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March 01, 2013

News in Brief

News in Brief, March 2013

IRS Simplifies the Home Office Deduction

This Will Save Taxpayers 1.6 Million Hours per Year

In 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3.4 million taxpayers claimed deductions for business use of a home, which is more commonly referred to as the “home office deduction.” Many direct sellers take advantage of this tax savings, saving monthly phone and utility bills in order to accurately fill out the often complicated 43-line form (Form 8829).

Beginning in early 2014 for the filing of 2013 taxes, the IRS is presenting a simplified option that many owners of home-based businesses may use instead of the current form, with its depreciations and carryovers. The simplified plan allows a capped total of a $1,500 deduction per year, and does not require all the paperwork and recordkeeping demanded by the current form. The IRS estimates that small businesses will save close to 1.6 million hours annually by using the new option.

The deduction amount is based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet, which is an average size for a home office. Other business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising and supplies, are still fully deductible.

Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller says, “The option is a common sense rule to provide taxpayers an easier way to calculate and claim the home office deduction.”

For more information, visit www.irs.gov.


TriVita Wellness Center Promotes Better Health

TriVita has opened a new wellness center next to its global headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. The first of its kind for the company, it will incorporate medical treatments, cutting-edge telemedicine and wellness education programs.

The center will help people identify individual strengths and discover how to improve their physical health as well as emotional and spiritual well-being. The company website also features an online wellness center for those who cannot visit the physical center. More centers are planned in the coming years.

The 13,500-square-foot center includes a staff of health professionals and provides an experience that goes beyond traditional wellness programs. TriVita’s wellness program is built upon a four-step process: assessment, education, coaching and reassessment. Individuals will be evaluated and learn through diet and nutritional planning, exercise and fitness training, and specialized classes, lectures and seminars.

Founded in 1999, TriVita is a privately held maker and distributor of natural health products and skincare formulas for people seeking quality products to achieve optimal wellness.


Primerica Helps African American Families

Primerica Inc., the largest independent financial services marketing company in North America, continues its efforts of empowering African Americans and entrepreneurship with a national conference this month. The Primerica African American Leadership Council (AALC) was created in January 2000 on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth, by a group of Primerica leaders.

AALC will host its national conference March 15–17 at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. The event will focus on the opportunities that exist, in order to educate middle-income African American families about how to better prepare for a secure financial future. African Americans are an increasingly upwardly mobile demographic, as evidenced by a 64 percent increase in households earning $75,000 or more between 2000 and 2009, and today have an estimated buying power of some $1 trillion.

Primerica Inc., headquartered in Duluth, Ga., is a distributor of financial products to middle-income families in North America. In addition, Primerica provides an entrepreneurial full- or part-time business opportunity for individuals seeking to earn income by distributing the company’s financial products.


CVSL and Longaberger Sign Letter of Intent

Ohio-based The Longaberger Co. and Computer Vision Systems Laboratories Corp. (CVSL) have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for CVSL to acquire a controlling voting interest in Longaberger. According to the LOI, Longaberger would become part of CVSL’s strategy of growing in the direct selling channel.

As previously announced, Tami Longaberger, President and CEO of The Longaberger Co., joined CVSL’s board of directors on Dec. 3, 2012. Under the terms of the LOI, she has begun the process to convert her shares of The Longaberger Company stock into shares of CVSL stock, pursuant to a definitive agreement yet to be negotiated. This conversion would give CVSL a controlling voting interest in Longaberger and is subject to lender, shareholder and regulatory approvals.

CVSL’s chairman is John Rochon, a longtime executive in the direct selling industry. He is also chairman of Dallas-based Richmont Holdings Inc.

The Longaberger Company sells premium handcrafted baskets made in Ohio and a line of products for the home, including pottery, as well as gourmet foods, through a nationwide network of independent sales representatives.

CVSL is a development-stage company, which is engaged in the development of products intended for medical uses. Plans are under way to make CVSL the platform for a brand strategy of acquiring multiple privately held direct selling companies.


USANA Surpasses Company Award Record

USANA Health Sciences Inc., a global nutritional company, announced that in 2012 it earned more than 85 national and international accolades for its products, marketing tools, executive leadership and strategic partnerships with athletes, scientific experts and research institutions. The company nearly doubled the number of awards it received in 2011.

