9 Ideas to Inspire the Most Productive Summer Ever
Summer vacation is here, which means more time to hang by the pool and relax for hours on end. While it’s tempting to use all your free time to soak up the sun, you might find yourself wanting to read a few books or start a garden instead. If you’re hoping to make the most of your summer vacation, here are nine ways to stay productive and prevent yourself from having one too many lazy summer days.
1. Learn a New Language With Duolingo: Don’t let summer vacation make you forget all the Spanish you learned during the school year. When you download Duolingo, you can keep your language skills fresh, even when you’re chilling by the pool. (Free on iOS and Android)
2. Publish a Book With 3-Day Create ($9): Do you dream of writing your first novel? Or do you simply want to write an e-book to give away on your blog? Regina Anaejionu of byregina.com offers an awesome 57-page guidebook that leads you through the entire process of brainstorming, writing and publishing an e-book, online course or digital workbook.
3. Discover Your Passion With The Desire Map ($11): Take some time this summer to reflect on your personal and professional goals. Especially if you’ve been feeling a little lost, The Desire Map is a great resource for helping you outline your goals and plan for the future.
4. Get inShape With an App like Sworkit Lite: Summer is the best time of the year to stay active. Get your sweat on this summer with Sworkit Lite, a free fitness app that allows you to customize your own workout schedule. (Free on iOS and Android)
5. Improve your drawing skills with Sketching 101 ($20): Would you love to learn how to create beautiful drawings? Learn the basics of sketching with Mary Phan. Her 55-minute class is perfect for any beginner and will have you drawing beautiful flowers and leaves in no time at all! Drawing not your thing? That’s okay. We’ve got classes on everything from knitting to tying knots!
6. Take Your Blog to the Next Level With 365 Blog Topic Ideas ($15): Although many bloggers slow down during the summer, the upcoming months are a great time to plan content for your site. Jumpstart your blogging inspiration with 365 Blog Topic Ideas, which is an awesome book filled with a post idea for each day of the year. Once you have the ideas, take our Photography for Bloggers e-class ($19.99) to brush up on your snapping skills to accompany all of your great ideas.
7. Save Money With an App like Moven: Hoping to save up for a new car this summer or set aside some cash for a mini-vacay? Use Moven to keep track of your expenses and manage your bank account. It can even tell you if you’ve saved up enough money for that cute bathing suit you’ve been dying to buy. (Free on iOS and Android)
8. Learn How to Watercolor: Summer is a wonderful time to immerse yourself into your creative passions. If you’ve been dreaming of learning how to watercolor, Melissa Esplin offers a great tutorial on how to learn calligraphy through watercoloring. (via Melissa Esplin)
9. Learn How to Code With Girl Develop It: If you want to learn web and software development, Girl Develop It will hook you up with in-person classes (they’re in 47 cities across the country!) and community support to achieve your techy goals. Coding changed these moms’ lives — you’re next!
What do you hope to accomplish this summer? Let us know 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