Showing posts from March, 2019

Half of Consumers Plan to Save Tax Refunds — Can Retailers Change Their Minds?

By Lucy Koch
From eMarketer

Most US consumers expect to get a tax refund this year, and they plan to stick their windfall in the piggy bank.

A February 2019 survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed that nearly two in three US adults said that they expected a tax refund this year, and half of those respondents said they planned to save it. That was in line with trends the NRF has seen since 2012, when plans to save became more common than paying down debt.

Consumers’ reasons for saving varied—40.4% of respondents to the Valassis survey said that they planned to put their refund toward an emergency fund, while others were saving for bigger-ticket purchases like home improvements or furnishings (19.1%), vacations or experiences (15.2%) or a car purchase or auto-related expense (8.7%).

Understanding Economic Nexus: sales tax compliance

From Avalara
Understanding where your company has nexus is an integral part of your sales tax compliance strategy because nexus dictates where your business is required to collect and remit tax. There are a lot of business activities that can cause your business to have nexus, but one is getting a lot of attention from states right now because it was at the forefront of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) case South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.

Sales tax nexus is the connection between a seller and a state that requires the seller to collect and remit tax on sales made in that state. Historically, nexus was based on physical presence. After the Wayfair decision, nexus can now also be established based on economic activity.

If you have sales tax nexus in California and Texas, for example, you must collect and remit sales tax in California and Texas. Unfortunately, you can’t just figure out where you have nexus today and forget about it — you must closely monitor nexus on an ongoi…

Laws Could Stand in Way of Cashless Retailers

Article by Lucy Koch
From eMarketer

Earlier this month, Philadelphia passed a bill rendering cashless stores like Amazon Go and Sweetgreen illegal and banning future establishments from completely abandoning cash.

By July 2019, most retailers in the city will be required to offer consumers a cash payment option...

“The number of completely cashless businesses are few and far between, and research has shown that cash is still a preferred payment method for many shoppers in the US,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Cindy Liu.

An October 2018 survey from Pew Research Center showed that 70% of US adults used cash last year for at least some of their purchases during a typical week.

Separately, 60% of US internet users polled by Cardtronics said that cash was the most available payment method for everyone, and another 90% viewed cash as essential to those without checking or savings accounts.

Now you can shop, buy stuff on Instagram without leaving the app

From Fast Company

Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing app has become a hotspot for brands, and a hotspot for consumers who want a sort of digital window shopping experience. Today, Instagram sweetened the deal by adding a checkout feature to the app so users can buy stuff they see in their feed without ever having to leave Instagram...

Instagram says its users have been sending strong signals that they want to be able to shop inside the app. The company says 80% of its users actively follow a brand or brands on Instagram. And 130 million users are interacting with shopping posts on Instagram every month, Instagram product management lead Ashley Yuki told me. “We started building this last year, but before we even did anything people were trying to shop for products on Instagram,” she said.

The on-Instagram checkout feature is currently a closed beta, so only a small group of 20 brands will get it at first. They include Adidas, Burberry, H&M, Micheal Kors, Nike, Osc…

U.S. Citizens Will Need to Register to Travel to Parts of Europe Starting in 2021

By Lyndsey Matthews
The rules are about to change. Starting on January 1, 2021, all U.S. citizens who want to travel to the 26 members of Europe’s Schengen Zone will need to register with the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) or risk being turned away at the border.

The new travel authorization applies to those entering any member country of Europe’s Schengen Zone. Currently, that includes 22 countries that are also members of the EU, four non-EU countries, plus three European micro-states. That means that you’ll need to register starting in 2021 to enter Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The micro-states of San Marino, Vatican City, and Monaco will also require the registering.

Through an online system on, a travel ag…

Rise in Self-Employed Challenges the Common Wisdom

By Andrew W. Hait, a survey statistician/economist at the Census Bureau.
From the Census Bureau

If you think a business is a brick-and-mortar place of work with employees and managers who have benefits and paid time off, think again.

The latest data show that more than three-fourths of U.S. businesses may be run out of someone’s home and have zero employees.

The rise in the number of self-employed has altered what people believe a business is.

Last October, the U.S. Census Bureau released a new report that combines the data published on employer businesses with data on businesses without paid employees, or “Nonemployers.” This report challenges the common wisdom of just what is a business, how important are each of these two types of businesses, and how this definition and importance has changed.

