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  • Downtown Dare raises money for scholarships

    Epiphany School of Global Studies hosts downtown fundraiser for students

    By Bill Hand |
    You know it’s going to be an interesting race when the rules are read by a man in a chicken suit.  

    That’s how the Downtown Dare began, a competition in which teams of two to four people raced through the downtown and historic district, solving clues, performing silly acts and getting signatures for a $200 prize. There were 37 teams registered with about 150 people participating in the event.  

    The Epiphany School of Global Studies event was open to anyone willing to pay the entry fee which was $60 for a couple or up to $100 a team of four, with proceeds going to the Open Door Diversity Scholarships, a needs-based scholarship to assist children who wish to attend the private school. Tuition for the school ranges from $7,300 to $8,000 in addition to enrollment and special programming fees.  

    George Oliver, who along with being a giant chicken is also on the scholarship board, stood in the back of a pickup truck reading directions for the day through a megaphone. At precisely 10 a.m., not a moment before, the teams, some made up of students and others of families, received a booklet with rules and clues.   The rules included: everything done on foot; no driving or bicycling between sites; you didn’t have to solve the clues in order, although you had to complete the last one listed last; the race ended by 2 p.m.  

    Sixteen clues would lead the competitors to the same number of stops. The clues were historically oriented, so having a grasp of local history was a definite plus:   “This hitching post served as a stable for iron horses headed to Kinston, Morehead City and Raleigh between 1911 and 1987,” read a clue leading to the old train station. Of the old Clark’s drug store (currently primarily used as law offices): “This former drugstore/soda fountain was the site of a civil rights sit-in on March 16, 1960.” Al Barfield, one of those in the sit-in, awaited competitors to tell them about the day. And for the Lady Blessington Cannon, upended at the corner of Pollock and Middle streets: “At Pollock and Middle no boom can now sound/ For this British weapon is nose down in the ground.”  

    Oliver said that, while this is the first Downtown Dare, the school plans to hold it as an annual event. School officials predict the inaugural event raised about $7,000.   The winning team divided a $200 prize and won free entry into next year’s event.

    law offices of oliver and cheek, locations, New Bern Nc, Business law, Consumer law, estate planning,
  • Successful Business Rule #1: Know When to Call in the Professionals

    If you’re thinking of starting your own business, do you know what procedures you should follow? Should you register as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, or LLC? Do you know how the business will be structured or organized? Have you figured out a plan for expansion in the future?

    Are you entering into a partnership with another business or corporation? Are you confident you’re able to draft a contract that will look after your interests while encouraging cooperation? What happens when a business partner breaks a contract? What course of action can you take?

    Business law encompasses the creation of new businesses and the issues that arise as existing businesses interact with the other companies, the public, and the government. This area of the law includes bankruptcy, real estate, employment law, tax law, intellectual property, sales, and more. Transactional work is the specialty of a business law attorney—they normally do not represent a client in court and are often hired with the intent to avoid future litigation.

    A business should be viewed as a separate entity from its owners and employees. In this way, businesses are subject to certain rules that were created to give each marketplace participant the opportunity to succeed. Business law allows for efficient transactions and benefits the overall economy. If a problem should arise, a contract drafted by a business attorney will protect the buyer and seller and ensure payment terms are met.

    No matter what business you’re in, understanding when to employ the services of a lawyer is critical. Yes, day-to-day operations are easy for you to handle, but when your business life gets complicated a lawyer can be a valuable partner…and can save you time and stress. The attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC are ready to work with you to achieve all your business goals.

    Bankruptcy and Alternatives:

    When a business is failing, do you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy? Which process would provide the best outcome? A business attorney can provide the pros and cons of both and guide you on the right path for your company. He or she can also help you deal with creditors and investors during this stressful time.

    Filing for bankruptcy may not always be the best option. The choice you make can greatly affect the ability to retain your business assets and avoid costly fees. The team at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC can walk you through the other options available and possibly help your business avoid bankruptcy.


    During bankruptcy proceedings a receiver is sometimes appointed to run a company and has the power to take whatever action he sees fit to liquidate the business’ assets. A business attorney can represent the receiver or the business owner challenging the receiver prior to, during, or even after the appointment process. A knowledgeable partner at your side is key to ensuring the process goes as smoothly as possible for you.

    Corporate Structure and Business Planning:

    Structuring the way in which your business will be run and organized can be a daunting task. Let Oliver & Cheek, PLLC guide you in your decision to form a general partnership, a sole proprietorship, corporation, or LLC. The team can also help with the creation of job titles and duties, and the mapping of future expansion. A properly created business plan is used by investment-seeking entrepreneurs to convey their vision to potential investors. These plans may also be used by businesses trying to attract key employees, prospect for new business, deal with suppliers, or simply understand how to better manage the company.

    Business Entities and Transactions:

    When selling to a third-party buyer or transferring a business to the next generation of family ownership, our team can guide you through the process. From drafting contracts, leases, promissory notes, employment agreements, and contracts, Oliver & Cheek, PLLC can aid in business sales, shareholder agreements, leasing and purchasing real estate, lender financing, and many other transactions. The team can also review contracts and other documents to provide advice and a plan moving forward. Their experience will help you weigh opportunities and risks to best assess all business decisions.

    Negotiation and Drafting:

    A well-drafted contract is essential to the success of all types of transactions and business dealings. Our attorneys will work with you throughout the process—making sure to draft contracts that protect your interests while also encouraging cooperation among all parties involved. We can work with you to draft, modify, review, and enforce a contract and will be there in the event you face contract disputes or breaches. We focus on accomplishing your contract goals while ensuring the contract can withstand any future legal challenges.

    Business Consulting and Advising:

    Do you need a partner to provide honest, sound legal and business advice? The attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC are excellent problem solvers and experts at developing and selling ideas. Our team will work to help you solve problems, recognize emerging problems, and set your company on the path to success.

    Business Succession Plans:

    You’ve spent years building and growing your business—don’t leave its future to chance. Creating a succession plan is crucial and ensures you, or your heirs, will be able to cash out at a fair value when the time comes. With no concreate plan in place arguments between heirs of a deceased owner, or between heirs and employees, can sink a business. For larger businesses, the attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, LLC can help to assess internal candidates so the company is prepared when succession eventually takes place. The company’s top employees should go through the executive assessment process first, ideally conducted by an outside firm, so that favorites are not singled out, which can cause company infighting. Let our team work with you to create a plan that meets your needs and aid in the assessment process.

    Mergers and Acquisitions:

    Involvement in a merger or acquisition can take months and having a partner to walk you through the maze of requirements is essential. When needed, the attorneys at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC can offer legal analyses and solutions to advance your goals—all while avoiding unnecessary expense. We realize there’s no “one size fits all” strategy when it comes to mergers and acquisitions and will work with you to obtain the resolution that is most fair.

    Commercial Real Estate, Purchases, and Leases:

    Our team assists clients with numerous types of real estate transactions, including the sale and purchase of commercial real estate, property management, property development, landlord/tenant issues, and related matters. Oliver & Cheek, PLLC can also make sure there are no prior or existing litigation or insurance claims affecting the property. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or lender, we can handle any aspect of your residential or commercial real estate transactions.

    Tax Planning and Controversies:

    The experienced team at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC possesses a wealth of tax law knowledge. Our attorneys can help clients avoid controversies and save money in taxes, interest, and penalties by helping plan transactions and structure operations. Contact our office for assistance if you need personal tax assistance or help fighting a business audit or other controversy.

    State and Federal Civil Litigation:

    Is your business faced with partnership/corporate disputes, trademark/copyright violations, unfair competition, contract disputes, or breach of contract? Our team can work in both state and federal court to secure successful settlements in even the most complex disputes via trial, appeals cases, or administrative proceedings. When dealing with such matters at the government level, you’ll want a partner will extensive knowledge in this field to help navigate the process.

    For more information on any of these business issues or to schedule a consultation, please contact Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or visit


    Oliver Cheek Business Law New Bern NorthCarolina
  • Be Smart! Know When You Need a Lawyer’s Help to File a Tax Return

    Tax season is upon us…April 15th will be here before you know it. For many, using software packages like TaxACT, eSmart Tax, and TurboTax are the easy option for a simple tax return, but what if you started a business, lost a job, or experienced divorce last year? Big changes in your life, like starting school, the loss of a loved one, or making the decision to work from home, can mean big changes in your tax preparation.

    Amy M. Currin at Oliver Friesen Cheek, PLLC possess outstanding advocacy skills and a wealth of knowledge and experience in all areas of state and federal tax law. If you’re planning for future needs, facing a tax challenge, or buying or selling real estate, she will partner with you to navigate and resolve even the most strenuous tax issues.

    So, what may drive your decision to forgo preparing your own taxes?

    You have time constraints. Since 2001, Congress has made nearly 5,000 changes to the Tax Code—a document which is now nearly four million words in length. Even the most thorough person would never have the time to read and digest all it contains. Tax laws cover income, corporate, excise, luxury, estate and property taxes, to name just a few.

    The U.S. Congress and state legislatures are responsible for creating a majority of the tax laws and forms and instructions change each year to reflect new tax laws. For example, the federal government has imposed temporary income tax cuts and other business tax incentives to stimulate the economy. Cities, counties, and states adjust property tax rates from year to year based on different factors such as budget deficits and the cost of providing government services.

    You overlook deductions. When filing taxes on your own, are you confident you’re utilizing all possible deductions? Sure, you count any charitable donations you made in the last year, but a tax lawyer can ensure you don’t miss out on those not-so-common deductions.

