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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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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
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There are many reasons why parents may leave their child at home, rather than bringing them to your family child care home: * The child is sick * The parent is taking a vacation * The parent wants the child to be with her grandparents * Other reasons Sometimes these... Continue reading
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Do you love to create a budget? Probably not. In a national survey of over 500 family child care providers, only 23% had prepared an annual budget for their business for the previous year.* But, creating an annual budget is an important tool that can help you meet your financial... Continue reading
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You might be entitled to a tax refund on your 2013 taxes! Today I'm announcing a drawing to win a chance to have me review your 2013 tax return. I will help three lucky winners uncover potential unclaimed tax deductions that would entitle them to a tax refund! You are... Continue reading
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The difference between gross income and net income is not always clear to some family child care providers. But there are times when it can be an important distinction. Gross income is the amount of money you earn from your family child care business, before any expenses. This includes parent... Continue reading
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Your family child care contract says you open at 7:00 am. One parent consistently shows up at 6:30am. What do you do? There are probably two main reasons why parents may drop off their children early. They must be at work on time. Or, they want the flexibility of dropping... Continue reading
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Parents looking for a child care program today want answers to these two questions: "Why should I bring my child to your program?" "What does your program offer that other programs do not?" Your ability to answer these questions will make a big difference in whether a parent chooses to... Continue reading
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Two-year-old Maria wakes up from her afternoon nap sweating. You take her temperature and discover that she has a fever. You call Maria's mother to tell her to come pick up her child right away, but she doesn't answer her phone. What should a family child care provider do in... Continue reading
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In my previous article, I talked about the impact of divorce on your taxes and on selling your home. In this article I'll discuss: * The impact of divorce on your Social Security and retirement benefits * Whether your business should be considered an asset in your divorce settlement The... Continue reading
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Although it may be uncomfortable to contemplate the possibility of a divorce, you should understand how a divorce might affect your business and financial future. All divorces involve a distribution of assets - and typically, the result of this distribution will likely be a significant decline in your economic status.... Continue reading
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Monday, June 16th is the Early Bird deadline to register for the annual conference of the National Association for Family Child Care. The conference is from July 10 - July 12, 2014. Here's the registration details. I'll be presenting two workshops for trainers and family child care providers as part... Continue reading
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Marketing your family child care business doesn't have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Here are two easy and inexpensive methods for marketing your program to potential clients: Welcome Mat Think of all the people who come to your home: friends, neighbors, postal carriers,... Continue reading
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True or False? 1) If you pay someone less than $600 in a year to help you care for children, this person can be treated as an independent contractor. 2) If you hire your spouse to help you care for children you don't have to withhold Social Security/Medicare taxes. 3)... Continue reading
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our child care assistant is playing with several of the day care children when one of the children falls down and suffers a cut on her forehead. You take the child to the emergency room where the doctor recommends that the child have two stitches to reduce the chances there... Continue reading