray Dyer Jr., CPA and Managing Member of Covenant Consulting Group, about tax changes that will impact 2018. Mr. Dyer explains three important changes he will address this year in his practice.

 

Changes in the Estate Tax Exemption

It might make sense to give to grandmother rather than the kids.

The Estate Tax exemption amount has effectively doubled from approximately $12.5 million per married couple to approximately $25 million per married couple. Over the years plans have been put in place to move assets from the “parents” to the “children” to minimize future estate tax on growth assets.

Now there may be an opportunity to transfer assets to parents – who may likely be the first to die – to get a tax free “stepped up basis”. The tax impact will be noticed when the beneficiaries dispose of the the appreciated assets - any gain is potentially reduced by the stepped up amount. Taking into account future growth, this strategy would likely be most effective for joint estates in the $8 million to $18 million estate range.

 

Expensing Changes

Like-Kind exchanges are limited to Qualifying Real Property. Personal property no longer qualifies for like-kind exchange treatment. 

Under pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law, depreciable tangible personal property could have been exchanged for like-kind property if the relinquished property and replacement property were of a like class if the properties were either within the same general asset class or within the same product class. In light of the increased and expanded expensing under the cost recovery system (ie, depreciation expense) and Section 179 expense for tangible personal property and certain building improvements, Congress believed that the like-kind exchange rules under Code Section 1031 should be limited to exchanges of qualifying real property. Thus, exchanges of machinery, equipment, vehicles, patents and other intellectual property, artwork, collectibles, and other intangible business assets do not qualify for nonrecognition of gain or loss as like-kind exchange.

 

Interest Expense Changes

New rules may change the best method for structuring business debt

Every business, regardless of its form, is generally subject to a disallowance of a deduction for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business's adjusted taxable income. Any interest expense limited under this rule can be carried forward and used at a later date. This may cause certain businesses to evaluate how such business debts are structured.

 

Ray Dyer Jr., CPA, writes, speaks and teaches on various subjects in addition to his private practice. He is a native of Tuscaloosa and attended the University of Alabama where her received his BS in Accounting and Master of Tax Accounting degrees. His first 10 years of college were spent in Dallas, TX with international accounting firms and as a Controller/Treasurer a national real estate syndication firm.

His emphasis is working with businesses that are going through changes such as entity selection, partnership formation or dissolution, syndication or equity raising.

 

Covenant Consulting Group provides Accounting, Assurance, Auditing, Valuation, Business Advisory, and Litigation Support services to businesses and families. For more information, please go to www.covenantcpa.com

The Tuscaloosa Track Club and  Hospice of West Alabama are hosting the 9th annual 5K Grand Prix event.  The event will include live music and local vendors.  Runners may choose to participate in memory of a loved one.  

When: Saturday, March 3rd starting at 8am

Where: Hospice of West Alabama, 3851 Loop Road, Tuscaloosa

For more info, go to: www.hospiceofwestal.com

Hospice of West Alabama (HOWA) has provided care to terminally ill patients and their families since May of 1982. It is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) private non-profit organization and is governed by a 25 member Board of Directors.
 
The agency is the oldest provider of hospice services in the West Alabama area and is a member of the United Way of West Alabama. HOWA is certified to provide services under the Medicare and Medicaid programs and is an approved provider for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
 
In 1998, HOWA became the first community based hospice in Alabama to attain accreditation by The Joint Commission.Hospice of West Alabama is the only agency serving West Alabama with its own free-standing inpatient facility, which has served more than 4,000 patients since it opened on November 1, 2004.The agency staff of more than 80 individuals serves hundreds of patients annually in Tuscaloosa, Pickens, Greene, Hale, Bibb, Fayette, and Lamar counties.
 

“Shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo; pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp …”  

Sure, this might be straight out of the movie Forrest Gump, where “shrimp is the fruit of the sea,” but one local business is trying to make this a reality in landlocked West Alabama. Since the end of 2016, the families involved with Sumter County Shrimp have dedicated themselves to digging ponds, drilling wells, and investing in equipment needed to grow shrimp in this area.  

According to co-owner Lee Stegall, the project idea stemmed from the discovery of salt water on his family farm years ago.  

“In 1959, my grandfather drilled a well on our family farm in Sumter County to water cattle. The artesian well began flowing, but the water was salty,” Stegall said. 

Over 50 years later, Stegall – a mechanical engineer in Tuscaloosa – was working in the Demopolis area. After running across information about Greene Prairie Aquafarm in rural Greene County, he reached out to co-owner David Teichert-Coddington. They met at Stegall’s farm in 2014. 

