Kansas Brewery Legislation Aids in Distribution, Cider Making

Senate Bills 326 and 277 passed the Kansas Senate unanimously last month and have now moved on to the House.  Both bills contain legislation affecting the production limits and manufacturing protocols for microbreweries in Kansas.  Bordered by Colorado and Missouri (the original home of Anheuser-Busch) Kansas is often seen as playing catch-up to its neighbors and the bill recently introduced to the legislature would seek to change that perception drastically.  

Senate Bill 326 deals with the production caps for Kansas breweries.  Currently, Kansas brewers are limited to producing 30,000 barrels a year.  HB2189 would raise that cap to 60,000.  Considering both Colorado and Missouri both have NO production cap, the fact that a cap exists at all severely hampers the ability of Kansas brewers to compete out of state.  The craft beer boom in Colorado has seen 106 breweries added in just two years.  The economic impact of such a market in Kansas would be astronomical.  

Senate Bill 277 would allow for Kansas microbreweries to produce hard cider, up to 100,000 gallons of it per year.  Additionally, the bill would change the definition of "wine" to include hard cider.  An interesting portion of SB277 states that 30% of the fruit used to make the hard cider must be from Kansas.  Allowing microbreweries to expand their production is beneficial to both the consumer and the industry as a whole.

For Kansas breweries this means expanding businesses to compete.  Whether adding a new location, contracting with an out of state distributor, or finding new sources for hops, an attorney can be a valuable asset.  The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert works to support breweries, vineyards, and distilleries and help them make their mark on the industry.  All consultations are 100% free and we'd love to hear about your business.  Give us a call to learn more about how we can help your brewery be ready for the changing markets.

Moving To Colorado? Flat $25 Fee Lease Review for New Colorado Residents!

Are you moving to Colorado? Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in America.  Colorado as a whole added 101,000 people in just one year from July 2014 through July 2015.  That astonishing rate was only matched by North Dakota whose growing pains were largely due to an oil boom.  

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With every new resident that ventures to Colorado, the housing market grows with more and more people on the demand side and the construction and real estate supply side desperately trying to keep pace.  This seemingly one-sided market can leave the new Colorado resident feeling at a loss of control as to what goes into their new housing lease.  As in, "Well, if I don't take whatever they offer, then someone else will get this apartment and I'll be back to living on my friend's couch."  It is important to remember that there are laws that landlords must follow when drafting leases for their new tenants.  

At the Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert, a trusted attorney will look through your new Colorado apartment, house, or condo lease for a flat fee of $25.00 and give you information about the following components of your lease within 24 hours:

  1. Unenforceable lease clauses under Colorado law
  2. Leases contrary to applicable statute
  3. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Environmental Protection violations
  4. Unlawful discrimination
  5. Local ordinance compliance
  6. Security Deposit return timelines
  7. Notices of rent increase
  8. Landlord access to property

Moving to Colorado is enough of a hassle without having to wonder if you are being taken advantage of by your landlord because of your situation.  Let a qualified attorney review your lease and explain anything you don't understand before signing away any of your rights or getting into anything you aren't comfortable with.  Fill out the form here for more information.

Important Tax Dates for 2015 Tax Year (March and April)

April will be here before you know it and that means tax season is in full swing.  Most importantly, Americans will have three extra days this year to file their taxes thanks to Emancipation Day being celebrated on April 15th.  Returns for most individuals will be due on April 18th (see below). Businesses and individuals have several important factors to consider when filing their tax returns with the state and federal government.  Only your trusted attorney or tax specialist can advise you properly when making decisions on how to to file.  One of the most important things to keep in mind is the deadline for filing your specific return.

March 15, 2016: Deadline for Corporations or S-Corporations to file their return or an extension

If you are responsible for the filing of the return for your corporation, the deadline of March 15th is an important one.  Failing to file the proper return or extension can result in fines, late fees, or audits.  Importantly, it is imperative that you pay the estimated sum that you owe for that tax year at the same time that you file an extension.  Failing to pay the estimated sum will result in interest being charged for the time between filing your extension and the payment of your actual taxes.

April 18, 2016: Deadline for filing Personal or Partnership Tax Returns or Extensions; Deadline for First Installment of Estimated 2016 Quarterly Tax Payments (Also applies to Kansas and Colorado State Returns and Extensions)

If you file the tax returns for your household, that return must be submitted no later than April 18th.  This applies equally to returns and extensions.  As mentioned above, if you file an extension, you must pay the estimated tax that you owe to avoid any late fees or interest charged on the amount between the deadline and when you actually submit your return.

April 18th is also the due date for your first estimated tax payments for the first 2016 quarter.  Many small business owners, the self-employed, and independent contractors fall into the category of individuals and businesses that are required to file quarterly with the I.R.S.  Failing to adhere to the quarterly payment plan can result in fines and/or interest being charged on the owed amount.

April 25, 2016: Deadline for re-submitting a rejected return or extension originally filed by the April 18th deadline (Also applies to Kansas and Colorado State Returns)

Having your return or extension that you filed rejected is not necessarily the end of the world.  Often times these are simply overlooked errors or omissions and easily fixed.  However, it may be necessary for you to contact your attorney or tax professional to go over the cited reasons for rejection to make sure you accurately correct those errors.  It is worth noting, that although the last day to re-submit a rejected return is October 20, 2016, re-submitting after the April 25th deadline will incur interest on any taxes that you owe.

