Friday, December 07, 2018

Here are your new income tax brackets for 2019

Written by Darla Mercado

 Article from CNBC


The IRS has tweaked income tax brackets for the new year, adjusting them for inflation.

 Next year’s standard deduction will be $12,200 for singles and $24,400 for married couples who file jointly. Personal exemptions will remain at zero.

 There will be no penalty for failure to maintain minimum essential health coverage in 2019. This year, the penalty was $695.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

National Tax Security Awareness Week

From the Internal Revenue Service:

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry will hold a National Tax Security Awareness Week December 3-7, 2018 to encourage individual and business taxpayers to take steps to protect their tax data and identities in advance of the 2019 filing season.

The IRS announced steep declines in tax-related identity theft in 2017 following the success of the Security Summit effort. Key indicators of identity theft dropped for the second year in a row in 2017. This includes a 40 percent decline in taxpayers reporting they are victims of identity theft in 2016. Since 2015, the number of tax-related identity theft victims has fallen by almost two-thirds and billions of dollars of taxpayer refunds have been protected.

The Don't Take the Bait awareness series is focused on the need for tax professionals to increase their computer security and be cautious of spear phishing scams. Tax professionals must remember that they have a legal requirement under federal law to protect taxpayer information.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

New York State Is Probing Abuses in Small-Business Lending

From Bloomberg LP
Written by Zeke Faux and Zachary Mider

New York’s attorney general has opened an investigation into potential abuses by finance firms that offer quick money to small businesses nationwide, according to a person familiar with the probe.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s office is looking into whether merchant cash-advance companies engaged in fraud or abused the state court system, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Last week the office subpoenaed one of the largest cash-advance companies, Yellowstone Capital LLC, the person said.

"It’s reprehensible to defraud, deceive and harass small-business owners through predatory debt-collection practices and the abuse of our court system," Underwood said in a statement to Bloomberg News that didn’t provide details. “If a company is engaging in fraudulent and deceptive conduct, we want to know.”

Monday, December 03, 2018

Pennsylvania Tax Obligations for Out-Of-State Vendors

Article from Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

Any entity making taxable sales or performing taxable services in Pennsylvania must be licensed to collect and remit sales tax.

Pennsylvania’s sales and use tax rate is 6 percent. An additional 1 percent local sales and use tax applies to sales in Allegheny County; an additional 2 percent local sales and use tax applies to sales in Philadelphia.

 No tax is due on out-of-state deliveries made by a vendor or common carrier. However, deliveries made within Pennsylvania are subject to sales tax.

 Any business that does not have a permanent physical location in Pennsylvania, but makes taxable sales in Pennsylvania on an irregular basis, is required to register for a transient vendor’s license. Transient vendor licenses are renewable on a yearly basis so long as the taxpayer timely files and remits all sales tax.

 All other out-of-state vendors, making taxable sales in Pennsylvania, are issued sales tax licenses, valid for five years and renewable so long as the taxpayer timely files and remits all state taxes. Sales and transient vendor licenses must be prominently displayed at all events.

Department of Revenue enforcement agents have the authority to issue citations to people who sell items subject to Pennsylvania sales tax without valid sales tax licenses. Penalties for making such sales may include a fine between $300 and $1,500 for each violation and imprisonment up to 30 days for failing to pay the fine

Friday, November 30, 2018

Real vs. Artificial Christmas Trees: Which Is the Greener Choice?

Written by Karen Zraick

 Article from The New York Times



It’s the centerpiece of the biggest holiday of the year for many American families: the Christmas tree, the focal point for parties and presents, replete with favorite ornaments and lights.

 Some cherish the scent of a real tree and the tradition of bringing it home, while others prefer the tidier and easier option of the plastic variety.

 But which is better for the environment? Here’s a look at some of the central claims — and the common misconceptions — in that debate.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Latino-Owned Businesses: "Shining a Light on National Trends"

Article from The Federal Reserve Bank of New York

 Latino-owned businesses are growing in number and importance to the American economy. Contributing more than $700 billion in sales to the economy annually, they are also an important source of employment as sole proprietors and as firms with employees on payroll.

 The 2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners estimated that Latino-owned firms have 2.3 million employees on payroll, a number that by several counts has grown since the survey’s release. One in four new businesses, traditionally key sources of new jobs, is now Latino-owned. Quite simply, small business growth is tied to the fortunes of Latino-owned businesses.

 Yet, research also shows that Latino-owned firms face significant growth barriers. Estimates from the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI) highlight that only three percent of Latinoowned businesses grow to $1,000,000 or more in annual revenues, compared to six percent of white-owned businesses. In short, despite impressive numbers of startups, Latino-owned firms tend to stay small.

 This report builds on earlier work from SLEI and the Aspen Institute to probe firm-level and environmental-level growth factors that influence Latino business performance. By comparing Latino-owned firms to non-Latino white-owned firms, unscaled Latino-owned firms to scaled firms, and metro areas of relatively strong Latino entrepreneurship to those with smaller shares of Latino-owned businesses, we are able to discern the most acute challenges and begin to highlight remedies to these challenges.

This report’s goal is to focus attention on potential investments at the firm- and community-level that will advance Latino business growth. It draws on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, surveys from SLEI and the Federal Reserve Banks, interviews with the owners of scaled and unscaled Latino-owned firms as part of a research collaboration between Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Interise.


Written by Claire Kramer Mills,Jessica Battisto, Scott Lieberman, Marlene Orozco, Iliana Perez, Nancy S. Lee

Monday, November 26, 2018

Why Marketers Struggle to Consistently Identify Their Audiences

Written by Ross Benes

 Article from eMarketer

Marketers are invested in accurately identifying their target audiences, but they often miss the mark.

 In a July 2018 survey of 408 marketing industry professionals in North America conducted by Winterberry Group and Data & Marketing Association (DMA), only 2.4% of respondents said they plan to reduce their spend on marketing identity solutions over the next year.

 Marketing identity products tie together reams of data so that marketers can more accurately identify the people who see their ads.

 Just one in seven of the North American professionals polled said that they are able to identify audience members extremely well. Most respondents indicated that they can identify their audience fairly or somewhat well.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Pause: Quotes on Why You Should Take Breaks, Relax, and Play

Written by Jonathan Michael

 Article from Bplans

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are almost always working, whether they’re in the office or not. But is it possible that occasionally taking time off and resting is better for your business?

 Here are 15 quotes from famous authors, poets, and speakers on why time away from work could be just as important to your bottom line.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Make the Most of Small Business Saturday and Kick Off the Holiday Season!

Article from Entrepreneur
Do you have a strategy to make the most of this year’s Small Business Saturday? It can be a big day for small businesses and a great kick-off to the holiday season. It is coming up on Saturday, November 24, and if you plan ahead, you can leverage this celebration to help raise awareness of and grow your business.

 Watch this webinar for an insightful conversation with celebrity chef, entrepreneur, and Food Network star Robert Irvine, B2B brand marketer Melissa Lapp from Comcast Business, and Entrepreneur author and small-business owner Jill Schiefelbein during a 60-minute webinar called “Make the Most of Small Business Saturday and Kick Off the Holiday Season.”

Presented by Comcast Business and Entrepreneur, this webinar will teach you how to leverage technology to help you better serve your customers and get insights that will help you grow—doing more with what you already have.

 Where is your business missing opportunities to better serve your customers? What are you not leveraging to the maximum? Learn what benchmarks are important to set to capitalize on any marketing or promotional campaign, and how you can utilize technology to get people in your doors and keep them engaged.

 Also read: 
10 products you should not buy on Black Friday from U.S.News and
5 products that will see the biggest black Friday discounts in 2018 from U.S.News

Monday, November 19, 2018

Choosing the Right Business Structure: Factors to Consider

Written by Marco Carbajo

 Article from Blogs. Industry Word

Choosing which business structure is right for you is a crucial step when starting a business. The entity you select has legal, financial, and operational implications. Here are three factors to consider when choosing a business structure.

 Business Taxes – Business owners must meet all federal, state, and local tax obligations to stay in good legal standing. The type of business structure you choose impacts your personal liability and which taxes your business must pay.

 For example, choosing a sole proprietorship may be the easiest structure to form for a small business startup, but it comes at a price. A sole proprietorship has less government regulations and tax obligations than all the other business structures. It’s taxed at the personal level because you and your business are considered the same legal entity. This means you are personally responsible for all the business’ losses and liabilities.

 With an entity structure such as a limited liability company (LLC), business and personal liabilities are separate, like a corporation. Depending on whether you have a single-member, or multi-member LLC, you are required to file different LLC tax forms.


 Industry – Your business structure will depend on the type of industry you operate in, because of common practices and state requirements. For example, real estate investment companies carry a higher risk. That’s why the limited liability company is widely used due to the owner’s liability protection it provides.

