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Big Ideas for Small Business® has been dedicated to helping small businesses succeed for over 20 years. The brainchild of Barbara Weltman, a respected corporate speaker, contributing editor, author of more than a dozen books from major publishers, sought-after expert media source, newsletter publisher and more than ever, a trusted advocate for small business owners. Big Ideas for Small Business® is a haven for entrepreneurs looking to succeed.

Idea of the Day®

January 21, 2017

Guide on Home Office Deduction

The IRS released Publication 587 for figuring the home office deduction on 2016 returns.

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Big Ideas For Your Business

Resources For Your Business
  • CNBC had an article on this topic geared to consumers. This prompted me to consider the same topic for small business owners. Because I know how hard small business owners work, I believe strongly in frugality. Here are some of the ways you can stop wasting money: Tax penalties Being late for filing returns and paying taxes without having reasonable cause triggers various tax penalties. Several years ago it was reported that about 40% of small businesses paid an average payroll tax penalty of $845. I couldn’t find the original source of this statistic, but any unnecessary fees are just […]

  • There are a number of so-called safe harbors that businesses can use to simplify their tax lives. Unfortunately, understanding these safe harbors can be anything but simple. Here’s a roundup of the safe harbors of particular interest to small businesses, and what they mean to you. Information returns In 2015, the PATH Act created a de minimis safe harbor for errors on information returns, payee statements, and withholding. For this purpose, “de minimis” means an unintentional error of an amount on an information return or payee statement (e.g., W-2, 1099-MISC) not exceeding $100, or $25 for withholding. If a business […]

  • 10 Ways to Borrow Money

    Do you have big plans for 2017, such as starting a new line, hiring additional employees, or expanding to another location? If you need capital to make your vision a reality, borrowing may be a good option. Your relationship with the lender is finite because once you repay the loan you can part ways. The cost of borrowing is still relatively low: the prime rate to which many loan rates are tied is only 3.75%. And business interest is fully deductible. Here are 10 places to look for loans, and the upside and downside of each type of borrowing: 1.Family/friends. […]

  • The job market is heating up and according to a recent NFIB report, there was a 15% uptick in the number of small businesses that planned to increase employment. With that said, there are a growing number of firms that are one-person operations. They don’t have employees, yet they seem to thrive. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the number of one-person manufacturers has soared in recent years, with an estimated 350,000 such firms in 2014. The following focuses on one-person companies, but the reasons can apply as well to small employer firms thinking of hiring this year. Reasons […]

  • Just do a search for these terms strung together — small business, ADA, lawsuits — and you’ll learn about “vexatious lawsuits.” CBS’s 60 Minutes ran a piece on them in December 2016, calling them “drive-by lawsuits.” Another label: predatory lawsuits. These are legal actions brought for minor infractions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with the intention of getting the defendant — small business owners in particular — to settle because it’s too expensive to fight the action in court. Background On January 26, 1992 — 25 years ago — the “public accommodations” rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act […]

  • While the filing deadline for your 2016 federal income tax return isn’t until April 18, 2017, it’s not too early to take measures that will make this filing season a breeze. Don’t procrastinate; take things one at a time to make this filing season easy and successful for you.  1. Collect your information returns. The income, deductions, and credits reported on your return are taken from information returns sent to you — and to the IRS — starting at the end of January (depending on the form). Look for: W-2s to report your wages, salaries, commissions, and taxable fringe benefits […]

  • It’s not too late to find the health coverage you need for your small business. As a small business owner, you must know your responsibilities and your options for obtaining health coverage, and some are new. We’re running a giveaway! Those who visit the new online healthcare shopping portal (sponsored by UnitedHealthcare) may be selected to receive an Amazon gift card! Don’t wait — giveaway ends January 31.  Details below: a Rafflecopter giveaway Health coverage for small businesses If you have fewer than 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not mandate that you provide your […]

  • This has been quite a year for small businesses in the U.S. Much has happened, and much is anticipated in the coming year. Let’s look back on some of the critical issues impacting small business and what we can expect in 2017. Presidential election. The election of Donald Trump was “the” event of 2016. Whatever people think about him as an individual, there is no disputing his familiarity with business issues. Thus, small businesses should be optimistic that this portends good things for small businesses. He has nominated Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration. She is a business […]

