John D. Teter Law Offices

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San Jose, CA 95128
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San Jose business lawyer for residential and commercial leasesWhether you are a landlord or a tenant, you will want to make sure you fully understand the terms of your lease agreement. Commercial and residential leases address a wide variety of issues that affect landlords and tenants, and if the language in a lease is not carefully drafted, this can lead to disputes that could result in financial losses or other legal issues. Before signing a lease, it is important to have an attorney review the agreement and identify any language that may need to be revised or other issues that could lead to problems in the future.

Terms to Address in a Residential or Commercial Lease

Some of the terms that should be reviewed before signing a lease include:

  • Severability - This clause states that if one or more terms in a lease are found to be invalid, this will not affect any other provisions in the lease. If this clause is not included or is not worded properly, an entire lease agreement could be found to be invalid based on a single error.
  • Use and exclusive use - A lease should detail the ways the tenant is allowed to use the property, and it may grant exclusive use to a commercial tenant, which would prevent other similar businesses from occupying the same building or another part of the property. When these terms are drafted correctly, the landlord and tenant can make sure they understand any restrictions or limitations that apply to them.
  • Improvements and alterations - A lease should specify whether a tenant can make any changes to the property while also detailing who will be responsible for paying for improvements. Wording these terms correctly will ensure that both parties fully understand their rights and requirements.
  • Renewal - The parties should understand the steps that must be taken to renew the lease at the end of its term. If the process for renewal is not clearly defined, a tenant may not be able to renew its lease, or a landlord may not be able to receive favorable terms in an agreement with a tenant.
  • Rent escalation - A lease should describe when and how the amount of rent may be increased. Unclear terms may lead to financial issues for the tenant if rent is raised unexpectedly, or the landlord may not be able to increase rent in response to higher taxes or insurance costs.
  • Force majeure - This clause will detail what will happen if either party is unable to meet their obligations due to issues that are out of their control, such as natural disasters or government orders. If these terms are not drafted properly, a landlord may not be able to collect rent from a tenant, or a tenant may face unreasonable financial obligations.

Contact Our San Jose Lease Agreement Lawyer

At John D. Teter Law Offices, we provide representation for small businesses, helping them address their legal issues. If you are a landlord who leases property to residential or commercial tenants, or if you will be leasing space where you will operate your business, we can review your lease agreements and help you draft language that will provide you with the legal protection you need. Contact our San Jose, CA business law attorney today at 408-866-1810.

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San Jose tax attorney for COVID-19 small business reliefThe COVID-19 pandemic has led to struggles for many people and businesses. While the rollout of vaccines in 2021 will eventually allow for a return to normal activities, many businesses will continue to experience a loss of revenue due to requirements to close, scale back operations, or lay off employees. Fortunately, the federal government has implemented programs meant to provide relief to businesses and taxpayers who have been affected by the pandemic. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, made a number of changes that may benefit both small businesses and individual taxpayers. These include:

  • Additional PPP loans - The Paycheck Protection Program, which was implemented as part of the CARES Act of 2020, provided loans for businesses, and these loans were forgivable so long as a business could show that a certain percentage of the loan was used for payroll purposes. Under the CRRSAA, businesses that had previously received a PPP loan will be able to receive an additional loan, although to qualify, a business must not be publicly owned, it must employ fewer than 300 people, and it must be able to show that its gross receipts in any quarter of 2020 were 25% less than in the same quarter in 2019. First-time loans will also be available to businesses that had not previously taken a PPP loan, and eligible businesses include self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and sole proprietors.
  • PPP loan forgiveness - Loans of $150,000 or less may be forgiven if a business used at least 60% of the loan for payroll expenses, including wages and benefits. The remaining 40% can be used for operational costs. In addition to rent, utilities, and mortgage interests, operational costs have been expanded to include software, personal protective equipment for employees, and modifications necessary to meet health guidelines.
  • Tax deductions for business expenses - PPP loans are treated as tax-free if they are forgiven. In addition, businesses may claim tax deductions for payroll and operating expenses, even if a PPP loan was used to pay these expenses.
  • EIDL Grants - Businesses in low-income communities may be able to receive up to $10,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants. Businesses that receive both grants and PPP loans will no longer be required to deduct an EIDL advance from the amount received in a PPP loan.
  • Employer tax credits - If a business were required to close due to government orders or experienced a decrease in gross receipts of 50% in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, it will be eligible for a 50% payroll tax credit, which will apply to wages of up to $10,000 per employee. This employee retention credit is not available for those who have received a PPP loan.

