Holiday Link Party – Painted Christmas!

What do all of these things have in common?

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Paint!

Is your home all decked out for Christmas?   Did you hand make any gifts this year?

If you have painted anything for the holidays, share it today at Shelly’s blog, Shizzle Designs.  It’s link party time!

This, That and Life Lindauer Designs Restoration House Finding Silver Pennies Shizzle Design Hyphen Interiors Bliss at Home Miss Flibbertigibbet

Not sure what a link party is?  There is an explanation on the introduction post.

Head over to Shelly’s blog and get some inspiration, and share your painted projects!  Oh, and today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday) you can still link up your crafts on my blog.

kristysig

Gluten-free Chia Pan Bread and My Battle

Ch-ch-ch-chia!  Let’s talk about how to make Gluten-free Chia Pan Bread.  Yep, that is chia as in chia pets!   I know this is a bit of a divergence from my usual posts, but it’s what’s on my mind.

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Chia pets are still sold at places like Amazon.

Did you know chia seeds are edible and a great source of nutrition?  Chia is high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, protein, calcium and iron.  It’s a new discovery for me!

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Let me back track for a bit so you can understand why I get excited about new dishes like this.

As many of you know I have food allergies.  My food allergies/ sensitivities WERE corn, soy and gluten.

What happens when I eat those foods?
This is the part I want you to read in case you deal with any unexplained symptoms.

Within 1-3 days, I got tremendous body aches, profound fatigue, major brain fog, eczema, and a few other more mild symptoms, all of which were unexplainable.   Basically, I’m out of commission for 2-7 days anytime something is mislabeled or a chef accidentally includes it when he’s not familiar with the ingredients to look for (there are so many chemical names for each food).

Food reactions are different for every person.   Food allergies and sensitivities (as well as celiac) can affect any body system.  So, the possible symptoms are endless – I’ve known people with ADHD from a reaction, with ticks (like Tourette’s), with muscle pain, with worse seasonal allergies, with hormone issues such as heavy periods, with a string of ear infections, and so on.

The delayed aspect of the reaction makes it very difficult to associate the symptom(s) with the offender.  And, so does the long list of ingredients that are listed on most foods we eat.  (Could be any of those things.)  That means it can take some time to figure it out.  A food allergy test does help as a general compass, but they are not always accurate and will not necessarily catch sensitivities which can create equally difficult symptoms.

Many people can avoid a food for 3-6 months and re-introduce the food fine.  However, at least the initial three for me are what is called fixed or permanent.

Did I feel better when I started avoiding those foods?
Yes, I felt MUCH better.  Though my body had to heal, I was at about 85% of myself after just four days which was awesome.  (Be sure you know all the aliases and derivatives to look for on a label if you are avoiding something or you may be accidentally consuming it which means you will still feel sick. I have a list if you need one.)

As you may guess, one of the difficulties with food allergies  is what the heck do you eat? I mean, corn, soy and gluten are in just about everything even medications and hair products.

I ate virtually the same thing for over a year.
What was it?  Well, I had some sort of made from scratch cookies for breakfast, and a bowl of rice with chopped chicken, crunched up potato chips and lemon juice.  Then, for a snack, I ate Enjoy Life chocolate chips.  Just. About. Every. Day.  Why?  It was easy.  And, I liked it.  (Remember, I can’t eat out or have many things that are pre-packaged.)

That is a huge no-no.  But, I didn’t believe it until I made the mistake myself.  You are supposed to rotate your diet when you have food allergies and only eat things every 4-5 days.  The term for this is a rotation diet.

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Breakfast – apple pie filling or sauteed apples.

The result of ignoring that little rotation rule?
Now I am allergic to those very things – rice (as well as rice flour), lemon, chocolate, and chicken.  The jury is still out on sugar and potatoes.

Combine that with moving to Austin and having the environmental allergies here exasperate my immune system and I’m much more sensitive to developing new food allergies.  I also now avoid nuts and have cut back a lot on dairy, citrus and cannot have most other fruits unless they are cooked.  And, I’m working on figuring out a few more offenders at the moment (beef, sugar, potatoes).  So, the list is getting long and the symptoms this year have been difficult as I sort through it all.  But, never fear.  The up side is that it keeps me on a healthy diet.