How Businesses Have Changed

Traditionally, businesses are brick-and-mortar enterprises that have paid employees. They have staff who manage these employees and often provide benefits for them,…

Employee or Independent Contractor? New Ruling Makes Sweeping Changes

By Linsey Knerl
From NAV

There was a time, not long ago, when businesses in every industry grew with the labor and talent of workers classified as independent contractors.

Even before the “gig economy” and “side hustles” were buzzed about (and companies like Lyft and Uber made them newsworthy) small businesses everywhere relied heavily on contract workers provide the bulk of their services. Hairdressers, construction workers, writers, and dog walkers were all classified as independent contractors with little to no challenge to their status, but all of that is changing.

A recent California Supreme Court ruling, along with a handful of state and local ordinances have made some strict interpretation of who can—and who can’t—be called a contractor. Washington state has even produced a "step by step guide" for businesses to classify and hire their workers with the appropriate classification. While the exact rules differ slightly from region to region, there is a common thread be…

What is #SBDC Day?

From America's SBDC

SBDC Day is a national, collective proclamation of the success and impact America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have across the nation in economic development and the small businesses community. The third America’s SBDC Day will take place on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

SBDC Day will unite the nearly 1,000 SBDC centers across the country and the hundreds of thousands of clients they serve by sharing, in real time, the success stories and notable impacts SBDCs collectively have on the small business community at large.

This special day will be celebrated with social media campaigns, public relations initiatives, online and in-person events and more. To learn more about what your local SBDC is doing to celebrate, click on Find your local SBDC.

The SBDC Day Ambassador program is designed for organizations and businesses, to get involved in SBDC Day and show their support for the nation’s largest and most effective small business assistance network — …

What to Say in Your 1, 5, 10, or 20 Minute Pitch

By Angelique O'Rourke

From Bplans

How much time you have to deliver a pitch to investors will have a big impact on how and what you’ll want to do and say.

If you’re giving five-minute presentation followed by a Q&A, you will approach that a little differently than if you’re giving a one-minute presentation!

So, how do you know what to include in a really short pitch? What about a 20-minute pitch? We’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll [also] review tips from entrepreneurs who successfully pitched their businesses for funding.

Do you have a Business Mentor?

By Kathleen McShane
From the Small Business Administration

As a former small business owner and entrepreneur, I know first-hand the support, resources and access to networks and financing that entrepreneurs need.

While there are many businesses that experience success, the fact remains that only half of all small businesses survive more than five years; and about 10-12 percent of all employee-based firms close each year. There is growing evidence, however, that connecting a business with a mentor can change this statistic.

Having a mentor can change the playing field for a small business. Research has shown us that small businesses that receive mentoring early in the development of the business achieve higher revenues and increased business growth.

A survey by the UPS Store found that 70 percent of small businesses that received mentoring survived more than five years – double the survival rate of non-mentored businesses. The same survey found that 88 percent of business owners with…

Is Scan-and-Go the Future of Retail?

By Rimma Kats

Cashierless stores, like Amazon Go, have great potential to shake up the brick-and-mortar landscape.

According to GPShopper, 48% of US internet users believe scan-and-go technology would make shopping easier.

And 43% would rather try scan-and-go than wait in a checkout line. Respondents said they'd be most interested in scanning groceries, home goods and fashion items.

Similar findings were reported by RIS News, which asked US digital buyers which new shopping options—ranging from drone delivery to augmented reality in-store—they would most like to use. Grab-and-go stores with self-checkout was the leading response, with 59% of respondents saying they’d use it.

But a world without cash, credit cards or even a mobile wallet isn’t here yet. Here’s what retailers need to know about how to get there.

Find out how to report IRS scams; learn how to protect yourself

IRS Imposter Scams

IRS imposter scams occur when someone contacts you pretending to work for the IRS. The imposter may contact you by phone, email, postal mail, or even a text message. There are two common types of scams:

Tax collection - You receive a phone call or letter, claiming that you owe taxes. They will demand that you pay the amount immediately often with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may even threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay.
Verification - You receive an email or text message that requires you to verify your personal information. The message often includes a hyperlink phrase "click here" or a button to a fraudulent form or website.

Report IRS Imposter Scams

Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) if you believe that an IRS imposter has contacted you. Report IRS imposter scams online or by calling TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484. Forward email messages that claim to be from the IRS to

Tips to…

Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Model Policy

From New York State:
Every employer in the New York State is required to adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. An employer that does not adopt the model policy must ensure that the policy that they adopt meets or exceeds the following minimum standards.

The policy must:

*prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the Department of Labor in consultation with the Division of Human Rights

*provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment

*include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws

*include a complaint form

*include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties

*inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively …