Arm Your Medicine Cabinet for Cold and Flu Season

With more than 150 million cold, flu and allergy episodes annually, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, one of the absolute certainties in life is that you or someone you know will have a case of coughs and sniffles this year. Before the sore throat, itchy eyes, runny nose and dry lips set in, take the time to stock up your medicine cabinet with the essentials needed to alleviate cold and flu symptoms through the upcoming season.

Avoid Tax Season Pitfalls For Your Small Business

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Tax season tends to be people’s least favorite time of the year, which is only compounded for small businesses. Don’t live in fear under the ever-nearing tax thundercloud, make sure your business is prepared to meet the daunting season. Here are five basic rules to keep your business ahead of tax season.
1. Regularly update accounting records. Knowing the intricacies of your company’s financial situation throughout the year makes tax season much less intimidating. Plus, if all records are up-to-date and exact, your accountant has more time to spend on finding ways to save the business money instead of organizing information.
2. Triple check your tax bracket. Marginal tax rate analyses help guarantee that your small business isn’t needlessly pushed into a higher tax bracket. This is especially beneficial if your business is teetering on the edge. Recognize income when your tax bracket is lower; pay deductible expenses when the bracket is higher.
3. Take inventory of supplies, equipment and other potential write-offs. Equipment might be damaged or too outdated to maintain productivity. Replacing office supplies and obsolete assets before the new year gives the company added deductions. For costly technology, confer with your accountant to see whether an immediate or depreciable write-off is preferable. Financial planners like On Call Accountants help maximize deductions and increase expenses to prevent owing exorbitant fees. Learn more about possible deductions at www.oncallaccountants.com.
4. Contribute to a retirement plan. If you haven’t set up a retirement plan yet, do it before the year-end to reduce this year’s income. Qualified retirement plans afford tax deductions for all contributions. Find an appropriate plan for your business, and explore contribution limits. A retirement savings opportunity will also garner loyalty among employees.
5. Look into business tax credits. Small businesses may be eligible for numerous tax credits, as listed on the IRS website. Examples of possible credits are Low-Income Housing, Credit for Increasing Research Activities and Disabled Access Credit.

This Back-to-School Season, WGU Texas Declares, “No Parent Left Behind”

Across the state, parents are buying school supplies, loading backpacks, and packing lunches as their kids head back to school. With carpools, afterschool activities, and homework added to schedules already packed with work and other family responsibilities, the last thing more parents have time to consider is heading back to school themselves. But, they should be….

More than 3 million Texas residents, many of them parents, have started but not finished a college degree; yet by 2018, an estimated 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some post-secondary education. A bachelor’s or master’s degree can bring career advancement, increase job security and enhance earning potential, so how can busy parents finish their degrees and avoid being left behind?

Navigate Tax Season With These Tips

Tax season tends to be people’s least favorite time of the year, which is only compounded for small businesses. Don’t live in fear under the ever-nearing tax thundercloud, make sure your business is prepared to meet the daunting season. Here are five basic rules to keep your business ahead of taxes season.

1. Regularly update accounting records. Knowing the intricacies of your company’s financial situation throughout the year makes tax season much less intimidating. Plus, if all records are up-to-date and exact, your accountant has more time to spend on finding ways to save the business money instead of organizing information.

Be Prepared! Back-to-School Time Is Lice Season

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Parents need to be prepared for back-to-school season as 85 percent of all school districts report at least one outbreak a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that most of the 12 million cases occur in preschool and elementary-school-aged children.
Fortunately, parents can now help to prevent head lice using natural, safe and effective ingredients. A recent study by Fairy Tales Hair Care showed that rosemary, citronella, tea tree and lavender oils were over 93 percent effective in preventing head lice. Daily use of shampoos and sprays help keep the fragrance fresh on the child’s hair and keep lice away.
In addition to natural products, Fairy Tales recommends the following tips:
* Explain to your children to never share hats, combs, pillows, ear buds or helmets. Keep long hair up in a pony tail or braid.
* Lice like clean hair — not dirty! Don’t shampoo every day, and use products to coat the hair shaft making it hard for a louse to attach to it.
* Do weekly head checks. Sit under a bright light and comb through tiny sections of the hair — focusing on the “hot spots,” such as the back of neck, behind ears and the part lines. Nits (eggs) will be grayish in color and glued 1/4 inch from the top of the hair shaft. If it is hard to remove, it is a nit and not dandruff.
* Lice-removal treatments are now available that are more effective and safer than traditional over-the-counter products. Enzymes dissolve the “nit glue” so eggs/nits wash out easily and kill live bugs on contact. Enzymes work on the new breed of “super lice” as well. Lice Good-Bye can be used repeatedly, allowing parents to safely remove lice and get children back to school quickly and lice free.
To learn more, visit www.fairytaleshaircare.com.

