5 Cool Things Veronica Mars Kickstarter Pledgers Got (+5 More Flicks to Fund!)
Remember life before Kickstarter? Yeah, us neither… or maybe we just don’t want to since the crowdfunding site is kicking major butt these days. They recently hit $1 billion in pledges and got to celebrate with a milestone that shows a serious change for movie making in the Internet age. Less than a year after the Veronica Mars movie raised $1.3 million in six hours on Kickstarter, it premiered this weekend at SXSW. Adoring “marshmallows” got to skip past Will Call to cash in on their pledges and, if they were lucky, rub elbows with the cast. Squee!
We love to introduce you to cool Kickstarter campaigns we come across and subsequently become obsessed with, but thought it was time to talk life after the pledge. Here are some goodies you would score today if you could travel back in time and donate to Kristen Bell and the gang yesterday:
1. Movie Lines: Sure this comes with the biggest pricetag ($10,000 actually) but it snagged Steven Dengler a line in the movie, serious bragging rights, awesome photos (like the one above!) and priceless memories with Kristen Bell on set and off.
2. Starring(ish) Roles: Not everyone could pledge for a line, but others high bidders got to be extras. Extra special when the New York Times profiles you too.
3. Red Carpet Access: Hundreds scored tickets to the red carpet and after parties for the movie’s premieres at SXSW and in LA and NYC. The lucky ones even nabbed VIP selfies.
4. VM QT: Serious marshmallows who wanted to make their incoming callers jealous could have pledged in exchange for personalized voicemail messages. We’re wondering if we could have gotten Chris Lowell to record: “At the tone, leave Lisa a message. She can’t come to the phone right not because we’re eloping” and also how many times he did a variation on that.
5. Twitter Cred: People drop dough on promoted Tweets, but you could have coughed up a mere $400 to have @IMKristenBell follow you on Twitter for a year.
If you’re sad you missed out on funding this flick and want to get your Hollywood producer-at-home on, here are a few films you can fund or see soon!
1. The World Before Her: The award-winning doc shares the juxtaposing stories of young women competing in the Miss India Pageant and those taking part in a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls. The creators want it to be seen around the world, specifically in India — and you can help.
2. I Believe in Unicorns: A hit after its SXSW premiere, this flick combines young love and unicorns. Sold!
3. Being George Clooney: A documentary about dubbing Hollywood films for foreign markets with George Clooney’s hunky voice sounds completely addictive to us.
4. Prelude to Axanar: Already in the throes of “stretch goals,” this flick is one for the diehard Trekkies among us. Thanks to fans, this short film will lead in to a “chapter in Star Trek lore.”
5. Obvious Child: This flick has been funded but we had to add it to the list because we’re dying to see it. It stars the incredible Jenny Slate who you might know as Marcel the Shell With Shoes On or from small-but-hilarious roles like as Jean Ralphio’s sister on Parks and Recreation. Follow her on Twitter now and let’s all crash her screening party when it happens, deal?
Have you ever funded a Kickstarter campaign? What inspired you? Share 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.
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