“He found our water quality was excellent, and immediately said we should be in the shrimp farming business. Over the next three years, we researched, traveled, went to meetings, and gathered as much information as possible to weigh the feasibility and benefits,” said Stegall. 

Stegall’s family friend, Shawn Templeton, was also interested in the project. Templeton and his parents became partners. Since word has gotten out about the saltwater shrimp farm, community response has been overwhelming.  

“People wanting to know when and where they can get our shrimp contact us almost every day,” said Stegall.   

The next steps for Sumter County Shrimp include finding a wholesale buyer for the shrimp, and offering the product to local restaurants.  

“The strong farm-to-table market and sustainable farming practices demand is perfect for our product.  The lower salinity water we grow in provides a sweeter shrimp than an ocean grown shrimp.  The lack of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and preservatives provides a premium quality shrimp,” said Stegall. 

With a plan to harvest the shrimp and ice them down to bring to Tuscaloosa, folks interested in purchasing from Sumter County Shrimp can follow the company on their Facebook page (facebook.com/scshrimp) and join the mailing list to learn when shrimp is brought to town.  

“Many people assume a farmed shrimp is a lesser product to wild caught shrimp. This is not so, and the taste will prove it,” Stegall said. 

Like everyone, we’re busy here in the Poore home.   But that doesn’t mean we don’t have time to sit down and enjoy a great meal. This shrimp and grits recipe is fantastic, if I do say so myself. I used my delicious Sumter County Shrimp for this, and it’s sure to please.  

As always, bon appétit! 

Shrimp and Grits 

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire  
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (jar kind works well) 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1-pound andouille sausage, cut into slices 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 
  • 2 cups half and half 
  • 3 cups water 
  • 1 cup old fashioned grits 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • Juice of one lemon 
  • 5 strips of bacon 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 4 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 cup chicken broth 
  • 1 cup shredded cheese 

 

Bring water, grits, and salt to boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, stir in half and half, reduce heat and simmer until grits have thickened (around 15-20 mins). Remove from heat, cover with lid, and set aside. 

Pat shrimp dry, place in a medium bowl, season with cayenne pepper, and then toss with lemon juice. 

In a large skillet, cook sausage until evenly browned. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove, let cool, and crumble. 

Cook the peppers, onion, and garlic in the pan with the bacon drippings until tender.  

While vegetables are cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, slowing mix in flour to make a smooth paste. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly until it has browned slightly (8-10 mins). Be careful to not let it burn. 

In the large skillet with the vegetables, add in the shrimp, sausage, butter/flour mixture, chicken broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Cooking and stirring until the shrimp is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Cover and remove from heat.  

Stir cheese into the grits until melted.  

Serve shrimp mixture over grits in a bowl or on a plate. 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – With Opening Weekend less than a month away, the UAB baseball team began practice in preparation for the 2018 season.

 

“I am proud of the guys effort today,” head coach Brian Shoop said. “I am looking forward to this season.”

 

UAB returns 21 letterwinners from a season ago including six starting position players and nine pitchers. 

 

Among the returners are infielders Carter Pharis and Price Visintainer. Pharis started 54 games in 2017 hitting .305 with 15 doubles, three homeruns and 30 RBI. Visintainer, a versatile infielder, hit .288 with 45 hits to just 24 strikeouts. 

 

On the mound the Blazers return senior pitchers Carson Jones, Ryan Ruggles and Isaiah Gonzales-Montoya. Jones made 20 appearances with five starts holding a 5.68 ERA over 52.1 inning pitched. Ruggles a consistent starter, appeared in 15 games with 10 starts striking out 49 batters. Gonzales-Montoya carried a 4.32 ERA primarily coming out of the bullpen.

 

UAB begins its 2018 slate on February 16 when it hosts Bowling Green in the first of a three-game series at Regions Field. First pitch between the Blazers and Falcons is set for 4 p.m.

 

For more information on the UAB baseball team follow the Blazers on Twitter (@UAB_Baseball) or on Instagram (UAB_Baseball).

 

Hi!  Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Amy Clark and I am a real estate agent for Lake Martin. I work with clients from Birmingham and Alabama and the US to find lake homes.

 

What show did you work on?

HGTV’s Lakefront Bargain Hunt - Home Sweet Home Lake Martin, Alabama (Season 2 Episode 8). 

 

How did you get involved with the show?

