IRS Announces 2015 Standard Mileage Rates

It will cost you less at the pump to fill your car next year. The U.S. Department of Energy has issued its predictions for the price of gasoline for 2015 and the numbers are the lowest full-year average since 2009. Gas prices are expected to drop 35 cents to $2.60 a gallon.

The news is even better for the holidays: according to AAA, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline could bottom out at $2.50 by Christmas. Average costs across the country are dropping from week to week: as of today, they are just $2.67 per gallon, the least expensive since February 23, 2010.

Despite those tumbles, the standard mileage rate for federal income taxes is going up for business miles. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued the 2015 optional standard mileage rates and beginning on January 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (up from 56 cents in 2014)
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down half a cent from 2014)
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (fixed by Congress, never adjusted for inflation)

If you’re wondering about the difference in the rates for business and medical or moving purposes, there’s a reason: the standard mileage rate for business is calculated using an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas and oil while the rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil. That also explains why the rate for medical or moving purposes has dipped while the rate for business has gone up. Inflation is edging costs – other than gas – up a tiny bit.

The optional standard mileage rates are used to easily calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical or charitable expense (miles driven times the applicable rate). Taxpayers always have the option of deducting their actual costs rather than using the standard mileage rates – though admittedly, that’s a lot more work.

Be careful: these rates go into effect at the beginning of 2015 for the 2015 calendar year. That means they’ll show up on your 2015 returns (the ones you’ll file in 2016). You’ll use the 2014 rates for the return that you’ll submit in 2015.

Forbes

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Top 10 Gifts for the Nanny in your Life!

Whether you have a live-in nanny, come and go nanny or share your nanny with a friend, you know how important she is to your family.  Show your appreciation for her love, hard work and dedication with the perfect gift. Think about your nanny, her likes and interests, and be sure to get the kids in on the fun too!  Although there are so many variables that affect how much you will spend, it’s generally appropriate to consider something equal to one or two week’s pay. Here are some ideas to fit a variety of price points:

Spa Day Who doesn’t love a day of pampering?  And, can you think of anyone more deserving than your hardworking nanny?  Choose a spa that’s close to her house so she can easily get there on her day off.

Plane Ticket Home Give your nanny the gift of travel with a plane ticket to see her family. Be sure to check with the airlines for special offers like the ability to transfer miles or the option for the recipient to earn bonus miles for future travel.

Extended Vacation Time Offer your nanny some much deserved paid time off.  Add a few days to a scheduled vacation or offer her some time off in the next couple of months.

Gift Cards Always a great option!  Get creative by pairing a restaurant and movie gift card, for example.  If your nanny has children of her own, choose something her whole family can enjoy.

iPad  Help your nanny stay organized and connected with an iPad or other tablet.  (You might be surprised when she loads it with apps for your kids!)

Ticket to National Nanny Training Day How about a ticket to this continuing education, all-day event? Your nanny can increase her skill set, network with other nannies and have the chance to win tons of great giveaways.

Electronics Maybe it’s a new cell phone, blu-ray player, new television or something for her kitchen.  Listen to what your nanny and her family need and surprise her with something truly special.

Memberships Consider a gift that really speaks to your nanny’s interest like a one-year membership to a museum, gym or botanic gardens.

Tickets How about a set of tickets to a sporting event or musical so your nanny can share a special day with her family and friends?  Consider adding money for a parking pass too!

Bonus By far the most popular to give (and receive!).  The average end of the year bonus is equal to one or two weeks of pay.  For newer employees, calculate one day of pay for each month of employment.

 

Erin Krex is a mom and the founder and owner of First Class Care, Inc., Chicago’s premiere domestic placement agency. Erin believes that outstanding childcare is fundamental for creating harmony at home. Erin is an active member of APNA (Association of Premier Nanny Agencies) and was on the INA (lnternational Nanny Association) Board of Directors for four years. Erin has been honored with StartUp Nation’s Leading Moms in Business award three years in a row and also holds the title of 2010 APNA Agency of the Year winner. As a business owner and working mother with domestic help, Erin frequently writes and speaks on subjects related to best practices for both families and employees. Erin is Bump Club Chicago’s resident childcare expert and provides classes to families about how to hire a nanny.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/firstclasscare

Twitter: @FirstClassCare

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Top 10 Year-End Reminders for Household Employers