How do I handle the severe restrictions?
When you suspect that you are reacting to a food, you do what is called an elimination diet.  This is the only sure way to know.

There is always a bit of a panicked feel when you start an elimination diet.  If you have ever tried or contemplated one, you know what I mean.  An elimination diet is a special diet where you avoid what you suspect you may have issues with (many times it starts extremely basic so you can add one thing back in at a time methodically) and eat a very basic unprocessed diet, adding food in slowly while keeping a food diary so you know what you react to and what is safe.

Now what do I eat?
After the panic started to subside, I realize I can get creative and come up with lots of things to eat.  Healthy things.  This could be an adventure.  I just started on the more restricted diet this week.

I have never been a big vegetable fan.  Everyone I know knows this about me.  In fact, a friend got us a vegetable steamer as a wedding gift as a joke.  Well, over the years I have slowly added vegetables into my diet and just this week I’m adding more than ever!  For instance, just in the past week I’ve cooked with eggplant, onion, carrots, garlic, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, asparagus, and several others!   And, I like them (prepared certain ways at least).

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Dinner – Asparagus and quinoa (much like rice).

My new special diet mainly consists of  veggies, but also some grains and meat.  I do not do anything processed.  That means, I must make things from scratch.  And, let me say I am no chef.   I don’t even like to cook.  I cook out of necessity.

Bread
I cannot buy any pre-packaged breads (or eat out) due to ingredient issues, so I was elated when I found this recipe this week.  It means I can have bread!  It uses the chia seeds and makes enough for two to four people!   The best part – it’s very forgiving.  I’ve changed up the ingredients a bit here and there a few times and it turned out just as good.

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This recipe for Gluten-free Chia Pan Bread is a slightly modified version of the one I found at Heather Eats Almond Butter and Chia Seed Recipes.com.

Ingredients
1/3 cup ground chia seed (You can grind your own chia seed if you can’t find it ground.)
2.5 teaspoons of baking powder (If you are allergic to corn, use Hain brand only.)
1/2 cup flour (Any flour of your choice.  I like to use quinoa flour, amaranth flour and/or tapioca flour.  Don’t hesitate to combine them.)
1 tbsp guar gum
1/8 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/4 grated onion/or same quantity grated carrot (Use more or less according to your taste.)

Below is the ground chia that I used.  It was labeled Salba at Whole Foods since chia’s species name is Salvia Hispanica.

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Instructions
Put the ground chia seeds in a bowl with the flour(s) of your choice, guar gum and baking powder.  By the way, the guar gum creates a sort of stickiness so that the mixture is more like traditional flour.  If you are not allergic to corn, xanthan gum is even better for that.

Mix well.  Below is what mine looked like, though I added some whole chia seeds as well which is what the black dots are that you can see.

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Grate the onion or other vegetable of choice.  I used a cheese grater and a glass bowl.

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Beat in the eggs.   I used a small whisk to do this, but a fork will work.

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Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture.

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Mix well.  It will look a little gooey.

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Divide into three equal parts and place on a floured cutting board.

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Roll it out with your hands.  That is tapioca flour on the board, by the way.  It is a VERY fine flour and usually needs to be mixed with something more coarse like the chia seeds or amaranth flour.

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Simply place that into a skillet heated on medium heat.   No need to add oil or anything.  Let it cook on each side for a couple of minutes.   Haha, that lid doesn’t go with that pan.  The matching elements were in the dishwasher, so I used what I had on hand.

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This is what you get!  It’s a type of flat bread.

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And, here is the inside.

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Here is a very similar recipe paired with ground turkey and feta cheese at Heather Eats Almond Butter.  It looks like she made her bread a little thinner which is fine too.

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This bread is so versatile, depending on the veggie that you choose to add.  You can pair it with:
- Soup
- Dipped in honey.
- Served like pancakes.
- As a wrap.
- Topped with jam.
- With pasta and salad.

