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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®

July 24, 2016

Tax Responsibilities in the 'Sharing Economy'

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson says the IRS needs to do a better job raising awareness of tax responsibilities for those working through Uber, TaskRabit, Etsy, and other “gig economy” companies. These workers usually are independent contractors responsible for reporting their income and paying self-employment tax on net earnings. She suggested the development of a voluntary withholding system and other actions for the IRS to take. It remains to be seen what will be done here.

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Resources For Your Business
  • In early July the IRS urged tax return preparers to protect client information. However, this urging should not be limited to preparers; it really applies to all types of businesses. Here is the list of critical steps the IRS laid out for preparers to follow to ensure data security. You can adapt them for your use regardless of what business you’re in: Assure that taxpayer data, including data left on hardware and media, is never left unsecured Securely dispose of taxpayer information Require strong passwords (numbers, symbols, upper & lowercase) on all computers and tax software programs Require periodic password […]

  • One of the hottest issues with the IRS continues to be worker classification. Businesses may treat workers as independent contractors while the IRS may argue they are employees. If the IRS is successful in its position, companies must reclassify workers; reclassification means paying back employment taxes, plus interest and penalties. In many cases, it also means giving the reclassified workers employee benefits they were entitled to (e.g., medical coverage, retirement plan contributions). In other words, the consequences for being wrong are severe. However, there is some relief. Section 530 relief A provision in the Revenue Act of 1978 (“Section 530”) […]

  • What’s Your 'ACA' Number?

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes responsibilities on certain employers.  It also offers a tax break to certain employers.  Who these employers are depends on the number of employees.  For purposes of these numbers, the term “employees” includes full-time workers and full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. Here’s how to determine your numbers and what this means to you. Determining the number of employees How many employees do you have? It’s not a body count. The way to figure this depends on the purpose for which the number of employees is being used: Small employer health insurance credit. Add up the total […]

  • 10 Myths about Overtime Rules

    Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), you are required to pay time and a half to most types of employees who work overtime. A final rule announced in May, which becomes effective on December 1, 2016, has drawn attention to federal overtime rules. However, the overtime rules, including the new rule, are often misunderstood. Here are 10 misconceptions about these overtime pay rules — and the truth about them —  to help employers stay compliant. Myth #1: You have to pay overtime to all employees working more than 40 hours. There is no overtime requirement for “exempt” workers. Generally, […]

  • Dress Codes Are Dead?

    That’s what the New York Times said in a piece in the Fashion & Style section in May entitled The End of the Office Dress Code. This may or may not be true but in any case, with summertime underway, now may be a good time to review company policy on attire. History of Casual Friday The demise of dress codes, if this is true, is said to have begun with the advent of Casual Friday. According to one account, Casual Friday began when the Hawaiian garment industry encouraged businesses in that state to let workers wear Hawaiian shirts to […]

  • Best Response to a Bad Review

    Sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor encourage customers to post reviews of their experiences with businesses. These reviews matter. According to one survey last year, 92% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. Of these, 40% form an opinion by reading just 1 to 3 reviews, and only 13% of consumers would use a business with a 1 or 2 star rating. If you think the review is unfair, what’s the best way to respond? Here are some ideas. Acknowledgment Ask yourself whether your customer has a point. Remember, apologies are accepted. Use the review to make improvements in […]

  • With the hurricane season underway, it’s a good time to think about being prepared for storms that can disrupt your business, as I discussed earlier. However, the attack in Orlando prompted me to think about another disruption for which you should be prepared and how to get back to business: terrorism. Fifty nine small businesses around the Pulse nightclub where the attack occurred were forced to close for 9 days while investigations were underway. Business interruption insurance If you’re forced to close for a time, will you be able to meet payroll and pay other expenses? A business owners’ policy (BOP) […]

  • There’s no easy answer to this question. In the course of Senator Sander’s presidential bid, the call for a $15 minimum wage rate was loud and clear. Some localities have already adopted this rate; others are considering it. What are the real economic results of a substantial hike in the minimum wage rate? Why it’s a good thing There are certainly some compelling arguments on why a $15 minimum wage is a good thing. A couple of years ago, economist Robert Reich listed 7 reasons: It is keeping up with inflation The current rate isn’t enough to keep workers out […]


Resources For Your Business

Tracking Personal Time Off by OPEN Forum

Small Business Taxes and Spending by OPEN Forum


July 24, 2016


Events in July 2016

barbara’s books

  • Eliminate confusion, maximize deductions, reduce payments, and conquer your small business taxes with ease In J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2016, the most trusted name in tax guidance helps small business owners maximize their bottom line. Fully updated for 2015 tax returns and 2016 tax planning, this detailed guide provides concise, plain-English explanations of tax laws tailored to business owners who are experts in their field—not in taxes.
  • The must-have guide to tax write-offs, with clear advice from a trusted expert J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2016 answers the most common tax question—"what can I deduct?" Updated and expanded for 2015 tax filing and 2016 tax planning, this straightforward guide uses plain English to explain the many available deductions and credits, allowing you to quickly recognize ways to reduce what you owe and maximize your returns.
  • 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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