  1. To-Do List Put Tax Filing for your nanny on your to-do list for early January 2015 and set up an appointment with your accountant.
  2. W-2 Provide a W-2 to your nanny/employee by January 31, 2015.
  3. W-2 and W-3 Reporting File a copy of a W-2 and W-3 to the Social Security Administration by March 2, 2015.
  4. Schedule H Complete a Schedule H and attach it to your 1040 personal income tax return by April 15, 2015.
  5. Social Security Decide if paying Social Security (Employer and Employee portion) through estimated 1040ES payments (four times a year) or annually (with your personal income tax return).
  6. Medicare Decide if paying Medicare (Employer and Employee portion) through estimated 1040ES payments (four times a year) or annually (with your personal income tax return).
  7. Unemployment Insurance:
    • State Unemployment Insurance.Ensure quarterly State Unemployment Insurance payments are paid by April 3, 2015 (Quarter 4).
    • Federal Unemployment Insurance. Decide whether Federal Unemployment Insurance will be paid through estimated 1040ES payments (four times a year) or annually (with your personal income tax return).
  8. Income TaxesDiscuss with employee and agree whether income taxes will be withheld from an employee’s gross wages (if so you are responsible for remitting these taxes to the IRS and State) by April 15, 2015.
    • State Income Taxes. Know if state income taxes are paid to the tax agency on a Quarterly, Monthly or Annual basis.
    • Federal Income Taxes. Decide if Federal income taxes will be paid through estimated 1040ES payments (four times a year) or annually (with your personal income tax return).
  9. Annual Reconciliation Report.Find out if your state requires an annual reconciliation report to be completed and submitted each year (deadline varies by state).
  10. Help and Advice. Contact Jonita at GTM Certified Payroll and Tax at (888) 432-7972 x7224 or visit www.GTM.com for help with any of the tax filing process.

GTM Payroll and Nanny Tax Services

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Do Nannies Need Shots?

There are many things nannies do every day to keep the kids they look after safe and healthy. Making sure they wear their bike helmets, sit down while eating to prevent choking, and wash their hands frequently. Nannies can also help by not getting the kids sick from illnesses they get or carry. Vaccinations help protect them from getting sick and keep us from accidentally passing on serious illness to the kids in our care.

There are two illnesses that are common – so, easy to get – that can make young children very sick. These are influenza “the flu” and pertussis “whooping cough”. Getting vaccinated can help keep nannies and the kids in your care, safe from these illnesses.

The Flu
Influenza is an infection caused by a virus – a tiny germ that can live for hours on hands and other surfaces. It spreads faster in damp conditions during the fall and winter, when people spend more time inside and are close together on buses, and trains.

Flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, fatigue and even vomiting and diarrhea. Most grownups get better in a few days. But, children under 5 years of age, and those with other medical conditions, such as asthma, are at higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu and needing to be hospitalized.

Complications can include infection of the lungs, dehydration, inflammation of the brain and even death. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 20,000 children under 5 are hospitalized due to the flu each year. Children under 6 months of age are not old enough to get vaccinated against the flu for their own protection. So, these babies are at the greatest risk for developing complications from the flu. To keep them safe, all care providers should be vaccinated, including parents, nannies, baby sitters, and grandparents. And, because the virus changes all the time, a new shot or nose spray is required every year. The new vaccine is usually available every fall.

Pertussis
Pertussis or “whooping cough” is a disease that has been growing over the last few years. According to the CDC, in 2012 over 48,000 cases were reported in the U.S. with 20 deaths. This is the highest number of cases in almost 60 years.

Pertussis can cause uncomfortable coughing fits for 10 weeks or more. In adults, pertussis can be a mild illness that they may not even know they have. However, in children, it can cause serious illness and sometimes death, especially in infants. About half of infants under 1 year of age who get pertussis need to be hospitalized. Although most adults in the US were vaccinated against whooping cough when they were children, we now know that protection wears off over time and adults need to be revaccinated every 10 years, which is one of the reasons more people are getting sick from pertussis.

To keep them safe, everyone who is in close contact with an infant should get the Tdap vaccine at least 2 weeks before visiting the baby. By getting the vaccine not only are you protecting the baby, you are also protecting yourself against the “100 day cough”!

