Owe The IRS Money This Year? Know Your Options
For some taxpayers, tax season means a consistent refund. However, for C-suite executives and business owners who have to write a check to the government, tax season represents dealing with changing uncertainty. Uncertainty because changing tax rules have made previous deductions (entertainment deduction) obsolete and slashed tax rates (for corporations). For many, tax season is about tackling the unknown, which can be nerve racking for many taxpayers. Are my tax returns going to be filed on time? Are my tax returns accurate? If you owe the IRS money this year, it is important to know your options.
What do I do if I owe the IRS money?
The questions can be endless and the last question — what to do when you owe money — can keep some taxpayers up at night. The thought of owing the IRS money is unsettling and unpleasant at best. You worked hard all year, you’ve cashed bonuses and made investments or more bets, and now you have to pay more money in taxes?
So what are your options if you owe the IRS money?
Exploring Your Options
If you find that you owe the IRS money this year, it is important to explore your options. The IRS offers several options for paying taxes, which method of payment you choose will depend on how much you owe and your personal situation. You may want to seek the advice of a tax advisor before proceeding to see what makes the most since for your situation. Some options for paying the IRS include:
Like we said before, the IRS wants their money so they want to make it as easy to pay them as possible. While the physical act of parting with your hard earned money is anything but easy, setting up an installment plan with the IRS is pretty simple. The easiest way to to do this is to apply online. First you must set up an account with the IRS, which you can do here.
Installment Plan Fees
The IRS offers several ways to pay with installment plans, the best one is automatic withdrawal from your checking account. This is the most affordable option to set up. If you set it up online the fee is $31, if you set it up over the phone, mail, or in person the fee is $105. If you decide you want a little more control over the payments and elect for non automatic payments, the set up fee is $149 online, and $225 by phone, mail, or in person.
In addition to the set up fees, the IRS charges interest on the balance owed. Initially, any unpaid balance is subject to the short term federal rate, which fluctuates on a regular basis. Once an installment plan is set up, the rate drops to .25%.
It is important that payments are made on time. Failure to pay can result in the IRS cancelling the installment plan.
Full Pay Agreements
If you are unable to pay your tax bill right away, but can pay the full amount within 120 days, you can set up a full pay agreement with the IRS. Again, you need to set up an account first. Then you can apply for an online payment agreement. If payment is made before 120 days, no fee is accessed. However, the unpaid balance is still subject to penalties and interest until the balance is paid in full.
Paying By Credit Card
Many taxpayers elect to pay by credit card if they owe the IRS money. This is a simple and quick solution. If this option is available to you, please be advised that card processing fees will apply. These fees vary depending on the service provider. In addition, the the amount is over 100 K, special coordination may be required from your service provider.
Reduce Your Risk of Owing Money
Nobody wants to be in the position to owe the IRS money, so it is important to reduce your risk of owing money. Proper tax planning can help reduce the risk. Tax planning can help with:
Aside from owing money to the IRS, you don’t want to owe more money in late fees. The IRS does not take kindly to late returns, and will assess a 5% fee on the balance owed for tax returns that are filed late. Even if you cannot pay right away, don’t file late. You don’t want to get slapped with failure-to-file fees and failure-to-pay fees. Failure-to file fees are more costly than failure-to-pay fees and can really add up quickly. If you absolutely cannot file, be sure to file and extension before the tax deadline. Remember, when it comes to preparing and filing your tax return always file accurate returns on time.
Do you have more tax questions? Contact the tax experts at The Tax Hack Accounting Group.
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March 31, 2019 at 03:53PM
These $315 denim panties are deeply upsetting
"Weird, bad jeans" are practically their own fashion genre by now, and brands are well aware that making some weird, bad jeans is a great way to get some viral attention. Just something to keep in mind as you gaze upon these denim panties, which are made by Y/Project for Ssense and cost $315.
The underwear, which look a lot like a denim diaper, are apparently designed to be worn both over and under your pants. "Underwear that doesn't need to stay under there," reads the product description.
The underwear is part of a collection called Denim Five Ways, which also features bleached jeans, a jacket, patchwork jeans, and a $2870 denim skirt made of jean tops. (I actually really like the skirt, but I do not have $2870.)
Anyway, a lot of people online are deeply upset by the jean diaper. This is understandable — the chafing alone!
I will continue to make fun of these until Rihanna wears them, at which point I will love them and pretend I never said a word. Thank you.
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March 30, 2019 at 09:01AM
Checkout on Instagram and Sponsored Stories Polling Stickers
On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Instagram’s new in-app checkout and polling in sponsored stories with our special guest, Rebekah Radice.
Watch the Social Media Marketing Talk Show
If you’re new to the show, click below to watch our latest episode from Friday, March 29, 2019. You can also listen to the show as an audio podcast, found on iTunes/Apple Podcast, Android, Google Play, Stitcher, and RSS.
For this week’s top stories, you’ll find timestamps below that allow you to fast-forward in the replay above.
Instagram Launches In-App Checkout Feature: Instagram rolled out the ability to shop and make purchases directly within the app. At the moment, the new Checkout on Instagram feature is being introduced as a closed beta for select businesses and buyers in the U.S., but “more will be coming soon.” (2:36)
Instagram Introduces Interactive Polling to Sponsored Stories: Instagram added the option to include interactive elements to sponsored stories, beginning with the Polling sticker. Instagram plans to continue innovating in Stories ads and rolling out new tools for businesses on Instagram. (15:40)
Instagram Adds More Transparency to Influencer Campaigns: AdAge reports that Instagram is developing a new type of ad called “branded content,” which will allow brands to sponsor posts created by celebrities, influencers, and publishers, and promote them as they would any other ad. This is part of the company’s broader strategy to connect advertisers and creators in more formal partnerships. Branded content ads were introduced last year and are still being tested. (23:49)
Instagram Tests Lockout on Old Usernames: It appears that Instagram is developing an experimental feature that locks old usernames for a 14-day grace period after a user changes their Instagram handle. Developer and researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who’s known for uncovering new and unreleased features in apps and social media platforms, discovered this feature. (28:25)
Instagram Tests Video Co-Watching Tool: TechCrunch reports that Instagram is testing the ability to co-watch videos inside Instagram Direct Messaging. This tool would be similar to Facebook’s Watch Party feature, which rolled out globally last year. (32:00)
Other News Mentioned
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March 30, 2019 at 05:03AM
Here's how to add captions to your Instagram Stories to make them more accessible
Social media can be a fun and informative way to stay up-to-date with friends, co-workers, celebrities, and politicians. But it's important to remember that the photos and videos you share aren't always accessible to everyone.
Over the years, teams working for platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have taken steps to help make the sites more inclusive for people with disabilities. Facial recognition technology has been introduced, alt-text tools that work with screen readers have been added, and custom alternative text features allow users to describe their photos in greater detail. Progress has undoubtedly been made, but there's still a long way to go before the apps reach full accessibility.
Instagram's Stories, for example, don't come with closed captioning, which presents a challenge for the 466 million people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. But while Instagram itself has yet to provide in-app Story captioning, third party apps exist that can help you transcribe your videos and add captions at the bottom of the screen.
Clipomatic is one of the many video editors that can help you add text. Available for $4.99 in the App Store, Clipomatic lets users record captions using speech recognition, so words instantly appear as you're saying them. And if your speech gets translated incorrectly, you also have the option to manually edit the text.
The app currently has the capability to caption videos in 40 languages, and it also provides fun filters and caption styles, so you can give your videos a more personalized feel.
Social media savvy Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, started using Clipomatic to caption her Instagram Stories after she was elected, and revealed on Twitter that she's since received "a huge positive reaction."
Deaf activist Nyle DiMarco, who recently, tweeted about his frustration with United Airlines after the televisions on his five-hour flight didn't offer closed captioning, thanked Ocasio-Cortez for making her posts more inclusive and giving him the opportunity to follow her time in Congress.
DiMarco's tweets to United also inspired activist and actress Jameela Jamil to add captions to her powerful "I Weigh" video interview with Sam Smith.
Social media companies have a responsibility to make their platforms available to everyone, but while we're waiting for them to step up and update their apps we can take it upon ourselves to make our own posts more accessible.
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March 29, 2019 at 03:32PM
We regret to inform you that this brand tweet about St. Louis food is funny
When brands participate in memes, it is generally — and I can't stress this enough — the worst thing in the world. That is why it brings me no pleasure to admit that Chips Ahoy did a good brand tweet on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the internet was set aflame by "St. Louis-style bagels," which are bagels cut into disturbing, bread-like slices. Traumatized and looking to heal, people quickly started to meme "St. Louis-style" food as a concept, from boiled pizza to literally toast with toothpaste on it.
