The big question is whether people are more or less productive when working from home. Many external factors go into this evaluation, such as home-based working conditions and reliable access to company systems and programs. Perhaps the most critical issue is the disconnect between managers who expected the virtual environment to mimic the office environment and actually managing remote employees. Some managers felt they had to micromanage staff to make sure they were working, which turned into a workday filled with videoconferencing and messaging on various platforms. That strategy turned out to be distracting.
But as the virtual environment evolved, best practices emerged from the chaos. Managers began to understand how important it is to institute policies incorporating these 10 areas:
In my opinion it's a pretty big failure considering that only 36.3% of applications were funded, and only 39.6% of the funds requested making it to those who needed it most.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is available to parents and caregivers who are either working or looking for work and who claim dependents on their tax return. The credit is available to those who care for children under age 13 or a spouse or dependent of any age who is physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself.
The CTC was created in 1997 and has been expanded several times since, most recently in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly affected how, where and when people work. The incredible disruption this caused affected people's incomes and livelihoods, and the federal government responded by approving pandemic relief legislation that included changes to the child care tax credit.
The latest of these changes were mandated by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which increased the maximum amount of eligible expenses as well as the maximum percentage of eligible expenses for which the credit may be taken. ARPA also modified how the credit is phased out for higher earners.
Perhaps the most important changes for eligible taxpayers planning to claim this credit for 2021 is that
Who Can Claim the Credit?
To be eligible to claim the enhanced child care credit, taxpayers must meet all these requirements:
How the advance child tax credit work
Eligible taxpayers will receive 50% of their credit in equal monthly installments starting in July 2021. The remaining 50% will be applied on their 2021 taxes after they file next year.
The advance credit is phased out or eliminated completely for taxpayers whose AGI is above $150,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and qualifying widows or widowers, $112,500 for those who file as head of household, and $75,000 for single filers or married taxpayers filing separately.
The IRS will make the advance payments automatically for July, August, September, October, November and December. Eligible taxpayers do not have to enroll.
Taxpayers who do not wish to receive advance payments because they are close to the income-eligibility limits, pay estimated taxes or expect to owe taxes with their 2021 tax return can opt out by using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal on the IRS website and clicking on "Unenroll from Advance Payments." However, as of now, taxpayers cannot choose to opt out and then change their minds and opt in.
The specific rules relating to this credit, such as the definition of a work-related expense, are complex. Make sure to consult with a tax adviser to discuss your specific situation.
Like every business owner, you want to remain relevant and competitive in your marketplace. And you know that to have a sustainable business, you constantly need new ideas to satisfy the evolving demands of consumers. However, you also know that sometimes new ideas fail because you haven't done adequate market research.
Market research gives you access to insights. These insights can optimize your current and future product offerings and assist in connecting your brand to the right customers. That's why investing in insight generation is the right way to drive informed and effective decision-making. It was W. Edwards Deming who said, "Without data, you're just another person with an opinion."
There are many types of research. Exploratory research is open-ended and qualitative. It helps you identify trends that you're currently not aware of. Setting up a Google Alert for a keyword that your team doesn't know much about is exploratory research, and so is a survey with open-ended questions. But its key characteristic is that it is flexible; changes of plan and even changes of format are expected. Some businesspeople consider exploratory research an important starting point for innovation.
Specific research is more precise and focused on solving a particular problem or testing a new idea. Specific research can help you drill down deeper into an outcome of exploratory research. This is probably what you think of when you think of market research: detailed surveys, focus groups, customer interviews and studies.
Both exploratory and specific research are types of primary research. Secondary research is the study of research that already has been published by others. Reading reports compiled by the government, trade associations or other businesses is secondary research.
Research provides you with a lens with which you can look at your company's current performance and its past trends. Knowing more about what your customers want and what else is going on in your industry can help you understand what's happening to your own sales. That in turn can help you understand what you need to do to better serve your customers.
Here are some tips on how to apply market insights to your company's strategy:
Just as you wouldn't go on a vacation without making any plans, you shouldn't design marketing strategies without backing them up with research and data. Market research takes a lot of time and money, but if you're venturing into a new market, it's vital.
Problems, business environments and trends are constantly changing, so your research will never really be over. The more you know about your buyer personas, industry and company, the more successful your marketing efforts will be.
You can claim the potentially lucrative federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for some of the wages paid to the individual who is part of a targeted group.
Here’s what you need to know to make the WOTC a tax saver for your business
The credit generally equals 40 percent of qualified first-year wages paid to an eligible employee, up to a maximum wage amount of $6,000.
The maximum credit is $2,400 (40 percent x $6,000).
The credit is reduced to 25 percent of qualified first-year wages for an employee who completes at least 120 but fewer than 400 hours of service.
In this situation the maximum credit is $1,500 (25 percent x $6,000).
You can claim the WOTC only if you hire a member of a targeted group. Targeted groups include the following:
This link contains links to the names, addresses, phone and fax numbers, and email addresses of the WOTC coordinators for each of the SWAs.
Exceptions to the General Rule on Credits
There’s a higher limit of $12,000 for first-year wages paid to a qualified veteran who is entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability and was discharged or released from the military within the past year.
There’s an even higher limit of $14,000 for first-year wages paid to a qualified veteran who was unemployed for at least six months in the prior year.
If a qualified veteran both has a service-connected disability and was unemployed for at least six months in the prior year, the limit for first-year wages is $24,000.
The WOTC for a long-term family assistance recipient equals 40 percent of qualified first-year wages, up to a maximum wage amount of $10,000.
In addition, for long-term family assistance recipients, the WOTC can be claimed for 50 percent of qualified second-year wages, up to a maximum wage amount of $10,000.
The WOTC for a qualified summer youth employee (a 16-year-old or 17-year-old who lives in an empowerment zone) equals 40 percent of first-year wages paid during any 90-day period between May 1 and September 15, up to a maximum wage amount of $3,000.
If you would like my help with the WOTC, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
The need for innovation and creativity is not going away now that businesses and workplaces are opening up again. Business leaders need to consider how they can continue encouraging these traits as they navigate to a new normal. One way to accomplish this is by ensuring your business is a psychologically safe space where employees can feel free to be themselves, be right or wrong, and present out-of-the-box ideas without feeling threatened or diminished.
A psychologically safe workplace nurtures this type of environment. As defined by Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School, psychological safety is the shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. It is an environment in which:
In some ways, the virtual environment we have been living in primed us for this by giving managers and team members a glimpse into each other's lives in ways they could not imagine before the pandemic. The blend of work life and home life made meetings more personal, from the color of paint on the walls to the cat walking over the keyboard. We learned to understand some of the challenges team members were facing while working from home. This understanding can be the basis for the trust and respect needed for psychological safety.
These three strategies can help firm leaders embrace this concept: