Ask a Blogger: LLC/S-Corp Tax Filing Status Explained

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Blogging is a business and needs to be treated as such when considering taxes and liability. We can post all day about Blogging Tips & How to Make Money Blogging but at the end of the day, you better be on top of your taxes.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding LLC and S-Corps, so this week we brought in an expert to help.

Mom on Dealz is married to an account.  Lucky for us, he writes a weekly series titled Ask an Account to help answer a variety of tax questions including blog specific tax questions.

What is the Difference Between LLC and S-Corp?

LLC stands for Limited Liability Company.  This is a legal classification of business not recognized by taxing authorities.  There are two general types, single member LLC and multi-member LLC.  Single member can only have 1 member, multi-member must have more than 1 member.

An LLC’s main function is to provide a legal separation of business assets & liabilities from personal.  This legal strategy comes with certain tax attributes.  The LLC can provide unlimited losses without regard to the member’s basis (amount of money/property invested, earned & left in the business).  The LLC also pays Self-Employment tax on any profits (a very nasty 15% in addition to your normal tax rate).  Single member LLC files a Schedule C on your individual return; a multi-member LLC can opt to file a Form 1065 return (the same return as a partnership) or can elect to file Schedule C for the member’s potion of the Income or Loss.

A “Tax Election” can be made for both the single member LLC and the multi-member LLC to be taxed as an S-corp.  The entities still operate as LLC’s but take on S-Corp tax attributes in that they no longer pay Self-Employment tax on the profit, but rather they report the income (from a K-1) on their personal tax return.  The downfall is that the losses are now limited by the member’s basis in the company.

We hope this helps to clarify some of the confusion surrounding LLC and S-Corp.  The Coupon Challenge is currently becoming an LLC with an S-Corp election for tax purposes.  In order to provide additional liability protection;  I will have The Coupon Challenge, LLC added under my umbrella policy as well.

Make sure to visit Mom on Dealz for more Blogging Tax Questions or head over to www.cjwtaxpro.net to request rates if you’re looking for a new account.  Madame Deals personally uses Chris for her personal and professional tax preparation.

You can view all out posts by searching Ask a Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: How to Set Up a Facebook Pinterest Tab

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Pinterest is all the rage right now.  Showing off your pics can help get traffic to your site and in turn, potentially increase your revenue.

Adding a Pinterest Tab to your Facebook Page can help get your Pinterest Page in front of your fans and hopefully, get them repining your photos.

How to Set Up a Facebook Pinterest Tab:

  1. Sign up for a Pinterest account if you haven’t already.
  2. Go to https://apps.facebook.com/iframehost-pin/to install a Static IFRAME Tab.
  3. Click “Install Page Tab” or click on an icon to install a tab with the icon. (I chose to add a static Pin icon)
  4. Authorize the Application and choose your Page to add the app.
  5. Click “Add Static IFRAME Tab”.
  6. You will be redirected to your Facebook Page.
  7. To complete your tab setup – click on the new tab link on the left hand side of the page.
  8. You will be required to “Authorize the Tab Application” again.
  9. Click to “Allow” your basic information & email address.
  10. Under “Page Source” Select “URL” and enter your Pinterest page link (this will load the URL in the iframe window).
  11. Change the height of your page to remove the scroll bar.  Mine is set to 1400px, but you may need to increase it if you have more boards.
  12. Name your Tab (I choose PINTEREST).
  13. Click “Save Settings”.
  14. View your new Pinterest tab and make adjustments as needed.

Make sure to follow The Coupon Challenge on Pinterest and Madame Deals on Pintrest!

***You may also add a custom icon to your Pinterest Page by following the instructions HERE.  You would start with #7 above after following the Help instructions for a custom icon.  After writing this post,  I changed to a custom Pinterest Icon.  You can view my custom icon on The Coupon Challenge Facebook Page.

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: Where’s Your Blog Button?

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Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for writing this weeks Ask a Blogger Post!

Where is your blog button? Why isn’t it on your front page. The reason is simple – you are on my site why do you need my button? The truth is my reader whom my site is created for does not have a need for my button. I mean, what are they going to do with it? They do not need it so it isn’t there. Your site is for your reader. If one of my readers wants my button they can ask for it. If they really want it I have to wonder why?