Contact Our San Jose, CA Small Business Tax Attorney

If you have questions about what forms of COVID-19 relief you may qualify for or how this will affect your taxes, John D. Teter Law Offices can provide the legal help you need. We will work with you to make sure you can make use of the tax benefits available to you, and we will help you determine the best strategies to minimize your tax burden and address any taxes that you owe. To learn more about how we can help, contact our San Jose tax lawyer at 408-866-1810.

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San Jose, CA business law attorney for business interruption insuranceThe COVID-19 virus has impacted every facet of our lives. Schools across the country have been canceled and replaced by online classes, employees have been laid off from their jobs, and business owners have lost valuable income. From restaurants to doctor’s offices, business owners are suffering. If you are a small business owner, you may be extremely concerned about the effect “shelter-in-place” directives are having on your business. You may even wonder whether or not your business will survive. One option that may be beneficial is business interruption insurance.

What Is Business Interruption Insurance?

Business interruption insurance covers business losses caused by a disaster. It is an optional form of coverage that may be included in a business owners’ policy or a comprehensive multi-peril commercial policy, or it can be issued on a standalone basis. This insurance is intended to protect against losses resulting from disruptions to normal business operations. In addition to replacing lost income, business interruption insurance may also cover:

  • Estimated profits based on previous months’ profits
  • Fixed costs such as operating expenses
  • Employee wages and worker training costs  
  • Civil authority ingress/egress
  • Taxes
  • Loan payments
  • Other reasonable expenses

Will Business Interruption Coverage Cover Losses Due to COVID-19?

There has been a great deal of uncertainty and confusion regarding business insurance coverage and shutdowns caused by COVID-19. Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made a ruling in the case of Friends of Danny DeVito v. Wolf that may influence business interruption insurance claims. The plaintiff in this case was asking for the shutdown order to be set aside on the grounds that the mandated shutdown was an overreach. In the end, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the order should not be canceled, because the coronavirus is “a natural disaster and a catastrophe of massive proportion.” If other states, including California, agree with the Pennsylvania Court’s classification of the coronavirus pandemic as a natural disaster, insurers would likely be required to pay business interruption claims based on COVID-19.

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San Jose, CA business tax attorney use taxesA recent U.S. Supreme Court case has prompted California legislators to change a state use tax law that affects out-of-state sellers. Under the new law, some retailers outside of California must register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and collect California use tax.

The law applies to remote sellers who have total sales of $500,000 in tangible personal property for delivery in California in the preceding or current calendar year. The law went into effect on April 1, 2019, so these sellers are required to collect and remit taxes on sales which occurred on or after this date. 

Examples of out-of-state sellers that may be affected by this change include online merchants, mail-order catalogs, or telephone salespeople. Retailers with a physical presence in California will continue to have the same registration and use tax obligations as before the new law was passed.

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San Jose business tax deduction attorneyHistorically, business owners have been able to utilize tax deductions based on the cost of assets bought for business use and the depreciation of those assets. However, the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) modified the rules regarding the deduction of expenses under Section 179(a) and the deduction of depreciation under Section 168(g). These changes affect business taxes filed for years 2018 and beyond.

Section 179(a): Business Asset Deductions

This law permits businesses to deduct the purchase price of certain assets as an expense for the year the business begins to use the property. The recent updates to the law raised the maximum expense deduction to $1 million (up from $500,000). The updated law also raised the phase-out limit to $2.5 million (up from $2 million).

This deduction is available for tangible property like tools and technology used in business. The deduction is also available for qualified real property. Under the TCJA, qualified real property includes qualified improvement property, as well as certain types of improvements to nonresidential property, which includes: 

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