Children and the Family Business

Have you heard the ad on the radio? You know, the one with the kid talking with the cute lisp about her Dad’s used car lot? Or how about the yellow page ad, the one with the picture of the dentist and his family? Do the used car salesman and the dentist think that using their children in their ads will help bring in business? Or maybe the reason they have their children in their ad is because they have a shrewd tax adviser?

Continue reading “Children and the Family Business”

Last Minute Tax Tips

Here are some last minute tax tips straight from the IRS.

If you’re trying to beat the tax deadline, there are several options for last-minute help:

• Receive a six-month extension of time to file using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
• Payment options are available to taxpayers having trouble paying their tax bill.
• Download forms and publications at IRS.gov.

Filing an extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork to the IRS and avoids the late-filing penalty, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You must estimate your tax liability when you apply for an extension.

You will owe interest on any amounts not paid by the April deadline, and you also will be charged a penalty for late payment unless at least 90 percent of your tax liability is paid by the regular due date of your tax return.

You can also e-file an extension request using tax preparation software on your own computer or by going to a tax preparer.

If your return is completed but you are unable to pay the tax due, do not request an extension. File your return on time and pay as much as you can. The IRS will send you a bill or notice for the balance due and will charge interest and penalties only on the unpaid balance.

If you cannot pay the full amount due with your return, you can ask to make monthly installment payments for the full or a partial amount. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement using our Web-based Online Payment Agreement application on IRS.gov. The Web-based application allows eligible taxpayers or their authorized representatives to self-qualify, apply for, and receive immediate notification of approval. You can also request an installment agreement by submitting a completed Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, either when you file the return or when you later get a bill from the IRS.

For more information regarding extensions of time to file or installment agreements, including options for requesting an installment agreement online, visit the IRS Web site at IRS.gov and click on 1040 Central.

Remember that for the genuine IRS Web site be sure to use .gov. Don’t be confused by internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is www.irs.gov.
Links:

  • Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (PDF 76K)
  • Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request (PDF 100K)

How Much Money Does it Take to Start a Business?

This is an interesting older article from CNNMoney.com.  I would say the one thing that keeps most people from starting their own business is money. How do you know how much you will need and where do you get it.  Surprisingly very few businesses are started with Venture Capital or Angel Funds.   According to this article most small businesses are started using savings and credit cards.

Another interesting statistic,  only 31% of the small business owners surveyed said they started with a business plan.

“Small-business owners spend about $10,000 to start their companies, mostly out of their own pockets, study says.”

read more | digg story

When Ethics and Integrity Get in the Way of Making Money

My Daddy once said to me, the only thing you have, that no one can ever take away from you, is your integrity. You can only give it away.  Everything else you have, even your life, can be taken away.   So never, ever, give away your integrity. It can be hard to get back.

I have been seeing a new “make money on the internet” widget popping up on blogs everywhere.  It is a simple concept.  You buy a widget.  You put it on your blog.  When other people buy the widget, you make money. How much money you make depends on how much you paid for your widget.  It sounds simple. It will work, at least in the beginning, and the company that came up with the idea is probably making a killing.

So what’s the problem?

It is just another  pyramid scheme, or ponzi scheme, with a Web 2.0 flair.

There is no real product being sold, no value being given.  Not even a poorly written e-book.  Just the promise of getting money without doing any real work.

The following is a quote from Wikipedia on pyramid schemes.

The essential idea behind each scam is that the individual makes only one payment, but is promised to somehow receive exponential benefits from other people as a reward. A common example might be an offer that, for a fee, allows the victim to sell the same offer to other people, or receive bonuses through other people they refer. Each sale includes a fee to the original seller.

Clearly, the flaw is that there is no end benefit; the money simply travels up the chain, and only the originator (or at best a very few) wins in swindling his followers. Of course, the people in the worst situation are the ones at the bottom of the pyramid: those who subscribed to the plan, but were not able to recruit any followers themselves.

The internet is huge, and it may very well be awhile before this particular scam hits the bottom and people are no longer able to make money. And that is where the ethics and integrity part comes in.

People who get into this right now will probably make a good deal of money. Many people don’t care that it is a scam, and that eventually, some people will get burned.  I have to admit that I had a little bit of temptation to go for this myself.  After all, it is the people who get in early that make the big bucks.  And with the vast market of the internet, it could be a long time before the market saturates and people start losing money.

