Work-job-career Feed

It's been one of those weeks that makes me totally understand exactly why the TGIF acronym was created. Blarghhhh! Arghhhh! TGIF! The only solace for Milton Waddams, brilliantly played by Stephen Root, in "Office Space" is his red stapler. Huffington Post has even more GIFs from Mike Judge's 1999 workplace documentary comedy. We've all been there, thinking, at least temporarily, that work sucks. That it's time to get a new job. That being out of work for a while wouldn't be so bad. Or maybe the unbearable cube farm circumstances are a sign that it's time to take that entrepreneurial... Read more →


The hubby and I get our medical insurance through his employer. Today we and several of his coworkers got our Form 1095-C in connection with our health care coverage. This is one of two new documents that employers are sending out to their workers in connection with the Affordable Care Act, or as many of us call it (fondly and otherwise), Obamacare. When one of the hubby's colleagues raised questions about the form, I suggested he send out a company-wide email blast with a link to my story on ACA forms. He declined. We now have a dinnertime discussion topic.... Read more →


The animal heralding March's arrival this tax-filing season is not a lion or a lamb, but a fish, or rather a phish. Yep, a new phishing scam has emerged, with tax crooks trying out a new scheme that targets payroll and human resources professionals. The Internal Revenue Service today issued an alert to the folks who handle employee data to be wary of a phishing email purporting to be from company executives seeking personal information on employees. I know it's thrilling -- or terrifying if your big boss is anything like The Donald (and I've also worked for a few... Read more →


Uber pitches itself to potential drivers as a way to make cash on your own terms. But one of the popular ride-sharing company's contractors this week found the driving effort was not so personal after all. This Uber driver's 1099-K earnings statement, issued to contractors so they can file their annual tax returns, was made available to other drivers in the ride-sharing company's system. 1099-K forms are the cousins to 1099-MISC statements that independent contractors receive. A Form 1099-K is used mainly to report credit and debit card payments and online transactions, rather than old-fashioned check payments. 1099-Ks also are... Read more →


I know all y'all are fixated on tonight's $1.5 billion Powerball drawing and that lottery jackpot's tax implications. But many of you -- including me! -- also must remember to meet the deadline for our final 2015 estimated tax payment. That's coming up on Friday, Jan. 15. Today's Daily Tax Tip has the skinny on paying estimated taxes. You also can read more about calculating these four extra tax payments here. Paying on untaxed income: Estimated tax payments are required when you get income, both earned (for example, self-employment as your main source of income or from side jobs to... Read more →


One of the year-end tax tips that I've been talking about in recent days is to defer income, such as a workplace bonus, into the next year. That will give you 12 months to figure out how to handle the taxes on the added income. However, I don't think the employees of Hilcorp Energy Co. will be deferring the $100,000 each received this year. Big reward for goals met: The privately held oil and gas exploration and production company gave every one of its 1,399 workers the hefty cash thank you for helping the company achieve its five-year goals earlier... Read more →


Last week's jobs report for October was surprisingly good. The unemployment rate fell to 5 percent, its lowest level since 2008 and half of the 10 percent rate in the wake of the financial crisis. If predictions are correct for seasonal hires this year, even more workers could be having a merrier than usual Christmas. Businesses in San Antonio are following the national trend in hiring for the holiday season. Click image to see KSAT-ABC's report. But that holiday joy could be dashed at tax filing time if you don't pay attention to how you are classified by your temporary... Read more →


Fall has arrived. That means in addition to leaves changing colors, some folks will be changing their workplace benefits. Yep, the open season for employer-provided options is or about to be underway in offices across the country. One of the most popular benefits is the tax-favored flexible spending account, usually referred to as an FSA. As the latest Weekly Tax Tip details, these worker accounts offer tax-saving ways to cover some child care or health care costs. The key to both accounts is knowing your, and your family's, needs and then managing the accounts carefully. Putting away pre-tax dollars: Both... Read more →


I grew up in Texas. West Texas, to be specific, where independence is, in large part because of the vast distances between towns, not just a concept but a necessity. So it's no surprise that labor unions essentially were nonentities in my early life. That said, I grew up appreciating the value of unions. My dad, an oil field worker his whole life, made sure my brother and I knew that labor unions are to be valued by all workers, regardless of whether they belong to one. Sally Field won her first Oscar for her portrayal of title character Norma... Read more →


More teenagers are working this summer. There aren't any jobs out there for young workers. Employers are struggling to find teens to work at traditional summer jobs. Google "teens and jobs" and you'll find all three of those reports on seasonal youth employment. So just what is the youth employment situation for the summer of 2015? Great, good or terrible depending on where you and your teenage live and the type of work you and your youngster are seeking. The ebb and flow of youth jobs: The Pew Research Center recently looked at what's happened over the years to the... Read more →