Chips Ahoy stepped into the fray with a nice bowl of XL cookie cereal. "Today we're eating our cookies St. Louis style!" the tweet says.
I consider myself an honest person, so I must admit that when I saw this, I laughed. I am not saying that brand tweets are good — again, they are mostly bad — but sometimes you just gotta call 'em like you see 'em. This tweet is funny, and I would eat a tray full of cookies submerged in milk. Thanks.
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March 29, 2019 at 10:21AM
5 Untold Reasons Why Small Local Retailers Are Missing out If They Are Not on Facebook & Twitter
Most local retailers rely on old-school marketing tactics to draw in customers. They often have significant budgets for flyers, posters, marketing mailers, and in-store signages. However, they often undermine the importance of social media. If you are a shop owner looking to draw in more customers, you need business pages on both Facebook and Twitter. Once those pages are created you need to start posting regularly to engage with your local customers.
However, the social media game is not as easy as it’s perceived. There are not only more social media platforms but carefully strategizing and creating posts demands serious expertise. To do it right, it’s best to hire a social media expert or buy social media packages from an online service provider. The following are 5 reasons you need to play the social media game to promote your local store.
Beat Competitors to the Punch by Starting Early
If you own a small local shop, then chances are your competitors are still not active on Facebook and other social media platforms. This provides an early-bird advantage that you should definitely capitalize on.
Helps You Understand Your Customers
If you are a veteran shopkeeper, you already know that you cannot sell anything if you don’t know what your customers want. By being on social media channels, you get to interact with your customers and understand their needs. Maybe they are looking for a particular product that no one else sells in the neighborhood.
Small Businesses Have an Advantage and Often Get More Customer Engagement
When you hit the social media, you get more than a level playing field. You actually have a few advantages as a small business that most chain retailers do not enjoy. People tend to respect community-centric small businesses and the individual attention they get from local stores. Instead of copy-paste responses, you can chat with your customers and they will return the favor by proactively sharing your posts and getting more eyes on your message.
Easily Build a Brand and Plan Future Expansions
A lot of small shop owners are so involved in daily operations that they forget to build their brand. Social media marketing gets more eyes on your brand and what it represents. Once you establish your brand on social media and start drawing in more customers, you can open other branches in different locations. Given the right social media push, your existing customers will spread the word about your new locations.
People Are Already Searching for Your Business Online
If you have an established business, there is a good chance people are already talking about your store. If you are not on Facebook and Twitter you miss out on all of these opportunities to interact with your customers.
Social Media Marketing Helps You Capitalize on the Holiday Season
Every social media expert knows that direct selling tactics don’t really work on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, things change during the holiday season. With people actively looking for products and offers, you can start directly promoting your shop. You can use the social media to promote store gift cards and giftable products. Armed with the right offers and discounts, you can attract crowds of holiday shoppers.
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March 29, 2019 at 08:51AM
Is Facebook Organic Marketing Dead?
To explore Facebook organic marketing, I interview Mari Smith. Mari is a consultant for Facebook, and the leading expert on Facebook marketing. She’s also the author of The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web.
Discover how Facebook’s pubic mission has changed, and learn where marketers should focus their Facebook marketing efforts, today.
Read a summary of the interview below. To listen to the interview, scroll to the end of this article.
Facebook Marketing: What’s Working?
Mari has loyal tribe of marketers she trains and communicate with, and she says there’s a love hate relationship for many marketers who utilize Facebook and its family of apps. Even though she’s an expert, she can relate.
There are definitely arenas of Facebook marketing that are terribly frustrating. The things that used to work don’t any longer – one of which is certainly organic marketing – and the frequency of change is frustrating for business owners. That said, Facebook is still the primary channel for many marketers.
I note that even with the recent privacy-related scandals, people who say they likely wouldn’t be on the platform each day if their work didn’t require it also say they probably couldn’t step completely away from it either. I liken the platform to a siren and Mari agrees.
Additionally, there are changes to the algorithm to consider as well as the type of content that Facebook chooses to give preference to at any given time.
Facebook features aren’t the only things that have seen change, though.
For the longest time, Facebook’s mission statement was to connect the world. Then, out of the blue, they decided to change it. Now the mission is built around giving people the power to build community and bringing the world closer together.
For example, Facebook began putting on live, in-person Facebook Community Summit events; participants are chosen from applicants who manage major Facebook groups. Mari believes this a cue that Facebook is working toward making the groups product more business-friendly and points to new monetization features such as subscription groups as a by-product of that business-friendly agenda.