If you have any questions about your tax return, please do not hesitate to call The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert, and speak with an attorney that can answer your questions, or help to plan how to avoid certain liabilities in future years.  We'll check back in with more important dates for May and June!

Starting Your Dental/Orthodontics Practice: Cleaning and Straightening Your Business Planning

Making the decision to open your own dental or orthodontics practice is a big one.  However, it is just the first in a long list of hard decisions that you now face as a dental practice owner.  An attorney specializing in highly regulated industries, such as dental and other medical fields, can help advise you on those decisions and what suits your needs the best.

A choice of entity serves as a great starting point for your budding practice.  Whether an LLC, Corporation, or Partnership suits your needs will vary depending on what you want to do.  In fact, practicing as a sole proprietor under your own professional trade name may be the best option in some cases.  When you speak with your attorney about what kind of entity you choose to form, be sure to have an idea of where you would like the business to be in 5-10 years: Do you want to partner with a fellow dentist down the road, add separate additional services, or merge with another practice?

Organizing your business and the policies that govern how your practice operates is absolutely crucial.  The operating agreement and in-house practice policies will be the guidebook you use to run your office.  Do you know the laws that govern the permitted practices of dental assistants or dental hygienists and is that line clearly enumerated in your employment policy handbook? What constitutes the unauthorized practice of dentistry and how is your practice structured to best prevent it from happening? Obviously, having the policies and laws written down in a book may not prevent mistakes from being made.  However, having these policies in clearly written forms with mandatory safeguards in place will certainly lessen the probability.

The discussion of in-house policy and procedures goes hand in hand with your employee and independent contractor agreements and contracts.  As a practicing professional these concerns are rampant, especially for a growing and successful practice.  Knowing the differences between certain employer relationships and structuring your contracts to custom fit your needs and goals may save you headaches and potentially thousands of dollars down the road.  Using an employee or independent contractor contract form you printed from a Google search may seem convenient at first, but the money you believe you saved will pale in comparison to the potential consequences later on.

Clearly, there are a multitude of concerns facing dentists and orthodontists who choose to strike out on their own.  The structure and planning of your practice will serve as the foundation that your business builds on for years to come and should not be taken lightly.  If you are serious about wanting to someday run a successful dental practice, forming a relationship with an attorney from the very beginning will help to protect that dream.  Working with a trusted and knowledgeable attorney saves time, money, and hassle and we are ready to help.

Where Are My Hops!? Forward Hop Contracts Save Hassle

What Is A Forward Hop Contract?

Forward Hop Contract, as the name implies, is a forward agreement between the producer (the hop farmer) and the consumer (the brewer).  The brewer agrees to buy or take possession of a certain amount of a certain variety of hops from the farmer, who agrees that those hops in those quantities and varieties will be available to the brewer at the agreed upon price.   The contract specifies terms, dates, and various other factors negotiated between the party's attorneys.

A forward hop contract is different than a current year hop contract.  Current year hop contracts are very rarely offered and can vary widely in their terms and restrictions.

Why Do I Need A Hop Contract?

The craft beer industry, especially in Colorado, is enjoying one of the largest booms ever seen in any industry.  Over 100 breweries have opened their doors in Colorado in the past 2 years.  Unprecedented growth, however, means unprecedented demand. As we have seen during hop shortages in previous years, not having enough hops in place in the market to cover the demand can have a disastrous effect on operations both big and small.

 Because of the nature of hop plants, farmers must plant at least 2 years in advance before having a viable harvest.  From the farming perspective, this is a tough pill to swallow.  Making the equipment and structure investments, tilling the fields, fertilizing, planting, and caring for fields that won't show a profit for almost two years is unheard of.  What if the craft beer industry dries up before the investment made into hop production is covered for the farmer? 

A farmer needs reliability from those creating the market, the brewers, just as much as brewers need reliability from the farmers that there will be hops available in the coming years.  Forward hop contracts do just that.

How Do I Know My Hop Contract Is Good Enough?

Some brewers would use the contract offered by the hop production company or worse, find a contract draft online and fill in their own terms.  For as much time, effort, and specialized skill goes into crafting the recipe and brew techniques for their beer, the brewery owner would not give a list of those techniques and recipe to someone who had never brewed before and trust that their product would turn out right and their company would survive.  Likewise, a farmer that invests his time and effort into the production of such a volatile product would never trust his whole investment and livelihood to someone who knew nothing about farming.  In the same vein, you should never trust the livelihood of your business to an online form that knows nothing about you, your business, or you needs.

A forward hop contract should never be a handshake or dreaded "verbal agreement."  All too often, the situation for one or both party's changes and someone gets left out with no recourse.  Eventually going to an attorney with an unsatisfied verbal contract or an opposing party breaching a form contract one of you printed from online may be too little, too late.

Your attorney will help protect your interests and negotiate a fair deal that gets down to business.  At The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert, Nate handles hop contracting for both breweries and farmers and can help to create lasting relationships that profit both parties. Nate has a unique background in both fields helping him to understand the concerns and serve as a highly effective negotiator. Each cannot live without the other and you need an attorney who understands the importance of that relationship.