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Tax Tips for the Self-Employed

Being self-employed has many advantages — the opportunity to be your own boss and come and go as you please, for example. However, it also comes with unique challenges, especially when it comes to how to handle taxes. Whether you're running your own business or thinking about starting one, you'll want to be aware of the specific tax rules and opportunities that apply to you.

Understand the self-employment tax

When you worked for an employer, payroll taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare were split between you and your employer. Now you must pay a self-employment tax equal to the combined amount that an employee and employer would pay. You must pay this tax if you had net earnings of $400 or more from self-employment.

Hobby or Business? IRS Offers Tips to Decide

 

Millions of people enjoy hobbies that are also a source of income. From catering to cupcake baking, crafting homemade jewelry to glass blowing -- no matter what a person’s passion, the Internal Revenue Service offers some tips on hobbies.

Taxpayers must report on their tax return the income earned from hobbies. The rules for how to report the income and expenses depend on whether the activity is a hobby or a business. There are special rules and limits for deductions taxpayers can claim for hobbies. Here are five tax tips to consider:

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Social Security Retirement Benefits?

Social Security is an important source of retirement income for millions of Americans, but how much do you know about this program? Test your knowledge, and learn more about your retirement benefits, by answering the following questions.

Questions

1. Do you have to be retired to collect Social Security retirement benefits?

a. Yes

b. No

2. How much is the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker?

a. $1,360

b. $1,493

c. $1,585

d. $1,723

3. For each year you wait past your full retirement age to collect Social Security, how much will your retirement benefit increase?

a. 5%

b. 6%

c. 7%

d. 8%

4. How far in advance should you apply for Social Security retirement benefits?

a. One month before you want your benefits to start.

b. Two months before you want your benefits to start.

I get so many credit card reward offers. How do I know which one to choose?

Credit card reward programs are more popular than ever. In order to keep up with such high demand in a competitive market, credit card companies are coming up with new and more enticing offers every day. How do you know which one to choose?

Growth, Value, or Both

The terms growth and value are often used to describe two different investment strategies, yet many investors may want both qualities in an investment. Famed investor Warren Buffett put it this way in a 2015 interview: "I always say if you aren't investing for value, what are you investing for? And the idea that value and growth are two different things makes no sense.... Growth is part of the value equation."1

Even so, analysts may look at specific stocks as offering more growth potential than value, and vice versa. And these concepts are used to construct many mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). So it's helpful to understand the opposing ideas, even if you want the best of both in your portfolio.

Poised to grow?

Medicare and Medicaid: What's the Difference?

It's easy to confuse Medicare and Medicaid, particularly since they're both government programs that pay for health care. But there are important differences between each program. Medicare is generally for older people, while Medicaid is for people with limited income and resources.

What is Medicare?

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that was enacted into law to provide reasonably priced health insurance for retired individuals, regardless of their medical condition, and for certain disabled individuals, regardless of age. It is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

What is Medicaid?

Medicaid is a health insurance program that is jointly administered by state and federal governments. Medicaid serves financially needy individuals who are also elderly, disabled, blind, or parents of minor children.

BBB, AT&T, ASIS, U.S. Attorney’s Office and others partner to present free cybersecurity event

BBB, AT&T, ASIS, U.S. Attorney’s Office and others partner to present free cybersecurity event

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of small businesses that experience a data breach or a cyber-attack are unable to maintain business. In addition, the average cost to fix an attack or a breach is close to $700,000.

To help educate Western New Yorker’s on how to protect their business from an attack or a breach, Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York, AT&T, American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) Western New York have partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Crimestoppers, Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, Lawley, Lincoln Archives to host a free cybersecurity seminar, featuring experts on topics including:

·         Cyber security and your business

·         Securing your mobile device and data

·         Cyber security insurance