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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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A law just passed by Congress has revived the 50% bonus depreciation rule for 2014! This rule had expired as of the end of 2013, but is now back. This revived rule applies to the following items: Computer, office equipment, fence, furniture, appliances, patio, car/truck, and playground equipment. It does... Continue reading
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Family child care providers who want to deduct (rather than depreciate) items costing less than $500 in 2014 did not have to prepare a written statement at the beginning of 2014. This is contrary to what I have written in the past. In previous articles (here and here), I've stated... Continue reading
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There are several ways a family child care provider can reduce her 2014 taxes before the end of the year. The goal is to accelerate your deductions into 2014 and delay income until 2015. Here are some ideas: 1) Stock up on business supplies and materials before the end of... Continue reading
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As we close out the year, let's pause to count our blessings with family and friends. As we think about the coming year, I recommend that you consider setting some financial goals for yourself and your family. Most of us spend more time planning our next vacation than we do... Continue reading
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The IRS has announced that the 2015 standard mileage rate will be $.57.5 per mile for business trips. The 2014 standard mileage rate is $.56 for such trips. Family child care providers using this standard mileage method may also deduct the following vehicle expenses: parking expenses, tolls, and car ferries.... Continue reading
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Update: I have discovered that there is not a requirement that family child care providers prepare a written statement as of the beginning of the year to take advantage of this $500 rule. See my article "Correction: Written Depreciation Statement Not Required!" Here's a simple way to save money on... Continue reading
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Few family child care providers even think of asking this question. But, if you don't set a goal for what you want to earn, you probably won't earn as much as you would like. Let's say your goal is to earn $8.00 per hour. (Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per... Continue reading
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Have you recently conducted a household inventory where you listed and photographed every item in your home? There are two reasons why every family child care provider should do so. First, there are thousands of dollars worth of tax deductions sitting in your family child care home, waiting for you... Continue reading
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Family child care is the caring profession. As a family child care provider, you care for your own children, your spouse, and the children from other families. Think of all the many children you've cared for in the past and the many more you will care for in the future!... Continue reading
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A family child care provider in Texas was recently conducting an interview with a prospective family when a strange thing happened. Everything seems to be going well until the father told her he was a police officer and asked her for her Social Security number. He said he wanted it... Continue reading
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I'm feeling as stuffed as my cat Ella... Continue reading
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How would you handle this situation? A parent enrolled two children into a Minnesota family child care provider's program and paid a two-week deposit for each child. A week before the children were to start care, the parent called and said she was staying at her current daycare and wanted... Continue reading
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A new child care center just opened in your neighborhood. It offers care for a hundred children (toddlers through school-age) and has a well-equipped playground, a van to transport children, and sparkling classrooms with bright furniture and plenty of toys. You start to feel desperate, wondering if you’ll ever be... Continue reading
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To be successful as a family child care provider, you will need to establish a professional, businesslike relationship with the parents of the children in your care. This means you will need to take yourself and your work seriously and treat the parents as business clients, even if they are... Continue reading
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No child should be cared for by a person who is operating a child care program in violation of local child care laws. This is a simple goal that I think all family child care providers, parents, and organizations in the child care field should support. State laws vary greatly,... Continue reading
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Let's say you have had two openings in your family child care business for quite some time. You've tried a variety of things to fill these openings, but without success. You conclude that perhaps the reason you aren't having success is because your rates are too high, and so you... Continue reading
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A family child care providers' worst fear is being audited by the IRS. Let's say you were audited and now it's over. Is there anything more you can do about it? The answer is Yes in two situations: Amend Your Return If you were audited for 2013, 2012, or 2011,... Continue reading
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It's not easy trying to attract new parents to enroll in your family child care program. You are competing against other family child care providers, child care centers, school-age programs, Head Start, and unregulated caregivers. When competing against unregulated caregivers, you have some special challenges. I am defining unregulated caregivers... Continue reading
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Communicating with parents using a newsletter can be an effective way to promote your child care program. Your newsletter can contain lots of different kinds of information: weekly menus, children’s art work, learning activities, parenting tips, new policies, introduction of new children and farewells to those moving on, upcoming birthdays... 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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Here's some situations when using social media got family child care providers into trouble with their licensor: * A licensor walked around the back of a family child care provider's home and saw the provider texting on her phone while children were playing. The provider kept her head down texting... Continue reading
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Time is running out! Join the hundreds other family child care providers who are reaping the benefits of The Child Care Business Partnership. December 31, 2014 is the deadline to join or renew your membership in the Partnership and be entered into a drawing to win either book of your... Continue reading
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Do any of these situations bother you? * One day a parent tells you she gets off work at noon that day, but doesn't pick up her child until 6pm. * A parent enrolls in your program and brings her child during your regular hours of 7am-6pm. Later you find... Continue reading
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Here's the story of a family child care provider who didn't back down and won. Most child care providers prefer to avoid confrontations. This is the case whether the conflict is with parents, your Food Program sponsor, your licensing worker, or the IRS! It's understandable. No one wants to argue,... Continue reading
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“Instant gratification is not soon enough.” - Meryl Streep We live in a culture that craves instant gratification. Buy now, pay later. Our 24/7 world highly values immediate access to news, music, information – everything! As a result, saving money (rather than spending money) can be a hard sell, particularly... Continue reading