The beginning of a new year usually leads to many small business owners thinking about their taxes. This tax season, freelancers and self-employed individuals have some more tools to make sense of their returns, thanks to new offerings from TaxAct, Stride and H&R Block. You can read about these new solutions and more news that could impact your small business in 2018 below, in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.
Stride and H&R Block Team Up for the Latest Tool to Help Freelancers with Taxes
Stride, a software provider for the self-employed, has teamed up with H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) to launch a self-employed online tax filing offering  designed to help freelancers, independent contractors and other self-employed tax payers efficiently manage their taxes. The new tool integrates the Stride Tax app with H&R Block’s online filing capabilities.
TaxAct Launches Solution for the Self-Employed
The new tax-filing solution from TaxAct gives freelancers and the self-employed new tools to better manage their taxes and maximize deductions. The custom-built e-filing solution  has been improved to optimize and simplify the process of filing taxes for freelancers, the self-employed and independent contractors.
Thinking About a Marijuana Policy for Your Business? Here are 4 Things to Consider
California just became the latest state to legalize sales of marijuana for recreational use . This change could make a major impact on businesses in the state. And it’s not just those in the cannabis industry. Any employer in a state with legalized cannabis should be aware of some of the issues surrounding worker rights and workplace safety in relation to legal marijuana use.
Labor Department Proposes New Rule to Expand Health Care Through Small Business Plans
The cost of healthcare  is one of the biggest challenges small business owners and their employees face. A new proposed rule by the Department of Labor is looking to alleviate this pain point by expanding access to healthcare through small business health plans.
2018 Home Office Energy-Saving Trends
Businesses everywhere are striving to become more eco-friendly, including freelancers, solopreneurs and small businesses that operate out of the home. If you work from a home office, it is important to implement energy-saving features and practices  in your domestic working environment to help lower energy usage and reduce your business’s carbon footprint.
Should Your Brand Take a Political Stand? Your Liberal Customers Think So
Addressing political issues on social media  has traditionally been taboo for a lot of businesses. But as it turns out, some of your customers might actually want you to get political online. A recent report from Sprout Social found that 61 percent of consumers think it’s important for brands to take a stand on social media.
Chargebee Adds Email to Recurring Billing and Subscription Services for Small Businesses
Chargebee has enhanced its transactional email notifications  to improve customer experience when interacting with recurring billing and subscription management services. These services are also provided by Chargebee. With the new improvements, subscription businesses can use transactional emails for better engagement with their customers.
Court Overturns California Law Banning Stores from Adding Credit Card Surcharges at Checkout
A California law that prohibited businesses from passing along credit card fees to customers  has just been overturned. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco just released its ruling, overturning the original law passed back in 1985. Credit card companies impose fees on businesses when they process credit card payments.
Macy’s Plans Store Closings, Small Businesses Should Take Note
Macy’s just announced the popular retail chains plans to shutter 11 stores across the country  in the coming weeks, with another 19 set to close as their leases expire. This is just the latest in a long line of retail chains that have closed retail locations and had to make significant changes to stay profitable in the age of ecommerce.
Small Biz Spotlight
Spotlight: Pogo Wants to Simplify Insurance for Freelancers and Solopreneurs
Insurance is a difficult thing for a lot of businesses to navigate, especially freelancers and solopreneurs. But Pogo wants to make the concept simpler. The company is taking a unique approach to helping the smallest businesses understand their insurance options . Read more about the business below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
Small Business Loans
Small Business Lending at Big Banks and Institutional Lenders Up Again, Biz2Credit Says
Loan approval rates at big banks and institutional lenders  reached new highs in December 2017, the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index reports. This increase also extended for the yearly comparison for both segments, delivering higher approval rates.
How to Keep Your 2018 Small Business Financial Resolutions
It happens every year. When January 1 comes, business owners examine what happened during the past 12 months and decide to start anew by making business financial resolutions. Resolutions are often easier said than done , however. Psychologists tell us that it takes at least three weeks for a habit to start to become a permanent change.
Small Business Operations
Report Details Top Regulations Important to Small Businesses Today
Just over a week into 2018, Paychex has released its annual list of top regulatory issues  small businesses should be watching out for. Not surprisingly, the top two spots are related to taxes, they are Tax Reform and how States React to Federal Tax Reform.
New CobbleStone Mobile Apps Enable Small Businesses to Keep Track of Contracts
CobbleStone Software just announced its contract lifecycle management solution  is now available on mobile platforms. The Contract Insight Mobile App will provide a seamless transition between your office and Android or iOS devices for managing contracts from anywhere. The free app allows users to find all of their contracts on their mobile device.
Uber Lawsuit Should Serve as Lesson for Small Businesses
Ad agency Fetch has filed a lawsuit against Uber, claiming the popular ride sharing app owes nearly $20 million in unpaid invoices. This is just the latest chapter in a lengthy battle between Uber and Fetch . Uber initially filed a lawsuit against Fetch back in September, claiming the agency billed it for fake clicks.
Comcast Offers Business Customers 4G Backup When the Internet is Down
Comcast Business now provides automatic 4G LTE wireless backup  with Connection Pro, making it the first broadband provider to offer this service. By using 4G LTE wireless as a backup, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) will continue to provide internet connectivity in the event of power failure or network disruption.
Fiber Will Put an End to Internet Snow Days for Your Business (INFOGRAPHIC)
As the extremely cold weather continues to sweep its way across the United States, the internet can be prone to connectivity disruptions . For small businesses that conduct business online, the internet going down can have negative implications on business operations.
Insteon Announces Google Assistant Compatible Smart Products for Your Office
Consumers and businesses interested in smart home technology now have another option for controlling everything from light switches to thermostats in the home or office. Insteon, the maker of various connected home solutions, just announced that its line of smart home devices will be compatible with Google Assistant .
New Notebook 7 Spin from Samsung a Fit for Small Business
Samsung (KRX: 005930) has updated the Notebook 7 Spin  with some new features to make it even more functional when you are out and about. The Notebook 7 Spin has an eight-gen Intel quad-core processor, SSD storage, and an Active Pen stylus along with better security and communications features.
Read the Real Reasons Behind ReviewJump Changing its Name to RevenueJump
Reputation and review management software company ReviewJump just announced that it is changing its name to RevenueJump  to better communicate how it can help businesses actually increase revenue by managing reviews and feedback. The company has been around for a couple of years already. So going through an entire rebranding and name changing process might not be ideal.
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