Why Oat Milk Is Suddenly All the Rage
Over the last few months, you may have noticed a new vegan milk option at your local coffee shop: oat milk. I’ll be honest; when I first heard I could turn my cappuccino into a capp-OAT-ccino, I rolled my eyes. Could LA be anymore, LA? Turns out, oat milk isn’t an LA thing. It’s a Swedish thing created by the company Oatly, founded back in the 1990s. That’s right; a little before Train was singing about the, “best soy latte you ever had,” the best oat latte was in the works.
Professor Rickard Öste and his research team at Lund University created an enzyme technology to transform fiber rich oats into nutritional liquid food for humans, without wasting as much water as possible. Since then, Oatly has grown tremendously throughout Europe. Oatly is available in more than 20 countries throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. In September of 2016, Intelligentsia in New York City became the first and only American coffee shop to carry it. It wasn’t until 2017 that other coffee shops across the country got on the oat milk train. Today, you can order Oatly with your coffee at over 1,300 cafes (and growing) in the United States (check the company’s website for locations near you). As of now, it is harder to find Oatly at grocery stores than coffee shops, but you can order Oatly directly to your door online.
I hunted down a half gallon of Oatly to write this piece. I was pretty convinced there was no way I’d finish the entire carton and would be back to my usual Trader Joe’s unsweetened almond milk in a flash. But when I tried Oatly in my coffee and then on its own, all that changed. It was love at first sip. I found Oatly to be creamy, velvety, and rich like whole milk, but without the stomachache (as much as I deny it, I am lactose intolerant). It really made my bland morning coffee taste pinky-up-fancy.
I now understand why Oatly calls itself, ”the milk alternative that doesn’t taste gross.” It really doesn’t taste watery, bland or chemical-y like most milk alternatives. And when put in a milk frother, it foams up just like regular milk. There’s no dairy, nuts, gluten, or added sugar in their original flavor, so it’s pretty perfect for the person who’s allergic to everything. Even in the aisles of Whole Foods, a natural milk substitute is a tall order. Most, including the simplest unsweetened almond milk, have ingredients like xanthan gum, which is used to thicken the milk so it mimics dairy. Oatly doesn’t need any of that, because oats naturally thicken the milk. The only milk replacement with just one ingredient is a can of coconut milk, but the distinct, tropical flavor of coconut milk can be too overpowering at times. Oatly, meanwhile, has a subtle, neutral, bottom-of-the-bowl-of-cereal-milk flavor. It’s naturally sweet, but not too sweet, making it easy to use in both sweet and savory recipes.
To my surprise, I went through my half gallon of Oatly in just under a week. I discovered I could easily use Oatly for anything I’d normally use milk for, and it tasted more like a luxury than a sacrifice. Not only did I find myself putting Oatly in my morning coffee, but I was throwing it into smoothies, whisking it in scrambled eggs, and baking it into zucchini muffins. If you check out #Oatly on Instagram, you’ll see customers across the world using it in everything from tuna casserole and Fettuccine Alfredo to fluffy pancakes and velvety brownies.
The only real downside of Oatly is it contains a lot less protein than standard milk (three grams of protein versus eight grams for one cup). If nutritional facts concern you, per serving Oatly has 140 calories, seven grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, and seven grams of sugar (FIY, this is from the oats, as there is no sugar in the actual list of ingredients). Since Oatly is such a great milk substitute, where’s the Oatly ice cream, yogurt, creamer, or protein drinks? As of now, they exist in other countries, and hopefully, those products will land in the US soon.
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(Photos via Oatly, Starbucks, and Gabi Conti)
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