What did I choose to put mine with?

I saw this tomato burger (see image below) the other day and created my own version of it with less tomato.

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Below is a photo I shot as I was preparing them.

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Here is the finished product.   Yum!

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Encouragement
If you have thought about doing an elimination diet for one reason or another, I encourage you to go for it.  It’s not as rough as it may seem and it sure can’t hurt you.  But, keep in mind, it’s all or nothing.  Cheating will simply make you remain sick and you won’t know if it worked.  I’m happy to chat with you more about the details.  If you have questions, feel free to email me at kristy(at)hypheninteriors(dot)com.

I highly recommend the book The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide –  more for the information than recipes.  It’s very accurate and helpful to understanding food allergies and special diets.

If you try the bread, I hope you enjoy it!    By the way, it’s free of these top food allergens:  dairy, nuts, fish, corn (if you use Hain), soy, gluten, wheat, and yeast (which can have corn in it).

What battles have you faced?  Anyone out there with food allergies or unresolved symptoms?

kristysig

Series – Starting a Business 101 – Week 6

This is the sixth week of my series on Starting a Business 101.  Last week, I talked about taxes and knowing your responsibilities as a small business.  Now that you have your business started, let’s talk about record keeping.

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In this series, I cover the topics below that are central to starting a new business.

Introduction - Why make it complicated?
Week 1 – Choose a name for your business.
Week 2 – Determine the legal structure.
Week 3 – DBAs and business licenses.
Week 4 – Get a federal tax id number.
Week 5 – Determine your federal, state and local taxes.
Week 6 – Record Keeping.
Week 7 – Other good information.

Were you ever just flat out not a record keeper?  As a teenager, though I had a job, I didn’t keep anything – tax records, receipts, paycheck stubs…  though my parents did tell me to.  At that age, it’s tough to see why you’d want to keep a bunch of paper.  By the time I got married, I started a file system.  We began to keep anything that seemed important – bills, receipts, tax records.  And, that helped a lot because you need those things.  You need receipts if you make a return, you need electric bills if you move and change providers, you need paycheck stubs to refer back to, etc.

Well, as a small business, you need all of those things not only for those reasons, but also in case you get audited.  The IRS won’t just take your word for it.  You will need to show the receipt for the item that you purchased and then deducted.  You will need to show the source of income that appeared in your account.  And, so on.

So, get your file system ready!

Here is what to keep.
- Checks.  Make copies of all checks, even cancelled ones.  Copy it with the deposit slip when possible.  Out that into their file along with the invoice that goes with it.   Make sure there is not a gap in check numbers or invoice numbers.  The IRS will look for that in an audit, according to the book Small Business Taxes Made Easy.
- Invoices and Bills.  Save all invoices and bills, as well as a record of how you paid them.
- Receipts.  Save them not only for returns, but as records of what you spent, where and when.  In addition, receipts can support depreciation expenses.  And, if that has been a while, IRS can still request the original receipt if it is connected to that year’s tax return.   In fact, make a copy of all receipts since those on shiny paper will end up so pale that you cannot read them any longer.
- Contracts.  Keep copies of all of your contracts just in case you need to refer back to them when you are in a bind.
- Loans.  Keep information on any loans related to your business.  To verify the interest deduction that you claim, the IRS will want to see documentation on the payoff terms in case the interest charges are in error.
- Tax Returns.  Keep them for at least 3 years, but 5 years is more safe.

Get Quickbooks
Quickbooks is a double-entry system for small businesses.  I own it and love it.  Well, I also hate it at times when I have to contact their customer service who resides in Indonesia mostly.  Ah!  But, it’s very powerful – it can handle inventory, payroll deductions (insurance, 401K, etc), bills, invoices, etc.  It also has an add-on payroll system.  Quickbooks helps you to not have to keep spreadsheets and depend on your math and setup.  It also provides the correct tax forms and reports for you.

If you do payroll, also get a payroll system.  Quickbooks offers one.  It makes life a lot easier to not have to do all of that math.

