Should Kids Under 13 Have Their Own Gmail Accounts?
When we were kids, we used the computer for Kid Pix and Lemmings. As we grew older, we sat patiently waiting for that dial up modem to connect us to the Internet so that we could go on AOL Instant Messenger (aka AIM) and chat with our friends. There was no real need for surfing the web. Research projects were done in libraries, music videos were watched on TV (on TRL, obvs) and we got our news from the newspaper. Boy, have things changed since the ‘90s. The world wide web is so important to this generation that Google plans to offer accounts to children 13 and under.
Technically, there is nothing online that stops a child from posing as an adult to use Google services such as Gmail and YouTube. Providing kids with their own account takes away the forbidden fruit, giving them freedom to explore the web, watch cartoons and funny videos on YouTube, even learn to use email (see ya later, pen pals).
This will be the first time that such a large Internet search provider dives into the young market, although a few months back Google did announce their plans for a kid-specific YouTube. But with all the fun apps for kids, do they really need their own Internet? If you’re asking a child, then yes, yes they do. If you’re asking an adult, you’re sure to get some conflicting answers. Giving a child access their own versions of adult-only products at such a young age could expose them to cyber bullying, predators and things that, frankly, a child shouldn’t be clicking on.
The new kid-friendly Google accounts seem to have parents’ reservations in mind. They will be set up by parents so that they can control how their child uses the services and the content they’ll be able to access. If you’re worried about the security aspect (and who isn’t these days?), the accounts will also allow parents to control privacy settings along with what information is collected about their kids.
Google and their privacy and legal teams are still working out the details on this project to make sure that it is as safe as possible for youngins. There has been no official release date for when this might be available, but it feels like part of the bigger movement to expose kids to technology at a younger age, joining the many apps and games that help kids learn how to code, hack their ownapps and games and even 3D print.
We’re all for STEM and STEAM advancements in its different forms, but is this taking it too far? Allowing the engineers of tomorrow access to the Internet ASAP is important for their tech savvy future — if Google can figure out a way to keep it safe and keep parents informed of what’s up with their kids www habits.
Let us know your stance on Google’s plan to allow children under 13 to have their own (parental controlled) accounts 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