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Is now the time to start offering paid parental leave?

Paid parental leave isn’t required under federal law. This means the United States is among only a few developed nations without a mandate for employers to offer compensated time off to mothers and fathers following the birth or adoption of a child. (Some states do have laws on the books.) Prevailing public opinion and the recent moves of some large employers, however, indicate a rising interest in this benefit.

For example, 82% of respondents to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll said mothers should receive paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. (Sixty-nine percent said the same of fathers.) Meanwhile, mega-employer Walmart just launched an expanded parental leave policy this year. It features 10 paid weeks off for birth mothers and six weeks for other new parents, applicable to both hourly and salaried workers.

Potential advantages for employers

Is now the time for your organization to offer paid parental leave? Although it helps employees, of course, parental leave can al…

Do you need to make an estimated tax payment by September 17?

To avoid interest and penalties, you must make sufficient federal income tax payments long before your April filing deadline through withholding, estimated tax payments, or a combination of the two. The third 2018 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals is September 17.

If you don’t have an employer withholding tax from your pay, you likely need to make estimated tax payments. But even if you do have withholding, you might need to pay estimated tax. It can be necessary if you have more than a nominal amount of income from sources such as self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, rent, prizes, awards or the sales of assets.

A two-prong test

Generally, you must pay estimated tax for 2018 if both of these statements apply:

1. You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax after subtracting tax withholding and credits, and

2. You expect withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of 90% of your tax for 2018 or 100% of the tax on your 2017 return — 110% if your 2017 adjusted gr…

Haven’t filed your 2017 income tax return yet? Beware of these pitfalls

The federal income tax filing deadline is slightly later than usual this year — April 17 — but it’s now nearly upon us. So, if you haven’t filed your individual return yet, you may be thinking about an extension. Or you may just be concerned about meeting the deadline in the eyes of the IRS. Whatever you do, don’t get tripped up by one of these potential pitfalls.

Filing for an extension

Filing for an extension allows you to delay filing your return until the applicable extension deadline, which for 2017 individual tax returns is October 15, 2018.

While filing for an extension can provide relief from April 17 deadline stress and avoid failure-to-file penalties, there are some possible pitfalls:


If you expect to owe tax, to avoid potential interest and penalties you still must (with a few exceptions) pay any tax due by April 17.


If you expect a refund, remember that you’re simply extending the amount of time your money is in the government’s pockets rather than your own. (If you’re owed a …