WOO;HOO: IT’S tax season! And
changes are around the corner for small-business owners. Here are a few from a
primer by small-business expert Mike
periu.com) published on
American Express OPEN Forum.
“Last-minute changes to tax credits
and deductions, new tax rules relating to
the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act, and a reduced IRS budget will
create a perfect storm for a hot mess,”
Periu says, adding that processing delays
and possibly even disappearing returns
can be expected this year.
Here’s a look at some of those
• New income tax brackets. There
are now seven income tax brackets, based
on taxable income. They also break down
by filing status: married and surviving
spouses, head of household and single.
• Capital gains taxes expanding. For
2015, the tax rate applied to long-term
capital gains—those held for more than
one year—will receive special treatment,
depending on the tax bracket. If you’re in
the 10 or 15 percent tax bracket, you
won’t have to pay any capital gains taxes.
• Payroll taxes increasing. Social
Security tax will be 12. 4 percent of earnings on income up to $118,500;
Medicare tax will be 2. 9 percent on all
earnings; and there’s an additional
Medicare tax of 0.9 percent, based on
• Changes to retirement account
contributions. In some cases you can
contribute more than last year.
• Bitcoin payments are now considered taxable income. The IRS says taxpayers should treat them as property
with tangible value.
One thing that won’t be changing is
the estimated time to receive tax refunds.
Refunds will take the same amount of
time, based on when you get your complete return filed.
For Periu’s complete article, go to
DOES IT SOMETIMES seem that a business
makes it so difficult or unpleasant to deal
with it that apparently it doesn’t need or
want your business? Here are 10 irksome
oversights that have caused us to give up on
a provider and find another source.
• Don’t provide readily available contact
information. We recently selected a company
online to clean our rugs, but its website
didn’t readily offer any way to contact it.
• Make it hard or impossible to talk to a
live human being. Recorded messages and
Q&As often fail to address the unique issues
of potential customers.
• Disconnect a customer who has been
waiting on hold. Having this happen after
getting transferred to a third person makes
matters even worse.
• Use personnel who know nothing
about your product or service. Often
customers need more than someone who
will just write up an order. They need help
from a knowledgeable person or one who
can at least find the information they need.
PAUL AND SARAH EDWARDS: LIFESTYLES FOR THE MILLENNIUM
• Have employees answering the phone
who have no idea how to direct a customer
to the business. Sometimes a GPS can be
misleading or simply unable to find a locale.
Whoever answers really needs to know
where the business is located and how to
get there from all directions; familiarity with
surrounding street names is a must.
• Stick with a cold, rude front-desk or
phone gatekeeper. If people consistently
complain about such an employee, they will
put up with it for only so long.
• Take phone calls, text, email or scan
your computer screen while meeting with
customers or clients. Technology makes this
all too tempting, but it is disconcerting and
• Hype your business so frequently and
aggressively that folks run for the hills. When
enough is enough, potential customers will
block email and social media posts and
make a point of avoiding you on social
networks and at networking events.
• Don’t return phone calls or emails
promptly. “I can’t get anyone to call me
back” doesn’t fly in these days of high
communication expectations: Email within
12 hours, call back within 24 hours and
tweet within 15 minutes at least.
• Keep pressing folks to add more and
more to their purchase. Upselling is fine
within bounds, but really, enough already.
These irritating faux pas come down to
failing to think of your business through
customers’ eyes. Think about what turns
you off as a customer and you’ll easily
avoid them. C
10 ways to make
sure you don’t
are the authors
of 17 business
ONE GREAT WAY to get tips and tricks for running and growing your business is online
podcasts. You can listen in your free time on your computer or download them to mobile
devices. Here are some podcasts from Costco members.
bnipodcast.com. Offers insight into developing business
through networking and word-of-mouth marketing
The Smallbiz Brain:
smallbizamerica.com/sbb. Provides interviews
with small-business experts and leaders
Back to Work:
5by5.tv/b2w. Discusses productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools and more
Total Picture Radio:
totalpicture.com. Focuses on
talent acquisition, human resource technology, leadership, innovation and career management
Brick and Mortar Reporter: brickandmortar
reporter.com. Serves as the online resource for offline
business, focusing on local businesses
SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to
helping small businesses, supported by the Small
Business Administration, also hosts podcasts for
small businesses at
tax news for 2015
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection.”At Online Edition,