Geek Out With 20 High-Tech Office Must-Haves
Long gone are the simple work days of typewriters and switchboards. Now there is an endless lists of tools to help you be productive around the office. Whether you’re in need of a hot cup of coffee or a seriously smart writing utensil, we’ve got your back with these 20 techie gadgets.
1. iPad Scanner ($150): Skip the line at the scanner. Pop this portable scanner right into your iPad for painless digitalization.
2. Military Grad USB Drive ($24): If you have some nosey cubicle neighbors, keep your files secret with this password protected USB.
3. Portable Virus Eliminating Air Purifier ($150): Fighting off cold and flu season is a breeze with this gadget.
5. Panasonic Electronic Whiteboard ($1950): No need to copy down all those notes written on the white board after meetings. This smart board has a printer attached that will print out a copy of whatever is written on the board.
6. Pen Scanner ($100): If the iPad scanner still isn’t portable enough for you, how about this secret agent style scanning pen?
7. Bose Wireless Speakers ($250): For those days where you just don’t want to talk to anyone, pop these on and wear them all over the office.
8. Melon Headband ($149): This handy device measures your brain activity during your daily routine and gives you a snapshot of how focused you are during different tasks. It then shares that information with you through a visually pleasing app.
9. Dual Travel Heated Mug ($13): A fresh cup of joe is a must for those late night turned early mornings. Plug this baby into your computer and keep it warm all day long.
10. Mr. Robot USB Port ($15): Plug a USB or SD Card into this shiny guy and watch his eyes light up as he sends information to your computer. When he’s not plugged in, wind him up and watch him stomp around your desk.
11. Epic Laser Keyboard ($149): This handy gadget projects a fixed keyboard pattern onto any flat, opaque surface. Use this gadget to quickly jot down notes at meetings or get typing on your commute.
12. Canon Calculator Mouse ($28): Crunching numbers just got a whole lot more fun.
13. Mophie Power Reserve ($50): Never be without that precious iPhone again. Attach this compact battery to your keyring for a quick on-the-go charge.
15. USB Typewriter ($599): If all this tech is getting too futuristic for you, take it (sort of) old school with this typewriter that works with your computer or iPad.
16. Pebble Smart Watch ($150): Think of this as a kind of ultimate pager for the 21st century. View incoming calls, check email, calendar alerts, social media, weather and a whole lot more. Oh ya, it also tells time.
17. Rode iXY Recording Microphone for iPhone and iPad ($130): Record lectures and interviews with ease using this handy, high-quality microphone.
18. Skylock Bike Lock ($159): If you’re a two-wheeling commuter, keep your ride safe with this smart bike lock that offers keyless entry, alerts you of potential theft, allows you to share your ride with friends and calls for help if you get in an accident.
20. AAXA P4-X Pico Projector ($288): Those weekly meetings just got a whole lot more fun. Hook this handy projector up to your phone, iPad or computer for a professional presentation anywhere.
Which one of these do you want for your desk? We want to know!
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