Why Working Women’s Advocate Ivanka Trump Is Facing Controversy
When Ivanka Trump took the stage at the Republican National Convention in July, she did so as both a longtime partner in her father Donald’s enterprises and a businesswoman in her own right. Her speech on July 21 seemed in many ways more about her own interests than her father’s, though she was apparently speaking about him. In it, she called her father “color blind and gender neutral” and spent a significant amount of time on the many impediments women face in the workforce, from harassment to the gender pay gap. She claimed throughout her speech that her father was the best presidential candidate to deal with these issues.
Donald Trump, however, as candidate for president, has not seemed overly concerned with sexism. (He’s got a fairly lax approach to many aspects of his campaign!) But women in the workplace is a cornerstone of Ivanka’s burgeoning empire; it’s a frequent subject on her website, the Women Who Work initiative is her “signature” and she even has a book on the subject coming out next March. It’s fairly safe to assume that Ivanka Trump is aware of working women’s issues! And that safe assumption is exactly why many people were so perplexed when it became obvious that not only does Ivanka not pay her interns (a fairly common practice that’s nonetheless losing favor), but she also doesn’t seem to view that as a contradiction to her stated focus on working conditions. In fact, a post written for ivankatrump.com by intern Quincy Bulin bore the headline “How to Survive As an Unpaid Intern.”
Among the recommendations are “take on a part-time job,” “save up during the school year,” and “set a budget for yourself.” Of course, those are solid tips if you do find yourself spending a summer working for no pay. But amid all the helpful suggestions, the post fails to mention some pretty relevant info. For instance, Ivanka Trump’s businesses are hugely profitable — her clothing line alone made $100 million last year — which calls into question why, exactly, she needs to rely on unpaid labor from young women as she makes a name for herself stressing the importance of treating women properly in the workplace. There’s ample evidence that unpaid internships are not the foot in the door they’re touted as — a way of paying one’s dues while securing future job prospects. And women are WAY more likely to do a stint as an unpaid intern than men are: 77 percent more likely, to be exact. That kind of makes unpaid interning look like a “women in the workplace” issue that someone like Ivanka Trump would be concerned with, no?
So far, Ivanka hasn’t responded to questions about the situation. Her chief brand officer wrote to Forbes, “It is our goal that at the end of the program, our interns leave with experiences that will help guide them into choosing a fulfilling career path,” but otherwise, little has been said.
The public backlash regarding unpaid internships is somewhat new, but has been growing swiftly. And in an election campaign that brought discussions of wealth inequality to the fore, and in which a presidential candidate championed the grassroots campaign to make the minimum wage one people can actually live on, it’s an especially bad time to be caught saying something positive about pay equity while actions tell a different story.
Have you ever done an unpaid internship? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Jeff Swensen + Alex Wong/Getty)
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