The 411 On SUTA and FUTA: When, Why, and How They Come Into Play
Business Ownership

female pole vaulter

There are lots of taxes out there. Do you know what you’re paying for, or exactly where those tax dollars are going? Particularly when it comes to payroll, it can be a challenge for employers to get to the heart of their tax structure, and truly understand where those funds are going when they are spent by the government.

Thus, this article is the first in a series designed to break down the taxes you’re paying, where they’ve come from, and where they stand today. Stay tuned during the next several months for more posts in the series, and be sure to let us know if you have ever paid a tax that you’ve been curious about. We’d be happy to share more information!

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There Are No Scholarships for Retirement: Saving for Retirement vs. Saving for College
Retirement Planning

college graduation usfThere’s the proverbial question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Here’s another one for you: Which comes first in your saving priorities, saving for retirement or saving for your child’s college education?

In an ideal world, you could save healthy amounts for both. Helping your child achieve higher education is a savings priority for many parents, and college almost always comes sooner in life than retirement. However, the world is rarely perfect, and thus many parents must choose between whether or not they plan to squirrel away their hard-earned salaries for their golden years, or prepare to give their children the gift of education.

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Tax Guidelines for Business Crowdfunding Projects

person working at indiegogo HQ

You’ve done it. You’ve come up with a brilliant idea for the next big gadget. And you’ve got funding! Only, instead of coming up with the funds yourself or raising capital through a VC firm, you’ve decided to take advantage of the newest trend in fundraising: crowdfunding. You put your project on Kickstarter, ran it for 30 days, and got thousands of backers and more money than you asked for. Congratulations!

As nice as it would be to take the money and run, you have several obligations. After you’ve paid the fee to your crowdfunding site and distributed your finished product to your backers, there’s still one more party you have to worry about: the IRS. If you don’t properly account for funds received for your crowdfunding project, you could be in for a big surprise come tax time.

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Tax Guidelines for Individual Crowdfunding Projects

charity dinner

 The Internet has revolutionized the way many things are done. One thing it’s made exponentially easier is fundraising. Thanks to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, it’s easier than ever to donate to causes you care about or raise funds for yourself or others.

Although the government obviously wants its cut of taxes for businesses raising money for the next big gadget (that’s generally taxable as income), the notable exception is when no goods or services are given to backers in exchange for their donation, in which case the money may meet the criteria of a non-taxable gift. Some crowdfunding sites allow users to raise money for life expenses, like unexpected medical bills. If backers donate funds with no expectation of receiving anything in return, the money you raise may fit the criteria of being a gift.

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Taxes for Ride-share Drivers, Part II: Tracking Expenses

open road in the countryIf you missed our last post on the tax considerations of being a ride-share driver, check it out here for more information. Here’s a quick summary if you missed it. First, if you work for a company like Uber or Lyft, you are not a traditional employee, which means that your taxes are going to be slightly more complicated than if you were receiving a paycheck with taxes already deducted. Second, you need to pay taxes on all income you receive, including tips through credit or cash.

Once you’ve calculated your gross income, including tips and payments, the number might seem quite a bit larger than what you actually made. When Uber reports your earnings to the IRS, they report the gross amount that they paid you, including tolls, Uber fees, and device subscriptions. However, the fees that drivers pay to the company are actually deductible, so it’s important to deduct them to avoid paying more tax than you owe. Keep in mind that you will also be responsible for self-employment taxes.

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Taxes for Ride-share Drivers, Part I: Reporting Income

uber driver in trafficUber, Lyft, the list goes on: These days, ridesharing services are inextricably linked to the new “sharing economy,” collaborative consumption designed to increase the use of “shared” goods and thereby reduce the purchase of newly manufactured product. With Uber and Lyft, the two most frequently used ridesharing services, drivers can use their own vehicle to function as a taxi cab.

While the sharing economy impacts traditional methods of purchase and consumption, it also is also reaching more consumers than ever before. According to a 2016 report, this year, 15.0 million U.S. adults will use a ridesharing service or other sharing economy transportation service, a 20.5% increase over last year.

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Estate Executors: Do You Understand Your Tax Responsibilities?
Personal Finance

fancy estate in the english countrysideWho are estate administrators?

Being appointed as an estate administrator is no simple task.

Essentially, an estate administrator (also referred to as an estate executor or personal representative) is responsible for managing and executing the affairs of a recently deceased person and his or her estate. The estate administrator is often a surviving spouse, or sometimes another family member, close friend, or executor named in the decedent’s (recently deceased person’s) will. Attorneys can also be appointed to act as estate administrators.

If you’re in the position of an estate administrator, you’re most likely also mourning the loss of a friend or family member. Personal grief is challenging enough to deal with, but estate administrators have the added responsibility of taking care of the deceased person’s wishes and finances. This can be a tough situation.

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The Future of Work: Preparing Your Business for the “Gig Economy”
Business Ownership

riding in an uberx in seattleYou may have heard a lot of buzz lately about the new “gig economy” and how it’s changing the nature of work. If you’ve ever taken an Uber or Lyft instead of a taxi, or used Grubhub to get food delivered to your home, you’ve taken part in the gig economy, wherein individuals work as contractors for different companies, taking gigs as they pop up.

This is significantly different than work in the past, where employees worked for only one company full-time. Part of this change has been catalyzed by new digital technology like smartphones and ubiquitous high-speed mobile coverage.

In thinking about the difference between employees and members of the gig economy, the biggest highlight is one that’s existed in some form or another for many years: the fine line between employees (W-2s) and independent contractors (1099s).

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CASH and Your Bank Account: The IRS is Watching
Business Ownership

a small pile of united states currencyCarole Hinders, long-time owner of a Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa, was surprised when her checking account containing almost $33,000 was seized. For almost 40 years, Hinders had run the cash-only restaurant, depositing her cash at a bank branch a block away.

She hadn’t laundered money or cheated on her taxes. She wasn’t even charged with a crime. So what did Hinders do? She had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which the Internal Revenue Service viewed as an attempt to structure bank deposits to avoid filing government forms. With her assets seized, the burden of proof was on her, a law-abiding business owner, to get her money back.

Luckily, at the end of 2014, the case against Carole Hinders was dropped. Even so, the problem remains: owners of cash-intensive businesses must beware the practice of structuring.

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BEWARE: “Federal Student Tax” Scam

New York city streets

A recent article published by the IRS warns taxpayers of the latest phone scamming tactic. Unlike previous versions of similar scams, which targeted the elderly, the latest targets college students.

In this case, IRS impersonators solicit college students for payment of the fictitious “Federal Student Tax.” These particular scammers are targeting students by intimidating them over the phone to send payment via wire transfer and threatening to report them to the local authorities if payment isn’t sent in a timely manner.

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