She thinks this relates to something Mark Zuckerberg said on the Q4 earnings call in January, which is that people want to share in more private environments. Those environments include groups, certainly, but also extend to messaging and other products that support ephemeral content, such as Stories.
Additionally, due in part to all of the legalities around the platform’s data protection issues, Facebook is putting a strong emphasis on making more of their products with end to end encryption by default. The notion that our information is encrypted and doesn’t stick around forever is supposed to appease the public in general.
What does this mean for marketers? Mari believes people will be much more open about sharing more intimate things when they think it’s going to disappear. She also surmises that Facebook is gathering some of that data, all anonymized, and that even though Stories content disappears it’s somehow going to be targetable.
What Isn’t Working on Facebook
First, Mari says, don’t even bother sharing YouTube video links. If you find a great YouTube video obviously belonging to someone else and you just love it and you want to share it, go right ahead. But don’t expect that page post to get much reach or engagement. YouTube is Facebook’s main competitor, so Facebook is automatically going to give that YouTube content less reach.
If the video is yours, load it up natively to Facebook. If the video belongs to someone else, look for it on Facebook and share it from the original owner’s upload.
While native content is best, Mari stresses that doesn’t mean you can’t pre-schedule your content and suggests AgoraPulse or the native Facebook scheduler.
Link posts, which used to be part of everyone’s strategy, are also getting tricky. BuzzSumo analyzed 777 million posts throughout 2018 and found that without question link posts for any article, blog post or website that lives outside of the Facebook ecosystem get the lowest reach and the lowest engagement.
And then there’s the fact that average organic reach is now 1% to 6%.
Further, because Facebook is trying to serve quality, meaningful content in the feed, memes or quote graphics aren’t aren’t working any longer. In fact, according to BuzzSumo’s research, video posts are outperforming photo and still image posts by 73%.
Listen to the show to hear my observations on link posts from inside groups.
What Is Working on Facebook
Mari says video gets the best engagement on Facebook, followed by question posts with the second best engagement, and photo posts with the third best engagement.
Why Question Posts Work
Mari thinks the question posts work for two reasons.
First, they take up less space in the newsfeed. Newsfeed space is especially important when you remember that 90% of Facebook users access the platform predominantly via mobile devices.
Second, a question hooks the mind. And if it’s a well-crafted short question, our brains almost can’t help but respond and that’s what Facebook wants. They want the content in the newsfeed to elicit meaningful interaction. They want people to hit that comment button, not just tap a reaction button, and leave five words or more.
Why Video Works
Video is working because Facebook has their eye on the slow migration of television viewers and – by extension – the advertisers who will eventually follow those viewers.
For many years now, Facebook has been very determined to be a major player in the digital streaming arena. They’ve had some missteps because they’re literally trying to train users who aren’t used to considering Facebook as a destination video platform. Facebook is having to iterate and iterate as they try to work with content producers on one level, and work with how users respond to content and video products on another level.
Additionally, Facebook has run out of real estate in the newsfeed and video provides another opportunity for ad placement via ad breaks, which is a new placement for ad video. The bar for ad breaks is set quite high for now, but Mari is hopeful that small business owners will soon be able to take advantage of this new placement.
Then, there’s the new Showcase for Premium Video Advertisers. On the Facebook Watch platform, high end shows such as Red Table Talk, Ball In the Family, Queen America, Sorry for Your Loss, and Recipes are getting millions of views.
Facebook sees this as another opportunity to monetize a small number of video shows that have millions of views, and they’re offering advertisers the ability to place ads in this exclusive content.
Listen to the show to learn how Facebook is training creators to build content around ad breaks.
Tips for 4 Types of Facebook Video
Mari has four categories of video she says is working for her, her audience and her clients.
Short-Form Square Video
You can use these 15-second videos to drive traffic to you blog posts. Start with the title of the post, pull out one or two key points, include some moving images – stock footage or your own footage, and use some text overlay so people can watch with the sound off. Then, add the blog post link in the first comment or put it above the fold.
A valuable trick is to put just a small amount of budget on the post via a boost so you get access to creating a clickable link that will stay even after the ad is expired.
I share that we’ve been experimenting with square, captioned video that’s longer than 15 seconds but shorter than 60 seconds (usually about 45 seconds long), and we’ve been getting a really good retention rate.
