Small business information, insight and resources | Sun, 19 Aug 2018 02:22:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 IRS Resources Related to How the New Tax Law May Affect Your Business | Q3-2018 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 16:31:22 +0000

To begin tracking the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the IRS has set up a page on its website for updates and resources. We have mirrored that information here and will update this page to reflect new information the IRS will be issuing.

Our standard but stern warning related to taxes | The new law and accompanying regulations and rules are complex. We can’t stress enough the importance of you discussing the changes in the law with your trusted accounting or tax advisor. It will be worth every cent you spend to get the best possible information — related specifically to your personal situation.

Below, you will find links to information about the implementation of the new legislation that is being issued by the IRS. The links will take you to the IRS website. (Clicking on a heading will reveal information related to that topic.) 

Income (including Gains and Losses)

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act extended the holding period with respect to certain carried interests (i.e. applicable partnership interests) to three years.

Carried interests are ownership interests in a partnership that share in the partnership’s net profits. Carried interests often are issued to investment managers in connection with the investment manager’s services. These interests often result in the holder receiving capital gains which are taxed at a lower rate, rather than ordinary income.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Section 1031 changed like-kind exchanges and now it applies only to exchanges of real property and not to exchanges of personal or intangible property. An exchange of real property held primarily for sale still does not qualify as a like-kind exchange.

Deductions and Depreciation

Many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts, and S corporations may be eligible for a new deduction – referred to as Section 199A – allowing them to deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified business income.

Proposed regulations | On August 8, the IRS  issued proposed regulations for a new provision allowing many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, trusts and S corporations to deduct 20 percent of their qualified business income.

The deduction is available for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017. Eligible taxpayers can claim it for the first time on the 2018 federal income tax return they file next year.

The deduction is generally available to eligible taxpayers whose 2018 taxable incomes fall below $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for other taxpayers. It’s generally equal to the lesser of 20 percent of their qualified business income plus 20 percent of their qualified real estate investment trust dividends and qualified publicly traded partnership income or 20 percent of taxable income minus net capital gains.

Deductions for taxpayers above the $157,500/$315,000 taxable income thresholds may be limited. Those limitations are fully described in the proposed regulations.

Qualified business income includes domestic income from a trade or business. Employee wages, capital gain, interest and dividend income are excluded.

In addition, Notice 2018-64, also issued on August 8, 2018, provides methods for calculating Form W-2 wages for purposes of the limitations on this deduction. More information in the form of FAQs on Section 199A can be found on


Related information: IR-2018-162 , Section 199A – Deduction for Qualified Business Income FAQs , REG-107892 , Notice 2018-64

Newly amended section 163(j) of the Internal Revenue Code imposes a limitation on deductions for business interest incurred by certain large businesses. For most large businesses, business interest expense is limited to any business interest income plus 30 percent of the business’ adjusted taxable income.

Related information: IR-2018-82

Production Period for Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits

The Production Period for Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits provision provides an opportunity to deduct the interest expenses occurred during the “aging period” for these beverages (subject to other possible interest deduction limitations included in TCJA).

Related information: Production Period for Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits Frequently Asked Questions

Businesses can immediately expense more under the new law. A taxpayer may elect to expense the cost of any section 179 property and deduct it in the year the property is placed in service. The new law increased the maximum deduction from $500,000 to $1 million. It also increased the phase-out threshold from $2 million to $2.5 million.

Related information: FS-2018-9

Proposed regulations have been issued on the new 100-percent depreciation deduction that allows businesses to write off most depreciable business assets in the year they are placed in service by the business.

Related information: IR-2018-159 , REG-104397-18

The new law disallows employer deductions for (1) activities generally considered to be entertainment, amusement, or recreation; (2) membership dues for clubs organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purposes; or (3) a facility used in connection with the above items, even if the activity is related to the active conduct of trade or business.

It also disallows deductions for expenses associated with transportation fringe benefits or expenses incurred providing transportation for commuting (except as necessary for employee safety ).

Related information: Employer Update

The new law imposes dollar limitations on the depreciation deduction for the year the taxpayer places the passenger automobile in service and for each succeeding year.

