Mind Blown: This Is Not a Pen, It’s a 3D Printer!
For every one person who can wax PLA-poetic about how great 3D printing is and will be, there are probably about a dozen more people who are like, “Yeah… but really, what is 3D printing exactly?” Part of the problem is that 3D printers still have a unicorn-like quality — or at least they’re white tiger level mysterious. You are pretty sure they exist, but you don’t know if you’ve ever actually seen one IRL. That will change when more people have them in-house or with LIX, the world’s smallest printer, in-purse.
LIX is a 3D printing pen that looks like a writing utensil an executive or your cool friend who’s an architect would tote. It prints rigid, freestanding structures in mid-air using the same type of filament you feed your friendly neighborhood MakerBot. Just like you’re used to doing when you doodle, it will let you unleash your creativity wherever and whenever it hits you.
The process is simple: You juice LIX up by plugging in a tiny cable that charges with any normal USB outlet, wait for it to charge (this takes under a minute) and start turning your imagination into 3D reality. It looks even easier to use than the kid-friendlier (at least in looks) 3Doodler. Watch it work below:
The sleek pen, crafted from sustainable aluminium, can add a little something extra when it comes to work or play — we love the examples they share on their site.
Craft ornate 3D printed jewelry like this necklace.
Create designs that can be placed on t-shirts or any fabric (ahem, wall art!).
Shelf art works for us too! This made us start a slow clap at our computer, it’s that awesome.
Architects, designers and other people in the business of making 3D objects can use LIX to go beyond paper and pencil (or even mouse and computer) to construct small structures in place of blueprints and mocks.
The LIX 3D pen sells for $140 and will be available to preorder once their Kickstarter campaign launches, likely around April 14. (Early bird prices, maybe?!) In a take on the old adage “big things come in small packages,” we love the company’s updated slogan: “little things can do bigger ideas.” Heck yeah they can.
Would you use LIX? What would you make? Have you tried 3Doodler before? Give us the scoop 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