Science Explains Why You’re STILL Arguing About #TheDress
Who out there among us expected to walk into the office this AM to hear people still debating what color that damn dress is? Between a major win for net neutrality, llamas on the lam and #blackandblue vs. #whiteandgold, yesterday Twitter proved that it’s still the Internet’s watercooler. And we confirmed that, yes, we, along with Mindy Kaling, will happily be distracted by just about anything RTable.
Even with the debate still nudging along, there is some cold hard evidence out there that proves that the dress is, in fact, wait for it, deal with it — are you ready? Black and blue. The reason we’re all still torn is science, specifically primal biology and the way our eyes and brains now see color in a sunlit, oft-Instagram-filtered world.
Our good friends and champions of all things color, Pantone explain how we see color here: Light receptors within the eye transmit messages to the brain, which produces the familiar sensations of color. Newton observed that color is not inherent in objects. Rather, the surface of an object reflects some colors and absorbs all the others. We perceive only the reflected colors.
Perceive, eh? Interesting word choice, Pantone. As Wired points out, it’s a “perceptual boundary” that really caused the color debate across social media. We evolved humans have made it far enough to be able to see in daylight, but, as anyone who’s ever taken a dress out of a store to see it in natural lighting knows, daylight changes color. Your brain is supposed to figure out not just what color that dress is but what color *light* is bouncing off of said dress and then subtract that color from everything else to give you the unobjective answer. They break it down as such:
That chromatic axis varies from the pinkish red of dawn, up through the blue-white of noontime, and then back down to reddish twilight. “What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” says Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black.”
If science isn’t your thing, photo experts and Photoshop novices alike each took a turn auto-toning and white-balancing to different results. Even Wired’s photo team was “driven briefly into existential spasms of despair” seeing the dress in both (ahem) lights until deciding it was black and blue.
If all of that is making your head hurt, let’s go to the source — the designers of the Tumblr-ed dress in question, Roman Originals, who changed the description of the frock on their site to #TheDress Lace Bodycon Dress. Yesterday, all 300 dresses on the site sold out in 30 minutes and the company’s creative manager told THR the site’s seeing about a million visits to just this one page. Nice free publicity, even if Chrissy Teigen decried the dress’s wearability by throwing her own sartorial shade on the debate.
At the end of the day/week, did we all just spend 24 hours getting into a debate about the color of a dress or what question we were actually all screaming into our computers and phones (what color is this dress IRL vs. what color is this dress in this poor quality pic I posted on Tumblr?)? Yes. The dress looks periwinkle and tan to me, but I’m not going to argue with science… or, well, Photoshop.
What color did YOU think the dress is/was? Sound off 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