Both the flu and pertussis vaccines are safe, effective, and will help keep you and the children you care for healthy.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season,

Sapna K. Mukherjee, MD

Premium Care Pediatrics- A house call based concierge practice

www.premiumcarepediatrics.com

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What’s Your SNOW DAY Policy?

Last year we had a horrible winter. Cities across the country, including those that rarely see any kind of winter weather, got slammed with snow, ice, and dangerously cold temperatures. Who knows what this year will bring weather-wise. But whatever that is, it’s essential that you have a clear snow day policy in place before it’s needed.

No Snow Days Allowed
Some nanny employers have to work regardless of the weather. This group usually includes first responders (e.g. fire fighters, police officers) and medical personnel (e.g. emergency room doctors, nurses). In these cases, there’s not an option for the nanny to stay home due to bad weather. She has to make it to work to ensure her employer can make it to work. This usually means the nanny stays over the night before the storm hits.

Who decides if the nanny needs to stay the night? Of course, the best case scenario is that it’s a mutual decision between the parents and nanny but that isn’t always the case so there needs to be one, ultimate decider. And since it’s the parent’s need driving the decision, it’s usually the parent’s choice.

When will that decision be made? It’s important to lay out how much notice the nanny will be given for a required overnight.

What will the nanny be paid? Although the nanny isn’t working during her overnight stay, she’s there because her employers need her to be there. Because they need that guarantee of availability regardless of the next day’s forecast. Since it’s a requirement rather than a choice, the nanny generally receives a stipend that covers the off hours spent at her employers’ home.

Where will the nanny sleep? A guest bedroom with private access to a bathroom is the best set-up. If that’s not available, go with whatever gives the nanny the most privacy. Crashing on the couch and showering in the kid’s bathroom isn’t fun for the parents or the nanny. Although the kids would probably love it!

Does the nanny have a child or pet that need to be considered? If she does, make sure they are part of the plan. Some employers welcome the nanny’s child or pet into their home for the night. Other employers give extra notice and dollars so the nanny has time to coordinate back-up care and pay for the back-up caregiver. And other employers simply pay an overnight stipend that reflects the added expense and inconvenience the nanny may incur.

What Does a Snow Day Policy Include?
Many employers have the option of taking off work for bad weather but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a snow day policy. In fact, because there are so many questions that come with that time off, it’s especially important to have a plan of action in place before the snow or ice hits.

How is a bad weather day defined? Some employers base their policy on school closures, local government closures, the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, or an assessment of the local road conditions. Whatever your “it’s too bad to come in” standard is, make sure the definition is clear and easily assessable. And remember, this standard answers the question ‘Should the nanny go to work?’ and also ‘Should the nanny go home early?’

If you’re relying on an assessment, who makes the final call? This can be a tough decision. It’s important for the employer because it determines if she’ll have childcare. And it’s important for the nanny because it determines if she’ll have a safe commute to and from work. Hopefully this can be a mutual decision, however the parents and nanny often have different perspectives around how bad is too bad to come in. So it’s important to decide in advance who will make the final call.

Remember that there may be outside factors that you need to consider in your assessment. If the nanny takes the train or bus to and from work, her ability to make it to work and the time she’ll arrive will be determined by how the weather affects the public transportation system. If you live in an area that rarely sees winter weather, the nanny may have a car that’s simply not safe for even mild winter driving. All these factors need to be considered when creating your snow day policy.

Will the nanny be paid for snow days? This is a pretty straightforward question. For employers that live in an area where harsh winters are the norm, it’s standard to offer 1 to 3 paid bad weather days per year. In other areas, paid snow days are a value add to the compensation package.

Does the nanny have children or pets at home? When the weather is bad, even if the roads are considered safe for travel, the nanny’s commute time can easily double or triple. If she has a child or pet relying on her to be home at a certain time, it can be impossible for her to work her typical schedule simply because she can’t afford the extra commute time. If this is the case, will her schedule be shortened on bad weather days and how will that affect her pay?

Should the nanny work if a parent is home?  Many parents feel that if their nanny can make it to work, she should come in even if the parent is taking the day off or working from home. Many nannies feel that if a parent is home, she shouldn’t have to chance unsafe roads or deal with the hassle of traveling in bad weather. It’s important to talk about how both sides feel about these issues and develop a policy that’s fair to both parents and caregivers.

