8 Amazon Prime Original Dramas That Will Keep You Glued to Your Screen
Netflix may put out the most original content of any streaming service, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of gems to be found elsewhere, too. Amazon Prime has maintained a steady stream of noteworthy titles since its first series was released in 2013, and it has more than two dozen new titles slated for production in 2019 and beyond. The service seems to specialize in binge-worthy dramas, so if you're looking for a primer on what to check out, here are eight suggestions. (Photos via Amazon Prime Video)
The Man in the High Castle: Although this historical drama premiered in 2015 and is set in the 1960s, it feels increasingly timely in its examination of the past and its vision of what would have happened if things had played out differently. Specifically, The Man In the High Castle depicts how the US would have looked if Nazi Germany and Japan had won WWII. It's an intriguing concept executed not only with great performances, but also with an inventive and empathetic eye that allows for several perspectives and possibilities. The show was recently renewed for a fourth and final season. (Photo via Liane Hentscher/Amazon Prime Video)
Homecoming: The number of podcast-to-screen adaptations is likely to increase after the success of this take on Gimlet's scripted podcast of the same name. It tells the (fictional) story of a transitional living center for veterans coming back from deployment, where all is not as it seems. The series also marks the small-screen debut of Julia Roberts, and while she will reportedly not return, the intriguing drama has been renewed for a second season. (Photo via Jessica Brooks/Amazon Prime Video)
Bosch: The fact that Bosch has been renewed for a sixth season even before the premiere of its fifth proves just how beloved this under-the-radar crime procedural is. While all the hallmarks of the genre are accounted for, the series' noir influence makes for a much more ambitious and striking version of your standard cop show. And as LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, Titus Welliver portrays the grueling, often bleak nature of the job with nuance and subtlety. (Photo via Amazon Studios)
Goliath: Who better to command a legal drama than TV vet David E. Kelley, the person behind shows such as Chicago Hope, The Practice, Boston Legal, Big Little Lies, and so many more? Kelley's pedigree shows in this fantastic drama starring Billy Bob Thornton as a one-time big-shot lawyer who left his practice, hit rock bottom, and now fights the good fight for the clients who need it most. Thornton's role won him a Golden Globe in 2017, and the show has been renewed for a third season, set to premiere sometime in 2019. Now's the time to binge. (Photo via Colleen Hayes/Amazon Prime Video)
Sneaky Pete: Giovanni Ribisi stars as a con artist who, upon his release from prison, assumes his former cellmate Pete's identity in order to escape a vengeance-seeking gangster he once wronged. This means convincing Pete's family that he is, indeed, their long-lost loved one. The situation leaves lots of room for humor, but the compelling drama — recently renewed for a third season — never turns silly. In fact, it's gritty and suspenseful the whole way through. (Photo via Myles Aronowitz/Amazon Prime Video)
Patriot: For a show about an intelligence officer going undercover as an engineer to spy on Iran's nuclear program, Patriot is much funnier than it has any business being. We're not talking side-splitting slapstick, but star Michael Dorman manages to bring some levity to the heavy subject matter, even as its high-intensity situations keep you on the edge of your seat. Two seasons are available to watch now, and a third is pending renewal. (Photo via Jessica Forde/Amazon Prime Video)
The Last Tycoon: Although this show never got a second season, its first is still very much worth checking out. Set in 1930s Hollywood and based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the same name, this period drama stars Matt Bomer as an up-and-coming producer who works for (and sometimes against) a staid studio head played by Kelsey Grammer. Amid their power struggles, Bomer's character pursues a romance with an aspiring actress (Dominique McElligott) who isn't what she seems. With its luxurious set and costume designs and a healthy dose of old Hollywood glamour, The Last Tycoon was the show we never knew we needed — and we wish we could get more. (Photo via Adam Rose/Amazon Prime Video)
The Romanoffs: How do you follow a show like Mad Men, a prestige drama that helped to define TV's so-called golden age? Creator Matthew Weiner did it with an absolutely bonkers anthology telling stories about people all over the world who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. The series turned heads with its sprawling, star-studded cast, and while it ended up being better in theory than in practice, it's still a fun, indulgent watch for when you're looking for something a little left of center. (Photo via Sophie Mutevelian/Amazon Prime Video)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com