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A group of crafters, makers and artisans met at Blue Buddha Boutique to learn about taxes for small businesses. CPA Dawn Milani of Milani & Associates presented an overview of the differences between sole proprietorships, S- and C-corprations and LLCs, which sounds kind of dry, but Dawn did a great job at keeping us engaged. Plus we had a lot of questions!

Dawn has extensive experience assisting business owners to start and develop businesses. She has provided them with assistance in various areas, including accounting, business planning, marketing, and technology. Prior to founding Milani & Associates, Dawn was Director of a Small Business Development Center. As Director, she was responsible for developing programs and strategies to assist entrepreneurs and business owners across industries to start and manage a business. Her expertise was quite apparent as she took a room of struggling business owners through the basics.

In case you weren’t able to make it here is a review of the information she gave, but I would like to state I am not an accountant or an attorney. If you have any questions contact an accountant or an attorney. In fact, you can reach Dawn dawn@milaniltd.com or by phone at (773) 506-6500.

Most of the attendees were just starting out and needed the basics, while some were in the growth stage and needed information about LLC’s (Limited Liability Company) or S-Corp s (S corporation- so named after subchapter S of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code). One maker stated “I’m trying to stay out of prison”. My takeaway from the evening was: as long as you were not fraudulently with deliberate intent trying to avoid paying taxes, then you’d stay out of prison, but the IRS would probably fine you for your mistakes.

Here are the different types of taxes and legal structures:

  • Sole Proprietor – This is just you and your business. Together you are one legal entity. You file your taxes using a 1040 and a Schedule C.
  • Partnership – people who go into business together. They will file a 1065 tax return.
  • Single Member LLC – This gives you limited liability protection. Basically as a sole proprietor if you get sued then your personal assets can be targeted. If you have an LLC then only the business assets are at risk.
  • Multi-Member LLC (MM LLC) – pretty much the partnership version of an LLC. It protects the partners’ personal assets.
  • S-corp – is a corporation held by shareholders and can be held by a shareholder of one. File a 1120S tax return.

Now that you know what you want to be, how do you get started?

  • Sole Proprietor or Single Member LLC - you can do business in your name. If you choose to have a business name then you must register with cook county a DBA (doing business as).
  • MM LLC – must register with the Illinois Secretary of State. You should have Articles of Organization if a multi-member LLC. Dawn recommends having an attorney write up your LLC agreement and have your accountant review it.
  • S-Corp – also registers with the Illinois Secretary of State and needs to have bylaws. Like the LLC you should have an attorney write up your bylaws and have your accountant review it.

Each of these entities needs to have a FEIN (Federal Employee Identification Number).

You also will need an Illinois Business Tax ID from the Illinois Department of Revenue.

If you will have employees you need to register with IDES (Illinois Department of Employment Security).

If you pay independent contractors you will need to give them a 1099 at the end of the year. As a general rule, this is for anyone that you pay $600 or more throughout the course of the year for services (including rent). The exception to this is if they are an incorporated business you do not need to issue a 1099.  Dawn recommends giving everyone you work with a W9 so you have their information on hand.

You have to pay sales tax on any products that you sell. Dawn recommends registering with and using My Tax Illinois. If you are doing an out-of-state show, then you need to collect that states sales tax rate on the items you sell and pay the sales tax in that state.  Some craft shows do assist with this process, but not all the craft shows are as savvy.

So, there you have it a very brief overview on taxes for small businesses. I would highly recommend reaching out to Dawn if you have additional questions or if you still are not sure where to start.

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Hello Crafters!It is almost time for our next craft racket!

CPA Dawn Milani presents a tax overview for small businesses. She’ll review the differences between sole proprietorships, S- and C-corprations and LLCs, explaining how each structure could impact your personal taxes. She’ll also go over sales tax.

Do you have any burning tax-related questions about your business?
Please send them to chicagocraftmafia@gmail.com before Monday July 7 so that Dawn can be sure to address your issues during the presentation.

Presenter: Dawn Miliani of Milani & Associates.
Dawn has extensive experience assisting business owners to start and develop businesses. She has provided them with assistance in various areas, including accounting, business planning, marketing, and technology. Prior to founding Milani & Associates, Dawn was Director of a Small Business Development Center. As Director, she was responsible for developing programs and strategies to assist entrepreneurs and business owners across industries to start and manage a business.

Where:   Blue Buddha Boutique
1127 W. Granville, Chicago, IL
(just west of the Granville stop on the Red Line)
www.bluebuddhaboutique.com

When:    Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Doors open: 6:30pm
Presentation + Q&A: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Networking: 8:00pm – 8:30pm

Cost:       FREE!

Please RSVP by emailing chicagocraftmafia@gmail.com or calling Blue Buddha at 773.478.3767

“The revolution will be crafted.”

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Come play Donkey Kong at HQ - 950 W. Wolfram

Okay, I think we can all agree that this winter sucked. But now that it is getting warmer and the cold, grey fog is lifting from our souls as well as the skies, we thought it would be a great time to hangout with all of you and just have some fun for an hour or two. Forget about the deadlines, and the messy workspaces, and to-do list that gets longer and longer instead of shorter. For just a few hours.

Come hang out with us at Headquarters Beercade (21+ only, sorry) on Wednesday, June 4th from 6:30 until 9. They have 30+ vintage arcade games set up and ready for us all to cut loose and do our best to save the princess from Donkey Kong, or help the little Frogger cross the road. And, since the thing we always wanted at arcades when we were kids was a good drink, we happy to be arranging this on the night that all Craft Beers in Cans are $5 each. They will have cocktails ranging from $4-$10 each as well.

So, put down the scissors/soldering iron/sewing machine and come hang out with us while we drink a good beer, play some games, and just have fun for a few hours. We’ll have a group table reserved under Chicago Craft Mafia.

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From our buddies at Edgewater Workbench:

Edgewater Workbench is looking for local artisans interested in selling their work. We are getting ready to open our doors and need to stock a small retail area of the shop. Please send a link to your online store/portfolio or 3 photos of work you’d like to sell at our shop to edgewaterworkbench@gmail.com.

Edgewater Workbench is a new community workshop and 3D print center located at Broadway and Thorndale Ave. We will offer rentable workspace for woodworking, metalworking, and any other projects you’ve got, WiFi, coffee, and a collaborative environment. We’ll also have 3D printers and a laser cutter available to make prints to order, and designers on staff to help bring your ideas into reality.

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Jason Pike shares the importance of a post title

Jason Pike shows points out the importance of a post title.

If you were lucky enough to attend our most recent Craft Racket, then you likely took furious notes while Jason Pike of Lad Named Felix regaled with his knowledge of how to make subtle tweaks to your online postings that will improve where your website, Etsy posts, blog posts, shop updates, and more appear in Google searches.

Not only did he present more knowledge than should have been able to fit in one short hour-long presentation, he created several handouts that have all of the necessary basics. People who were lucky to attend the event were able to take them home with them. But, because we love everyone, we’re not able to share both of his handouts and his slide presentation with you folks who were unable to join us. So feel free to download the files and use them to make your business bigger, better, and more Google-able than ever.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This means that there are some small things you can do that will improve how important Google thinks your website is. Jason has shared some of his favorite SEO tips and tricks that you can easily implement.

SEO Class Handout CCM

MY SEO CHECKLIST

Basic SEO Tips and Tricks presentation

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