By Lora Brawley
Nanny Biz Reviews

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Trick or Treat Tips for Parents: Halloween Safety Rules for Parents, Kids and Their Caregivers

In many communities, Trick or Treating occurs right after school, a sweet proposition for kids who can’t wait to don their costumes. But for parents, this safety-conscious trend may strike a sour note.

Many, if not most, working moms and dads simply can’t get home early enough to supervise and otherwise take part in the fun. But that doesn’t mean you can’t establish important ground rules for the nanny, babysitter, or grandparent who will be responsibility for your little ghost or goblin.

7 Halloween Safety Tips for Parents to Share with Caregivers

Talk to your kids about Halloween safety. We’re always filling our kids with information intended to keep them safe, and Halloween should be no exception. Instead of simply saying, “Be safe” call out certain things your kids should look for like lights (see # 5) and explain why these Halloween safety rules are particularly important, especially on a night where faces may be obscured by masks or face paint (a better choice from a safety perspective).

Keep your yard safe. Make sure your own yard is free of any debris or other objects such as broken lawn equipment (or furniture) so that no one trips and consider battery-powered lanterns versus candles, since those can pose a fire hazard. Keep the front door area well lit, too.

Dump the candy. No, we don’t mean toss it in the trash. Just make sure an adult has sifted through and inspected the coveted loot. It’s a great opportunity for kids to actually see what they’ve collected (and give the grown-up a piece or two as well!). Check for anything that seems out of the ordinary, including unpackaged popcorn, fruit, and other unsealed foods.

Walk, don’t run. Whether your children will be traveling along sidewalks or by the side of the road (we recommend sidewalks whenever possible), it’s always advisable for everyone to walk. Even though Trick or Treating begins during daylight, chances are that the festivities will end at dusk or later. Ghosts and goblins are easier to keep track of when they’re walking. And be sure to cross at street corners.

Carry a flashlight. Keep a flashlight handy to illuminate the way and while we’re on the subject, stick only to the houses with lights on outside (and ideally the homes of people you and your kids know).

Watch for cars. In the spirit of the night, kids sometimes forget that not everyone goes Trick or Treating. And unfortunately drivers don’t always remember that IT’S A BIG NIGHT that requires extra care.

Set expectations. Make sure you let everyone know how late the kids can be out and how much candy they can consume before heading to bed for the night. (And make sure all the kids brush their teeth!)

Written by: Erin Krex
Published on:

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BEST NEW HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

Brick Loot is a monthly box subscription company geared towards LEGO and Brick Lovers!

Get a surprise box delivered monthly filled with LEGO, LEGO compatible and brick products.

Brick Loot is an AMAZING GIFT IDEA for the holidays! It is perfect for the person who has it all and is hard to shop for.
Brick Loot has just launched and we got a special sneak peek – The December box has a $45 set inside along with other AMAZING products all valued at over $70!
You get all of this for as low as $23 + we have a special coupon code below!

Limited number of boxes for Decembers Launch!
Boxes will ship December 5th, just in time for the holidays!


SPECIAL 10% off COUPON CODE FOR
First Class Care Clients!
Code: FCCbuild10

ORDER NOW

 

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First Class Care 2014 Nanny of the Year

First Class Care was HONORED to crown our 2014 Nanny of the Year Jane Sepulveda.

Jane was nominated by her employer with this letter to First Class Care:
We are writing to nominate Jane Sepulveda for Nanny of the year.

Our family was blessed when Jane joined us in 2007, and we have all continued to learn and grow together.  For my daughter, Jane is a mother figure, a tremendous influence and teacher. Jane is fun . . . there is always something going on from baking to playing cards to shopping.  Jane is a great teacher, helping with homework and making sure Gabi understands assignments and the work.  Jane is nurturing, comforting my daughter in tough times, like when her fish died.  Gabi’s care and safety is always her first thought.  And more . .  my daughter decided to learn to ride a bike one day.  They practiced in the back of the house.  While Jane was technically off work, when Gabi wanted to go over to the school parking lot at 9:30 pm, Jane was the first to want to see it through and support her.  

Jane also takes special care with our dogs, Molly and Pebble.  From feeding and walking to training, and general care.  The small one was quite fragile when she was young.  Jane made special efforts with Pebble.  I remember pulling into the driveway one night and seeing Jane with Molly (the older dog).  Wondering where Pebble was, I looked again to see her little head peeking out of Jane’s jacket.  Jane did not want her too wet and cold.  