I hope that helps!  Please note that even if you use Quickbooks, I still highly recommend that you get a CPA to actually do your taxes and to answer questions.

Next Week
Next week I will add some odds and ends and finish up the series.

I hope you enjoyed Week 6 and that your business is going well.  Please add your own insights into this step in the comments.  I’d love to hear if this has helped you.

Disclaimer
As a disclaimer, I am not a CPA, lawyer or business expert. I am simply sharing what I’ve learned in case you have no idea where to start.

kristysig

Holiday Link Party – Crafts and DIY Projects

Today I host a link party for Crafts and DIY Projects!  This past week I made iced tree branches and posted a tutorial.  I was going to post it today, but I just couldn’t wait!

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Check them out if you have time and are curious.  I had a bit of a fail and learned a few things.

Now, I’m going to leave you with some holiday Craft/ DIY inspiration.

Isn’t this advent calendar from Lovely Things simple, yet stunning?  I love the way it’s styled with the chalkboard, glass items and natural wood.

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Check out this ruffled tree skirt by Simply Chic Treasures.  Gorgeous, huh?

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Aren’t these ornaments from A Yellow Bicycle awesome?

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Time to link up your holiday craft and DIY project(s)!   They can include things like tree skirts, wrapping paper, handmade gifts, Christmas cards, homemade holiday décor, stockings, wreaths, ornaments, and so on!  Anything that you made!

This, That and Life Lindauer Designs Restoration House Finding Silver Pennies Shizzle Design Hyphen Interiors Bliss at Home Miss Flibbertigibbet

Not sure what a link party is?  There is an explanation on the introduction post.

It’s simple to link up – just click “Click here to enter.”

The rules for linking up your projects:
- The link must be to a post, not your general blog.
- The project should be a project that you did yourself, not a link to someone else’s project.
- The link cannot be to an etsy shop or giveaway.
- We’d love for you to mention our link party on your blog or facebook!




Thanks for linking up!  Don’t forget, Cassie at Hi Sugarplum is also hosting a Holiday Crafts link party today!

kristysig

Got our Topiaries

I ordered three topiaries (preserved boxwoods, not plastic) from Joss & Main on November 16th after watching for them at the right price for a few months.  They are for our dining table.

I was so excited.  I received them today!  Aren’t you always thrilled when a package comes?

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But, when I opened them, the pots were broken.  Two were pretty demolished.  One wasn’t too bad.

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Oh no.

By the way, if you aren’t familiar with Joss & Main, it’s a flash sale site.  They highlight certain products and put them on extreme sales for just a few days at a time.  Then, on to the next manufacturer or designer round up.   If you aren’t a member of sites like this, you really should be – they always have unique things that you do not see in big box stores.  I love these sites – Joss & Main, One Kings Lane, The Foundary, Hautelook, etc.

I hadn’t dealt with the customer service at Joss & Main before.  Most things on these flash sale sites are not returnable.

I know One Kings Lane has amazing customer service.  I mean, if you order a rug or pillows, they let you return it within 14 days.  I did this with a rug as well as a pillow and they were amazing – they paid return shipping and someone came out to pick it up.  It could not have been easier.  And, nothing lost.   The reason for my return – the color was not as it appeared on the screen when I purchased it.  I can’t say enough about how gracious they were about it.  But, I wasn’t sure about Joss & Main.

Here is one pot after removing the plastic wrapping.

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And, both after removing the plastic wrapping.  It was a mess!

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So, I called Joss & Main.  They were amazing.  They immediately issued a full refund and didn’t make me ship the broken pieces back.  That was a relief since shipping things back is never fun.  I was impressed by their customer service.  This just makes me all the more confident when making purchases through them.

However, the bad news?  They don’t have any others – they are out!  So, I am hoping I can find new pots and make the plants work.  Wish me luck!

Here are the three – the two on the right are just in styrofoam (that is broken up a bit).

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The one on the left is in pretty good shape – just a few chips, but it’s not falling apart at least.

