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1.  Cloud computing is big (I’ve mentioned it before), which is a concept where all of your computing is done online instead of locally on your own PC.  Now there is an online operating system to further enhance people’s move to online computers.  Login to your desktop online at eyeOS – GoSee

2.  Twitter is pretty cool but it’s hard to know whom to follow (unless you want to follow me, then you just have to click here).  After all, you can’t search by category (maybe by word or person’s name), but it’s awful hard to find the right people to follow.  Now you can search Twitter microbloggers at Twellow – GoSee

3.  Web 2.0 is not Enterprise 2.0.  Huh?  That is, the consumer web is not necessarily the enterprise web (or corporate-side, as I like to think about it).  For example, Twitter and Facebook are more of a consumer based application, and not necessarily for use in the enterprise world.  This interesting article (from a fav blog the{app}gap) speaks to a complement to Twitter, called Socialcast, as more of a enterprise version – GoSee

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 provides many government hand-outs for those looking to refinance their mortgages or qualify for a first-time home buyers credit.  Most everybody is interested in the free money from the government (i.e. the first-time home buyers credit), but is it really “free?” (no, but please read on…)

First a few requirements before taking the credit:

1.  You gotta close on the home after April 9, 2008 but before July 1, 2009.

2.  If you’re single and make more than $75k per year, then your credit will begin phasing out until your income reaches $95,000.  Then it will all be gone.  And if you are married, then you can make up to $150,000 before your credit begins phasing out.  For married couples, the credit will be totally phased out when their income reaches $170,000.

3.  This credit is for first-time home buyers, defined as those who have not OWNED a home during the past three years (no, you can’t call your Maui condo a new home, move to Hawaii and take the credit).

4.  It’s a refundable credit.  That means you either use up the credit on your tax return to eliminate your tax due, or the IRS will pay you the difference.  For example, if you owe $5,000 in taxes and you take the first-time home buyers credit, then the IRS will pay you the difference, or $2,500 (I had to calculate that on my calculator).  Here it is again: $5,000 in taxes owed – $7,500 in credit = $2,500 refund to you for the difference.

5.  US Citizens are eligible for this credit.

Remember, this is a loan from the IRS.  You gotta give it back, unless you sell your home in the 15 years after you took the credit and you sold your home at a loss.  Then the IRS will forgive the loan.  But if you show a profit on the sale of your home, then they will make you pay back ALL of the remaining credit you owe them at that time.

You have to pay this loan back over the next 15 years, at $500/year.  But at least they are not going to charge you interest to borrow their money.  That’s pretty good.  And if you anticipate taking the credit in 2008, then maybe you can reduce your withholding at work and get more money in your paycheck NOW!

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that (i) any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; (ii) any such tax advice is written in connection with the promotion or marketing of the matters addressed; and (iii) if you are not the original addressee of this communication, you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.

Keep it between the niches.

Daniel Creps

 

1.  Universal McCann, a media communication’s agency who’s slogan is “The Future Happens Immediately. The Next Thing is Now,” has just released their third wave report on internet usage in the world.  With statistics such as 73% of people have read a blog, and 184M bloggers exist in the world today, to 83% of all survey participants have watched video clips online, it is now true that just having a web site is no longer enough.  The world will not put up with your static site anymore.  This research report may help push you to Web 2.0 – GoSee

2.  Do you like Google?  Did you know Google and other search engines are only barely touching the surface of the web?  There is something called the deep web, or invisible web – web sites, databases, and other info not crawlable by search engines.  In the wikipedia estimate, less than .05% of the web has been crawled by search engines such as Google.  Some are now researching the possibility of making the deep web more available to users – GoSee

3.  Interesting statistics on small businesses over at the Small Business Labs blog.  Interesting that 80% of the over 17 million small businesses in the research project by the SBA have income less than $50k per year – GoSee

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

Beware…

The IRS don’t play no games when it comes to the classification of your workers into the “subcontractor” or “employee” camp.  Did you know that YOU don’t get to totally chose how to pay your people?  They are either subcontractors or employees, as determined BY THE IRS.

Common trick: employers would rather not have employees because they have to withhold taxes for them and pay in taxes (an expense to the business) for their employees.  So, they call them “subcontractors” and don’t worry about taxes.  It saves them time and money.  Pretty smart, huh?  Not really.  An employer may have to pay big time if they have been misclassifying employees as subcontractors…  as in penalties and interest dating back the time they began the missclassification.

Here are a few methods the IRS is using to crack down on employers who misclassify their workers:

1.  The states are going to start sharing information with the IRS that they’ve gleaned from their state payroll audits.  To be sure, more IRS audits will follow.  And the states are often more aggressive than the federal government (IRS) in the collection of taxes owed to them.

2.  Additional “matching software” is being employed by the IRS to determine who is tagged for the next audit.  For example, when a company is not issuing W-2s, but is issuing 1099s to subcontractors of $25k or more, then that company will potentially become a target of an audit.  Keep in mind: the IRS always assumes that companies have employees, thus should be issuing some W-2s.

3.  Taxpayers who don’t want to be classified as subcontractors can file Form 8919 now to tattle to the IRS concerning their employers’ failure to withhold and pay taxes on them.  This handy dandy form can greatly assist subcontractors who don’t want to pay self employment taxes at the end of the year.

The risks in playing the “payroll game” are VERY high.  As an employer, you may have saved time and money, but I’ve seen houses foreclosed on and bank accounts wiped out by the IRS due to the failure to pay payroll taxes timely.  Don’t play this game…

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that (i) any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; (ii) any such tax advice is written in connection with the promotion or marketing of the matters addressed; and (iii) if you are not the original addressee of this communication, you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.

Just Tweeted by @JasonBlumer…

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