Who Needs Cars When You’ve Got Fold-Up Scooters & Electric Bikes?
Just because CES is over doesn’t mean we’re not still oohing and ahhing over all the new gadgets and gizmos that were announced last week. We’ll continue highlighting the best of CES for the next few days here on Brit.co, and this next installment is all about easing your daily commute.
At CES this year, Urb-E and Faraday Bikes both announced new innovations to two-wheeled transportation. Urb’s e-vehicle is a ridiculously compact motorized scooter, and Faraday’s Porteur aims to be a beautiful, functional electric bike.
First up, the scoop on Urb-E’s e-vehicle. This super compact electric scooter folds up, making it small enough to fit in between your legs while sitting on a train, bus or car. This compactness also makes it easy to bring in anywhere you go.
Urb-E’s got plans for public charging stations, but for now you’ll charge at home. One battery charge gets you 20 miles of movement, which is great for commuting in a city. In terms of speed, the max is 15 mph, which is also city-friendly.
The part we love the most? The fact that you can customize your scooter with sleeve inserts in the colors of your choice. Oh, and those sweet LED lights ;)
The price point is speculated at $1,500 a pop — we’ll know more when the Kickstarter campaign launches in the next few months. Stay tuned!
Next up, The Faraday Porteur. Dubbed “the ultimate modern utility bike,” the Porteur is a beautiful electric bike, made with design top of mind.
There’s a motor on its front wheel and batteries stored inside the frame, making it look like a regular city commuter bike rather than a bulky electric bike.
It has a 350-watt motor, which works to about three times typical human power. Naturally, that measurement is slightly subjective, but we’re all about getting a little power to boost us up all the crazy hills in San Francisco.
The great thing about the Porteur is the fact that it operates as a regular commuter bike when you want it to, and simply gives you a little extra power when you need it. The battery isn’t bulky, which means its not adding a ton of weight for regular biking. The Porteur is available for pre-order for a cool $3,500. Definitely an investment.
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:
You X Ventures for Unsplash
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.
Kobu Agency for Unsplash
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