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Big Ideas for Small Business® is dedicated to providing small businesses with the tools they need to gain a solid foundation and future financial success. With counsel for almost every facet of entrepreneurial finance, Big Ideas for Small Business® is your source for the right ideas for growing your business.

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Idea of the Day®

February 23, 2020

Patents in U.S. and Mexico

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) agreed to launch a new work-sharing arrangement. This will allow for those with U.S. patents to more easily obtain patent protection in Mexico. Under the agreement there will be a parallel patent grant framework.

Remember, you’ll find the Supplements for both tax books on my blog here and here.

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Big Ideas For Your Business

Resources For Your Business
  • There are two important challenges that every small business owner should know. One:   According to the Workest, retaining good employees is a very big problem for small businesses today; how can this be addressed? Two:   According to the House’s Committee on Small Business, there are 2.3 million business owners who are at or near retirement age; who is going to buy them out? One solution for both challenges is an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). What’s an ESOP? An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is a type of qualified plan designed to invest primarily in employer stock. Much like any […]

  • As an employer, you are required to withhold from an employee’s paycheck federal (and where applicable, state) income taxes, as well as the employee’s share of Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes. (Recently proposed regulations address withholding rules following changes by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the revised Form W-4.)  But this mandatory withholding is only the tip of the withholding iceberg. There are other reasons—some at the employee’s behest and others because of law—for which you must withhold additional amounts. Mandatory withholding for… As an employer you have no choice but to comply with mandatory withholding in […]

  • Each year, February 14 presents a challenge for business owners. How much celebrating should be encouraged or barred? What dating policies are in place or should there be any? How can everyone avoid hurting some employees’ feelings? Challenging questions for sure, especially in today’s #MeToo / #TimesUp environment. Here are some ideas to keep everyone comfortable and safe on Valentine’s Day. Do have an anti-sexual harassment policy in place You don’t want flirting or other behavior to make other employees uncomfortable, or feel they are being sexually harassed. Guidance on what to know about sexual harassment in the workplace was […]

  • If you’re owed a tax refund related to a tax return filed for a previous year, the IRS isn’t going to automatically send it to you. It’s up to you to file for it. This means submitting an amended return. Recent legislation has provided opportunities for tax refunds that you may be eligible for…if you file an amended return. Determine whether to do so and how to go about it. Why file an amended tax return now? The Tax Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019, which was part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, contains a number […]

  • Is the economy getting better or are we in for some serious problems? You can watch trends and listen to economists, but these aren’t all the answers you need. If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, you can’t anticipate a black swan event (an unpredicted rare event beyond what’s normally expected and which can have serious consequences). The only way to be sure you can handle whatever comes your way and move toward your long-term goals is to make a strategic plan. Strategic plan versus basic business plan Is a strategic plan any different from a plain vanilla business […]

  • The tax law is not static. Since the publication of this book, Congress has enacted a massive spending measure—the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. Part of this measure is the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019, which makes changes impacting returns for 2018, 2019, and 2020. These include “extenders,” which are tax breaks that expired at the end of 2017 but have been retroactively reinstated and extended through 2020 (or longer), along with a few other breaks that expired at the end of 2019 but have been given one more year. And it includes tax relief for […]

  • Estimates put the outstanding amount of student loan debt for about 45 million people in the U.S. at over $1.5 trillion. Many of those facing high debt experience stress, delay buying homes, launching businesses, or even starting a family. They also limit or avoid putting money into retirement savings. Legally, employers have no obligation to assist those on their staff with student loan debt. But as a practical matter, especially in today’s tight job market, employers are well advised to do something to help. Here are some ideas: Provide information to help employees Whether employees with student loan debt are […]

  • The tax law is not static. Since the publication of this book, Congress has enacted a massive spending measure—the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. Part of this measure is the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019, which makes changes impacting returns for 2018, 2019, and 2020. These include “extenders,” which are tax breaks that expired at the end of 2017 but have been retroactively reinstated and extended through 2020 (or longer), along with a few other breaks that expired at the end of 2019 but have been given one more year. And it includes tax relief for […]

  • Pandemics—the worldwide spread of a new disease—have had profound effects on society and, as a result, on business.  The current coronavirus is raising concerns around the world. What does this mean for your business and can you do anything about it? Impact of prior pandemics The plague that hit Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s, also known as the Black Death, killed as many as 60% of the population and transformed the lives of survivors and their economy in the aftermath. Because there were fewer workers after the epidemic passed, wages rose. Lords began to keep sheep, which required fewer […]