I run my site by selling ads on my sidebar. I am not a paying customer so my button is not taking up precious Real Estate. I am also careful about where my button appears. I trade my button with bloggers that I respect and like. I advertise on sites that I believe will benefit my business.

Do you really want anyone to come by and just pick up your button and put it on their site? I am careful with my brand and you should be with yours.  Wouldn’t you be  embarrassed to have your button on a site that isn’t in line with your values.

*The Coupon Challenge has the button on the main page of the website

Not sure how to make a Blog Button?  Find out How to Make a Blog Button with Grab Box.

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: What is the Difference Between WordPress.org & WordPress.com?

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I was thinking about my decision to move from Blogger to WordPress and it occurred to me that Amee & I never mentioned why we chose WordPress.org over WordPress.com.  Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org (including Blogger) offer a FREE blogging platform.  The difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who hosts the blog.

WordPress.com is similar to Blogger in that you get FREE hosting.  WordPress.com is hosting the blog for you.   WordPress.org is “self-hosted” meaning that you purchase hosting yourself.   The Coupon Challenge is a WordPress.org blog hosted by Host Gator.  I pay a monthly fee to Host Gator to keep my blog up and running.

Basically with WordPress.com, you get what you pay for.  On a blog hosted though WordPress.com, you severely limit the customization of your website and you can’t monetize your website with ads unless you pay a fee.

Hmm, let’s think about this.  If you want the ability to monetize your blog, you must pay for it.  Well, you might as well pay to “self-host” your blog through WordPress.org and get the customization benefits.

If I were to start a new blog and didn’t have the funds to pay for hosting, I would choose Blogger over WordPress.com.  I would then switch over to WordPress.org once I have decided that blogging is something that would work for me.  I found a nice Blogger vs WordPress.com chart that I thought would be beneficial for those not ready to commit to WordPress.org.

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: What to Pack For a Blogging Conference

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Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for this weeks Ask a Blogger post. 

Heading to a conference can be daunting, especially if it’s your first one.  This week, Amee is sharing with you what she packed for her trip.  You can read previous articles on Shy at a Conference and Tips for a First Blogging Conference for more conference related advice.

I thought I would share what I bring to a conference to help you pack. I know it is hard to get it all together, so I figured I would show what I have in my bag. I got this idea from the US weekly magazine where they dumped the bag of the latest celebrity. I think it is important to be prepared for almost anything. I believe that is the mom in me over the business woman. I have everything excluding the kitchen sink only because they have an app for that on my iPhone. Once you have your bag packed you can get everything else you need to organized to be effective at the conference.

Essentials

  1. Business cards
  2. Schedule for the conference
  3. Hotel reservations
  4. Airplane reservations
  5. important numbers

Technology

  1. Ipad2
  2. Ipad cord
  3. Ipad picture downloader
  4. Ipad cleaning clothe
  5. Extension cord
  6. Durcacell Rechargeable instant battery
  7. Iphone
  8. Blue tooth/ plug to charge the blue tooth
  9. ear buds
  10. USB drive to save anything I need

Stationary items

  1. notebook
  2. pen
  3. marker
  4. highlighter
  5. tape
  6. scissors
  7. post it notes
  8. calculator
  9. note cards for a quick thank you note
  10. fancy pens to write the thank you note

[Read more…]

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Ask a Blogger: 10 Tips to Get Event Recognition

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Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for this weeks post!

I have ten tips to get your event the recognition it deserves. If you want to receive prizes from companies then you have to know how to promote them. I only take products to review and giveaway that I believe my fan base will find interesting. If you take on too many items it will backfire one you. You can’t focus on your contest if you have too many unless you have a strategy or if that is the focus of your site. They key to scoring great prizes if the effectiveness you have in your promotional strategies. You also need to communicate with the sponsor of the prize. It is important to not only be a wonderful contest promoter but a professional business person.

1) Promote it prior to starting the contest. Get your fans excited.

2) Make sure you have a nice image of the prize a picture is worth a thousand words or several votes in this case.

