Ways to reduce taxes by hiring your children: Ask Joe | POP 697

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Image of Joe Sanok is captured. On this therapist podcast, podcaster, consultant and author, talk about ways to reduce taxes by hiring your children

Are you considering hiring a loved one? How do you enter into a business relationship with your child? How do you navigate protecting the relationship as well as the work quality?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about how you can reduce taxes by hiring your children.

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

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In This Podcast

  • Find a good accountant and attorney
  • Hiring your child as a W2 or 1099
  • Plan for emergencies

Find a good accountant and attorney

First and foremost, if you are growing your practice from solo to group or even hiring another clinician or virtual assistant, consider consulting with an accountant or an attorney.

They can help you with the best financial and legal advice as well as help you save money the smart way. One of these ways is to “hire” your children as 1099s or W2s into your private practice.

Hiring your child as a W2 or 1099

  • Set up a payroll system whenever you hire W2 employees, like Gusto.
  • Write up a hiring contract as if your child was any other employee.
  • Create a business associates’ agreement for confidentiality.
  • Discuss a plan to handle potential issues
  • Be clear on the roles that they have in your business

Plan for emergencies

One thing in hiring friends or family members is to talk through what could go wrong before you hire them. (Joe Sanok)

Hiring loved ones can be fun, but it is important to discuss how you would protect both the friendship and business were something to go wrong.

Consider doing a three-month trial period to see if you are both comfortable with the setup.

If you are hiring your [child] make sure you know how [giving] feedback is going to happen? How can you put on the business hat and take off the [parent] hat? (Joe Sanok)

Be clear on the expectations and the outcomes.

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 697.

I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. What a great day it is. Springtime is upon us. I’m sure that things are hopefully going well in your world. We’ve been having a lot of great guests on this show. We were talking about Jake just a couple episodes ago who was working with Kobe Bryant and he talks about writing books. Yesterday’s show was all about the science of deepening love and connection and tomorrow we’re going to be talking about unlocking your potential using the Enneagram. So a lot of amazing shows, four episodes a week we’re now doing. It’s just really amazing to have all these great sponsors like Heard and Noble and Gusto and Brighter Vision and Therapy Notes. Soon we’ve got some new sponsors coming on that we feel like aligned with what it is that we believe in what we do here.

We have quite a vetting process for sponsors because we want to be able to stand beside them and to say, hey, we put in the time, we’ve put in the efforts. So really excited about the new sponsors we have coming up as well. We’ve got some series coming up in late April. Alison and Whitney are going to be talking all about growing a group practice, and we’re going to be diving into that a little bit more. Got some really great interviews coming out in late April or early May. Also not that this month isn’t going to be awesome also, but all sorts of things coming up, have some really, really great experts coming in with ask the expert, which is part of our membership communities, Next Level Practice for people starting a practice, Group Practice Launch, which is for people that are launching a group practice.

That last cohort started in March. So every six months we do the six month program, it’s Alison and Whitney. I help out a little bit with that, but they just help people hire that first person. Then Group Practice Boss that membership is open and ongoing, because people are starting group practices all the time. You get to come to those. Like we brought in Daniel Pink recently where he wrote a book about the power of regret and how regret really fuels us differently, so really cool stuff that we’ve been covering. I’m answering a question today that came through my Facebook.

Brenda Franks asked and she said I keep having to pay around, she says, how much in taxes each year, sad face. This upcoming year I want to hire someone to be my virtual assistant, my daughter, since she’s going to college. I don’t know how to start a W2 position properly with taxes and all the rest. Well, let me just first say that I am not an accountant or an attorney. I’m speaking from my own experience and especially in your state because so many different states have different ways of doing things. It’s always wise to consult with someone that understands employment law. Having an attorney that you can just bounce things off of once in a while, that will bill you that is one of the essential things when you’re moving from just being a solo practitioner that’s just getting going maybe a side gig to really starting to take off hats and be serious about your business. So if you’re looking at making hires, I would highly suggest having someone in your state.