Last November I was at the Alabama  Association of Realtors of conference, sitting outside, when I  got a phone call from a producer at HGTV. At first, I didn’t think it was real.  They told me they were calling from HGTV and wanted me to be on one of the episodes.  Over the course of the next month, I went through the interview process.  We had Skype interviews and phone interview. It was a long process, but was so worth it.

 

Why did HGTV call you?

HGTV wanted to focus on Lake Martin and a particular price point and a young family. They heard about me.  I involved a young couple that they had sold a house to the year before from Auburn with 2 young children, Holly and John Parker. 

 

So, the Parkers had already purchased a lake home?

Yes – they purchased a lake home through me a year ago.  So they used the home they purchased as the final choice. I picked 3 additional homes that were currently on the market to be the other options. This is how they do those home purchase shows due to the time constraints for filming.  The Parker’s had not seen those homes before so their reactions to the homes were genuine. One of the reasons I wanted to work with Holly and John on the HGTV show is because they were very vocal and verbal, I knew they would be very honest. Holly and her husband John (Parker) are so real. Their little girl, who is an adorable red head,  and their little boy did the best of all.

How long did it take to shoot the program?

Four solid days of filming in the freezing cold in November.  It was 28 degrees. Started at 6am and finished at 6pm.

 It’s unbelievable what it took to do it. A team of 12 men came down from New York, one was lighting, one was sound, several camera men, a coordinator and one who was the runner.  What was so funny is that we got so close and we have stayed in touch for several months afterwards.   And of course, I am very close to my Auburn couple. 

 

What was shooting like?

By day 3 you are so tired and there are so many takes.  That one little clip may have taken 10 or 12 takes and it was so hard to remember what in the world I said! There was one person on staff that their job was to help me to remember what I said so I could repeat it if there was another take!

We were at the silo at Wind State Park and we were shaking so violently it was so cold.  You couldn’t tell on the TV show, they made it look like it was warm.  They would wrap us in warm blankets. And as soon as the director said “Action” they snatched the blankets off.

After the crew left, a few weeks later, a two man aerial team came with a drone. One man handled the camera and another man handle the drone. The drone was massive and it did photographs of all the houses in the show. These guys were top notch professionals.

 

What was the most challenging part of the process?

The most challenging thing had to be that the producers compressed those 4 days into 22 minutes for the show. I don’t know how they did that. It was a huge job.

How has the show impacted your business?

I was so excited about the exposure that Lake Martin got. You would not believe how many phone calls, listings and buyers I have had because of that TV show. Calls from all over the country!

 

What is the farthest away?

Probably California and they did buy a lake house.  Some from the Northeast.

 

If you had to do it over, would you do the show again?

It was such a great experience and I would do it again!

 

This episode of HGTV’s  Lake Front Bargain Hunt is available on Youtube for $1.99. Click here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5Ng853U3Jg&index=7&list=ELJLixdQIO0aSFtWYMQWn5gQ

For more information about Amy Clark, go to www.sellinglakemartin.com

If you want to read more about additional Alabama homes that have been featured on Lakefront Bargain Hunt, click here.

Making chocolate truffles typically requires expert knowledge of chocolate. Tempering chocolate, while possible to learn, is a bit of an art. Even chocolatiers fight bloom (where the cocoa butter leaves streaks in the chocolate) when the weather changes or in times of high heat.

But there is a way that you can make delicious chocolate truffles, in whatever flavor you want, in minutes at home. Literal minutes. You may regret learning this technique because it could be dangerous for your diet

The trick is…..

coconut oil and your refrigerator.    Shhhhhh - don't tell


It’s a bit of a cheat. The coconut oil works with the chocolate and helps it stay together, but also hardens in the refrigerator and provides the texture of the traditional coating on truffles. The filling is the same as traditional truffles The candies will not be able to stay out of the fridge for an extended time without getting a bit soft especially if your room is warm, but they are as delicious as the ones you find in high end chocolate shops.

Don't be intimidated by all the words in the recipe. It really is just melting some stuff in the microwave, rolling it up and sticking it in the fridge.

 

Handmade Chocolate Truffles

 

Filling

4 oz chocolate (Callebaut 70% is our favorite, but any good quality chocolate bar will work. Store brand chocolate chips will work too)

1.5 oz heavy whipping cream

Optional:

1 teaspoon oil based flavoring (like orange oil) or 2 teaspoons liqueur

Coating

4oz dark chocolate (same brand)

1/2 oz coconut oil

Pour whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl. Pour 1/2 the chopped (chocolate chip size) chocolate into the bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Mix well. Microwave for 15 seconds and mix well again until the mixture is smooth. May need to heat up for another 15 seconds if the mixture still has chocolate chunks.

