April 15, 2024


The state of finance in Florida

Jason Garcia | 9/28/2017

Holding Green for Green

First Green Bank, an Orlandobased community bank with half a dozen branches in central Florida and one in Fort Lauderdale, says it is the first bank in Florida accepting deposits and making loans to the medical marijuana industry.

The bank has already signed up as clients six of the first seven marijuana growers to be licensed by the state, including Trulieve, Modern Health Concepts, The Green Solution and Grow Healthy. The bank is also servicing other businesses around the industry, such as doctors and lawyers. Ken LaRoe, founder and chairman of First Green, estimates the bank has about $30 million in marijuanarelated deposits.

First Green launched the program in August 2016 but is only now starting to widely promote it. “We did it really lowkey because we didn’t want it to get out that we were doing it until we knew that we had our sea legs under us and the (federal) regulators weren’t going to mess with us,” LaRoe says.

Tax Tips

Businesses that employ low-to moderate-income individuals should be sure their workers are aware of the earned income tax credit — not a deduction but a refundable tax credit meant to supplement income. The amount can range from $510 to $6,318.

Those with student loans — or parents who are paying a child’s student loans — can deduct interest on those loans: $2,500 or the amount actually paid, whichever is less. Those with student loans can’t claim the deduction if they’re married and filing separately or if they or their spouses are listed as dependents on someone else’s tax return.

Some expenses related to hobbies are deductible — up to the amount of money made on the hobby. Hobby expenses, along with other miscellaneous expenses itemized on Schedule A, must exceed 2% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for them to be deductible.

Those who serve as military reservists can deduct the costs of transportation, meals and lodging if they travel more than 100 miles for their reserve service.

Some fees related to managing your investments are taxdeductible, including:

  • Fees for investment counseling
  • Custodial fees you paid outside of the account
  • Software and online services you used to manage investments
  • Transportation costs to and from an investment or financial adviser’s office
  • Attorney costs you used to collect taxable income
  • Costs to replace lost security certificates

Source: Bankrate

Hot Spot

Alan Lips, a partner at south Florida accounting firm Gerson Preston, says Miami remains an international hot spot for foreign investment amid turmoil in a number of Latin American countries.

“I’m in Argentina right now and most of my conversations with my clients have been about looking for opportunities in the U.S. to buy real estate that will draw cash flow, draw income and obviously appreciate over future years — and, most importantly, keep their money out of their local currencies.”

“U.S. real estate in general is attractive. But south Florida is kind of where they start and gain their entry in the U.S. because it’s comfortable for them. They can speak Spanish in Miami. They can fit in in Miami. It’s a culture that works for them.”

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Tags: Banking & Finance, Economic Backbone

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