Our 15 Favorite Digital and Analog Games to Beat Holiday Boredom
When I think of holiday gatherings, board and group games still come to mind as a way to break the awkward silence when you’re finished with small talk about work, school or the weather, and need something to do.
1. Mad Libs: A word game where one person asks others in the group for a list of words before reading the story out loud. It’s often nonsensical and hilarious. If you can’t get your hands on a paper pad of these, there are both regular and adult versions available in the App Store.
2. Apples to Apples: Card game where a player draws an adjective card and the other players match with noun cards what that they think best fits the description (or what the person drawing the card would like best).
3. Cards Against Humanity: Described as a party game for horrible people, it’s basically an unrated, uncensored version of Apples to Apples. It can often be hilarious, but is not for anyone easily offended.
4. Cranium: Players are divided into teams to face off in a variety of challenges including trivia, drawing, spelling and molding clay. Two Microsoft co-workers actually left their day jobs to go make this.
5. Taboo: A word guessing game where a player tries to get their team to guess a word or phrase by providing clues. The catch is they cannot say any of the prohibited “taboo” words on the card. Unspeakable is it’s closest digital kin.
8. Catch Phrase: Another word guessing game where the player tries to get their team to say the word on the disc/app by describing it with a few limitations. Once they do, they pass it to the other team. The team not holding the disc when time runs out wins. A similar game is also available as an app.
9. Scrabble: I don’t think I need to explain this one too thoroughly, but it’s that game where players strategically place tiles to spell words. It’s available as an app or as Words With Friends which became popular before the official version was launched. Image via Scrabble Skills.
10. Trivial Pursuit: A board game where a player’s progress is determined by their ability to answer trivia questions (and a little luck). There are many versions from general knowledge to pop culture. Image via About.com.
11. Scattergories: A 2 to 6 person game where players score points by naming objects within a category for the letter of the alphabet drawn.
12. Scene It?: A game where players answer trivia questions about films or pop culture, originally from trivia cards or short video clips. It’s now available for iPhone/iPad, video game consoles and Facebook.
13. Who Am I?: Simple, inexpensive game where cards with names or objects written on them are placed on a player’s forehead. They are allowed to ask up to 20 yes or no questions to help guess what’s written on their card.
14. Two Truths, One Lie: Each player writes down or tells three things about themselves, one of them false. It’s another player’s job to guess which one is the lie. A great way to get to know more about others!
What do you think? Did I miss any of your favorites or essentials? Leave them in the comments below.
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