Partner Resources: Revenue Procedure 2018-25

No deduction for certain payments made in sexual harassment or sexual abuse cases.

Related information: Notice-2018-23


A general business credit employers may claim, based on wages paid to qualifying employees while they are on family and medical leave, subject to certain conditions.

Related information: Tax Reform Tax Tip 2018-69, Frequently Asked Questions about Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave

The legislation requires taxpayers take the 20-percent credit ratably over five years instead of in the year they placed the building into service and eliminates the 10 percent rehabilitation credit for the pre-1936 buildings. This provision is effective for amounts that taxpayers pay or incur for qualified expenditures after December 31, 2017.


Learn more about how international businesses will be impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).


Many U.S. corporations elect to use a fiscal year end and not a calendar year end for federal income tax reporting purposes. Due to a provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a corporation with a fiscal year that includes Jan. 1, 2018 will pay federal income tax using a blended tax rate and not the flat 21 percent tax rate under the TCJA that would generally apply to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017.

Related information: Notice 2018-38

Newly enacted section 965 of the Internal Revenue Code imposes a transition tax on untaxed foreign earnings of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies by deeming those earnings to be repatriated. Foreign earnings held in the form of cash and cash equivalents are taxed at a 15.5 percent rate, and the remaining earnings are taxed at an 8 percent rate. The transition tax generally may be paid in installments over an eight-year period.

Related information: IR-2017-212, IR-2018-09, IR-2018-25, IR-2018-53, IR-2018-79, IR-2018-158 , REG-104226-18, IR-2018-158 , REG-104226-18

The new law treats a foreign taxpayer’s gain or loss on the sale or exchange of a partnership interest as effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States to the extent that gain or loss would be treated as effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States if the partnership sold all of its assets.

In this circumstance, the new law also imposes a withholding tax on the disposition of a partnership interest by a foreign taxpayer.

Related information: IR-2018-81, Notice 2018-08, Notice 2018-29

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2018-14 and Publication 15, Employer’s Tax Guide to help businesses apply law changes to withholding. These materials are designed to help employers and employees with a variety of withholding matters during and after the transition to new, reduced tax rates and updated withholding tables.

More information is available in Notice 1036 and the IRS Withholding Tables Frequently Asked Questions.

Accounting Method Changes

The Production Period for Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits provision provides an opportunity to deduct the interest expenses occurred during the “aging period” for these beverages (subject to other possible interest deduction limitations included in TCJA).

Related information: Production Period for Beer, Wine, and Distilled Spirits Frequently Asked Questions

Changes in accounting periods and method of accounting (Transitional guidance under sec. 451 related to inclusion of income associated with advance payments.)

Related information: Notice 2018-35, Revenue Procedure 2018-29

Other Information

Opportunity Zones are an economic development tool—that is, they are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities. Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors.

Partner Resources: Opportunity Zones Frequently Asked Questions


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Small Business Employees Seeking Increased Wages, More Benefits Tue, 14 Aug 2018 18:44:10 +0000

As we’ve reported, during the first half of 2018, unemployment has dropped to an 18-year low. According to tracking surveys of small business owners conducted by NFIB, such low unemployment has caused owners to rank finding and retaining employees their top concern. And now, according to a survey of 1,000 employees of businesses with fewer than 20 employees commissioned by QuickBooks Payroll, the country’s low unemployment is beginning to influence factors like payroll and benefits. Here is an overview of the small business employee survey results.


74% | (Percentage of surveyed employees who…) received a raise this year.
……..9.3% | Average increase in pay among employees who received a raise.
22% | (…) are being paid the same this year as last.
65% | (…) say their pay has not kept pace with the cost of living,
48% | (…) say they are currently underpaid.
23% | (…) say they are eligible for a bonus this year (compared to 16% last year).

Job Loyalty

43% | (…) say they want to change jobs within two years (despite high job satisfaction).


59% | (…) say their benefits are unchanged this year.
33% | (…) say their benefits have improved.
11% | (…) say their benefits say they are worse.
80% | (…) say they receive health care benefits.
46% | (…) say they receive child-care support.
55% | (…) say they would take a job without benefits.
61% | (…) say they would trade benefits for a raise.

The incentives employees value most are some of the most cost-effective for small businesses to implement: flexible work schedules and annual performance-based raises.

76% | (…) say they would be motivated by a flexible work schedule.
……..73% | Only 10% have flexible a flexible work schedule.


20% |  (…) say they are being denied overtime pay — either through misclassification or because their employer refuses to pay it to nonexempt workers.
47% | Percentage of employees who receive overtime pay who say they are somewhat or totally reliant on the additional income.


]]> 0 No One Ever Made a Difference by Being Like Everyone Else | #MondayMotivation Mon, 13 Aug 2018 17:44:24 +0000

While it sounds like something the showman P.T. Barnum should have said, it was spoken by Hugh Jackman, the actor-singer who played the title role in the 2017 film, The Greatest Showman.

Photo | Public Domain. Feel free to share.

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Small Business Employers Should Monitor Outsourced Payroll Tax Deposits | 2018 Wed, 08 Aug 2018 19:33:01 +0000

Many small business employers hire third-party payroll service providers to perform their payroll processing functions and tax-related duties. This may include the service making employment tax deposits through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), a free way to pay federal taxes through a secure government website.


Why the IRS says you should monitor tax payments made by a tax management service provider

According to the IRS, the most important reason a small business should monitor its tax deposits is this:

In most cases, the small business remains liable for any unpaid employment taxes. This includes any penalties and interest resulting from underpayment, even if you use a third-party payroll service provider.

(Note: This may not apply to employers using Certified Professional Employer Organization(PEO).

Tips to help employers meet their employment tax responsibilities

  • Establish an EFTPS account to monitor deposits.
  • Sign up for email notifications at
  • Contact your third-party payroll service provider immediately regarding incorrect or missing tax deposits.




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Thinking of Starting a Craft Brewery? Here’s Where to Start Sun, 05 Aug 2018 14:56:58 +0000

Did you know that the first Friday of August is International Beer Day? We’ll confess: neither had we until Friday night. The event takes place in pubs, breweries, and backyards all over the world (which, come to think of it, happens most every Friday night). But because we’re always glad to raise a glass to celebrate a group of heroes of small business, here’s our belated: Cheers and Happy International Beer Day, wherever you are! And if all this celebrating has you thinking about starting a craft brewery, we have some suggestions.  

Craft breweries in the U.S. have bubbled up from an off-beat semi-hobby to a major industry, comprised primarily of small businesses. However, if you are thinking of starting one, the first thing you should do is join the Brewers Association, the trade association of craft beer brewers and related businesses. The Brewers Association has the educational resources and networking opportunities can help balance your passion with insight and wisdom from the experts.

If you are starting any type of business, check out the Guide to Starting A Business.

A membership in the Brewers Association can connect you with the brewing community. More than 10,000 owners, CEOs, brewers, buyers, marketers, distributors, and managers are individual- or educational-members of BA or work for a company that is a member.

To learn more, pick the membership type that best represents your stage in developing a brewer or related business.

What exactly is an American craft brewer?

According to Brewers Association, an American craft brewer is (1) Small (2) Independent and (3) Traditional as defined by these three criteria:

Small | Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships.

Independent | Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member which is not itself a craft brewer.

Traditional | A brewer which has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavors derive from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. (Flavored Malt Beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.)

Joining a trade association as an individual is a great way to begin research into starting any type of business. Spending time with owners or executives in an industry is a unique way to access experienced individuals who have gone through the process you are undertaking.

Another great premium of membership in a trade group are publications and digital news published by the organization. For example, membership in the Brewers Association includes a subscription to The New Brewer, the journal of the Brewers Association. The magazine (and additional copies for staff) is included with a paid Brewers Association membership. Single issues are also for sale online.

And once again, cheers!



Also on

Craft Brewing Leads the Way to a New Artisan Economy

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Ready Business Toolkits for Year-Round Disaster Planning | 2018 Tue, 31 Jul 2018 17:32:37 +0000

As we’ve stressed in numerous articles that are part of the Guide to Disaster Planning, preparing for disasters helps you avoid being among the 20%-60% businesses that don’t reopen after a disaster. 

Just think of the types of disasters that can occur.

  • Natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcano eruptions, and earthquakes.
  • Health hazards such as widespread and serious illnesses like the flu.
  • Human-caused hazards including accidents and acts of violence.
  • Technology-related hazards like power outages and equipment failure.

After the 9/11 tragedy, U.S. Homeland Security and several other government agencies were tasked to develop Ready Business (, a program to help business leaders develop preparedness plans for their companies.

Below are links to specific types of disasters and ways to prepare and respond.

redding fire

Earthquake “QuakeSmart” Ready Business Toolkit

Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes occur without warning and cannot be predicted. Most of the United States is at some risk for earthquakes, not just the West Coast, so it is important that you understand your risk, develop preparedness and mitigation plans, and take action.

Hurricane Ready Business Toolkit

Many parts of the United States, including Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, Puerto Rico, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and territories in the Pacific may be directly affected by heavy rains, strong winds, wind-driven rain, coastal and inland floods, tornadoes, and coastal storm surges resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes. The Ready Business Hurricane Toolkit helps leaders take action to protect employees, protect customers, and help ensure business continuity as well.

Inland Flooding Ready Business Toolkit

Most of the United States is at some risk for flooding, so it is important that organizations, businesses, and community groups understand the potential impacts.

Power Outage Ready Business Toolkit

While a Power Outage may not seem as dangerous as a tornado or earthquake, they can still cause damage to homes, businesses and communities. Power Outages cost the U.S. economy $20 billion and $55 billion annually and continue to increase each year (CRS, 2012).

Severe Wind/Tornado Ready Business Toolkit

It is not just in Tornado Alley. Most of the United States is at some risk for severe wind and tornadoes

Links to additional Ready Business resources

Hurricane Harvey | Spencer Platt / GettyImages
Redding Fire | Terray Sylvester / GettyImages

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Ranking of States With Highest Percentage of Millionaire Households | 2018 Thu, 26 Jul 2018 14:47:25 +0000  

Inflation has lowered the value of a million dollars over the past several decades. Still, only 5.8% of American households qualify as millionaires, according to Kiplinger and Phoenix Marketing International. Their ranking of states with the highest percentage of millionaire residents per thousand households (see below) is measured by the number of people with investable assets of $1 million or more, excluding the value of real estate, employer-sponsored retirement plans and business partnerships.


  • Household income and home value from U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Living costs based on the Council for Community, Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index.
  • Tax information is from 2017.

Percentage of millionaire households per thousand.

Ranking of states’ density of millionaires (lowest to highest).

51 | Mississippi

Millionaire households | 45,771
Total households | 1,134,578
Concentration of millionaires | 4.03%
Median income for all households | $40,528 (U.S. median: $55,322)
Median home value | $105,700 (U.S. median: $184,700)

50 | West Virginia

Millionaire households | 32,082
Total households | 763,797
Concentration of millionaires | 4.20%
Median income for all households | $42,644
Median home value | $107,400

49 | Arkansas

Millionaire households |  50,106
Total households | 1,178,438
Concentration of millionaires | 4.25%
Median income for all households | $42,336
Median home value | $114,700

48 | Kentucky

Millionaire households | 79,205
Total households | 1,768,852
Concentration of millionaires | 4.48%
Median income for all households | $44,811
Median home value | $126,100

47 | Alabama

Millionaire households | 88,880
Total households | 1,928,669
Concentration of millionaires | 4.61%
Median income for all households | $44,758
Median home value | $128,500

46 | Tennessee

Millionaire households | 122,585
Total households | 2,625,681
Concentration of millionaires | 4.67%
Median income for all households | $46,574
Median home value | $146,000

45 | Idaho

Millionaire households | 30,110
Total households | 625,834
Concentration of millionaires | 4.81%
Median income for all households | $49,174
Median home value | $167,900

44 | South Carolina

Millionaire households | 94,675
Total households | 1,960,255
Concentration of millionaires | 4.83%
Median income for all households | $46,898
Median home value | $143,600

43 | Louisiana

Millionaire households | 88,371
Total households | 1,818,504
Concentration of millionaires | 4.86%
Median income for all households | $45,652
Median home value | $148,300

42 | North Carolina

Millionaire households | 196,094
Total households | 4,019,126
Concentration of millionaires | 4.88%
Median income for all households | $48,256
Median home value | $157,100

41 | New Mexico

Millionaire households | 40,031
Total households | 810,609
Concentration of millionaires | 4.94%
Median income for all households | $45,674
Median home value | $161,600

40 | Montana

Millionaire households | 21,953
Total households | 441,222
Concentration of millionaires | 4.98%
Median income for all households | $48,380
Median home value | $199,700

39 | Oklahoma

Millionaire households | 76,819
Total households | 1,543,599
Concentration of millionaires | 4.98%
Median income for all households | $48,038
Median home value | $121,300

38 | Indiana

Millionaire households | 128,600
Total households | 2,575,466
Concentration of millionaires | 4.99%
Median income for all households | $50,433
Median home value | $126,500

37 | Missouri

Millionaire households | 122,323
Total households | 2,439,229
Concentration of millionaires | 5.01%
Median income for all households | $49,593
Median home value | $141,200

36 | South Dakota

Millionaire households | 17,772
Total households | 349,397
Concentration of millionaires | 5.09%
Median income for all households | $52,078
Median home value | $146,700

35 | Nevada

Millionaire households | 56,452
Total households | 1,096,916
Concentration of millionaires | 5.15%
Median income for all households | $53,094
Median home value | $191,600

34 | Maine

Millionaire households | 29,301
Total households | 565,293
Concentration of millionaires | 5.18%
Median income for all households | $50,826
Median home value | $176,000

33 | Ohio

Millionaire households | 243,118
Total households | 4,685,647
Concentration of millionaires | 5.19%
Median income for all households | $50,674
Median home value | $131,900

32 | Georgia

Millionaire households | 200,395
Total households | 3,854,460
Concentration of millionaires | 5.20%
Median income for all households | $51,037
Median home value | $152,400

31 | Florida

Millionaire households | 427,824
Total households | 8,173,428
Concentration of millionaires | 5.23%
Median income for all households | $48,900
Median home value | $166,800

30 | Arizona

Millionaire households | 137,359
Total households | 2,595,635
Concentration of millionaires | 5.29%
Median income for all households | $51,340
Median home value | $176,900

29 | Michigan

Millionaire households | 210,957
Total households | 3,939,976
Concentration of millionaires | 5.35%
Median income for all households | $50,803
Median home value | $127,800

28 | Wisconsin

Millionaire households | 127,260
Total households | 2,354,510
Concentration of millionaires | 5.40%
Median income for all households | $167,000
Median home value | $54,610

27 | Kansas

Millionaire households | 62,168
Total households | 1,144,287
Concentration of millionaires | 5.43%
Median income for all households | $53,571
Median home value | $135,300

26 | Nebraska

Millionaire households | 41,348
Total households | 760,510
Concentration of millionaires | 5.44%
Median income for all households | $54,384
Median home value | $137,300

25 | Oregon

Millionaire households | 89,383
Total households | 1,639,493
Concentration of millionaires | 5.45%
Median income for all households | $53,270
Median home value | $247,200

24 | Iowa

Millionaire households | 71,212
Total households | 1,270,566
Concentration of millionaires | 5.60%
Median income for all households | $54,570
Median home value | $132,800

23 | Texas

Millionaire households | 566,578
Total households | 10,005,417
Concentration of millionaires | 5.66%
Median income for all households | $54,727
Median home value | $142,700

22 | Pennsylvania

Millionaire households | 294,002
Total households | 5,099,166
Concentration of millionaires | 5.77%
Median income for all households | $54,895
Median home value | $167,700

21 | Vermont

Millionaire households | 15,363
Total households | 261,095
Concentration of millionaires | 5.88%
Median income for all households | $56,104
Median home value | $218,900

20 | North Dakota

Millionaire households | 19,662
Total households | 327,536
Concentration of millionaires | 6.0%
Median income for all households | $59,114
Median home value | $164,000

19 | Utah

Millionaire households | 59,390
Total households | 978,826
Concentration of millionaires | 6.07%
Median income for all households | $62,518
Median home value | $224,600

18 | Illinois

Millionaire households | 300,142
Total households | 4,886,159
Concentration of millionaires | 6.14%
Median income for all households | $59,196
Median home value | $174,800

17 | New York

Millionaire households | 465,479
Total households | 7,568,120
Concentration of millionaires | 6.15%
Median income for all households | $60,741
Median home value | $286,300

16 | Rhode Island

Millionaire households | 26,032
Total households | 418,815
Concentration of millionaires | 6.22%
Median income for all households | $58,387
Median home value | $238,200

15 | Wyoming

Millionaire households | 14,989
Total households | 240,378
Concentration of millionaires | 6.24%
Median income for all households | $59,143
Median home value | $199,900

14 | Colorado

Millionaire households | 143,564
Total households | 2,217,977
Concentration of millionaires | 6.47%
Median income for all households | $62,520
Median home value | $264,600

13 | Washington

Millionaire households | 186,396
Total households | 2,865,392
Concentration of millionaires | 6.51%
Median income for all households | $62,848
Median home value | $269,300

12 | Minnesota

Millionaire households | 144,944
Total households | 2,206,236
Concentration of millionaires | 6.57%
Median income for all households | $63,217
Median home value | $191,500

11 | District of Colombia

Millionaire households | 20,534
Total households | 312,546
Concentration of millionaires | 6.57%
Median income for all households | $72,935
Median home value | $506,100

10 | California

Millionaire households | 885,225
Total households | 13,384,483
Concentration of millionaires | 6.61%
Median income for all households | $63,783
Median home value | $409,300

9 | Delaware

Millionaire households | 24,212
Total households | 365,666
Concentration of millionaires | 6.62%
Median income for all households | $61,017
Median home value | $233,100

8 | Virginia

Millionaire households | 226,167
Total households | 3,242,493
Concentration of millionaires | 6.98%
Median income for all households | $66,149
Median home value | $248,400

7 | New Hampshire

Millionaire households | 39,209
Total households | 532,376
Concentration of millionaires | 7.36%
Median income for all households | $68,485
Median home value | $239,700

6 | Massachusetts

Millionaire households | 198,750
Total households | 2,682,402
Concentration of millionaires | 7.41%
Median income for all households | $70,954
Median home value | $341,000

5 | Alaska

Millionaire households | 20,444
Total households | 272,496
Concentration of millionaires | 7.50%
Median income for all households | $74,444
Median home value | $257,100

4 | Hawaii

Millionaire households | 36,903
Total households | 487,708
Concentration of millionaires | 7.57%
Median income for all households | $71,977
Median home value | $538,400

3 | Connecticut

Millionaire households | 106,892
Total households | 1,379,979
Concentration of millionaires | 7.75%
Median income for all households | $71,755
Median home value | $269,300

2 | New Jersey

Millionaire households | 258,988
Total households | 3,294,365
Concentration of millionaires | 7.86%
Median income for all households | $73,702
Median home value | $316,400

1 | Maryland

Millionaire households | 178,003
Total households | 2,263,021
Concentration of millionaires | 7.87%
Median income for all households | $76,067
Median home value | $290,400


  • Household income and home value from U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Living costs based on the Council for Community, Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index.
  • Tax information is from 2017.


How to Fight Spam Phone Calls and Texts Targeting Your Small Business | 2018 Tue, 24 Jul 2018 17:40:50 +0000

Receiving unsolicited spam phone calls, including robocalls and texts with fake (or “spoof”) caller IDs, is  one of the most common complaints filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Small businesses — including those using both landline and mobile devices — can use the following resources to file complaints and learn more about what you can do to combat spam calls and texts. (Source: FCC)

Angry girl at office shouting

FCC Information on Common Types of Spam Calls and Texts

Here are links to FCC information regarding common types unsolicited (and illegal) calls and texts, including ways to file a complaint with the FCC, your carrier or relevant trade associations.

