Art of Negotiation: Starting and Pressure Points

Event: ProVisors Panel on Negotiation
Venue: Calabasas Country Club
Location: Calabasas, Los Angeles, Ca
Speaker: Attorney Douglas Schreiber of Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP

Transcription:

Before you go into a negotiation you need to be prepared:

  1. What are your needs?
  2. What are your wants?
  3. What are the other sides weaknesses or pressure points?

I focus a lot on #3.  Here is a great example: My law firm, Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP did some investigation on a matter that has settled within the last few months. We found out that the company we were suing had a deal that they were going to be selling. A very important deal; a very big deal.  Our claim: a thorn in their side.

But we settled this case for more than our value; more than our bottom line because we knew the pressure point of the opposing side. The pressure point was the company had to get this deal out of the way because we were impediment and they stood to make a lot more money from the sale then dealing with us and paying us a little more money.

So there is a situation where the preparation and investigation beforehand got us some information which gave us the exposure or pressure point on the other side that we were able to apply to our advantage.

For more information about our law firm and please contact with our business attorney in Los Angeles.

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Is Your Agreement Worth the Paper it is Written On?

California Supreme Court logoThe California Supreme Court recently answered that question with a resounding “No”.  In one of its early decisions in 2013, Riverisland Cold Storage vs. Fresno-Madera Production Credit Association, the Court rejected what had previously been a long standing exception (since 1935) to what is known as the “parol evidence rule”.  In brief, the parol evidence rule restricts one’s ability to present evidence, in certain situations, that would contradict, alter or add to the terms of a written agreement.

The situation involved a couple who feel behind on their loan payments.  They entered into an agreement which involved the lender agreeing not to take any enforcement action provided they continued to make the newly agreed upon payments.  A representative of the lender told the couple, among other things,  they would have a two year extension on the loan.  When the couple was presented with the mountain of paperwork for them to sign which documented the agreement (which they, not uncommonly, did not read), the actual additional term was three months.

Ultimately the couple sued the lender, claiming that they had been defrauded in that they were told something contrary to what was in the agreement they signed.  The Supreme Court, in a break from precedent that had been in effect for more than 75 years, held the couple could proceed with their claim.  The court did note though that the burden of proving the necessary elements of their claim was significant.

If you have a question regarding this decision or a specific agreement, you can contact our Contract Attorney in Woodland Hills at Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP.

Announcing the Change of Firm Name from Anker Reed HSC to Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP

Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP logoLarry S. Hymes and Douglas K. Schreiber are pleased to announce that Anker Reed HSC has become Anker, Hymes & Schreiber, LLP and will continue the Anker Reed HSC tradition of serving your legal needs in the areas of:

The law firm’s headquarters will remain at its current location:

21333 Oxnard Street, First Floor
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone: (818) 501-5800
Fax: (818) 501-4019

The Tax Benefits of Incorporation to the Entertainer (Part 1)

Tips in Applying for Business Tax ID
Image by IRS EIN via Flickr

This is the second section of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question” regarding the tax benefits of incorporation to the entertainer.

“In general, the tax benefits available to loan-out corporations compare favorably with those available to individuals under their two unincorporated alternatives:

  1. providing services as a direct employee of the unrelated party consuming the services
  2. providing services as a sole proprietor

“(La France, 1995)

The concepts employed to determine a corporation’s tax liability are the same broad principles of gross income, deductions, assignment of income, timing, and characterization of the income employed by the individual taxpayer. Taxable income is gross income less certain authorized deductions. Gross income is all income from whatever source derived. Internal Revenue Code § 61 provides a non-exclusive list of sources of income which qualify as gross income under that section, including compensation for services, gains derived from dealings in property interest, and dividends.

From gross income, deductions are made if specifically allowed by the Internal Revenue Code as properly deductible. Such deductions include those ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business, deductions on interest paid during the taxable year and ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year for the production of income.

* For specific inquiries regarding a tax planning legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Los Angeles Tax Planning Attorney services page.

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To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? THAT is the Question (Part 6)

This is part 6 of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question”.

The tax implications for an LLC (limited liability corporation) are identical to that of a partnership. ” For federal income tax purposes, the LLC is not a separate taxpaying entity and is not subject to tax at the entity level. Instead, the LLC’s members report their respective distributive shares of LLC income, gain, loss, and deduction and credit on their individual federal income tax returns.” (Continuing Education of the Bar of California, 1999)

The tax treatment of an LLC by the state of California may also be problematic to the entertainer. Whereas the LLC and partnership will pay the same annual franchise tax that a corporation pays ($800), an LLC will be charged, pursuant to California Revenue & Taxation Code § 17942(a)-(b), an additional fee if there is net income exceeding $250,000. The additional fee is specified in the California Revenue and Tax Code and provides for the fee to be graduated at specified levels of income. Taking our earlier example of the partnership that has $1,000,000o taxable income, should this partnership be an LLC, there would be an additional fee of $5,190 assessed.

Other popular business entities include sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships. It is not important that we analyze each of these entities with regard to the tax effects. What is important, though, is that we note that over time these entities have been regarded as being inappropriate for application to the entertainer. For example, the sole proprietorship provides no tax benefit insofar as taxes are assessed on the sole proprietor at the individual rate.

Furthermore, the purpose of this blog series is to assess the benefits and detriments of incorporation to the entertainer. An examination of all of the business entities and their utility to the entertainer would be of no use, for attorneys and accountants have long-held that an entertainer’s decision is solely whether to incorporate or remain a non-taxpayer. Therefore, the main consideration will be whether incorporation is beneficial to the entertainer as taxpayer.

* For specific inquiries regarding a business legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Los Angeles Business Attorney services page.