It doesn’t have to be in your town because there’s great people that understand state law that don’t live in your town. So finding some employment law specialists because, especially states like California having 1099s is really difficult. In other states, a 1099 can be really easy. So to this question I actually worked with my accountant to when we did the Leave to Find podcast with my girls to pay them for that podcast because we had some sponsor money and some other money coming in and to say like I’m going to pay them for that. So we actually did1099, my daughters and then we took that money, that maximum amount for retirement and put it right into retirement accounts for them.

They never saw that money. It’s their retirement accounts through Vanguard. It’s just a whole market index fund, super low fees. But when you run the numbers in regards to the $6,000 per year for two years, that these girls were paid, that 12K with compound interest should be about 3 million by the time that they end up retiring at age 65. So, of course, there’s a million factors between now and when a little six year old turn 65, but to be able to have that conversation with them, not just for the tax benefits, but also to just be able to say that’s a great setup for my kids to really get that going for them at such a young age for it to just grow over time.

So looking at those sorts of setups can be really wise for your children or it could just be I want to pay somebody might as well pay my kid. Now you want to make sure that you look at if you could gift it, we’re talking to an accountant, an attorney. Everybody’s situation is a little bit different but if you’re just looking at a straight higher W2, first thing I would recommend with any W2 is have a payroll system. Don’t be doing that yourself. Don’t be sending it in. Work with someone like Gusto who’s going to, for such a cheap rate, do all of your taxes, all of your reporting, end of year W2s. All of that is going to make your life so much easier. Gusto is a sponsor of ours. I use them with Practice of the Practice. I love them for W2s. They figure out the taxes, they figure out all that stuff. Then at the end of the year, your accountant just gets that from Gusto and you just have all the forms emailed to them. So I would definitely start with something like that in regards to the basics.

You want to have some sort of hiring contract as if this wasn’t your daughter. I mean, just treat it like any employee. You would want to have a business associates agreement if they’re doing things that have to do with confidential or HIPAA protected information. You want to make sure that you’re using all sorts of platforms that will protect things like passwords, so things like LastPass, it’s free, we have the pro version with Practice of the Practice, but you can, for pretty either free or cheap have all of your passwords be super hyper, like over the top crazy passwords then you have one master password.

What I like about it is you can share that password with other people so they can log in, but they can’t see the password, so it just auto fills it. So this is great, because we have a dispersed team across the globe. We now have eight or so staff in South Africa in Cape Town. We’ve got our sound engineers, we’ve got our consultants, we’ve got Jess in California, we’ve got Dana in Fort Collins, I mean all these different places that people live. There’s times we have to share passwords. There’s times when we have to give access to things that maybe you want to give access to it for a day. Maybe you want to give it to them for a month. Maybe you want to do it ongoing. So having that be part of the infrastructure set up as well, when you’re hiring somebody.
Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try Therapy Notes. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. Check it out and you will quickly see why it’s the highest rated EHR on Trustpilot with over a thousand verified customer views and an average customer rating of 4.9 out of five stars. You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support seven days a week so when you have questions, you can quickly reach out to someone who can help. You are never wasting your time looking for answers.

If you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code [JOE] to get three months to try out Therapy Notes, totally free, no strings attached. Remember telehealth is included with every subscription free. Make 2022, the best year yet with Therapy Notes. Again, use promo code [JOE] to get three months totally free.
Then, so hiring contract, I think one thing in hiring friends or family members is to really talk through what could go wrong before you hire them. For example, Dana, who’s our accountability coach with Next Level Practice, she also planned all of Killin’It Camp, I’ve known her for years. She’s a great friend of mine, have stayed with she and Josh, her husband. I don’t want to lose the friendship with Dana over having a business relationship. So first and foremost, it’s listen, I want to stay friends with you. So we talked through like, let’s do like a three month test to see if we work well together. If not, no hard feelings, I want to stay friends with you.