So, join Joss & Main and One Kings Lane if you haven’t!   They post at least one sale per day.  Mostly home furnishings.  And, the sales are always unique and most of the time, the prices are great.  For instance, I got these for $40 each, when they are typically sold for around $80 each.

You do have to sign up, but it’s painless and quick.  Do you order from these sites?  What has your experience been?   Would you have been crushed if your pots were crushed?

kristysig

P.S.  I am not being compensated in any way for this review of customer service.

Holiday Link Party – Tablescapes

Do you decorate your table when you host dinners?   Holiday tablescapes come in all colors, not just fall colors for Thanksgiving and red and green for Christmas.

Ready for some inspiration?

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Link Party
Now, back to the link party.  Today Kristin at Bliss at Home hosts a link party for tablescapes.  If you have a tabelscape to share, just click on Bliss at Home’s name in the graphic below.

This, That and Life Lindauer Designs Restoration House Finding Silver Pennies Shizzle Design Hyphen Interiors Bliss at Home Miss Flibbertigibbet

Not sure what a link party is?  There is an explanation on the introduction post.

It’s simple to link up – just scroll to the bottom of her post and click “Click here to enter.”  And, ANY tablescape will work, it does not have to be Christmas themed.

Can’t wait to see your tablescapes on Bliss at Home’s blog!  When you get there, check out her tablescape or scroll all the way down for the party.

And, be sure to check out what link parties are after that so you can get your stuff ready to share!

kristysig

Tutorial – How to Make Iced Branches (I tried it!)

We all love things that sparkle, right?  Iced branches can make a gorgeous addition to a tablescape, vignette or even wedding.

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I saw a tutorial on Save on Crafts (via Make Them Wonder), and wanted to try it myself since I didn’t know anyone who had tried it. I never fully trust the sites that are selling the items. So, here goes!

How to Make Iced Branches (Tutorial)

You will need:

  • Colorfill Diamond Vase Filler – 1 or 2 pound bag (I got mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Tacky Glue – I got mine at Joann’s
  • German glass glitter is best, but I used regular glitter
  • Tree branch of your choice
  • Paper to cover work area

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1. Find a branch or branches that you want to give an icy look. Trim it if you need to so it fits the space you will place it in.  I plucked mien right out of my yard.  It’s my new privilege in Texas.  In Phoenix, there were no real tree branches lying around.

2. Place a some sort of paper down for a work area so you don’t get glue everywhere. It will drip some.

3. Pour a pile of Colorfill Diamonds in the center of the paper.

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4. Place tacky glue on the branch(es) and smooth it out for a medium covering (not clumpy, but thick enough to hold the vase filler).

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5. Fold the paper slightly to keep the diamond filler together.

6. Next, you will put the glitter and vase filler on.  You can sprinkle it on, roll the branch in it or place it on.

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7. Let it dry for about 45 minutes.

8. Do the same with the opposite side of the branch. You definitely want to do this step. The more filler and glitter the better they look!

I was doubtful at first about if this filler would end up looking like ice. Well, with the glue and glitter and lots of the filler, it works pretty well.

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9. Let it dry for 45 minutes and you have ice covered branches.

Tada! Iced branches.

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Add a bit more to the branch and you’ll end up with something like this.

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Conclusion and Tips
They look pretty good from 2 feet away and more. Close up, you can see the filler more clearly, of course.

The vase filler was $6.99 at Hobby Lobby, but I had a 40% off coupon. A one pound bag goes pretty far!   I tried to buy it on Save on Crafts as it was just $3.99 on there, but shipping was over $12!  So, that was a no-go.

Next time, I would definitely use the more chunky german glass glitter (see below) that they recommended for an extra icy effect.

That was a fail on my part.  Somehow I missed that little bit of information when purchasing glitter and ended up with regular glitter.  Definitely try the german glass glitter.

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It can be found online at Save on Crafts.  I’m sure places like Hobby Lobby have it as well.

You can also try Epsom salt instead of the vase filler.  The filler was a little hard to find for me.  However, the salt won’t be quite as clear.

