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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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Family child care providers who set financial goals for their family are more likely to reach those goals than providers who don't set goals. It's common sense. It's not too late to set financial goals for 2015. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to take that first step and... Continue reading
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No! Unfortunately, many family child care providers and tax professionals make this mistake. They assume that they can treat a person who helps them care for children as an independent contractor because they pay the person less than $600 a year. Wrong. When you hire someone to help you care... Continue reading
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Gina, a family child care provider, called me with a problem and asked for my advice. "A father in my program won't follow my rules. He refuses to notify me when his schedule changes, so I don't know what days his child will be here. He and the mother are... Continue reading
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For more information: * "What's Deductible in a Family Child Care Business" * "How to Claim Food Expenses" * "The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do to Reduce Your Taxes" Tom Copeland - tomcopelandblog.com For further information see my Family Child Care Record Keeping Guide. Continue reading
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At tax time it's reassuring to see how much you can deduct as a business expense for all of the items you purchased last year. The more things you purchased last year, the lower your taxes will be. In fact, for every $100 you spend on items for your business,... Continue reading
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"You can deduct it!" This is probably the main message I've been spreading over the past thirty years to family child care providers across the country. I've identified over 1,000 allowable business deductions in my book, Family Child Care Record Keeping Guide (9th edition). But not every expense is deductible... Continue reading
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It started as a normal day in Kim Mueller's family child care home in Minnesota, when suddenly four unrelated children started vomiting within thirty minutes. She suspected that it was an outbreak of Norovirus, so she immediately called the parents and asked everyone to pick up their children as soon... Continue reading
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There will come a day when you close down your business. When that day comes, here are some tax and non-tax issues to consider: Tax Issues Claim all your business income and expenses for the last year you were in business. When you calculate your Time-Space % for your final... Continue reading
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Yesterday I described five common mistakes family child care providers are making on their tax returns. Here are a few more. Space percent: One provider didn't claim a bedroom and laundry room as regular use in her business. She was entitled to count the entire bedroom because she used it... Continue reading
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In the past two weeks I've seen these common mistakes made by family child care providers on their tax returns: * Not deducting car loan interest * Counting time spent shopping * Not depreciating items owned before the business began * Claiming 100% of household supplies I've been reviewing the... Continue reading
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The measles outbreak is all over the news these days. It has brought attention to the fact that an increasing number of parents are refusing to vaccinate their children. Although there is no federal law requiring parents to vaccinate their children, all 50 states have rules requiring vaccinations against certain... Continue reading
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Webinar Tonight! Do you want to know: How to take advantage of the new family child tax rules when filling out your 2014 taxes? Whether you should use the new IRS Safe Harbor rule regarding claiming house expenses without receipts? How to take advantage of significant new depreciation rules for... Continue reading
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When a parent leaves owing you money, no family child care provider wants to take the parent to court. It can be stressful, take up a lot of your time, and you may not win - even if your contract is clear that the parent does owe you money. Going... Continue reading
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When a parent leaves owing you money, no family child care provider wants to take the parent to court. It can be stressful, take up a lot of your time, and you may not win - even if your contract is clear that the parent does owe you money. Going... Continue reading
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It can be a challenge finding a tax professional who understands your family child care business. This is because there are a number of unique rules affecting child care providers. To make sure your tax professional is familiar with your business, here are some key questions to ask: Should I... Continue reading
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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 of the new depreciation rules ($500 rule and 50% bonus rule)? Do you want to make sure you didn't make any... Continue reading
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If you are looking to attend one of my trainings, here's a list of some of my workshops in the coming two months: February 7th - Renton, Washington - Record Keeping and Taxes/Contracts. This event is for SEIU union Local 925 members only. More information. Register. 10th - Webinar: The... Continue reading
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My previous article discussed some problems that you will encounter if you use TurboTax software to prepare your tax return. As I said then, I don't recommend using any tax software unless you know what you can deduct, how to calculate the business portion of your deductions and where they... Continue reading
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Do I recommend that family child care providers use tax preparation software? Not unless you know exactly what you are entitled to deduct as a business expense, how much of these expenses you can deduct, and where they should appear on your tax forms. The three major tax preparation software... Continue reading
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When bad weather strikes your town, you need to have a plan for keeping children and parents safe. If the weather creates unsafe conditions, you may want to consider closing your business for the day, delaying your opening time, or asking parents to pick up children early. Some providers' policies... Continue reading
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When family child care providers seek help from tax preparers, too often they receive bad advice because the tax preparer doesn't fully understand their business. Here are four areas in the tax laws that are unique to the family child care business. Make sure that your tax professional understands them.... Continue reading
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Family child care providers often care for children on a part-time basiss Some children may only come on Wednesday through Friday. School age children may only need care a few hours in the afternoon each day. Maybe you even provide care on an hourly basis for parents who have irregular... Continue reading
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The short answer is "No." Family child care providers sometimes offer discounts or scholarships to parents to help them afford their child care services. For example: * A provider gives a parent a $100 discount on her services because the parent lost her job. * A provider gives a parent... Continue reading
My 2014 Family Child Care Tax Companion is now available from Redleaf Press. 2014 Family Child Care Tax Companion The Tax Companion is for providers who use tax preparers. It contains a series of worksheets and checklist tied to specific IRS tax forms (Schedule C, Form 8829, Form 4562) that... Continue reading
My 2014 Family Child Care Tax Workbook & Organizer is now available from Redleaf Press. 2014 Family Child Care Tax Workbook & Organizer The Tax Workbook is for family child care providers who do their own taxes. It includes all new tax law changes and step-by-step instructions for completing the... Continue reading