 Typically, companies offering professional services form partnerships because they provide flexibility and are easy to form and maintain. The liability may be limited or unlimited, depending on the type of partnership.

 Personal Liability – In order to choose the right business structure, you must understand what liability protection each entity structure offers. In a corporation, LLC, limited partnership, and limited liability partnership there are different levels of personal liability protection.

 With a corporation or LLC, only the entity can be sued — not the owners or officers of the business.

 A limited partnership is created by one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. Limited partners have personal liability for the company’s debts, but only up to the amount they have invested in the business.

 In a limited partnership, general partners have unlimited personal liability for the company’s debts. This can be limited by having a corporation or LLC as the general partner. A limited partnership is created by one or more general partners and one or more limited partners. Limited partners have personal liability for the company’s debts, but only up to the amount they have invested in the business.

 In a limited partnership, general partners have unlimited personal liability for the company’s debts. This can be limited by having a corporation or LLC as the general partner.

 In a limited liability partnership, all the partners are not personal liable for the other partners. But they all have unlimited personal liability for the business’s debt.

 Once you choose your business structure, you’ll also need to get a tax identification number and file for the necessary licenses and permits. With an employer identification number, your business will also be in a position to build a business credit identity with the major business credit reporting agencies.

 Contact SCORE mentors, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers for free business counseling and advice.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Shoppers May Shun Retailers with Poor Product Suggestions



Excerpt from an article by Krista Garcia
To read more, visit eMarketer

"Email marketing is one of the most evergreen retail tactics. It's also one of the most targeted forms of messaging since recipients opt-in and often provide solicited information or preferences. Despite these factors, personalization can still be hit or miss.

An April 2018 Evergage and Researchscape International study found email content was by far the channel that more US marketers personalized, cited by 71% of respondents. Personalizing home pages (45%) and landing pages (37%) were a distant second and third.

When asked how email was personalized, 76% of respondents said they use a first name in the message or subject line. Just over half recommend products based on audience segment, while one-quarter suggest products on an individual basis."

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

US Department Of Labor Announces Compliance Assistance Tools to Assist Small Businesses


Featured in America's SBDC newsletter

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the launch of the New and Small Business Assistance webpage and the Compliance Assistance Toolkits webpage. These new online tools assist American small businesses and workers with simple, straightforward resources that provide critical Wage and Hour Division (WHD) information, as well as links to other resources.

The webpages were established in response to feedback received from new and small business stakeholders voicing their need for a centralized location to secure the tools and information they need to comply with federal labor laws. These new webpages provide the most relevant publications and answer the questions most frequently asked by new and small business owners. These tools, in conjunction with worker.gov and employer.gov, ensure greater understanding of federal requirements and provide tools to help employers find resources offered by other regulatory agencies. Learn more.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Importance of Community Plumbing

Written by Shannon Mattern

 Article from Places Journal

 This is a vision of the hardware store as episteme. It holds (and organizes) the tools, values, and knowledges that bind a community and define a worldview. There’s a material and social sensibility embodied in the store, its stuff, and its service, and reflected in the diverse clientele.

 That might sound a bit lofty for a commercial establishment that sells sharp objects and toxic chemicals. But the ethos is palpable. (And profitable, too. The store is always busy, and Joe has been lauded by the North American Retail Hardware Association.)

 Headlines proclaiming the death of neighborhood retail remind me of all those articles a few years back that wrongly predicted the end of the library. Despite competition from big-box stores and the internet, many local hardware stores are doing all right. In 1972, the United States had about 26,000 hardware stores.

 Their number dropped to 19,000 by 1990 and 14,000 by 1996, but for the past two decades it has been fairly steady. Hardware Retailing reports a slight annual drop in the number of independent stores, but sales are strong (even increasing) at the ones that remain.

Friday, November 09, 2018

The Minty-Fresh Way to Fail At Business

Written by Jay Hoffmann

 Article from Now I know


More than 200 years ago, a New York City man named William Colgate made a living making and selling soap and candles. Today, his name makes up half of that of a multi-billion dollar consumer goods corporation known as Colgate-Palmolive.

 They, basically, make three types of stuff: soaps (one being Palmolive itself) toothpaste and other oral care products (under the Colgate brand) and, perhaps surprisingly, pet food. In 1976, Colgate-Palmolive, via a series of mergers whose history isn’t worth going into, added the Hill’s Science Diet product line (and related ones) to their offerings.

 They decided not to re-brand the pet food under the Colgate brand because that would be, well, stupid. Who wants to feed their dog toothpaste-flavored kibble? Could you imagine pet food being included among these products?

