These Are the Best Times to Book Vacation Rentals During Peak Travel Dates
Feeling like you need to schedule some time for yourself? The first month of the year is exciting, but getting back on track or busting out of a post-holiday slump can be tiring too. Since we love an affordable and well-timed escape just as much as the next gal, we hit up our friends at HomeAway to talk about the eight best times to book travel accommodations during the year. Read on for smart intel they shared with us based on their data, which will help you score the best selection of accommodations while saving some cash.
1. Spring Break: Looking to hit the beach with your besties or bae? The team at HomeAway tells us that spring-break planning typically peaks in January. Though you might’ve just missed the mark on this one, start searching soon to score a good selection and lower prices. It’s not entirely too late!
2. Memorial Day Weekend: “Book before March for the biggest range of home sizes, locations, and prices available,” the team advises. Are you able to make plans and commit even earlier? Go ahead and get on it ASAP.
3. Summer: “To get ahead of the demand for summer travel, book as early as you can,” the team tells us. “By April 1, most of the places on our site have already been booked for summer.” If you needed an excuse to lock down your dates and get everyone on board, we think this one should suffice.
4. Fourth of July Weekend: To stay ahead of the curve, book your hotel or rental for Independence Day before May 1. Depending on the location you’re looking for, you should be able to easily find something that’ll suit a solo traveler, couple, or group. Needless to say, trying to find the perfect place once summer officially arrives will prove to be pretty much impossible.
5. Labor Day Weekend: We hear that people tend to wait toward the end of August to plan their final warm-weather vacation. To beat demand and price surges, HomeAway tells us to book right after the Fourth of July. As an added bonus — having a fun trip to look forward to will help you beat the end-of-summer blues.
6. Ski Season: Whether you’re a bona fide snow bunny or the friend who loves lounging in the lodge, your best bet is to make your cold-weather digs official by mid-October. “Half of all in-season ski rentals on our site were snapped up by December,” the team shares. “For the best selection, book as soon as you can.”
7. Thanksgiving Break: Don’t fall into the trap of being a last-minute booker for one of America’s favorite holidays; it’ll cost you. According to HomeAway, the key date to add to your calendar for Thanksgiving travel is October 2. “The demand surge will follow quickly after,” the team explains.
8. Christmas: To score the perfect seasonal accommodations (hello, snowy cabin and twinkly lights), book your Christmas trip three months prior. “For most people, this will be at the end of October,” the team clarifies. “You’ll get the best selection for celebrating your holiday.”
(Featured photo via Getty)
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