Many workers, me among them, enjoy being independent contractors. Businesses also like these arrangements. It relieves them of having to pay the employer's portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes, state unemployment and workers' compensation insurance. Plus, there are no workplace benefits to cover. All those costs of hiring a person as a full-time employee can, by some estimates, increase a company's payroll costs by 30 percent or more. So it's not surprising that sometimes companies improperly categorize theirs workers as contractors when they really treat them as employees. Uber, the popular transportation option available contracted via its smartphone app,... Read more →


Answers like these are why I so love Jeopardy. The correct question is, of course, "What is self-employed?" I really wish Alex Trebek would have accepted the total tax response, "Who gets 1099 forms?" But I suspect contract killers and those who hire them don't want any paper trail. We sole proprietors and freelancers with less criminal leanings, however, have piles of 1099s. And with the tax-filing deadline less than two weeks away, it's a good time to offer my fellow small business owners some tax tips on that and other facts of independent contractor life. Not being one to... Read more →


Everybody puts on the dog for St. Patrick's Day, even sartorially conscious and/or wannabe Irish pooches. Dog dolled up for St. Patrick's Day. Photo by Michael Shehan Obeysek via Flickr. But the special green suit you bought just for today is not tax deductible unless being a leprechaun is your job. Apparel is deductible as a miscellaneous itemized expense only if it is ordinary and necessary to your line of work. Normal business attire doesn't apply: Before you get too jazzed about a possible new deduction in connection with your 9-to-5 at the cube farm, note that the Internal Revenue... Read more →


Life. It just keeps keeping on (if we're lucky!). For most of us, our day-to-day activities fall into a predictable routine. Sometimes, though, the daily route detours. That's what happened yesterday, as the hubby had an unexpected day off. So I took time off, too, to enjoy the down time with him ... not, as he jokingly -- I'm pretty sure he was joking! -- said, to make sure he didn't have too much fun! Click image to watch a video of Ferris Bueller's sage advice about enjoying a day off. And that meant that I didn't get around to... Read more →


The U.S. economy finally appears to be on an upward track. That's good news for the millions of folks who took serious financial hits during the persistent recession that began in 2008. Things were so bad back then that even the Internal Revenue Service decided to lend a helping hand. In 2009, the IRS showed its more compassionate side to taxpayers facing financial challenges, which included having difficulty paying their tax-due balances. The IRS committed to being more flexible in working with taxpayers having trouble paying Uncle Sam because of factors related to the weak economy. Thus began the Fresh... Read more →


There are just two days left in the 2014 tax year. That's not much time, but folks determined to save on this year's taxes still have time to make a few year-end moves. I was up at o'dark-thirty this morning to discuss some quick year-end tax tactics with KARN radio. If you weren't up at 6:10 a.m. (and why in heaven's name would you be!?) or aren't in the Little Rock, Arkansas, broadcast area, here's what I talked about (and more). Do you itemize? If so, you have more tax-cutting options than those who claim the standard deduction. Here are... Read more →


December brings a special kind of crazy. There's shopping, travel, more shopping, tax moves to make, family and friend get-togethers, extra cooking, even more shopping and illness. Yeah, folks tend to get sick over the holidays. Maybe it's because of that guy coughing in the aisle behind you on your flight home. Maybe it's one of your loved ones with whom you're sharing way too close holiday quarters. Maybe it's playing in the snow a bit too long. Maybe it's that you wear yourself out and down with all the shopping, travel, more shopping, tax moves, family and friend get-togethers,... Read more →


Just when we think we've got a handle on Ebola, the disease wins a round. Dr. Martin Salia, a surgeon who contracted the deadly virus while performing his duties as chief medical officer at United Methodist Kissy Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has died in a Nebraska hospital. Salia, a Sierra Leone native who was a permanent U.S. resident, was transferred Nov. 14 to the Nebraska Medical Center's biocontainment unit where two other Ebola patients were successfully treated. Unfortunately, Salia's symptoms were far more advanced and the hospital announced his death today. However, sometimes there is good in times of... Read more →


Here we are, into the final two months of the year. That means much of our time will be spent thinking about getting ready for cold weather, use-or-lose vacation days and the rapidly approaching holidays. But we also need to think about taxes. November is the perfect month to take some steps so that you don't have to deal with tax turkeys at filing time. Wild turkeys photo by Yathin S. Krishnappa via Wikimedia Vote! Many folks will get a direct say on their states' tax policies when they vote tomorrow, Nov. 4. Among the almost 150 ballot questions across... Read more →


Even in drought-stricken Texas, the phrase "when it rains, it pours" is true. Except in our case, it's not precipitation that's piling on; it's home repair and maintenance issues. Back in August, the main spring on the hubby's garage door decided to snap. A few weeks later our kitchen faucet needed to be replaced. That's the shiny new one there to the right. This week, painters are working on our home's trim. The stucco portion of the house is on repaint hold while we look for someone to repair a gable vent. Then we'll get that area painted, after which... Read more →