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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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Can a taxpayer claim: * An exclusive room for her business when she walks through it to get to her bedroom? * 70% of her Internet expense when it's packaged with her telephone and cable television bill? * A portion of her electric utility charges without receipts? * The cost... Continue reading
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The best part of being a family child care provider is caring for children. Probably the worst part is taking care of the business side of what you do. For new child care providers and for those who are getting ready to open, there are many business issues that should... Continue reading
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While most family child care providers get a refund from the IRS when they file their taxes, some don't. If you do owe federal taxes, the IRS has six ways for you to pay: 1) Pay your tax bill. If you get a bill from the IRS, you'll save money... Continue reading
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If so, it's possible that your homeowner's insurance policy no longer covers your home or its contents. That's because many policies exclude coverage for family child care altogether. Or provide coverage only if you care for a few children. "Read your policy!" says Rose Grimes, family child care provider. "After... Continue reading
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Saving for Retirement (without living like a pauper or winning the lottery) is an excellent book to read if you are a family child care provider who needs an introductory guide to this topic. The easy-to-understand book tells you: * How to identify how much money you'll need in retirement... Continue reading
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With the release of the 2014-2015 Food Program reimbursement rates in July, some family child care providers continue to question whether it’s worthwhile or not for them to join or stay on the Food Program. It’s always financially beneficial for you to be on the Food Program! Here are some... Continue reading
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True or False? 1) If a day care parent falls on the front steps of your home your homeowners' insurance will cover you. 2) If you tell parents that you do not have business liability insurance they cannot later sue you if their child is injured. 3) If you transport... Continue reading
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Of all the hundreds of types of deductions you can claim as a family child care provider, landscaping is one of most complicated. The general IRS rules says to depreciate over 15 years items that are “inextricably associated with the land” and increase the value of the land. Examples include... Continue reading
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I was recently interviewed and asked a series of questions about the business of family child care. Here are some of their questions: "How did I become interested in helping family child care providers?" "What are some of the difficulties of running a childcare business out of your home?" "What... Continue reading
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Scene: A parent is talking on the phone to a family child care provider. Parent: "I'm looking for a caregiver for my child. Tell me something about your program." Provider: "I'm Accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care." Parent: "What hours are you open?" What's wrong with this?... Continue reading
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“Will parents still like me if I charge more?” That’s the fear of some family child care providers who are reluctant to raise their rates. These providers keep their rates unchanged so they will never have to deal with the stress involved in talking about money with parents. Others intentionally... Continue reading
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Did you know that what's on your family child care license may create problems for you if you are ever audited? It's true. Family child care providers have gotten into trouble with the IRS because what was on their license was not accurate. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you review... Continue reading
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Here are three basic questions about Social Security: 1) How do I qualify for Social Security? 2) How much will I receive from Social Security? 3) Will Social Security still be around when I retire? How do I qualify for Social Security? You must be age 62 or older and... Continue reading
Minute Menu Kids Pro is the most comprehensive record keeping software designed specifically for family child care providers. You can use it to enter your meals and snacks and file all of your Food Program monthly claim forms electronically. You can track children's attendance parent payments, and payments from government... Continue reading
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One of the most significant ways a family child care provider can reduce her taxes is to hire her husband and set up a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). These plans are also known as a medical reimbursement plan or Section 105 Plan. For every $1,000 of uninsured medical expenses your... Continue reading
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Direct Capital, a national financing company, has chosen my blog as one of the top 50 Money Management Blogs in the country. In their announcement they write, "There are thousands of money management blogs, but we think these 50 are some of the most helpful, informative, and useful you'll find."... Continue reading
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Here are some inexpensive ideas on how to promote your program at your local town fair, parade or other community event. * Play children's music and offer cheap, easy games (bean bag toss game into buckets) * Make homemade play dough, put it in plastic bags and give them away... Continue reading
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Here are the 2014-2015 Child and Adult Food Program reimbursement rates for family child care providers. These rates will be in effect from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. I encourage all family child care providers to join the Food Program. You will always be better off financially if... Continue reading
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The end of the year is not the time to start thinking about record keeping. Yes, it's the middle of the summer and record keeping may be the last thing on your mind. But, one way to significantly reduce the time and stress of record keeping is to conduct a... Continue reading
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Sometimes family child care providers get stuck with a record keeping problem and call me. "I recently bought a photo album/scrapbook to display photos during my parent interviews. What expense category should I put it under? Advertising? Supplies?" Or, "I purchased some toys and printer cartridges on one receipt from... Continue reading
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Looking for ways to increase your family child care income? Here are five strategies that you may want to consider. You may already being doing some of them and others may not work for you. But, adopting one or two may earn you an additional $1,000 or so each year.... Continue reading
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What's wrong with the following three scenarios? One: At a child care training workshop or conference you ask an attendee, "What do you charge?" Two: You call up another child care provider who knows you and ask, "Will you be raising your rates this fall?" Three: You walk into a... Continue reading