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    • Candy on Budget Crisis, Red Tape and teenage crushes...
      “@Shawn - Money can apparently buy a LOT of happiness - and it seems to come in the form of pills and smoke-able items. *sigh* (yeah, sure you didn'”
    • Shawn Powers on Budget Crisis, Red Tape and teenage crushes...
      “It always amazes me the number of overdoses and suicides in the celebrity death pool. I mean, I know, "Money can't buy happiness" -- but you'd think ”
    • Candy on Phooey on social media privacy
      “Justin - ah, so you keep separate accounts - how much bleeds over though? Do you think people pay attention to DuckDuckBlue? Or just to JustinRyan? Do”
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      “I doubt I have to tell you, but I'm in the "let it all hang out" camp. (Despite vicious rumors of being obsessively private.) My feeling is, I am wh”
    • Candy on Phooey on social media privacy
      “I guess my point is... if an employer is going to delve that deeply into someone's stuff as to look back through their wife's silly twitter account, d”

Posts Tagged ‘news stories’

PostHeaderIcon Hired someone recently?

If you have hired someone recently, you could be eligible for a tax credit as well as not having to pay the employer’s portion of the social security tax… first, this is just my own understanding, you should check with your tax adviser of course.

If you hired them after Feb 3, 2010 and before January 1, 2011 and they had not worked for more than 40 hours the previous 60 days, you may qualify for a tax break (this includes laid off employees) through the newly passed HIRE Act. Basically, you do not have to pay the 6.2% social security tax for the first 52 weeks they are employed by you and you could be eligible for a $1000 tax break on your federal tax return.

For more information about the HIRE Act, please follow the links below:
IRS Site – http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=220326,00.html
Intuit Site – http://payroll.intuit.com/federal_hire_act/index.jsp?cid=social_payroll_prpay_landing_hire

If you have an employee that qualifies for this, they will need to complete a W11. A copy of the W-11 form can be obtained at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw11.pdf

It’s important to note that you cannot hire a relative and take the credit. I found a great write up from Taxgirl’s blog (always full of good info if you’re a business/accounting geek).

PostHeaderIcon A simple little takeaway from the Statesman

I’m a huge fan of our local newspaper here in Austin, The Austin American Statesman. However, I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually touched a newspaper. I’m skeeved out by newsprint. It comes off on your fingers and smudges and well, I’m a diva deep down, I suppose. Aside from that, I prefer to grab my news online, in smaller bites or through my Kindle (yes, I subscribe).

Oh, I could get it from any number of news outlets here in Central Texas, but I’ve stayed pretty true to the Statesman. Why? Simply because they care. It shows in their reporting, and it has for many years. BUT, there’s also a secret reason I adore my local paper. Twitter. No, I’m not kidding. Take a look at their Twitter stream and you’ll see why. There’s no RSS flood of news stories every hour (like some of the news stations – oy!), there’s no starched little headlines. There’s some guy there with his computer or phone or whatever and he’s talking WITH us. He’s telling us what’s going on – and this, my friends, is the part that most other news outlets don’t get – they are replying. If you type in @statesman blah blah blah into Twitter, you can bet they will reply to you. Even if it’s “Oh great, glad you liked that photo” or “yeah, yeah, we’ve had the weather wrong for 3 days now”. I like that they are human on there. The guy running it has a sense of humor. Shocking, I know.

I attended the Statesman’s social media awards over the weekend while I was out at SXSWi where they did tell us that they aren’t struggling like most of the other newspapers out there (and if you read anything about publishing, you know it’s pretty scary out there). I was a little surprised, but in some ways I wasn’t really all that surprised. They get it. They do it right. Not just online, but in the paper itself. I always feel the human element, the fact that they’re listening to their readers.

Anyway… I took away that we all need to do that. To listen to our customers, our readers, our clients, our partners, whomever it is out there that we are trying to reach. I will admit that I’m guilty of getting bogged down in numbers and reports that I sometimes forget that there’s a real human being behind all that mess. Not a bad take away for a simple little ceremony.

PostHeaderIcon Budget Crisis, Red Tape and teenage crushes…

Okay, first, the random – I heard this morning from Twitter that Corey Haim died this morning, looks like it’s true, being reported by CBS as well as TMZ as of the time I’m writing this. So sad. The Coreys were my teenage crush. One of them was going go swoop down in my small town in South Carolina and take me to Hollywood to live with them where we’d live happily ever after. What? It could have happened! My thoughts are with his family, it appears to be an overdose. Sigh, they always are, aren’t they? So very sad.

Oh yeah, business blog… need to stop reliving my youth… heh.

I saw a post on Brad Farris’ blog this morning about the various budget crisis that are popping up again. I commented on my thoughts, but I really am sick of the waste that goes on. You’d think with that many supposed smart people running something, they could put together and stick to a workable budget. It’s ridiculous that they simply don’t.

Last night, a friend of mine (Hi, Dy!) and I were laughing because we got a letter in the mail this week. Do you want to know what that letter was for? That letter was from the Census Bureau to tell us that we were going to get another letter from them and to be on the look out for it. Yes, my friends, we got a letter telling us they were sending us a letter. I really wonder how many of those taxpayer dollars went to that. Could we, like, feed a starving kid or two instead? Really?

And then, there’s just the ridiculous. I saw an article this morning from The Austin American Statesman. Apparently some nosy neighbor down in South Austin decided to be a pain in the butt and reported a good number of their neighbors (like 50 of them) for random code violations. What are these heinous acts? Oh, they converted their garages to living spaces – TWENTY or more years ago. Oh, they added a professionally installed carport – TWENTY years ago. Seriously? And the people who issue the permits so the neighbors can try to stop being fined? Yeah, those people only work half days, apparently. Really, Austin, is this type of red tape necessary? There really should be some sort of statute of limitations or something. Completely ridiculous. Hopefully some local attorney with a big heart (yes, they do exist) or something will step in and help these people. It’s one thing if it’s a matter of filing for $123 permit that should’ve been done TWENTY years ago, but it’s another if you’re talking about widening a driveway or tearing down a usable carport!

My point? I don’t really have one. It was just one of those mornings that seemed to remind me that people really are crazy.

PostHeaderIcon Austin Leading in Economic Recovery

Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my clients, but this is my 12th year living here in Austin (yes, I realize I never get to be “from” here, always a transplant) and I’ve come to absolutely love this town, the people, the businesses… just everything.

Oh, I never would have believed I’d become one of those people until I actually lived here. There’s something about walking into a local business in Austin. It’s like nothing you can explain. San Francisco has it’s own vibe (I’ve been there and I think I’d totally live there if not here) – BUT – Austin definitely has it’s own drummer, folks 🙂 This was driven home for me lately when I went to find a used clarinet for my son to start to learn to play on. We were referred to a little local shop, Play It Again Music, and the lady in there spent over an hour with us, showing my son what he needed to know. All for a little $200 used clarinet. If you’ve never been to a funky little Austin shop before, you must find one immediately *laughing*

So, when I see things like this video over at CNN, it makes me smile and it makes me pretty darn proud to be from this crazy little big city.  Many thanks to my long-time local client, Robert Grunnah over at Castle Hill Investments, for sending this link to me – check out their blog too.

For those of that live here, the fact that Austin is leading in this economic recovery is no big surprise. Oh, we felt it here, don’t get me wrong, but I think we didn’t feel it quite as bad as some other parts of the country.

Go, Austin, Go! And keep being weird… that’s why I stick around (even if I do tend to stick to my far far Northwest suburban area) 😉

PS – I just saw an article from The Austin-American Statesman that Facebook is opening an Austin office. WooHoo!