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Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, business owners have had to keep a close eye on how many employees they’ve had on the payroll. This is because a company with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalents on average during the previous year is considered an applicable large employer (ALE) for the current calendar year. And being an ALE carries added responsibilities under the law.

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The IRS announced it is opening the 2021 individual income tax return filing season on January 24. (Business returns are already being accepted.) Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April deadline (or you file for an extension until October), consider filing earlier this year. Why? You can potentially protect yourself from tax identity theft — and there may be other benefits, too.

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The number of people engaged in the “gig” or sharing economy has grown in recent years. In an August 2021 survey, the Pew Research Center found that 16% of Americans have earned money at some time through online gig platforms. This includes providing car rides, shopping for groceries, walking dogs, performing household tasks, running errands and making deliveries from a restaurant or store.

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