Fitbit Got a Sleek New Look
If you’re into your wearable tech (like us), you probably perked up when rumors were swirling about a brand new Fitbit a couple weeks ago. But Fitbit quickly shut down those rumors, saying when they had news we would know officially from them. Well, now is the time we’ve all been waiting for: Fitbit has got some big news.
Two of Fitbit’s best products, the Charge and the Flex, are getting updates. The Charge HR, which has been Fitbit’s most popular offering, will get a larger screen with the Charge 2 ($150). The device will even allow users to switch up their bands, to keep the Fitbit looking appropriate in all different situations, from the office to a run to a night out. The new screen is four times larger than what was on the original Charge. The Charge 2 will also feature a cardio fitness tracker, guided breathing exercises, the ability to switch between different sports directly on the Fitbit and a better connected GPS.
The Fitbit Flex got a major new update, too The new Flex 2 ($100) is virtually unrecognizable as it shifts from metallic pendant necklace to fitness band. It’s designed with active swimmers in mind and is “swimproof” up to 50 meters underwater. You’ll be able to wear it in the pool, the ocean or even just the shower. It has a simpler interface than the Charge 2, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less advanced. The Flex 2 works with small LED color-coded lights to inform users if they’re meeting their goals. It will also send (via text or email) notifications and reminders to get up and move. But one of the things we’re most excited about with the Flex 2 is the designer collabs: Fitbit has teamed up with Tory Burch, PUBLIC SCHOOL and Simply Vera to design accessories that will be out in 2017.
Two more of Fitbit’s offerings, the Alta and Blaze, are also getting the designer treatment. For those that want their fitness trackers with a bit more style, the Special Edition Gold Series will amp up your fitness game. The two devices, the thin Alta and the Apple Watch-reminiscent Blaze, will come in a variety of finishes and bands, but all the options look super luxe.
With the new devices, Fitbit also announced a new feature: Fitbit Adventures. Adventures will encourage users to get out and get active by making exercise a virtual travel excursion. Adventurous users will be able to virtually hike through Yosemite or run the NYC marathon just by logging their steps. When they reach a certain accomplishment, they will be able to view different panorama photographs taken around the world.
But you shouldn’t need too much motivation to get fit when there’s a thing on your wrist that looks this cool. We’re wondering if running to pick up the new Fitbit counts as exercise…
What do you think of the new Fitbits? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Fitbit)
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