9 Spooky Airbnbs to Rent If You Dare to be Scared
For some people, it's not enough to just celebrate Halloween, they want to live Halloween, ghosts and all. What better way to embrace the spirit of the season than rooming with some actual spirits? Even if you don't believe in paranormal activity, these nine Airbnbs definitely feel haunted, and some previous guests have reported spine-tingling experiences. Go ahead and book a stay and sleep tight — if you dare.
Cisco Post Office, Cisco, UT: The city of Cisco, in eastern Utah, was founded in the 1880s but has all but been abandoned and now is a ghost town. You can stay in the original post office (closed in the 1990s), which has WiFi but no running water, and few (at least living) neighbors — as of the late 2010s, there is only one self-declared resident in Cisco.
The Haunted House, Penetanguishene, Canada: This stately Victorian dates back to 1885, when it was inhabited by lumber baron Charles Beck. As lore goes, when Beck died, his inheritance was split evenly among his nine children but his eldest daughter only received $1. Strange spiritual occurrences have been reported since.
The Stroud House, Wake Forest, NC: Built in the 1940s, the Stroud House has some interesting features like sinks in every bedroom, shiplapped ceilings, and... possible ghosts. Family, friends, and guests of the hosts have reported lights turning on and off, shadowy figures, glowing orbs in the living room, and a music box that plays itself. But don't worry, there have been no reported incidents in the guest bedroom — yet.
Inspiration House, Oberlin, OH: Inspiration House is used as an art and learning retreat and meditation space, and if you are looking for a spiritual experience, this is your place. The house is suspected to be haunted, and the first floor display room, which is filled with paranormal phenomena, is only open by request because many guests found it too "creepy" (two words: porcelain dolls).
The Enslin Mansion, Troy, NY: Ghouls just wanna have fun at this historic mansion, which has been used for both filming and paranormal investigations. According to the hosts, you will probably not see any spirits, but they do like to pull pranks like hiding keys from unsuspecting guests.
Gettysburg Historic Lookout House, Aspers, PA: Gettysburg is a town well-documented in history books, and soldiers on their way to the infamous battle there stayed in the attic of this house. Guests have reportedly seen a uniformed man standing in the corner of one bedroom and heard footsteps down the attic stairs. The hosts are paranormal investigators and can regale you with stories of residents who may have never left.
Rensow Manor Retreat, Rensow, Germany: Head two hours outside of Berlin to find this 17-century manor in a remote part of Germany. The house is decorated with 17th-century decor with many rooms only lit by candlelight. Many people believe the manor is haunted by the ghosts of Slavic gods that were worshipped in the area.
The Manor Master Chamber, Saint Paul, MN: The only thing scarier than a ghost is a child ghost, and this house may have one: It's speculated that a young girl named Rosalia Fihn died of typhoid fever in the house in the early 1900s and her spirit still roams the halls. The house is filled with "oddities and antiques," but a resident doberman named Scorch is also around to provide a little extra protection.
Elegantly Decayed Creole Mansion, New Orleans, LA: New Orleans is considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the US, and you can stay right in the heart of it in a Creole mansion. Built in 1885 and owned by a free woman of color (and featured in American Horror Story: Coven), this mansion is walking distance to the French Quarter and has 14-foot ceilings, original fireplaces, and a mahogany staircase. To up your chances of something paranormal, book a cemetery tour and see the tomb of NOLA's Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.
(Photos via Airbnb)
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Lesley Chen is a California native who writes about travel, health/fitness, and other lifestyle topics. She has a serious case of RBF and exercises mainly to balance out an aggressive candy addiction.
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