  • When you’re in business, you kind of assume that all of your expenses are fully deductible. But this assumption is wrong. The tax law imposes various limitations to block a tax benefit from certain payments. 1. 50% limit on deduction for meals Taking a customer to lunch or eating while away from home on business are common business expenses. But under the tax law, only half the cost of legitimate business meals is deductible. And, in order to take this partial write-off, strict substantiation rules must be met. Details about a deduction for business meals is in IRS Publication 463. […]

Multimedia

Resources For Your Business

5 Ways to Reduce Employee Stress

Successful Tax Planning Strategies for Your Small Business - Interview by Jim Fitzpatrick

Book Interview -- Smooth Failing

Book Interview -- J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2019

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barbara’s books

  • The Uber/Lyft Driver Tax & Business Guide, Kindle Edition

    This e-Book was created for Uber and Lyft drivers as their GPS -- to help them get where they want to go in their business, safely and securely.  Note: This e-Book has been updated with a new title and revised content (shown). Do you enjoy driving and being your own boss with flexible work options? Are you looking for a part-time (or full-time) activity that earns good money? Maybe you’ve already discovered that there are great opportunities for making money with your car, and you’re a business owner driving for Uber, Lyft, or other platform. Or, you’d like to become an Uber or Lyft driver but uncertain how to begin. This guide, "The Uber/Lyft Driver Tax & Business Guide," is your answer!  
  • Maximize your bottom line with the nation's most trusted small business tax guide

    J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2020 is the small business owner's ultimate guide to a money-saving, stress-free tax season. Providing straightforward advice from the nation's most trusted tax expert on small business taxes, this book gives you the answers you need quickly, with clear, concise guidance. Updated to cover changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other legislation, this edition also includes an e-supplement covering additional developments from Congress and the IRS to keep you fully up-to-date.
  • A complete list of individual tax relief opportunities

    J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2020 is the complete and thorough guide to reducing your tax burden. By listing every possible deduction and credit available to individual taxpayers, this book can help you achieve substantial savings on your 2019 tax return. Updated and expanded to cover new and changing tax law, this edition also includes an e-supplement covering the latest developments from Congress and the IRS to keep you fully up-to-date. Stop overpaying and gain peace of mind as you find the answers you need for your specific tax situation. Mine your paperwork for write-off opportunities, and claim your tax breaks correctly; easy-to-follow instructions give you clear guidance through the maze of worksheets to help you reclaim what is legally yours.
  • What every self-employed person needs to know about their taxes!

    If you’re self-employed, chances are the majority of your time is spent finding new customers or clients, servicing existing ones, and handling each and every aspect of your business. Freelancers, independent contractors, gig economy participants, and other individuals working for themselves need to be aware of their responsibilities when it comes to paying their taxes. Even if you have an accountant or use tax preparation software, you may not be aware of all the deductions and credits you are entitled to. That’s where the experts at J.K. Lasser come in. The second edition of J.K. Lasser's Guide to Self-Employment helps you file your taxes correctly, accurately, and on time. Using clear, jargon-free language, this bestselling guide explains the legal and financial implications of self-employment and shows you how to keep as much of your hard-earned money as legally possible. A reader says: "This book, Guide to Self Employment, is an excellent tax resource for all freelancers & self employed people, including small business owners. Barbara Weltman is a knowledgeable tax attorney & small business specialist."
  • Presenting a recently-launched, updated, paperback edition!  Barbara Weltman takes an inspired look in Smooth Failing at the hard lessons learned when things go wrong. Through extensive interviews with entrepreneurs whose ventures failed for a variety of reasons — some stunningly unexpected, some painfully inevitable — Barbara gleans valuable insights about the small mistakes that can lead to large scale catastrophe.  Smooth Failing seeks to save readers from similar disaster — while empowering those who are learning from failures and adversity to bounce back stronger and wiser on the often rocky road to success.
  • 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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  • " Barbara Weltman is an Advocate for Small Business
    She 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. ”

    -Meredith Wood, Fundera Ledger

  • " Great segment!!!
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    -An eBay Radio listener - purplejaime1976

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