For me, I cannot imagine life without Jane.  She shares her thoughts on my daughter’s growth and school progress and provides suggestions.  I have trusted her with my daughter in a number of countries, like Japan, France and the UK.  She always goes above and beyond.  I knew I had the right person when she approached me to suggest the “values” she would like to make sure she worked on with my daughter.   

And finally, we are forever in her debt.  I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma last year.  Jane was a stabilizing influence in our home, and really there for my daughter and me.  I’m sure I will never know all of the small things she did behind the scenes without ever asking her taking credit.  All is better now, and Jane was a key factor.

For this, and all she does for us, Gabi (Molly, Pebble)  and I would like to nominate Jane for the Nanny of the year (and for us, the decade!!).  Please consider her.

Jane was chosen because of her amazing bond to this family and how much she has made a difference to them within the 7 years she has been working. Jane is an amazing nanny with over 20 years of experience and we are so proud to call her a First Class Care Nanny of the Year.

Jane won a prize package worth over $700. This included a complete make-over from Teddie Kossof Salon and Spa, an INA Membership, a ticket to 2015 National Nanny Training Day, a $50 gift card and more!

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Chicago National Nanny Recognition Week Party – Sept 26th, 2014

First Class Care, Inc. is excited to partner with Kohl Children’s Museum for our National Nanny Recognition Week Party!

Friday, September 26, 2014
10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Kohl Children’s Museum
  2100 Patriot Boulevard
Glenview, IL 60026

Every Nanny deserves recognition for the amazing job you do everyday to help your charges grow.

We want to celebrate you and have planned a fun filled event for you to bring your charges to and have fun!

A full day of activities is being planned
Full access to the entire museum all day
10am – 1pm – Craft tables for all ages
11am – Noon – Musical Performance by Dana Lawrence
10:15am – 12:15pm – Face Painting by Making Faces Chicago

Ticket includes all event activities as well as 1 raffle ticket per nanny.
Additional Raffle Tickets available for purchase $2 each

 

Raffle Prizes Include:
iPad
Teddie Kosoff Salon and Spa – Complete Make-over!
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa / Manicure-Pedicure
Sam Martirano Salon & Spa / Manicure-Pedicure
$25 Michaels’ Hot Dogs Gift Certificate

 Thank you to our SPONSORS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Gift Ideas for the Nanny in your Life! National Nanny Recognition Week is Sept 21 – 27, 2014

Did you know next week is National Nanny Recognition Week? That’s right– a whole week to celebrate the bright, dedicated, loving and totally amazing nanny in your life! This is the perfect opportunity to remind your nanny how much she means to your family and how much you appreciate everything she does for your children. Here are some of our favorite ways to say a HUGE “thank you!”

10 Gift Ideas for the Nanny in your Life!

1. Send her  to Chicago’s National Nanny Recognition Week Party Sept 26th! She will have a great time with the kids as well as meet other amazing nannies, have a private concert, be able to win AMAZING raffle prizes including an iPad Mini and spa treatments. BUY TICKETS HERE

2. Gift Certificate to Teddie Kossof Salon and Spa – Every Nanny deserves a day of pampering

3. Airline Gift Card – Nannies are often trying to get home for the holidays, help them get there!

4. Hand Crafted gift from the kids – Nannies LOVE when kids make them things they can cherish.

5. Professional Development and Fun! Send your nanny to an all expenses paid trip to Nannypalooza or and INA (International Nanny Association) conference. Professional nannies love to gain more knowledge in this field and this also gives them a get away with other nannies who are just as hard working as them! These friendships develop and seem to last a lifetime, giving your nanny her very own support group.

6. What is your Nannies Hobby? If you nanny is into sewing or scrapbooking find a gift that she can use and will love.

7. iPad  – Who wouldn’t love this as a gift!

8. Night Out! Movie Passes and a Gift Certificate for a restaurant. Nannies all need a night out!

9. Vacation Time! Offer your nanny an extra week of paid vacation. You are sure to put a smile on her face!

10. Great Tickets to a sporting event for a team you know she loves!

Remember– the best nanny-child-parent relationships are based on strong communication. So be sure to let your nanny know she is appreciate this week and always!

 

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