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To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? THAT is the Question (Part 4)

DETROIT -  JANUARY 13:  Sergio Marcionne (L) C...
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This is part 4 of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question”.

“The desire to avoid employee classification, and to obtain the benefits of the corporate form and independent contractor status, often motivates workers to create an employee loan-out corporation.” (La France, 1995)

Primarily, though, an entertainer will be considering the formation of a business entity for the purpose of creating a more beneficial tax structure. By filtering income through a business entity and with proper Tax Planning advice, different tax advantages arise. Yet, the structures of a limited liability company (“LLC“) and a partnership will not provide the desired tax benefit to an entertainer.

A partnership includes a syndicate, group, pool, joint venture, or other unincorporated organization through or by means of which any business, financial operation, or venture is carried on, and which is not, within the meaning of this title, a corporation or a trust or estate.

* For specific inquiries regarding a business legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Business Organization and Business Formation legal services page.

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To Incorporate or not to Incorporate? THAT is the Question (Part 3)

LAS VEGAS - MAY 21:  Entertainer Donny Osmond ...
Image by Getty Images

This is part 3 of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question”.

Which Business Entity Should the Entertainer Choose?

The analysis of which business entity will be most advantageous for an entertainer is no different from the analysis done with regard to which business entity will be optimal in any other industry. An analysis of the benefits and detriments with regard to liability, tax consequences, and control issues all factor in the decision of which business entity to employ. Over time, though, this analysis has been refined in that attorneys and accountants have recognized that certain business entities are more favorable in certain industries while other business entities more appropriately pertain to other industries.

The general analysis of the benefits and detriments of the various business entities have led attorneys and accountants to conclude that incorporating is more advantageous to an entertainer than forming a limited liability company, partnership, or other business entity. This is because the purposes for the formation of a business entity by an entertainer will not be served by any of the alternative business entities. The other attributes of incorporation, namely liability protection and control issues, become irrelevant.  Usually a corporation’s directors and shareholders will be shielded from liability in that a corporation and its owners are separate entities. This is untrue, though, when the shareholders have personally guaranteed the liability. This was a major teaching of the Basinger case, in that had Ms. Basinger signed the contract on her own behalf, this effectively would have been a personal guarantee of the contract. Additionally, the control issues are not important to analyze in that an entertainer is usually the sole shareholder of the loanout corporation.

* For specific inquiries regarding a business legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Business Organization Formation legal services page.

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To Incorporate or not to Incorporate? THAT is the Question (Part 2)

Cover of "Boxing Helena"
Cover of Boxing Helena

This is part 2 of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question”.

“The ‘loanout’ company is a ‘Hollywood’ term for a device that has received wide acceptance among doctors and lawyers-the personal service corporation.”(Klinger, 1986) “In the typical loan-out, an individual service provider forms a corporation in which she is the sole or majority shareholder as well as the sole or principal employee. The corporation then negotiates with a third party-the ‘borrower’–to ‘lend’ the services of the controlling shareholder-employee for a price.” (LaFrance, 1995) The third party will then pay the amount of the contract to the loan-out corporation, which will then pay a salary to the shareholder/employee. A studio or production company will usually not contract with the loan-out company unless it specifically expresses that the contract is for the services of the entertainer and the entertainer has signed the contract on his or her own behalf. A lawsuit involving Kim Basinger and the producers of the feature film “Boxing Helena” addressed this issue.

The contract for Ms. Basinger’s services was between the production company, Main Line Pictures, Inc. and Ms. Basinger’s loan-out company, Mighty Wind Productions, Inc. Ms. Basinger signed the contract as an agent for her loan-out company, but nowhere did she sign on her own behalf.’ The contract was between Main Line and Mighty Wind; Ms. Basinger, as an individual, was not a party.’ Therefore, it appeared that it was not Ms. Basinger who was obligated to perform on the contract, but it was Mighty Wind who was so obligated.

In an unpublished opinion by the California Court of Appeal, it was stated, “If the contract is only with Mighty Wind, then only Mighty Wind can be liable for breach of the contract.”

* For specific inquiries regarding a business legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Business Disputes legal services page.

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To Incorporate or not to Incorporate? THAT is the Question (Part 1)

NASA Television 2009 Philo T. Farnsworth Prime...
Image by nasa hq photo via Flickr

This is part 1 of Anker Reed HSC’s blog series entitled “To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate? That is the Question”.

This is the moment that you have been waiting for all of your life. The years of summer stock, off-off Broadway, and guest roles are over. You can smell it. You can taste it. Obscurity is a thing of the past-fame and fortune, here you come. Cha-ching! You are so close that you can see and smell the money and fame. A role in a television series or a part in a feature film. No more guest spots on “Friends” or “Home Improvement” or extra-work.

On those projects you were almost considered scenery. That was not really acting. One week of work; two lines of dialogue if you were lucky. Now you are going to be one of the stars. You have Emmy Awards and Oscars in your sights.

You have been around for a while in this business. You have made friends. And where there are friends, there is advice. Everyone has an idea. Everyone has a plan. Everyone knows the way to go. In the time that you have been a professional performer you have heard a lot of things. You have heard suggestions about hiring a personal manager or not hiring a personal manager. You have heard about this agent that is better than that agent. And you have heard about incorporating.

Everyone has been saying to incorporate. It seems that in Hollywood everyone in the entertainment industry has incorporated. One friend says to incorporate in California. Another friend says that Delaware is the place to incorporate. But what is the answer? Should you incorporate? What about other forms of business entities, such as a limited liability company or a partnership? And more importantly, what are the benefits and drawbacks to incorporating?

For answers to these questions you should see two people: an attorney and an accountant.

* For specific inquiries regarding a business legal matter that you may have, you are welcome to visit our Business Organization Formation legal services page.

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