 That’s the results of a Google Image search of “Colgate” — that’s why some logos are mixed it — but you get the point. When people think of Colgate (the university notwithstanding), they think of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouthwash.

They don’t think of dog food or, say, this: That’s some sort of vegetable stir-fry. It’s a frozen, microwave dinner. With a Colgate logo. And yes, it’s real — or, was.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Should Online Retailers Blacklist Serial Returners?

Written by Jen King

 Article from eMarketer
Following Amazon’s recent decision to ban consumers suspected of abusing its return policy, other retailers may follow in the ecommerce giant’s footsteps to protect their bottom lines.

 With the operational cost of returns skyrocketing, retailers can’t afford to have consumers making too many returns.

 Plus, the popularity of the try-before-you-buy model can be overwhelming for retailers not equipped for high return volume.

 A September 2018 study from Brightpearl conducted by OnePoll found that 61% of US retailers would consider permanently blocking “serial returners” who abuse free return policies.

Monday, November 05, 2018

The hostile work environment checklist: How toxic is yours?

Written by Daniel Bortz

 Article from Monster

Workplace stress is hardly a phenomenon. Everyone has a bad day (or even month) at work now and then. Your client presentation didn’t go as well as planned; your boss didn’t fall head over heels for your proposal; you had to stay late to finish a project; your co-worker’s been having a series of too-loud sales calls.

But there’s a big difference between aggravating incidents and a full-blown toxic work environment.

A toxic work environment is one wherein dysfunction and drama reign, whether it’s the result of a narcissistic boss, vindictive co-workers, absence of order, et cetera.

 In addition to harming your morale, this kind of climate can also be damaging to your health, says Paul White, co-author of Rising Above a Toxic Workplace. “Stress takes a toll on your body,” White says.

Health problems stemming from workplace stress include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health, and can lead to fatal conditions, recent research from Stanford and Harvard Universities found.

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses

Written by Sue Shellenbarger

 Article from The Wall Street Journal


After decades of screening potential leaders for charm and charisma, some employers are realizing they’ve been missing one of the most important traits of all: humility.

 In an era when hubris is rewarded on social media and in business and politics, researchers and employment experts say turning the limelight on humble people might yield better results.

 Humility is a core quality of leaders who inspire close teamwork, rapid learning and high performance in their teams, according to several studies in the past three years.

 Humble people tend to be aware of their own weaknesses, eager to improve themselves, appreciative of others’ strengths and focused on goals beyond their own self-interest.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

How Much Does a Data Breach Cost?

Written by Rob Marvin

 Article from PC MAG

Data breaches are a terrifying reality for every company that does business on the internet—which is all of them.

 No matter what endpoint protection, encryption, and security you put in place, there's always a chance your sensitive customer information might be part of the next trove of data to leak online.

 There are all sorts of things not to do when your poor server is the one that's breached, but one way or another, it's going to cost you.

 According to the latest Cost of a Data Breach study by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, in the US, the average incident could cost a company upwards of $7.9 million.

 The 13th annual report found that the global average cost of a data breach is up 6.4 percent over the previous year to $3.86 million, and the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information also increased by 4.8 percent year over year to $148 per record.

Monday, October 29, 2018

How to Say I’m Sorry: Apology Email Template

Written by Anthony St. Clair

 Article from Outpost

 No matter how they happen, mistakes are a fact of business. Sooner or later, you will have to send a solid apology email.

Perhaps you, a colleague, or a subordinate messed up, and the situation requires a written, professional apology.

 There can be late orders, damaged products, billing problems improper behavior, service outages to a site or app, data breaches, product recall, a canceled event, or a request your company can’t accommodate.

 Effectively apologizing via email can be the best option. Email keeps everything in writing, and everyone gets a date-stamped, time-stamped record of the correspondence. Since it doesn’t depend on setting up a meeting or someone answering the phone, email can also be quick.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Robot Takeover: Is Your Job at Risk of Automation?

Written by Alison Doyle

 Article from the balance careers

 Are you in danger of losing your job to automation? According to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, nearly one in three U.S. workers will see some of their tasks or entire jobs taken over by robots and other artificial intelligence by 2030.

 Employers are expected to rely increasingly on computers to do jobs that humans currently do.

 This is because computers are generally less expensive than human employees. They can also help reduce human error, and even perform work beyond human abilities.

 While the idea of losing one’s job is scary, the study emphasizes that most human jobs will change rather than disappear completely. About half of all employees’ tasks could become automated using today’s technology.