A Love Letter to Our Fave Fallen Mall Brands
Once upon a time, the mall was the place to be. Before online shopping, before apps, when we wanted to shop all of our favorite labels in one place, we had the mall. And it was glorious.
The recent woes of classic mall brands are a secret to no one. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen the shuttering of The Limited, Wet Seal, and BCBG stores, not to mention the seemingly endless stream of closings and layoffs among once-major players like Abercrombie, Macy’s, and Sears. Whether technology, changing consumer shopping habits, or an inability to compete on the trend front caused their demise, we may never know for certain. Surely, a variety of factors have played into what appears to be the arrival of the mall-pocalypse. Rather than play the blame game here, we would just like to take a moment to pay our respects and pour one out for the fallen retailers of our youth. This one’s for our homies.
To Wet Seal: We thank you for giving us a haven to get cool clothes on the cheap before H&M was even a twinkle in our eyes. Thank you for outfitting us as we navigated our way through our tween to teen years, when the Delia’s catalog was required reading and Nick Lachey was #husbandgoals. Your store was where we learned to express ourselves through fashion, where we experimented with style by decking ourselves out in cutoff denim mini skirts and butterfly clips before heading off to the food court. You served us well, friend. (Photo via Justin Sullivan/Getty)
To BCBG: You never let us down when it came to getting dressed up. We’ve all run to your racks at one time or another, be it for sweet sixteen, prom (cough), or a family wedding (double cough). Just fancy enough, but with an attainable price tag, you had our backs for every special occasion. Like an old best friend with a great closet, we could always count on you in a nothing-to-wear-jam. We’ll catch you online, but it won’t be the same. (Photo via Rob Kim/FilmMagic)
To The Limited: You were the place we turned to when we needed outfits for our first interviews, for meeting our boyfriends’ parents or for really any occasion where we needed to look grown up before we actually were. You gave us somewhere to shop for clothes and accessories within our budget that didn’t look like throwaway items. We felt (and looked) responsible, professional, and ready to take on the world. Thanks for the blazers and the sheath dresses. We owe you one. (Photo via The Limited)
We can’t know exactly what the future holds for the rest of our favorite mall brands. All we know for sure is that while the tectonic plates of retail continue to shift, we will always hold a special place in our hearts for the stores that first got us excited enough to go out and shop. They gave us a place to meet up with friends, to experiment with independence (until our parents came to pick us up), and try on different versions of who we wanted to be. So thanks for the memories, guys. See you at the big food court in the sky.
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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