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Tom Copeland
St. Paul, Minnesota
Writer, trainer, advocate on the business of family child care
Interests: reading, Mark Twain
Recent Activity
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Parents picking up their children late is a common problem for family child care providers. Your pick-up time is 6pm and a parent shows up late several times a month. Another parent always arrives before 6pm, but often doesn't leave your home until 6:20pm. You work long hours caring for... Continue reading
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May 29th is the deadline for the early bird discount to attend the 2015 annual conference of the National Association for Family Child Care to be held July 15-18th in Bloomington, Minnesota. Register here. I'll be giving two pre conference sessions on Wednesday, July 15th. The first will be on... Continue reading
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Summer is a time for vacations, family outings, and personal activities such as gardening, reading, and just plain rest. For many family child care providers, summer is a time to reduce their hours of operation. Taking some time off in the summer may be a personal choice, or it may... Continue reading
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It happens. A parent pays you by check and it bounces. Here's how you can handle this situation: Put in your contract that parents must pay a "returned check" fee. The fee should include the amount the bank charges your account, plus an additional fee ($10-$25?) for the hassle it... Continue reading
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Probably not. Family child care providers are often looking for ways to avoid hiring employees in their business. They want the advantages of having another person working with them, without the expense and paperwork of following federal and state payroll tax rules. Here's the solution some providers have adopted: Two... Continue reading
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"Why should I bring my child to your family child care program?" "What does your program offer that others don't?" These are the two key questions parents think about in their search for a child care provider. Your ability to answer these questions will have a lot to do with... Continue reading
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When you or your spouse operate more than one business out of your home you must follow special rules when claiming house-related expenses. The rules for claiming house expenses are different for every other business besides family child care. To be able to count a room as used for business... Continue reading
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Let me add my voice to many others in wishing all family child care providers happy Provider Appreciation Day! Started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey, Provider Appreciation Day is appropriately celebrated each year the Friday before Mother's Day. The founding organizers saw the need to... Continue reading
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Whenever you teach a child something, you also learn a lot about the subject yourself. So, one way to learn more about money and saving is to help your own children learn about money. The younger your children are, the easier it will be for them to accept what you... Continue reading
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It's an unfortunate fact that many family child care providers are not saving enough money for their retirement, even though Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) have been around for a long time. Although there are significant tax advantages to contributing to an IRA (See my article "The Magic of an IRA"... Continue reading
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The IRS has re-released their webinar "Tax Related Guidance for Child Care Providers" to explain some of the unique tax rules affecting family child care providers. The hour-long broadcast was originally broadcast in June 2012. It covers reporting of income, record keeping tips, business use of the home calculation, depreciation... Continue reading
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You made the decision to close your family child care business. When should you tell your parents? First, you shouldn't violate the terms of your contract. If your contract requires you to give a two-week notice of termination, don't give a notice any shorter than this.* If your contract doesn't... Continue reading
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At a recent tax workshop in Montana a family child care provider said she paid herself $20 a week to clean her home. She then deducted this as a business expense. This is not allowed. If you are self-employed you can't pay yourself for doing work for your business. You... Continue reading
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Y ou've completed your 2014 taxes. Congratulations! Here's a checklist of final steps you should take as a family child care provider before you can forget about last year's taxes: 1) Gather all your business records that you used for your 2014 tax return and put them with a copy... Continue reading
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It's natural to love the children in your program and want to show your love in every way you can. The only problem with this natural desire is that too many providers make the mistake of thinking that expressing their love means spending more money on the children. But showing... Continue reading
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I strongly recommend that all family child care providers join their local, state, and national family child care association. There are many reasons to do so. Family child care associations can offer benefits such as: * Association meetings/conferences where providers can meet and get support from other providers * Discounts... Continue reading
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"Together We Can" is the slogan for the 2015 annual conference of the National Association for Family Child Care to be held July 15-18th in Bloomington, Minnesota. Registration is now open. Early Bird Pricing is available until May 4th. I'll be giving two pre-conference sessions on Wednesday, July 15th. The... Continue reading
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Many family child care providers wait until they file their 2014 tax return before making a contribution to their 2014 IRA. Here's a simple way to boast your retirement savings. Contribute to your IRA at the beginning of the year. This will generate substantially higher returns than if you wait... Continue reading
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Update: The CACFP has extended the deadline for you to submit comments to May 27th. Wednesday, April 15th is the deadline to submit comments on the new Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) proposed new meal patterns that will affect your business. The intent of the proposed rule seeks... Continue reading
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April 15th is the deadline for family child care providers to file your federal estimated tax payment for the first quarter of 2015. This comes as a shock to some child care providers because it's the same deadline for paying your 2014 taxes. Most child care providers do not need... Continue reading
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Most family child care providers are well aware of the need to keep business records. Such records include receipts for items used in your business, children's attendance records, records of the hours worked in your home, records of the meals and snacks served to the daycare children, mileage records, and... Continue reading
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What do a gun safe, egress window, dog fence, and yard fence have in common? They are all items that many state child care licensing rules require family child care providers to install to keep children safe. And, because of this, 100% of the cost of such items may be... Continue reading
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It's almost April 15th and you haven't filed your family child care tax return yet. Don't panic. If you need more time you can file for a six month extension. Sometimes child care providers need more time to calculate their depreciation deductions, sort out their records, or deal with a... Continue reading
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March 31st is the deadline to join The Child Care Business Partnership and have Tom Copeland Review Your 2014 Tax Return! Do you worry if your 2014 tax return will be prepared properly? Did you take all of the allowable business deductions you are entitled to? Did you take advantage... Continue reading
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Here's a review of the key business tax forms you must file and the order you should be filling them out. Form 8829 Expenses for Business Use of Your Home On this form you will enter the numbers that will be used to determine your Time-Space Percentage. This includes the... Continue reading