Super Sweet Hot Chocolate Bar
The best part of the holiday season is putting on your coziest clothes and snuggling up to your loved ones with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to keep you warm. Our twist on hot chocolate comes in the form of a candy-filled hot chocolate bar. This is great for any winter night in, but could also work nicely as a Christmas dessert when everyone is full from dinner.
– hot chocolate
– chocolate chips or baking chocolate
– whipped cream
Optional (choose whatever candies or toppings you like!)
– peanut butter chips
– white chocolate chips
– york peppermint patties, broken up
– butterfinger, crushed
– cinnamon sticks
– oreos, broken up
First thing to do is to create your scrumptious chocolate-dipped spoons. First, put a bag of chocolate chips or baking chocolate into a small pot – we used a butter warmer. Add half a tablespoon of vegetable oil and cook on medium. Stir while cooking with a spatula. The consistency should be fairly thick, but smooth.
Dip your spoon in, shake off excess chocolate (the spoon should not be dripping), add sprinkles (or crushed candy cane, crushed Oreos, etc) and set down on parchment paper to cool. To speed up the process, you can place them in the fridge or freezer. If you don’t have time for this, use Nutella instead! For our hot chocolate day, we put finished spoons out on a plate but they also make great gifts if you wrap them in parchment paper with a ribbon.
Next, heat up your hot chocolate and set up your hot chocolate bar. When you make your hot chocolate, make it weaker than usual, since you’ll be sweetening it up with a cornucopia of sugary goodness.
For our fixin’s, we served Reese’s peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, broken up York Peppermint Patties, crushed Butterfinger, and marshmallows. We tossed the marshmallows in cinnamon and the tiniest bit of red chili pepper for a little kick. For drink stirrers, we used cinnamon sticks and our chocolate-dipped spoons, but candy canes would be perfect for making a drinkable Christmas dessert.
If you’re feeling like a little experimentation, heat up some caramel syrup and pour over whipped cream with a little bit of sea salt. So delicious.
For the grownups, add a little side bar with Kahlua and Baileys! And there you have it, a super simple, super sweet hot chocolate bar to add more than a little sugar to all your holiday festivities.
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:
You X Ventures for Unsplash
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.
Kobu Agency for Unsplash
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