BUT SOMEBODY WILL LOSE MONEY,BECAUSE THERE IS NO REAL PRODUCT!

And I can’t be knowingly responsible, not even distantly, for someone losing money to a scam.

Now I know probably most of the people who have this widget don’t know that it is a scam. At first glance it does look like a really good idea.  So how can you tell if something is a scam, or a valid money making opportunity.

It is simple, you just have to ask yourself one question.

Can I make money selling this product, without having to recruit anyone else into selling the product?

If the answer is yes, then you have a real product and a real opportunity. (It might not be a great or even good opportunity, but it is a real opportunity.)  If the answer is no, you have a Ponzi scheme.

I’m not going to tell you the name of the widget.  There are plenty of people out there who don’t care that people will lose money, and I don’t want to help them find a new way to scam people.

However, if you have such a widget on your website, do the right thing and take it off.  You may lose some money in the short run, but in the long term, you  keep your integrity, and that is worth more than any money you could earn.

Please feel free to share this information with others. I would appreciate credit and a link back. Thanks.

You Won’t Be Getting a Tax Rebate Check

Henry Paulson, the Unites States Treasury Secretary announced on Friday that Congress has approved the $167 billion, debt financed, Economic stimulus package, and that the IRS will be working through the tax season in order to send out the “rebate” checks starting in May of 2008.

I hate to break the news to everyone, putting the country even further in debt isn’t going to provide any long term stimulus to the economy,  the IRS has enough trouble keeping up with tax season without adding the task of sending out  millions of rebate checks, and technically these are not rebate checks, they are prepayment checks, there is a difference.

While everyone in Congress and the media are talking about Rebate checks, when you visit the Internal Revenue Service they are referring to “advance payment checks”. Is there a difference? Yes! Quite a bit. A rebate is generally understood to be a “giving back” of funds that were already paid. If these were true rebate checks, they would be a refund of taxes previously paid. But in fact, the checks will be prepayments of tax refunds. Details are sketchy right now, but I would expect that with the prepayment checks going out in May, there will be fewer and smaller tax refunds in early 2009.

It is also unlikely that he so-called rebate checks will help the economy. The idea behind the checks is that the people would run with the money to their nearest store and spend it on some type of “stuff”. This would give retailers a boost and keep the economy from falling into recession. Yet, when prepayment checks were issued in 2001, over half the recipients used the money for savings or paying down debt. It sounds like this time won’t be any different. According to the surveys I have seen, most people plan to use their rebate check to pay down debt.

For me, I’ll be sending my check right back to the IRS. It will help towards paying my quarterly estimated tax payments. What will you be doing with your prepayment check?

You Won't Be Getting a Tax Rebate Check

Henry Paulson, the Unites States Treasury Secretary announced on Friday that Congress has approved the $167 billion, debt financed, Economic stimulus package, and that the IRS will be working through the tax season in order to send out the “rebate” checks starting in May of 2008.

I hate to break the news to everyone, putting the country even further in debt isn’t going to provide any long term stimulus to the economy,  the IRS has enough trouble keeping up with tax season without adding the task of sending out  millions of rebate checks, and technically these are not rebate checks, they are prepayment checks, there is a difference.

While everyone in Congress and the media are talking about Rebate checks, when you visit the Internal Revenue Service they are referring to “advance payment checks”. Is there a difference? Yes! Quite a bit. A rebate is generally understood to be a “giving back” of funds that were already paid. If these were true rebate checks, they would be a refund of taxes previously paid. But in fact, the checks will be prepayments of tax refunds. Details are sketchy right now, but I would expect that with the prepayment checks going out in May, there will be fewer and smaller tax refunds in early 2009.

It is also unlikely that he so-called rebate checks will help the economy. The idea behind the checks is that the people would run with the money to their nearest store and spend it on some type of “stuff”. This would give retailers a boost and keep the economy from falling into recession. Yet, when prepayment checks were issued in 2001, over half the recipients used the money for savings or paying down debt. It sounds like this time won’t be any different. According to the surveys I have seen, most people plan to use their rebate check to pay down debt.

For me, I’ll be sending my check right back to the IRS. It will help towards paying my quarterly estimated tax payments. What will you be doing with your prepayment check?