Some notable accolades include honors by the Outside Magazine Awards, The Best of State Awards, Australian Business Awards, Utah Business Magazine Awards, The MarCom Awards and The Stevie Awards.

Founded in 1992, USANA Health Sciences is a nutritional company that manufactures high-quality supplements and personal care, energy, and weight-management products in their FDA-registered facility in Salt Lake City. USANA’s products are sold directly to Preferred Customers and Associates in 18 international markets.


Vemma Bod-e™ Featured in Design Annual

Vemma Bod-e was chosen to be featured in Brand Packaging magazine’s recently released Design Gallery annual. Vemma Nutrition Co. was featured alongside other brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Colgate, Pepperidge Farm, Haagen-Dazs, Sprint and GNC. The publication is a resource on brand packaging for business investors, brand owners and their package design and development teams.

As the only U.S. publication focused exclusively on product packaging, Brand Packaging recognized the Bod-e Burn packaging in the Metal category for its can design and features. The annual Design Gallery showcases packaging designs that appeal to consumers, represent the brand story, demonstrate a high level of innovation and meet marketing objectives.

In other news, Vemma released its worldwide wholesale sales for 2012, posting an overall 30 percent increase at $117 million. The largest sales growth occurred in the U.S. market, with a 46 percent increase over last year, followed by Canada, with 34 percent sales growth, and Europe, with a 22 percent increase; the U.S. market also saw 85 percent growth in recruiting.

Founded in 2004 by BK Boreyko, Vemma Nutrition Co. specializes in premium liquid nutrition. Vemma is headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., and distributes its products through a global network of independent Brand Partners.


Vivint Executive Receives SAMY Award

Vivint, the largest home automation services company in North America, announced that Kristi Knight, Vice President of Corporate Communications, was selected as one of 10 recipients of the 2013 SAMY Awards by Utah Business magazine and sponsor Griffin Hill.

The SAMY Awards honor overall excellence and innovation in sales and marketing endeavors. Recipients of this award were featured in the January 2013 issue of Utah Business magazine.

Knight has 17 years of experience in corporate strategic communications and marketing. She was instrumental in building Vivint’s integrated marketing department that includes digital marketing, government and community relations, public and analyst relations, videography, design, writing and social media. Knight also led Vivint’s 2011 rebrand, which encompassed the re-engineering of a traditional home security firm into a home automation company.

In other news, the alarm system review and home security specialists at AlarmSystemReport.com have announced that Vivint Security earned a place among this year’s top do-it-yourself home alarm system providers; 2013 marks the second year in a row in which Vivint Security has placed among the top 5 DIY home alarm systems in AlarmSystemReport.com’s annual rankings.

Vivint’s technology-based platform integrates a wide range of wireless features and components that deliver simple, affordable home security, energy management, home automation and solar solutions. Vivint has more than 13 years of experience and supports over 700,000 customers throughout the United States and Canada.


LifeVantage Makes Donation to Blessings in a Backpack

LifeVantage Corp. announced that in partnership with its network of independent distributors, it has made a donation to Blessings in a Backpack that will provide over 110,000 meals to hungry children in the United States.

Blessings in a Backpack, People magazine’s Charity of 2012, is a results-oriented program that is designed to feed elementary school children whose families qualify for the federally funded National School Lunch Program and have little or no food on the weekends. According to the nonprofit organization, it feeds 62,000 hungry children in 42 states and three countries through its programs, providing nutritious food, which results in better test scores, improved reading skills, improved health and increased school attendance.

The fundraising effort took place in conjunction with LifeVantage’s quarterly training event held in San Antonio in January. Those in attendance participated in two days of training by corporate executives and independent distributor leaders and heard scientific updates and other announcements, including the launch of a new LifeVantage product for dogs.

LifeVantage is a leader in Nrf2 science and sells anti-aging products to reduce oxidative stress at the cellular level. The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Salt Lake City.


Young Living Accelerates Global Expansion

Young Living, a leader in essential oils, has significant global expansion plans set for 2013. During the next 12 months, Young Living plans to open new markets in Canada, Hong Kong, Germany and Colombia, in addition to the many other countries in which it currently operates.

Young Living Essential Oils is known for its essential oils and oil blends, oil-infused nutritional supplements, bath and body products, skincare solutions, and natural preparations for the home. Its direct selling system offers thousands of independent distributors a unique business model for sharing Young Living’s message of wellness, purpose, abundance and vitality.