Industry Resources on Typical Spam Calls and Texts

These resources are provided to help small business users of specific wireless, traditional landline, and VoIP voice services. The links are to companies that provide such services. (The links take you to information that is not on


Information from mobile (cellular) providers.

  • AT&T   Here are ways we can all prevent, stop, and protect one another from fraud.
  • CTIA   (CTIA is the wireless industry trade association) Blocking robocalls resources page.
  • CTIA   Step-by-step instructions on how to block individual numbers based on Android, Blackberry, iOS, and Windows operating systems; and list of third party apps to block unwanted calls.
  • Google Play   | Update for phone app for Android Marshmallow device.
  • Google Project Fi   | Call blocking help page for Project Fi wireless service.
  • T-Mobile   | Name ID app for identifying and blocking dangerous calls and texts.
  • U.S. Cellular   | Consumer information and tips for stopping robocalls.
  • US Telecom   | Trade association’s consumer education, tools and resources for stopping robocalls
  • Verizon   | Customer support page for stopping robocalls (includes wireline resources).


Information from landline (fixed) providers.

  • AT&T   | Call Protect service is now available to wireline VoIP customers.
  • CenturyLink   | Customer tips and links to block unwanted calls from home.
  • Charter   | Nomorobo: Block Telemarketers and Robo-Callers.
  • Charter (Brighthouse)   | Can I block calls from specific numbers on my Home Phone?
  • Charter (TimeWarner)   | Get detailed instructions for managing your Phone features.
  • Comcast   | XFINITY customer support on how to set up blocking service for unsolicited robocalls to home.
  • Comcast   | Customer support: call types that can be blocked with XFINITY Voice.
  • Frontier Communications   | Consumer guides on call block and priority calling features.
  • NCTA   | The Internet & TV Association’s consumer education resources for preventing robocalls.
  • US Telecom   | Trade association’s consumer education, tools and resources for stopping robocalls.
  • Verizon   | Customer support page for stopping robocalls (includes wireless resources).
  • West Telecom Services   | Customer tips for blocking calls and suggestions for reporting “nuisance” calls.

Government Resources

Consumer Organizations  



Neighbors, Communities, Even a Big Company, are Stepping in to Support Kids’ Curbside Startups Fri, 20 Jul 2018 16:09:06 +0000

Lemonade stands and other curb-side kid-businesses are a staple of summer. Unfortunately, so are the spoilsports who complain about the junior-sized ventures. But be fore-warned, naysayers. Not only are small businesses the second most trusted institions in the U.S., the small businesses run by small kids are likely the most beloved small businesses there will ever be. That’s why we’re loving the stories we are seeing this summer about the reaction to those who call the authorities to shut down the kids.

Don’t be like #PermitPatti

After a video of a lady calling the police (or perhaps just pretending to) asking them to shut down an 8-year-old’s bottled-water-stand went viral worldwide, support from the neighborhood — and from around the globe — started pouring in. And because her reason for selling bottled water was to raise money for a trip to Disney World, a singer named Jonathon Brannon @BrannonMusic even sent her four tickets to the theme park.

Minneapolis 13-year-old discovers the downs and ups of a start-up

Wanting to make enough money to purchase new school clothes for the fall, 13-year-old Jaequan (“jay-kwan”) Faulkner opened a hot dog stand in his front yard earlier this summer. At first, things were going great. His stand, “Mr. Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs” even got a shout-out endorsement on the Facebook Page of Bike Cops for Kids, a community outreach program of the Minneapolis police department.

But like many small business owners discover, there are always some bumps on the road to success. For example, Jaequan discovered that to serve food to the public, his stand was required to have a city health inspection. And like “PermitPatti,” someone complained about the stand because it was not officially permitted.

But instead of having to shut down his hot dog stand, Jaequan received hands-on help from the staff of the Minneapolis Health Department, the Minneapolis Promise Zone and the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) who all joined together to help bring Faulkner’s hot dog stand up to code.

