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Courtney Corbridge

Courtney Corbridge

Just in time for tax season, DCL interviewed local tax accountant, Ray Dyer Jr., CPA and Managing Member of Covenant Consulting Group, about tax changes that will impact 2018. Mr. Dyer explains three important changes he will address this year in his practice.


Changes in the Estate Tax Exemption

It might make sense to give to grandmother rather than the kids.

The Estate Tax exemption amount has effectively doubled from approximately $12.5 million per married couple to approximately $25 million per married couple. Over the years plans have been put in place to move assets from the “parents” to the “children” to minimize future estate tax on growth assets.

Now there may be an opportunity to transfer assets to parents – who may likely be the first to die – to get a tax free “stepped up basis”. The tax impact will be noticed when the beneficiaries dispose of the the appreciated assets - any gain is potentially reduced by the stepped up amount. Taking into account future growth, this strategy would likely be most effective for joint estates in the $8 million to $18 million estate range.


Expensing Changes

Like-Kind exchanges are limited to Qualifying Real Property. Personal property no longer qualifies for like-kind exchange treatment. 

Under pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law, depreciable tangible personal property could have been exchanged for like-kind property if the relinquished property and replacement property were of a like class if the properties were either within the same general asset class or within the same product class. In light of the increased and expanded expensing under the cost recovery system (ie, depreciation expense) and Section 179 expense for tangible personal property and certain building improvements, Congress believed that the like-kind exchange rules under Code Section 1031 should be limited to exchanges of qualifying real property. Thus, exchanges of machinery, equipment, vehicles, patents and other intellectual property, artwork, collectibles, and other intangible business assets do not qualify for nonrecognition of gain or loss as like-kind exchange.


Interest Expense Changes

New rules may change the best method for structuring business debt

Every business, regardless of its form, is generally subject to a disallowance of a deduction for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business's adjusted taxable income. Any interest expense limited under this rule can be carried forward and used at a later date. This may cause certain businesses to evaluate how such business debts are structured.


Ray Dyer Jr., CPA, writes, speaks and teaches on various subjects in addition to his private practice. He is a native of Tuscaloosa and attended the University of Alabama where her received his BS in Accounting and Master of Tax Accounting degrees. His first 10 years of college were spent in Dallas, TX with international accounting firms and as a Controller/Treasurer a national real estate syndication firm.

His emphasis is working with businesses that are going through changes such as entity selection, partnership formation or dissolution, syndication or equity raising.


Covenant Consulting Group provides Accounting, Assurance, Auditing, Valuation, Business Advisory, and Litigation Support services to businesses and families. For more information, please go to www.covenantcpa.com

“Shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo; pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp …”  

Sure, this might be straight out of the movie Forrest Gump, where “shrimp is the fruit of the sea,” but one local business is trying to make this a reality in landlocked West Alabama. Since the end of 2016, the families involved with Sumter County Shrimp have dedicated themselves to digging ponds, drilling wells, and investing in equipment needed to grow shrimp in this area.  

According to co-owner Lee Stegall, the project idea stemmed from the discovery of salt water on his family farm years ago.  

“In 1959, my grandfather drilled a well on our family farm in Sumter County to water cattle. The artesian well began flowing, but the water was salty,” Stegall said. 

Over 50 years later, Stegall – a mechanical engineer in Tuscaloosa – was working in the Demopolis area. After running across information about Greene Prairie Aquafarm in rural Greene County, he reached out to co-owner David Teichert-Coddington. They met at Stegall’s farm in 2014. 

“He found our water quality was excellent, and immediately said we should be in the shrimp farming business. Over the next three years, we researched, traveled, went to meetings, and gathered as much information as possible to weigh the feasibility and benefits,” said Stegall. 

Stegall’s family friend, Shawn Templeton, was also interested in the project. Templeton and his parents became partners. Since word has gotten out about the saltwater shrimp farm, community response has been overwhelming.  

“People wanting to know when and where they can get our shrimp contact us almost every day,” said Stegall.   

The next steps for Sumter County Shrimp include finding a wholesale buyer for the shrimp, and offering the product to local restaurants.  

“The strong farm-to-table market and sustainable farming practices demand is perfect for our product.  The lower salinity water we grow in provides a sweeter shrimp than an ocean grown shrimp.  The lack of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and preservatives provides a premium quality shrimp,” said Stegall. 

With a plan to harvest the shrimp and ice them down to bring to Tuscaloosa, folks interested in purchasing from Sumter County Shrimp can follow the company on their Facebook page (facebook.com/scshrimp) and join the mailing list to learn when shrimp is brought to town.  

“Many people assume a farmed shrimp is a lesser product to wild caught shrimp. This is not so, and the taste will prove it,” Stegall said. 

Like everyone, we’re busy here in the Poore home.   But that doesn’t mean we don’t have time to sit down and enjoy a great meal. This shrimp and grits recipe is fantastic, if I do say so myself. I used my delicious Sumter County Shrimp for this, and it’s sure to please.  

As always, bon appétit! 

Shrimp and Grits 

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire  
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (jar kind works well) 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1-pound andouille sausage, cut into slices 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 
  • 2 cups half and half 
  • 3 cups water 
  • 1 cup old fashioned grits 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 2 pounds uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • Juice of one lemon 
  • 5 strips of bacon 
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 4 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 cup chicken broth 
  • 1 cup shredded cheese 


Bring water, grits, and salt to boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, stir in half and half, reduce heat and simmer until grits have thickened (around 15-20 mins). Remove from heat, cover with lid, and set aside. 