Put mixture in the refrigerator to firm up (can stick it in the freezer if you are in a real hurry, but don’t let it freeze. You just need the mixture firm enough to roll in a ball.)

Once the mixture is firm, scoop a small amount out and gently roll into a ball shape (if you have a small melon baller, this will help with keeping the size uniform).

Place on a plate until ready to dip.

Melt the coconut oil or butter and remaining chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds to make the coating. Mix well until it is smooth and all one consistency.  Of it needs an extra 15 seconds to get all the chunks melted, that’s fine.  The coconut oil keeps the chocolate from blooming.  This means you don't have to be a professional to have good results. 

Place an uncovered 1 inch (size is merely a suggestion) ball of filling on a fork and lower gently into the melted topping. Cover the filling ball with the chocolate and bring it out of the bowl with the fork.

Allow the excess topping to drip off and place on a plact or piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle toppings that match your flavor on top. Sea salt, crushed hard candies, , nuts, coffee beans and pieces of dried fruit make great decorations. Put these on the top when the chocolate is still wet.

Once you have covered all the balls, chill in your refrigerator until the chocolate coating is set. Usually takes about half an hour.

Place finished chocolates on an attractive plate or bowl.

 

For a gift presentation, places like Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby have seasonal boxes that make great candy boxes. Line the box with a food safe material, like wax paper, before placing your truffles inside.

2016 SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

No. 1 Alabama (Visiting team) vs. No. 15 Florida (Home team)
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 • 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT)
Atlanta, Ga. • Georgia Dome (71,500) • CBS  Sports

THE  TEAMS:
Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) is the Western Division Champion and the visiting team, while
Florida (8-3, 6-2 SEC) is the Eastern Division Champion and the home team.

NATIONAL  RANKINGS:
Alabama comes into the game as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in the Associated Press and USA Today polls. Florida is the No. 15th and 16th-ranked team in the nation, respectfully.  

SEC  CHAMPIONSHIP  GAME:
The game, which started in 1992, is in its 25th year.  It was a result of conference expansion, which saw Arkansas and South Carolina become the first members added in SEC history.   Nearly 1.8 million fans have witnessed the pageantry of the game first-hand, with 22 sellouts in its history.  (Only 1993 and 1995 were not). The first two games were played at Legion Field in Birmingham and the game has been played at the Georgia Dome since (1994). This will mark the final SEC Championship Game played at The Georgia Dome.

SEC  CHAMPIONS:
Alabama will be vying for its 26th SEC Championship and third consecutive SEC Championship. Florida is aiming for its ninth SEC Championship and first since 2008. Alabama will be looking to win its fifth SEC Championship under Nick Saban. Jim McElwain is the first coach in SEC history to guide his team to the SEC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons. Alabama is the first undefeated team to play in the SEC Championship Game since LSU in 2011.

TELEVISION COVERAGE:
CBS Sports will televise the game nationally for the 12th  straight year (VERNE LUNDQUIST, Play-by-Play; GARY DANIELSON, Analyst; ALLIE LAFORCE, Sidelines; CRAIG SILVER, Producer).  CBS has aired the game nationally since 2001.  ABC Sports televised the game from 1992-2000.

BIG CROWDS:
The previous 24 SEC Football Championship Games have a total accumulated attendance of 1,791,493.  The 22 games in The Georgia Dome have attracted 1,637,057 fans.  The 74,412 average is over 104 percent of capacity in the 71,500-seat stadium.  Twenty-two of the 24 games have been sold out, including the last 20 consecutive contests. This will be the 23rd consecutive, and final, game in The Georgia Dome. The SEC Championship Game will move to the newly constructed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, located adjacent to The Georgia Dome, in 2017.

2016 SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:

No. 1 Alabama (Visiting team) vs. No. 15 Florida (Home team)
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 • 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. CT)
Atlanta, Ga. • Georgia Dome (71,500) • CBS  Sports

THE  TEAMS:
Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) is the Western Division Champion and the visiting team, while
Florida (8-3, 6-2 SEC) is the Eastern Division Champion and the home team.

NATIONAL  RANKINGS:
Alabama comes into the game as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in the Associated Press and USA Today polls. Florida is the No. 15th and 16th-ranked team in the nation, respectfully.  

SEC  CHAMPIONSHIP  GAME:
The game, which started in 1992, is in its 25th year.  It was a result of conference expansion, which saw Arkansas and South Carolina become the first members added in SEC history.   Nearly 1.8 million fans have witnessed the pageantry of the game first-hand, with 22 sellouts in its history.  (Only 1993 and 1995 were not). The first two games were played at Legion Field in Birmingham and the game has been played at the Georgia Dome since (1994). This will mark the final SEC Championship Game played at The Georgia Dome.