    Student loan interest paid by parents:
    When Mom and Dad pay back their child’s student loans the transaction is considered as a gift to him by the IRS. If that child is no longer a considered a dependent, he can deduct up to $2,500 of student loan interest each year.

    Job searches:
    If you’ve kept track over the past year of all job hunting expenses—cab fare, employment agency expenses, mileage you drive in your own car, and food and lodging if traveling was required during your job search—you may be able to deduct these costs if you itemize. You can even deduct the cost of a move when accepting a job more than 50 miles from your current location.

    Military Reservist considerations:
    If you traveled more than 100 miles to attend a drill and spent the night, you can deduct your lodging expenses, half the cost of your meals, and 51 cents per mile for travel. You can also deduct tolls and parking fees.

    The self-employed & Medicare premiums:
    Those who continue to run their own businesses after qualifying for Medicare can deduct the premiums paid for Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D, plus the cost of supplemental Medicare policies or the cost of a Medicare Advantage plan.

    This is just a sampling of the huge number of deductions possible when filing your taxes. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable with the assistance of a tax professional to make sure you don’t miss any of these opportunities? Speaking of confidence…

    You lack the confidence your return is correct. The last thing you want is the IRS to find a problem with your tax return. Barring fraud or underreporting income, a three year statute of limitations exists for federal income tax returns for individuals; that means the IRS may challenge what you’ve reported for up to three years after the date of filing. It may cost a bit more, but filing with the help of a tax lawyer can save you big bucks in the long term.

    You think filing business taxes can’t be that hard. If you’re a business owner, you more than likely do not have the tax knowledge you need to stay out of trouble. Partnerships report on Form 1065. If you’re a sole proprietor, your business income and expenses are reported on a Schedule C attached to your personal income tax return. If you have a corporation or have elected to treat your LLC as a corporation, then you will need to prepare a separate corporate tax return with Form 1120. Use Form 1120S is if you have elected S Corporation Status. Does this sound a bit confusing? It is.

    And what about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? With its passage, your business can face tax penalties for failing to provide health insurance to employees or for failing to report what type of coverage you’ve provided. ACA insurance and reporting requirements could be burdensome to your small businesses. Contact a tax attorney now to make sure provided coverage meets the minimal essential coverage. Is it a better financial decision to pay the tax penalty or provide insurance? A tax attorney can help you make that decision.

    The experienced team at Oliver Friesen Cheek, PLLC possesses a wealth of tax law knowledge. Our attorneys can help clients avoid controversies and save money in taxes, interest, and penalties by helping plan transactions and structure operations. Contact our office for assistance if you need personal tax assistance or help fighting a business audit or other controversy.

    Only you can make the ultimate choice on whether or not to enlist the help of a seasoned tax attorney. Just remember that that when you file on your own that means you’re also on your own if the IRS wants to take a closer look at your tax return! When you reach out for assistance with your personal or business tax filings you can be confident you have the necessary backing if the IRS comes calling.

    For more information, or to receive assistance preparing your personal or business taxes, please contact Amy M. Currin at Oliver & Cheek, PLLC by calling (252) 633-1930 or by visiting

    Oliver Cheek, Tax Specialists, New Bern, North Carolina
  • The Downtown Dare – March 28

    Oliver & Cheek, PLLC is title sponsor for The Downtown Dare!

    Screen shot 2015-03-17 at 1.46.34 PM

    Oliver & Cheek is proud to be the title sponsor for The Downtown Dare on March 28 in downtown New Bern. Sign up in teams of 2, 3 or 4 to get clues to checkpoint locations downtown. With activities at each checkpoint, it will be fun for the whole family! Proceeds benefit the Epiphany Open Door Diversity Scholarship; a need-based scholarship that awards tuition, fees and expenses to students in grades 6-12. Sign up today!

    For registration information, click here.

  • 2015 Pitt County Business Expo

    2015 Pitt County Business Expo – April 8!

    The Greenville office of Oliver & Cheek, PLLC is pleased to be part of the 2015 Pitt County Business Expo sponsored by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce on April 8, 2015. Look for our booth to find out more information about estate planning, wills, trusts and probates as well as elder law. For the business side, we specialize in business and tax law, bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions.

    2015 Pitt County Business Expo
    8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Greenville Convention Center

    The Pitt County Business Expo, Wednesday, April 8, showcases Greenville and Pitt County’s finest businesses and organizations.  The Expo, which is open to the public, will feature products and services from more than 115 local businesses and organizations, with 129 booths. The Expo provides a unique opportunity for visitors providing access to a wide variety of local businesses and organizations.

    The Pitt County Business Expo is organized by the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce.

    To find out what visitors can see and do at the Expo, click here. For free tickets, click here.

    For sponsorship information, contact Lynn Pischke or call (252) 752-4101 ext. 228.

    law offices of oliver and cheek, locations, New Bern Nc, Business law, Consumer law, estate planning,