Pretty simple! You can also add artificial moss or red berries to some of the branches. Rub a bit of oil on the berries to give a dewy effect.  Or, string some lights through them if it’s an entire tree.  Gorgeous!

Here are some other images from the Save on Craft site of branches that were created using this method.  It looks like the branches on the left are with regular glitter, but the ones on the right may be with the german glass glitter.

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Have you tried this?  What are your tips?

If you have a craft project of your own, please share it by linking up to my craft/ diy link party Dec 4-8!  Hosted right here at Hyphen Interiors.

kristysig

Series – Starting a Business 101 – Week 5

This is the fifth week of my series on Starting a Business 101.  Last week, I talked about tax id numbers.  This week, we are going to talk about determining your tax responsibilities.

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In this series, I cover the topics below that are central to starting a new business.

Introduction - Why make it complicated?
Week 1 – Choose a name for your business.
Week 2 – Determine the legal structure.
Week 3DBAs and business licenses.
Week 4 – Get a federal tax id number.
Week 5 – Determine your federal, state and local taxes.
Week 6 – Record Keeping.
Week 7 – Other good information.

I think this is one of the parts that we all dread. Taxes.  As a new business owner, this can be something that is overlooked and can get terribly confusing.

I cannot promise to hit on every detail, but I’ll do my best to give you a pretty good overview. I am going to just write about the two basic types of businesses that would most likely apply to design and Etsy-type of businesses – Sole Proprietorship and Limited Liability Company (LLC). Keep in mind that your form of business entity will determine the taxes you need to pay and tax forms you need to file.

If you haven’t read Week 2, this is the time to read it so you can decide what type of entity your business is.

General federal taxes that you may need to pay:
- Income tax
- Self-employment tax
- Employment tax
- Excise tax

General state and local taxes that you may need to pay:
- State income tax
- Sales and use taxes
- Unemployment taxes

Be sure to learn of deadlines so you can pay taxes on time. Large penalties can apply if you miss a deadline.

Income Tax
Income tax is a tax that everyone pays on their income.  Generally, most businesses pay income tax by making regular estimated tax payments.  If you expect to owe taxes (your earnings are $400 or more), you make estimated tax payments each quarter.  You use IRS Form 1040-ES to pay these payments.   Income tax is based on your tax bracket.

If your state has income tax, this can also apply at the state level.

Self-Employment Tax (SE)
This tax combines Social Security and Medicare tax for people who do not receive W2’s for their work (i.e. you work for yourself and you aren’t on payroll).  This takes the place of what would be deducted on your paycheck if you worked for someone else.  You generally pay SE tax on your net earnings if they are $400 or greater for the year.

SE taxes total 15.3%.  These taxes are essentially the same as the employment taxes that you see below, but you do not just pay it on payroll like employment taxes.  You pay it on your entire profit.

If you are a sole proprietor, this applies to you.   If you are an LLC filing as a sole proprietorship, this applies to you as well.   However, if you are an LLC filing as an s-corp, you pay employment taxes instead since you pay yourself on payroll and then you pay income taxes on any additional profit, rather than SE taxes.

Employment Tax
This applies to any employees that you have.  If you have none, you can ignore this section.  However, if you have an LLC filing as an s-corp and you pay yourself on payroll, you are an employee.  This section will be important if that is you.

Did you know that you don’t just pay employees the salary you owe them, but you also must take taxes out of each paycheck and pay employer taxes, which are above and beyond their pay?

If you have employees, you will also want to set up payroll with a service so they can take out the appropriate taxes from the paycheck.  What all do you take out of a paycheck and pay out to federal and state agencies?

- Federal withholding.  You must withhold federal income taxes from the employee’s wages.  The employee will need to fill out a W4 form in order for you to figure out how much to withhold.
- Social Security and Medicare.  These taxes pay for benefits under the FICA act.  Many times these taxes are referred to as FICA for that reason.  You withhold these and also pay a matching amount yourself, as the employer.  So, factor that in as an additional expense of being an employer.
- Federal unemployment (FUTA).  This is a state tax that pays unemployment compensation to workers who lose their jobs.   If you aren’t employed and your employer isn’t paying FUTA (i.e. you are just a contractor), you cannot later receive unemployment should you lose your job.  Only employers, not employees, pay this tax.