Long form video can be 3 or more minutes, but BuzzSumo’s research found that three to five minutes is optimal and gets the best reach, the best engagement. This type of video could feature you talking and teaching the viewer something or sharing a quick tip.
Mari’s Live videos tend to run anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes long. She was blown away when a separate BuzzSumo study revealed the optimal length for a Facebook Live is between 3 and 4 minutes.
While Mari and I both agree that live video is the thing that is most likely to meet Facebook’s meaningful interactions bar, we also struggle with meeting that bar in 4 minutes – especially when truly engaging with people. Mari says, that engagement is the secret. If your audience is engaging with you for four hours, Facebook will let you continue to broadcast.
If you’re a marketer that’s really not done much with live yet at all, you could create a series of 10-minute live videos to breakdown some teaching points by going live once or twice a week, consistently. As your audience starts to engage with that content, you can experiment with longer broadcasts as long as you retain engagement.
If you’ve got a weekly show, keep it somewhere between 18 and 22 minutes; our brains have been trained for decades that this is an average episode length. This type of video can be very expensive to produce and, if you’re not somebody famous with a big maybe PR engine behind you, it can be difficult to get people to watch this type of content.
That said, Facebook is really pushing this video content as much as possible so they can monetize it and bring in more advertisers.
Listen to the show to hear Mari and Mike speculate on what’s coming with Stories.
Consider Facebook Groups
Mari believes groups is a growing arena, and she highly recommends that businesses create at least one group that’s linked to their Facebook page. A software company could have a study group or a user group. A membership organization could have a paid group and use the subscription feature to collect the money.
The boost button and more great features are rolling out to groups soon, and Facebook is really trying to make sure groups are an integral part of your marketing.
Discovery of the Week
Podchaser is a handy tool that lets creators showcase their podcast appearances. It also lets others browse a directory of all the podcasts someone has published and been a guest on.
For example, if you look up Michael Stelzner, you’ll see a list of all the Social Media Marketing Podcast episodes he’s hosted and, under that, you’ll see a list of all the episodes of other podcasts on which he’s been a guest.
Additionally, people can filter podcast show episodes by topic to create a curated playlist of all the episodes that pertain to that topic.
Podchaser is currently in beta and is free for all users.
Listen to the show to learn more about Podchaser.
Key Takeaways in This Episode
Listen to the Interview Now
The Social Media Marketing podcast is designed to help busy marketers, business owners, and creators discover what works with social media marketing.Where to subscribe
What do you think? What are your thoughts on the future of organic Facebook marketing? Please share your comments below.
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March 29, 2019 at 05:02AM
Is Facebook Organic Marketing Dead? - 347
Have recent changes to Facebook impacted your marketing? Wondering what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your organic Facebook marketing?
To explore Facebook organic marketing, I interview Mari Smith, a consultant for Facebook, and the leading expert on Facebook marketing.
Sponsored by Social Media Marketing World: http://www.socialmediaworld19.com
Show notes: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/347
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March 29, 2019 at 05:00AM
Facebook removes more pages in Philippines for misleading activity
Facebook has continued its crackdown on coordinated misinformation in the Philippines.
The social media giant said on Friday it had taken down more than 200 pages, groups, and accounts in the country, which it said misled others about who they were and what they were doing.
"We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behavior, not the content they posted," Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, said in a statement online.
"In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action."
Facebook said the people behind the activity used a combination of real and fake accounts to post on pages and groups.
"They frequently posted about local and political news, including topics like the upcoming elections, candidate updates and views, alleged misconduct of political opponents, and controversial events that were purported to occur during previous administrations," Gleicher added.
Around 3.6 million accounts followed one or more of these Facebook pages, and around $59,000 was spent on advertising.
Facebook also shared some of the posts published by these pages.
It claimed the activity was linked to a network organised by Nic Gabunada, who was behind the social media strategy for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
In 2016, Gabunada helped deliver victory to Duterte through a network of volunteers who would help amplify the presidential candidate's message via social media. A year later, Duterte admitted he paid trolls to help aid his campaign.
The latest action comes after Facebook banned a Philippines digital marketing company called Twinmark Media Enterprises in January, after it was accused of using fake accounts and selling access to pages.
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March 29, 2019 at 01:28AM
This Twitter prank is locking people out of their accounts
A viral prank is preying on Twitter users trying to access new color schemes. It’s really meant to fool them into violating a government age policy. Read more...More about Twitter, Technology, Mashable Video, Social Media, and Prank
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March 28, 2019 at 02:23PM