10 Ways to Bring the Outdoors Inside This Winter
If the chilly winter weather has you trapped inside and spending hours scrolling through Instagram nature pics, it’s time to infuse some life into your home. There’s no easier or more affordable way to perk up your space than by bringing some greenery inside. From ways to DIY your own indoor garden to nature-inspired home decor, these 10 essentials will definitely help keep the winter blues away. We promise.
1. Noted Basil-O-Holic Foodie Garden Kit ($20): Between endless pasta recipes and fresh pesto, you can never get enough basil. With this basil garden kit you won’t have to worry about running out. It’ll become your very own basil factory — right in your kitchen!
2. Modern Sprout Garden Jar ($20): If you don’t need an entire indoor garden but want to have some fresh herbs on hand for a dish or two, this garden jar is the perfect solution. When you’re done growing plants or herbs out of it, turn in into a cute vase to bump up your hipster street cred.
3. Monorail Studio Let’s Climb A Mountain Together Print ($25): If you don’t have a green thumb but are still craving some nature in your life, this mountain print is perfect for you. It’s got all the good vibes of the impressive outdoors with none of the maintenance that plants require.
4. Jessica Pezalla’s Paper Flowers Online Class ($19): While fresh flowers really light up a space, the unfortunate fact is that they eventually die. If you’re looking for more of a long-term investment in your floral decor, this online class teaches you all the essential skills required for crafting paper flowers, which are equally gorgeous in their own right.
5. Brit + Co Sand Art Terrarium Kit ($29): If you didn’t think terrariums could get any cooler, now you know you were wrong. This killer kit combines the glory of a terrarium with the radness of sand art for an out-of-this-world approach to natural home decor.
6. Brit + Co 3D Printed Rose ($15): While these beauties were developed for Valentine’s Day, they’re actually a super cool way to add some floral vibes to your life way past February 14. Keep them in a vase alongside the real deal or hang one on a wall for some alternative art.
7. Modern Sprout Kraft Seed Starter Kits ($17): These pretty little seed kits are an all-inclusive way to start your very own in-home garden. If you don’t have space for the real thing or you’re still dealing with some tough winter conditions, this kit is the solution that will give you fresh herbs all year round.
8. Paper to Petal by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell ($25): This book’s 75 different paper flower designs will keep you occupied all winter long. Before you know it, spring will be here and you can go out and pick the real deal. But you might not want to after discovering the glory of paper flowers.
9. Juicykits Farm-Fresh Succulent and Pot ($24): Succulents forever! These little desert plants are low maintenance and high in style, especially this one — check out those white-striped leaves!
10. Enchanted Forest Coloring Book by Johanna Basford ($16): Have a coloring party with your favorite gal pals and before you know it your walls will be covered in gorgeous hand-colored nature scenes.
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