‘Tis the Season to Help Hungry Pets and Their Owners

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – During a tough economic climate, it can be a stressful time for many homebound seniors, if not for their pets. Many seniors, when strapped for resources, choose to feed their pets instead of themselves. This means neither the pet owner nor the pet get the nutrition they need to stay healthy.
To keep both pets and their owners fed, Banfield Pet Hospital and the Banfield Charitable Trust (BCT) partnered with the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA), which provides home-delivered meals to people in need, to create a pet-feeding program called Season of Suppers, which is now in its fifth year. As part of the program, more than 760 Banfield locations are collecting pet food and monetary donations to help homebound seniors feed their pets.
Despite the current economy, the BCT hopes to collect 40 tons of pet food and raise $100,000 to fund pet food distribution programs, which is an increase from last year.
Season of Suppers does more than provide meals. The funds it raises each year help sustain and expand pet-feeding programs throughout the country. As a direct result of the Season of Suppers campaign, more than 100 pet-feeding programs have been funded or received much-needed support.
Season of Suppers runs until Dec. 31. There are three ways to help feed hungry pets this year:
1. Purchase pet food and place it in the Season of Suppers donation bin in any Banfield Pet Hospital (located inside PetSmart). The BCT suggests items that are easy to transport, such as small bags and cans.
2. Donate money at any Banfield Pet Hospital in the Season of Suppers donation box. To find your nearest Banfield location, visit www.banfield.net
3. Contribute online by visiting www.BCTSOS.org and clicking the “donate now” button. Your donation of $30 will help feed one pet for an entire month.

Prepaid College Tuition — The ?It’ Gift This Holiday Season

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – This holiday season, contributing to a child’s college education can be the gift that lasts a lifetime. Parents and grandparents alike want to give their children and grandchildren the tools to succeed in life, and a college education can do just that.
However, post-secondary education is becoming increasingly less affordable.
According to the College Board, today’s newborn is expected to pay $180,000 to attend a four-year, public university. Coupled with the difficult economy, college is slipping beyond reach of many families. However, by giving a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract to a child or grandchild, you lock in a price for their future education today, staying a step ahead of tuition inflation.
“The price of college for one child is steep, and we have five to worry about,” said Cindy Wisniewski of Naperville, Ill., a College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program contract holder.
“College Illinois! lets us save for college for our kids over time in a way that makes sense financially for us.”
Wisniewski said the flexible benefits and array of payment options attracted her to the program.
“Each of our children can choose to attend just about any school they want,” she said. “We love being able to give them this unique opportunity to build their future.”
A college education is a gift that will never go out of style, and the holiday season lets purchasers take advantage of tax benefits before year-end.
To give a prepaid tuition contract to a child, Andrew Davis, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the agency that administers the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program, suggests combining it with another gift such as a piggy bank to help a child gain a better understanding of money.
“A children’s book such as ‘The Penny Pot’ would be an appropriate gift for young readers,” said Davis, a contract holder himself. “For older children, ‘Money Sense for Kids’ might be a good choice.”
For more information, visit www.529prepaidtuition.org/gift or call 877-877-3724 for program information, materials and enrollment guidelines.

Does Your Mouth Feel Dry? Winter May Not Be to Blame

(NewsUSA) – The winter season can be a busy time — family get-togethers, holiday parties, shoveling snow and many other distractions can make it easy to …

Holiday Shopping? Experiences Trump Boxes This Season

As the holiday season approaches, shoppers face the annual challenge of finding the perfect gift in the right size at the best price. Shopping online can save both time and money but can also overwhelm consumers with the endless list of options to choose from.

This year, experts recommend harnessing the national trend of collective buying to ease shopping woes and save money in the process.

Collective buying sites streamline the holiday shopping process by connecting users with creative gift suggestions at unbeatable discounts. It has become just as easy to give someone the gift of a great unique experience as it is to send them a sweater.

‘Tis the Season to Help Hungry Pets and Their Owners

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