SEC  CHAMPIONS:
Alabama will be vying for its 26th SEC Championship and third consecutive SEC Championship. Florida is aiming for its ninth SEC Championship and first since 2008. Alabama will be looking to win its fifth SEC Championship under Nick Saban. Jim McElwain is the first coach in SEC history to guide his team to the SEC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons. Alabama is the first undefeated team to play in the SEC Championship Game since LSU in 2011.

TELEVISION COVERAGE:
CBS Sports will televise the game nationally for the 12th  straight year (VERNE LUNDQUIST, Play-by-Play; GARY DANIELSON, Analyst; ALLIE LAFORCE, Sidelines; CRAIG SILVER, Producer).  CBS has aired the game nationally since 2001.  ABC Sports televised the game from 1992-2000.

BIG CROWDS:
The previous 24 SEC Football Championship Games have a total accumulated attendance of 1,791,493.  The 22 games in The Georgia Dome have attracted 1,637,057 fans.  The 74,412 average is over 104 percent of capacity in the 71,500-seat stadium.  Twenty-two of the 24 games have been sold out, including the last 20 consecutive contests. This will be the 23rd consecutive, and final, game in The Georgia Dome. The SEC Championship Game will move to the newly constructed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, located adjacent to The Georgia Dome, in 2017.

WEEK 13 SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:

THURSDAY, NOV. 24:

LSU (6-4, 4-3 SEC) at Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 SEC), Series: LSU leads, 31-20-3, 6:30 p.m. CT • ESPN, Last: LSU, 19-7 (2015 in Baton Rouge), College Station, Texas • Kyle Field (102,512)

FRIDAY, NOV. 25:

Arkansas (7-4, 3-4 SEC) at Missouri (3-8, 1-6 SEC), Series: MIZ leads, 4-3, 1:30 p.m. CT • CBS, Last: ARK, 28-3 (2015 in Fayetteville), Columbia, Mo. • Faurot Field / Memorial Stadium (71,168)

SATURDAY, NOV. 26:

Georgia Tech (7-4) at Georgia (7-4, 4-4 SEC), Series: UGA leads, 65-38-5, 11 a.m. CT • SEC Network, Last: UGA, 13-7 (2015 in Atlanta), Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)

Kentucky (6-5, 4-4 SEC) at Louisville (9-2),  Series: Series tied, 14-14, 11 a.m. CT • ESPN,  Last: UL, 38-24 (2015 at Lexington), Louisville, Ky.  • Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, (55,000)

Mississippi State (4-7, 2-5 SEC) at Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5 SEC), Series: UM leads, 63-43-6, 2:30 p.m. CT • SEC Network, Last: UM, 38-27 (2015 at Starkville), Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (64,038) 

Auburn (8-3, 5-2 SEC) at Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC),  Series: UA leads, 44-35-1, 2:30 p.m. CT • CBS, Last: UA, 29-13 (2015 at Auburn), Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)

Tennessee (8-3, 4-3 SEC) at Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5 SEC), Series: UT leads, 75-30-5, 6:30 p.m. CT • SEC Network, Last: UT, 53-28 (2015 at Knoxville),  Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,350)

South Carolina (6-5, 3-5 SEC) at Clemson (10-1),  Series: CU leads, 67-42-4, 6:30 p.m. CT • ESPN, Last: CU, 37-32 (2015 at Columbia), Clemson, S.C.  • Memorial Stadium (81,500)

Florida (8-2, 6-2 SEC) at Florida State (8-3), Series: UF leads, 34-24-2, 7 p.m. CT • ABC,  Last: FSU, 27-2 (2015 at Gainesville), Tallahassee, Fla.  • Doak Campbell Stadium, (82,300)


SEC FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

OFFENSE:
RAWLEIGH WILLIAMS III, RB, ARKANSAS:
• Became the first non-QB in college football this season to rush for four touchdowns and pass for a touchdown in a game this season.
• Just the fourth player in Arkansas history to run for over 200 yards in an SEC game.
• Set new career-highs for rushing yards and TDs in the first half against Mississippi State with 191 yards and four touchdowns on just eight carries.
• Had a hand in five of Arkansas’ first six touchdowns in the game with four coming on the ground and the fifth coming on a 1-yard TD pass on fourth-and-goal in the third quarter.

 

30A Living is the Florida 30A area's premier community publication, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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