This totals 15.3%, with 7.65% being paid by the employee and the other 7.65% being paid by the employer.

With the specifics of these taxes changing often, I highly recommend a payroll service if you have employees.  These services cost $30-50 a month, on average.

Also, keep in mind that at the end of the year, you will need to issue a W2 for all employees.  This form will let them know exactly what was withheld so they can file taxes.

If you do employ yourself (if you are an LLC filing as an s-corp), you just pay the 15.3% on the amount that you are paid via payroll.  The rest of the business profit would then be transferred to your personal return and you’d only pay income tax on that portion.  That saves you 15.3% in taxes on the extra profit.  However, you must pay yourself a reasonable salary.

Excise Tax
This only applies to businesses that manufacture or sell certain products such as alcohol, guns, or tobacco.  Most small businesses do not need to worry about excise tax.

Sales Tax
Most states (some exceptions are Oregon and Montana) have sales tax.  If you sell products (and some services also apply), you will be responsible for state and local sales tax on those items.  That means you must collect the sales tax and then pay it in to the state and local governments.

Some states and local governments require you to pay sales tax in to them each month, while others require you to send in your payment each quarter.  Even if you have nothing to report, you MUST file zero. Do not just not file.

Sales tax is based on the sales price, not the profits.  And, it will be paid to the state, county and city – so be sure to hit on all of those pieces when you file.

You will need a sales tax permit prior to selling anything, in most states.  In order to collect and pay sales tax properly, you must have this sales tax permit.  In Texas, this was easy to register for online and only took a few minutes.  While registering for a sales tax permit, you should also find out just what exactly must be taxed in your area.   For instance, what kinds of services must be taxed.

When you have your sales tax permit, you can usually buy stuff tax free since you know that when you sell it to your client, you will charge them sales tax and pay it in at that time.  However, should the item not sell and end up being used by you, you will need to pay use tax in many states.  Check to see if your state has use tax.

Pay close attention to deadlines for payments.  Remember the story about Sarah in the introduction post?  She missed her monthly sales tax payments as a new business owner and ended up with $1500 in fines.  Be careful.

How to Pay Your Quarterly Taxes
Estimated tax is the general method that small businesses use to pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and income tax when you do not have an employer withholding these taxes for you.

Use the worksheet found in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax to find out if you are required to file quarterly estimated tax.  Form 1040-ES also contains blank vouchers you can use when you mail your estimated tax payments or you may make your payments using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).     You can enroll there and receive a pin number so you can pay your taxes easily.

What Does Your State Require
SBA.gov provides a great list of links by state to help you get an idea of what your state may require.

Conclusion
In conclusion, this is why I have a CPA.  This stuff can get complicated.  She helps me make sure I’m paying all of the right taxes at the right times.  In addition to our CPA, we also have a payroll service that helps me make sure that all payroll taxes are taken out.  This gives us peace of mind.

And, never ever just skip filing anything, even if you have done no business – in that case, you still must file the forms letting them know you did no business.

Though a CPA helps a great deal with taxes, I do still have my share of bookkeeping.  I still have to keep records, record receipts in Quickbooks and actually issue the paychecks.  So, having a CPA doesn’t mean your business runs without you and your effort on the admin side.  It just helps when it comes to taxes and business questions.  And, most people greatly appreciate that help.

Tip
I use my Outlook calendar for everything that I need to remember, including taxes.  I set reminders for every deadline and have it remind me a week or two out.  This helps tremendously.

To learn more about these taxes, visit the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Guide to Business Taxes.

Next Week
Next week we will talk about record keeping.

I hope you enjoyed Week 5 and that the information is helpful. Please add your own insights into this step in the comments.

Disclaimer
As a disclaimer, I am not a CPA, lawyer or business expert. I am simply sharing what I’ve learned in case you have no idea where to start.

kristysig