3) Trade contest shout out with other sites and bloggers.

4) Create easy to use entry form. I love google docs or rafflecopters.

5) Create easy to enter contests. You need to keep it simple or you will NOT have people that enter. I use the same rules for most of my contest so my readers know what to do.

[Read more…]

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Ask a Blogger: Tips to Blog While Traveling

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This week we will continue discussing Blogging and Travel.  Last week’s article provided tips for keeping your blog updated while you’re on vacation.  I believe it is always best to limit time online while on vacation, but keeping a business running doesn’t always provide that luxury.

What if you want to Blog during your vacation?    How do you blog on the go?

First, you will need to take a laptop computer and/or an iPad while traveling .  Using a Smart phone is also an option, but I have found Smart phones to take twice the time due to size and other limitations.

If you don’t want the added weight or distraction of carrying your own computer;  some hotels provide access to computers or you could visit an Internet Cafe for a fee.

Personally, I prefer taking both my laptop and iPad2.  This may seem redundant, but I found there are some things that are just easier to do on the laptop (and much faster), yet the iPad2 offers more mobility and the ability to blog more conveniently in the car or when I just want to compose posts.

How do you take the sting out of the expense of Blogging during a vacation?

  • When booking your vacation, look for hotels with free Wi-Fi access.  Free Wi-Fi is a perk some hotels use to entice you to stay at their hotel.  Even if you can’t get free Wi-Fi in your room, free access while in the lobby can also be a great option.
  • Find restaurants that offer free Wi-Fi access.  If everything is ready to go, you can log-in at a Starbucks to get your posts live.

    Download the Wi-Fi Finder App (available from the iTunes Store and from the Android Market) to help you find locations with free Wi-Fi access. Don’t forget to download the offline database before you leave, so you don’t need to be connected to the Internet to find Wi-Fi.

  • Hot Spot your Smart phone to get Internet access.  This will enable you to blog in an airport, the car or by the pool for 1 flat fee.  Hot Spot does have limitations and has caused me more headaches than I can count.  However, the price is defiantly worth it.

    My Verizon phone can be set to Hot Spot for $20 per month (cancelled at any time). This allows me to have Internet access on my laptop and iPad2 in the car and in hotel rooms. I would definable advise against paying for Wi-Fi access at a hotel if at all possible. You will pay approximately $9.95 per day just for Wi-Fi!

  • Purchase an iPad2 with 3G and pay the connection fee during travel.  You will have Internet access regardless of the availability of Wi-Fi.  This option may be of particular interest to people traveling internationally.
  • You may also consider purchasing a 3G USB that works with your laptop.

Even without Wi-Fi, you can write a post and have everything ready for when you’re able to connect.  Just remember to set a schedule for blogging to avoid working during your entire vacation.

Amee has already discussed blogging on an ipad2, so head over and read that post if you missed it.

How do you Blog While Traveling?

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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Ask a Blogger: Putting in the Work

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Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for this weeks post!

There are three rules I follow when asking someone for something.

1) Think out your plan of action and write it down

2) Determine why you are the best choice. What makes you special?

3) Create an impressive presentation. I make it so they can’t say no!

If you really want to work with someone then you need to be the best. You have to lead by working hard and earning their trust. You have to win the job. Why? Well if you are going to run an event or contest or represent them at a conference they need to know they can trust you. They need to believe that you have the ability and tenacity to accomplish a promotional strategy. If you want to be the best you must study what works and change what you are doing. If you want the big “giveaways or paychecks.” Then work for them.

I am reminded back to when I applied for College. I had great grades and a nice resume. I had okay SAT scores. I wanted to attend the University of Florida on scholarship. I knew to get a scholarship I would need to complete certain course work. I had a plan of attack and a goal. I did my research I put in the work and I got the scholarship.I also had to make sure I got in. I didn’t just send that paper package I send a book on why I should be a Gator! Yes, it worked because I put in the work.

If you a blogger who has the desire to work. A blogger who wants to learn more and who is willing to teach what you learn. You can apply to join the Mission Giveaway event team. You can read about the Mission Giveaway . Then you can fill out the Mission Giveaway application. Please allow two weeks for review.

