The Basic Checklist for Baby-Proofing Your Home
Somewhere in between sorting through the gifts and picking out the most drool-worthy outfits (pun-intended!), it’s important to find time to baby-proof your home. Read on for a list of safety tips and things to remember when making sure your house is not only cute, but comfortable and safe for your new bundle of joy.
1. Secure Furniture: Babies, toddlers — kids love to climb, and any piece of furniture is fair game. Secure TVs, dressers and bookshelves to the wall or with straps to prevent your kids from inadvertently pulling them down. (via Baby List)
2. Turn Down the Heat ($11): First, check out your water heater, and set it to 120 degrees fahrenheit — any higher and you run the risk of your child receiving burns. You can also getting a handy tub thermometer like this one.
3. Put Away the Cleaning Supplies: Even though you’ve got locks and guards on all the cabinets and drawers, it’s still a good a idea to keep hazardous materials like cleaning supplies on high shelves. (via Kids in the House)
4. Gate the Stairs ($56): It’s a given, but stair guards should be put up on the top and bottom of each flight. Try to avoid the pressure control types, as kids are often stronger than you think and can pull those down.
5. Lock Cabinets and Doors ($13): Yes, they may be a little bit of a pain, but it’s vital to keep cabinets, cupboards, drawers and shelves locked. The good news is that there are a ton of options available, including magnetic versions.
6. Kitchen Safety: Knob covers prevent any accidental ignitions, and appliances should be kept off the counters and either put up high or locked away in cabinets to avoid being pulled down and causing injury. (via It’s a Baby)
7. Electricity Protection: Wall sockets are on eye-level with babies and look inviting (hey, let’s see what this is!), so make sure to put covers on all of them. And don’t forget to cover or put away cables and extension cords, too. (via Shock Blocker)
9. Cover Sharp Edges ($7): There are furniture and corner guards in all types of materials and colors, which is handy since pretty much every straight edge should be protected to avoid cuts and bumps.
What tips do you have for child-proofing your home? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!
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