Whoa! Who Knew Google Chrome Could Do THIS?
We’ve had our eyes on all the happenings coming out of the 30th annual TED conference in Vancouver this week. Beyond the creative speakers and inspiring TED talks that hit the stage — it was actually an interactive art installation that really made us look. Artist Janet Echelman teamed up with the folks at Google to create Unnumbered Sparks, one of the world’s largest textile sculptures… ever.
Janet Echelman is best known for creating pieces that interact with the the forces of nature (think wind, light and water). She’s done tons of large scale textile pieces that decorate urban spaces from Seattle to Amsterdam to Sydney and beyond.
Just in time for TED, Unnumbered Sparks hangs near the Vancouver Convention Center. Made from ultra-light fibers it flies over buildings, walkways and the water. Its massive scale makes it impossible to miss, and absolutely begs you to stop and join the fun :) By the way, what better backdrop for an outdoor interactive installation than gorgeous Vancouver? This pretty much has us planning our next trip!
Your next questions are probably, how exactly does this work and where does Google come in? With a little help from high-definition projectors, a browser window lights up the textile sculpture — a Google Chrome window to be exact. YES, that’s right. Those gorgeous colors and patterns are projections from a window in Chrome.
What does that mean? WELL, anyone with a smartphone or tablet that has Google Chrome can participate in “making” the piece. Just open Chrome and pull up the installation website. From there, choose a color and it’s time to get started. Images and lines that you draw across your phone will be projected onto the piece. Say what?!
You’ve heard us say it before, but here at Brit HQ we believe everyone is creative. That’s why we’re especially stoked about Unnumbered Sparks. As Echelman says: “For years I’ve been exploring how to let people become part of the artwork… people can actually draw and paint with light and they become co-creators with us.”
Have you ever experienced an interactive art installation? Were you able to see Unnumbered Sparks in Vancouver? Give us the deets 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:
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