Same thing with your daughter. If you’re hiring your daughter make sure you know how is feedback going to happen? How can you put on the business hat and take off the mom hat? How do you think through the ways that that happens? Do you put the feedback into a Trello board and then have a list of items that you’re going to talk through? Having very clear options in regards to what it is that you want. For example, if you’re hiring your daughter to do say social media, marketing, branding and writing blog posts, be very clear as to what that means. If I was hiring a new virtual assistant to do blog posts for me, I would say, I want these articles to be about a thousand words long. I want you to do some keyword research and this is the way I want you to do it. Here’s some examples of blog posts that I like the style of and it seems like they rank high. Here’s how I would think through these blog posts. I want you to interview me for 15 minutes where I can just share it with you and then you go write the blog post, and then I give feedback on it.

So we want to make sure that it’s very clear, the expectations as well as the outcomes. I mean, that’s parenting one on one. You know, if you’re going to a wedding with a five year old or a 10 year old, you’re going to have a discussion of what are the expectations. You’re going to give feedback while you’re at that wedding if they’re acting inappropriately or appropriately, “Hey, good job being quiet, you’re doing a great job or Hey, listen, it’s, you’re at a wedding. You need to be quiet.” Then you’re going to have the expected outcomes. “Hey, we’re going to the wedding reception afterwards and great job. You did an amazing job. Doesn’t that feel really nice on the inside that you are so quiet to make the wedding really nice for your cousin?”

So we do that as parents anyway and so when you’re entering into a business relationship with a friend or a family member, think through how is that going to flow? It could be helpful to figure out your Enneagram types. It could be helpful to go through the Sallys and Hogshead’s the how to fascinate quiz. That could be helpful. It could be helpful to go through Myers Briggs and share here’s how I give feedback. Here’s how you receive feedback. Is there a difference there? I’m an achiever type and so I tend to move really quickly and know what I want to get done. I think through things while I’m doing other things and so I jump into emails and communication ready to go.

Over the years I’ve had to say that doesn’t work for everyone. It’s actually been valuable to hear how people’s personal lives are before we dive into a meeting. Even if my efficient side says that’s five minutes that’s wasted to hear how my staff is doing and for them to say, how are you doing Joe? What’s life like outside of business? That softens any startup that may happen. So making sure you’re concentrating on that in regards to the relationship and then making sure that anything from a legal and accounting standpoint, you document the heck out of. You never want, if you had an audit to be unclear that this person was an employee of you or a contractor of you. You want it to all be written down.

So, for example, in the past I have done a low interest loan with family members and in the past I would’ve followed like Dave Ramsey says never loan money to family members, but we did a full contract, followed the IRS guidelines in regards to minimum interest, talked about the entire length of it and made it a very business transaction. Then there’s no question. I don’t want Thanksgiving dinner to be awkward because somebody didn’t do something because we didn’t write it down. So the more on the front end, especially for the relationship with your daughter that you can write down, I would say the better. So that’s how I would say you can hire your kids. Again, I’ve said it a bunch of times, make sure you consult your own accountant and attorney just to make sure you do it right and cover yourself in a situation like this and that it’s all documented.

So there we go. That’s what you can do. If you want to submit a question head over to practiceofthepractice.com/askjoe. We’re doing four episodes a week now. So we’re finding really interesting people to have on the show. We’re trying to dig in even deeper into a number of different things. So really excited about just all that we’re doing right now with the Practice of the Practice podcast.

We couldn’t do this without our sponsors. Therapy Notes is one of our longest sponsors Therapy Notes is the premier electronic health records out there that includes teletherapy. I mean, how amazing is that. That’s just included. You don’t have to worry about getting a business associates agreement with Zoom and doing the Zoom business account. You don’t have to do all that. It integrates right with your progress notes and your billing. If you have staff, if you’re adding staff, it’s so easy to see where they’re at with things as well. So head on over to therapynotes.com, use promo code, [JOE] at checkout to get your free months. That also helps them know that you heard about it from us, helps them know that their sponsorship dollars are working. All right. So head on over to therapynotes.com, use promo code, [JOE].

Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. I will talk to you soon, have a great day. Bye.

Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.