  • With the talk of “repeal and replace” for Obamacare on the front burner, it’s essential for small business owners to understand health savings accounts (HSAs).  The reason: HSAs are being discussed as the cornerstone for possible new law. What’s more they can be used now under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by companies large and small. Here’s where we stand now. Overview Health savings accounts (HSAs), as the name implies, are accounts designed to save money to pay for medical costs that are not covered by insurance. As of the last census, there were 19.7 million people with HSAs, up […]

  • I’m proud to say it’s the 23rd year of the original publication, and it’s all new for 2016 returns and year-round tax planning. As had been my practice, I’ve written my own book review to explain the purpose of the book, what’s new, and what’s ahead. Why small business owners need a tax book If you are like the vast majority of small business owners (86%), you use a CPA or other tax pro to prepare your business returns. You may even work with tax experts on specific matters, such as succession planning, inventory management, and payroll. However, it’s my belief […]


Resources For Your Business

Tracking Personal Time Off by OPEN Forum

Small Business Taxes and Spending by OPEN Forum


January 21, 2017


Events in January 2017

barbara’s books

  • The ultimate money-saving tax guide for the small business owner.   J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes is designed to help business owners make sense of their taxes and file correctly, on time, without over- or under-paying.  Written in a straightforward and accessible style, this reliable resource offers a complete overview of small business tax planning and provides you with the information needed to make tax-smart decisions throughout the year. Focusing on strategies that help you use deductions and tax credits effectively, shield business income, and maximize other aspects of small business taxes, this practical guide will show you how your actions in business today can affect your bottom line from a tax perspective tomorrow.
  • The complete guide to all deductions and credits for individual taxpayers.   J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks shows you just how much money you can save on your taxes—legally—simply by taking advantage of what's out there. Millions of Americans overpay their taxes by billions of dollars every year, because constantly evolving laws and regulations make keeping track of deductions and breaks next to impossible for the everyday taxpayer. This book helps you put a stop to overpayment so you can keep more of your hard-earned money. Fully updated to reflect the latest rulings and laws — including an e-supplement with the latest tax developments from the IRS and Congress — this book answers all of your "Can I claim…" questions with guidance from the nation's most trusted tax advisors.
  • Tax facts and strategies every self-employed person needs to know As a self-employed person you have to handle many, if not all, of the aspects of running your business. J.K. Lasser's Guide to Self-Employment is intended to help you with some business aspects with which you may not be familiar—but which have a great impact on your bottom line. It skillfully focuses on taxes as well as many legal and financial matters that may pertain to your business.3
  • Smooth Failing - Living Edition

    This is the Living Edition of Smooth Failing. New stories from business leaders on their business failures and the lessons learned will be added regularly at no additional cost. Alerts will be sent out automatically when each new version is available. Specific requests and challenges can be submitted by the reader for future consideration and these will dictate how often and how many additional stories will be made available.
  • Small Business Survival Book

    12 surefire ways for your business to survive and thrive! Owning a small business can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding experience, but to be successful, you must know what to do while the business is up and running, and, most importantly, what to do when the business runs into trouble. This book is definitely part of what you need to succeed!
  • As Vicki Raeburn of Dun & Bradstreet notes in the forward, "...the successful creation of credit by small business has a significant effect on one of the most important business drivers, namely cash flow. ...     [This book has] the information needed to understand and build business credit."


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    I follow your blog religiously for the great tips you provide. I love the new look. It makes me smile to see that your blog got an update.  Thanks for providing such useful information. ”

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  • " Barbara Weltman has been an advocate,
    public speaker, and resource for small business news since the release of her first book, J.K. Lasser’s Tax Deductions for Small Business, in 1995. Since then she has run her website, her Big Ideas for Small Business® newsletter, and her blog, not to mention written over a dozen books. Ms. Weltman is on this list twice because for many business owners, it is easier to scroll through her Twitter feed for trending topics and news events than search her website. However, if you don’t take a minute to read her newsletters or blog — you’re missing out. newsletters or blog. ”

    -Meredith Wood, Fundera Ledger

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    -An eBay Radio listener - purplejaime1976

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