Pat shrimp dry, place in a medium bowl, season with cayenne pepper, and then toss with lemon juice. 

In a large skillet, cook sausage until evenly browned. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove, let cool, and crumble. 

Cook the peppers, onion, and garlic in the pan with the bacon drippings until tender.  

While vegetables are cooking, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, slowing mix in flour to make a smooth paste. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly until it has browned slightly (8-10 mins). Be careful to not let it burn. 

In the large skillet with the vegetables, add in the shrimp, sausage, butter/flour mixture, chicken broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Cooking and stirring until the shrimp is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Cover and remove from heat.  

Stir cheese into the grits until melted.  

Serve shrimp mixture over grits in a bowl or on a plate. 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.Jan. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Daxko, a software company that specializes in member-based health & wellness software, announced the recent hiring of Brittany Foust as Senior Vice President of Services. Brittany will unite and oversee Daxko's customer-centric services teams across all markets – including large health clubs, boutique fitness, YMCAs, JCCs, medical fitness centers, and others. She reports directly to Dave Gray, Daxko's Chief Executive Officer.

"I am looking forward to this incredible opportunity to take the Daxko and Zen Planner services teams to the next level, focused on ensuring high customer satisfaction and an unsurpassable experience when working with our team members. We want our customers to be wildly successful," says Foust.

Brittany comes to Daxko with extensive expertise leading services teams and conducting consulting engagements for SaaS companies in the healthcare and sports verticals. She has a proven track record of creating, installing, and executing processes that ensure strong customer focus and great experiences.

"We're excited to have Brittany join Daxko's leadership team," states Dave Gray, Daxko CEO.  "Her proven track record of implementing operational and process improvements will allow Daxko to deliver on our promise of delivering exceptional experiences to our customers and building a high-performing team."

About Daxko 
Daxko delivers comprehensive technology solutions and experienced services to all kinds of member-based health and wellness centers.

Making chocolate truffles typically requires expert knowledge of chocolate. Tempering chocolate, while possible to learn, is a bit of an art. Even chocolatiers fight bloom (where the cocoa butter leaves streaks in the chocolate) when the weather changes or in times of high heat.

But there is a way that you can make delicious chocolate truffles, in whatever flavor you want, in minutes at home. Literal minutes. You may regret learning this technique because it could be dangerous for your diet

The trick is…..

coconut oil and your refrigerator.    Shhhhhh - don't tell

It’s a bit of a cheat. The coconut oil works with the chocolate and helps it stay together, but also hardens in the refrigerator and provides the texture of the traditional coating on truffles. The filling is the same as traditional truffles The candies will not be able to stay out of the fridge for an extended time without getting a bit soft especially if your room is warm, but they are as delicious as the ones you find in high end chocolate shops.

Don't be intimidated by all the words in the recipe. It really is just melting some stuff in the microwave, rolling it up and sticking it in the fridge.


Handmade Chocolate Truffles



4 oz chocolate (Callebaut 70% is our favorite, but any good quality chocolate bar will work. Store brand chocolate chips will work too)

1.5 oz heavy whipping cream


1 teaspoon oil based flavoring (like orange oil) or 2 teaspoons liqueur


4oz dark chocolate (same brand)

1/2 oz coconut oil

Pour whipping cream into a microwave safe bowl. Pour 1/2 the chopped (chocolate chip size) chocolate into the bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Mix well. Microwave for 15 seconds and mix well again until the mixture is smooth. May need to heat up for another 15 seconds if the mixture still has chocolate chunks.

Put mixture in the refrigerator to firm up (can stick it in the freezer if you are in a real hurry, but don’t let it freeze. You just need the mixture firm enough to roll in a ball.)

Once the mixture is firm, scoop a small amount out and gently roll into a ball shape (if you have a small melon baller, this will help with keeping the size uniform).

Place on a plate until ready to dip.

Melt the coconut oil or butter and remaining chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds to make the coating. Mix well until it is smooth and all one consistency.  Of it needs an extra 15 seconds to get all the chunks melted, that’s fine.  The coconut oil keeps the chocolate from blooming.  This means you don't have to be a professional to have good results. 

Place an uncovered 1 inch (size is merely a suggestion) ball of filling on a fork and lower gently into the melted topping. Cover the filling ball with the chocolate and bring it out of the bowl with the fork.

Allow the excess topping to drip off and place on a plact or piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle toppings that match your flavor on top. Sea salt, crushed hard candies, , nuts, coffee beans and pieces of dried fruit make great decorations. Put these on the top when the chocolate is still wet.

Once you have covered all the balls, chill in your refrigerator until the chocolate coating is set. Usually takes about half an hour.

Place finished chocolates on an attractive plate or bowl.


For a gift presentation, places like Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby have seasonal boxes that make great candy boxes. Line the box with a food safe material, like wax paper, before placing your truffles inside.

If you’re looking for some fun things to do during this beautiful first weekend of fall, we think these are some of the best. Whatever you do, Birmingham, have a wonderful time and get out and enjoy the best that our area has to offer.

Birmingham Post-Herald (BPH) is Birmingham, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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