The health department staff even chipped in to help pay for his $87 permit.

“We’ve been working with Jaequan on the business side of things, like basic business, finance, marketing, pricing… he’s really been excited about all of it,” Ann Fix, program manager for the Northside Food Business Incubaor through NEON and Appetite for Change, told Heidi Wigdahl, a reporter at Minneapolis’ KHOU News 11.

In the process, Faulkner learned another small business lesson: “Surprisingly, I’m like, dang the city’s not the bad guys in this situation. They’re actually are the ones who are helping me,” Faulkner told Wigdahl. “It makes me feel kind of—not kind of—really proud that people know what I’m doing.”

Country Time Lemonade launches Legal-Ade to bring permits and fines up to date

While it’s being done with a clever, humorous twist (kudos for the photo above), Country Time Lemondade has launced Country Time Legal-Ade, described by the company as “a crack team ready to straighten out lemonade stand-related permits and fines. Legal-Ade will defend kids’ right to a lemonade stand and all the benefits they bestow.”

While the program has a fun twist, it also has some serious longterm bite to it:

Any child fined for running a lemonade stand without a permit can have his or her parent apply for reimbursement. To apply, simply upload the image of your child’s permit or fine along with a description of what your lemonade stand means to your child, in his or her own words.

The submission will be reviewed by the Legal Ade team and if it complies with the terms, the youngster will receive the exact amount to cover the permit or fine, up to $300.00*. (Visit for complete details.)

As you can guess, there’s a social media twist to the program, as well. Every re-tweet the Country Time Legal-Ade video below receives, Country Time will donate $1 (up to $500,000) to help kids next year and beyond.

(Note: If you don’t see the video here, click to and re-tweet this tweet on the @CountryTime Twitter account.)

Photos: Facetime, Twitter, Country Time Lemonade

How to Extend the Battery Life of Your Smartphone | 2018 Thu, 19 Jul 2018 18:54:03 +0000

Previously, we’ve suggested ways to extend the battery life of your laptop. We’ve also taken looks at extending your smartphone’s battery life and here. But it’s travel time and batteries keep evolving, so here are some tips from  for extending your smart phone’s battery life during the summer of 2018.

Portable power banks | While not a battery life extender, portable power banks ( have dropped in price and size so much, buying one should be the first tactic in your power saving strategy. However, remember to keep them charged.

| Dim the screen

Most phones now include an auto-brightness feature that automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness to the level of ambient light.

| Set your screen timeout to the shortest available time

Look for the phone’s display settings and find “screen timeout.” You don’t need to light up the inside of your pocket for two minutes.

| Turn off Bluetooth

If you aren’t using bluetooth, turn it off.

| Turn off Wi-Fi

If you aren’t using Wi-Fi, turn it off. On an iPhone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and turn off Wi-Fi from the Control Center.

| Actively manage your location services and GPS

Like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the GPS in your phone can use the battery for location services. If you are trying to save power, turning off “location” should be on your to-do list.


| Don’t run apps in the background

Geek alert: Some apps don’t use up battery life if left on in the background. Others do. If you can’t remember which do and which don’t, play it safe.

  • In Android, tap the multi-tasking button – usually the right-most of the three icons at the bottom of the screen – and you can swipe away apps to close them.
  • In iOS, double-tap the Home button so the multitasking screen appears, then swipe upwards to close the app.

| Don’t use vibrate
Instead, turn off all notifications and leave the phone in view so you can see when a new call is coming in without annoying the guy sitting next to you at the movie.

| Turn off non-essential notifications

You should do this anyway. Do you really need to be notified every time a friend posts to Instagram?.

| Disable push email

Instead of allowing email to be pushed to your phone constantly, set it to check mail every 15 or 30 minutes.

| Enable power-saving modes

Some phones have ultra power saving modes. These turn everything off except those necessary for making phone calls and sending text messages (even turning the screen to black and white) and can add anything up to 24 hours of emergency use, even if your battery is down to 15 or 20 percent.

For a more detailed version |