Skeptical About Astrology? This Study Might Make You Believe
We have a lot of fun coming up with DIY astro guides for every personality and love flaunting all kinds of zodiac accessories, but now our astrological obsession is getting some much needed love in the academic world. According to a research project by Dr. Mark Hamilton from the University of Connecticut, people’s personalities actually do vary depending on the season they were born. Of course, everyone is unique and not every Libra is going to fit the definition of a Libra, but when you look at a huge sample size of personalities born at the same time, you can start seeing specific personality traits.
There are certain psychological characteristics that have been associated with certain birth months. For example, people born in January and February tend to be more creative and people born in odd-numbered months are more likely to be extroverted than those born during the even-numbered months. Obviously, psychologists tend to dismiss the connection to astrology, but there is definitely a phenomenon happening here that is hard to explain. While Dr. Hamilton is not saying his research proves the stars determine our destiny, he does hope that we can see astrology as a useful tool to help understand the effect nature has on our well-being.
In his study, Dr. Hamilton combined elemental astrology, which uses the four elements to categorize personality traits (water, earth, air and fire), and sign qualities like mutable, cardinal and fixed to understand the correlation between personality and when someone is born. Since December though March is a “wet” time of year, those personality traits are connected with fluidity and creativity. A “fixed” sign like earth however, would be considered more stubborn and persistent. After researching the varying astrological factors that contribute to personality, Dr. Hamilton looked at the personality traits of 300 celebrities from all fields like politics, science, the arts and sports. He found that all these celebrities’ birthdays were clustered at the same time of year and were associated with “wet” signs and born in December-March. Obviously other signs can become celebrities too, but this pattern was overwhelmingly true in Hamilton’s study.
After the success and popularity of his celebrity study, Hamilton is now working on an even bigger project that will look at 85,000 great minds, from ancient Egypt to present day. He is hoping to prove that astrology’s effect on personality holds true even across the millennia and varied cultures.
What do you think of astrology determining your personality? Tell us why you do (or don’t) believe in the power of the stars 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