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Ask a Blogger: Blogging and Travel

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Blogging is a 24/7, 365 day job. We don’t get weekends, evenings or Holidays off.  In fact, as I write this, it’s 8:30pm on a Saturday night.

Bloggers can be found posting, answering emails or interacting on social media while watching tv on the couch, in the car, at the park, during dinner, or anywhere else we can access the Internet.   The deals and posts just keep coming & readers expect us to be “on” all the time.

However, it’s important to step away from the computer and take time off with family.

How do you keep your blog updated while enjoying a vacation?  I have struggled with this over my entire blogging career.   To be honest, I still don’t have it down.  However, I do have a few suggestions to get you heading in the right direction.

Schedule posts – scheduling posting in advance is a great way to have content on your blog while you’re away.  The difficulty comes in with money saving blogs. Most deals are time sensitive or will require verification before the post goes live.  Consider a new or continued series, tips, recipes or other non-deal posts to schedule.

Guest posts - ask fellow bloggers or readers to write a guest post to be scheduled while you’re away. A guest post is typically not paid and you can even trade posts with other bloggers for when they need a “filler” post. Just be mindful to limit the number of guest posts, so your site doesn’t lose your voice.

Hire help – if you already have a virtual assistant (VA) this is a wise choice. Those of us that don’t have help can ask a fellow blogger.  Another blogger from your niche will be familiar with the types of posts required and your blogging platform.

Make sure you both agree on a set number of posts per day and the fee you will pay before heading out on vacation. If you want to save money, consider a blogging trade. You can swap blogging time to give you both a much needed break without breaking the bank.

Blog on the go – it is possible to blog while on vacation.  However, I have learned the hard way that it’s not always a wise choice.

My biggest suggestion is to limit time online while on vacation and to have a discussion with your spouse in advance about when and how long you will work. Sitting alone on the computer for hours while your family plays at the beach not only causes you to miss out on family fun but can strain your relationship with your spouse as well.

Personally, I believe using a variety of the tips above will yield the best results.

Where and how long you will be traveling will dictate the best solution for you. On my most recent trip, I blogged while in the car, had posts scheduled (mine and guest posts) then enlisted help for the several days when I would be unable to blog.

Remember, the most important part of life is family. Everything else can wait.

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

 

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Ask a Blogger: Last Minute Tax Deductions

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Thanks to Amee with Madame Deals for this weeks article!

Ok it is time for the three letter word that I hate. I have been buying everything I need for next year now. I have bought my new fax machine and paper from Office Max. I bought my ink for my printer from 4Inkjets. I then made all my hotel reservations for my conferences since the hotel will charge you for one of your nights stay to hold the room. I bought any event tickets I may need for next year to do my business.

I also got together my advertising budget and I spent it. I made sure that my business name will be one several sites. I then bought all the software I think I will need and have wanted over the past year to grow my business. I got with my designer and put together a design plan to make my site more function and from my prospective more profitable and I paid them to do the work.

Then I made sure to fill out all my 1099. I made a spreadsheet of all the income from each company I work for. I am going to cross reference between the spreadsheet and my intuit account. If you do not have tax accounting software you need to buy some ASAP. I will go through my email and make sure every email with a paid amount appears in my spreadsheet so that I can insure I have receipts. The emails when then be moved in a box marked 2010-2011. I will copy that email box on a disc and place it in my company safe in case it is needed.

The last thing I did was donate money to causes I believe in. I also completed any and all cash giveaways so that they would be counted in January. I am making a plan to run my accounts in a more efficient manner in the future. I find that every year as my business grows the necessity for better book keeping also grows. I am also going to do quarterly payments in the future to make sure that I have my act together. I did hire an accountant so I am in a way better position than I was last year. He gave me the tools I needed and advice through the year to make this final process easy and not painful. If you are looking for an accountant. I would suggest mine he is married to a blogger and he knows the laws associated with blogging. [email protected] or check out my Ask An Accountant Series for previous Q&A’s.

You can search all of our articles by typing in Ask A Blogger.

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