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Employee Rights in the US for 2014: First Quarter


There have been some monumental changes to employee rights in the United States so far in 2014 that are worth investigating. Some of these changes were put in motion a while back, such as the changes to minimum wage laws. But there have been other worker rights stories that have occurred within 2014 and some of them could change the way corporations operate.

Dish Network Forced To Compensate Whistle Blower

In March 2014, OSHA told Dish Network that it had to pay a whistle blower back wages and damages for firing the employee after he spoke out against a vendor. The significance here is that the government stood up for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a way that sent a strong message to all United States employers.

Many American workers do not realize that it is OSHA which enforces whistle blower provisions of the work laws. With this ruling, the government is encouraging employees to point out corporate indiscretions and not fear losing their jobs.

The Minimum Wage Goes Up

The federal minimum wage was not raised in 2014 for all United States workers, but there were some states that did bring up their minimum wages in 2014. The United States federal government raised the minimum wages of employees of government contractors, but not the entire country.

In all, 14 states raised their minimum wages in 2014 to levels that are beyond the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. The state of Washington has the highest minimum wage at $9.32 per hour, with California and Oregon close behind at $9.00 per hour. All in all, 21 states have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum.

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Key Tax Dates for UK Businesses


Running a business efficiently requires being able to juggle many responsibilities at the same time. One of the most important duties that you have as a business owner involves making sure that your company complies with the relevant tax regulations. While you do not need to be an expert in fiscal matters to do this, it is very important that you have a clear idea of the key tax dates. Many business owners are so busy taking care of other aspects of their business that they overlook important tax deadlines. This can be a costly mistake that you want to avoid, as there are steep penalties involved.

 

To help you avoid unsavoury surprises, we have put together a list with the most important tax dates and deadlines for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, so make sure that you mark these dates on your calendar.

 

April 2014

 

5th April

 

Since April marks the end of the fiscal year and the beginning of a new one, you will want to make sure that you submit all your PAYE payments by 5th April, following the real time information guidelines. Remember that real time information overrides forms P14 and P35.

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Business and Economic Forecasts for the UK 2014


Just a few months into 2014, and trends for business and economic forecasts for the UK start to emerge. Surprising growth figures for January 2014 show the long anticipated recovery “green shoots” promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

There certainly seems to be a methodology for business and economic forecasts in the UK, revolving around an intense battleground, featuring the UK government Department for Business and the Treasury spokespersons. A hallmark of this government under coalition, in one corner, valiant Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, backs all things to do with business. On the other side of the same ring, Chancellor George Osborne hammers home a staunchly conservative, with a small ‘c’, approach to an austerity vision he not only pioneered in the UK, but sold to the rest of Europe.

The word ‘austerity’ caught on like the battle cry of an ancient Celtic warrior in 2013. What, politically, was so out of fashion, now seems the accepted call-to-arms of the international economic community. We are a long way from Milton Friedman’s lasseiz-fare capitalism, sailing a course for the unknown. This is what makes business and economics forecasts for the UK in 2014 a little hard to predict, but incredibly important to watch and take note of.

One ancient British obsession, the weather, will have an impact on many forecasts for 2014. Unprecedented flooding reminds us all that you are ‘only as good as’ your profits last year. Insurance companies are sure to be downsizing float capital in preparation for payouts to the water-stricken victims of Somerset and beyond.

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USA Business Tax Changes for 2014


As with every other year, business owners around the United States have to learn about the new business tax changes that will come into effect for 2014. When learning about these amendments to tax laws, it’s important for you to understand that not all of these changes will directly impact your particular business. Some of these tax modifications will only effect people in the highest tax brackets while others may actually be helpful to your business. Either way, it’s advisable to take some time to learn about these changes so you can prepare your taxes accordingly.

Federal Income Tax Increase

As of the 2014 tax season, the federal income tax rate for businesses and individuals earning $400,000 or more jumped from 35 per cent to 39.6 per cent. This is the highest base rate that can be applied to income in the United States. Of course, it should be made clear that the 39.6 per cent is not set in stone as there are many tax credits and benefits that can be applied for depending on a number of different circumstances. Marginal increases may apply to businesses and business owners in lower tax brackets, but it depends on a number of factors.

New Medicare Tax

For businesses that are heavily involved with investments, there is a new tax on the books that you need to know about. It’s known as the “Medicare Investment Tax” and it applies to all investment income you make throughout the year. The tax is 3.8 per cent of the total income made through investments and it is added onto the new capital gains rate that was passed down this year. Last year, capital gains tax held steady at 15 per cent. This year, the capital gains tax has risen up to 20 per cent not including the Medicare tax. With the Medicare tax applied for investment income, the total capital gains tax liability of the average business will be 23.8 per cent.

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Improvements to Bizwiki’s Business Maps


We are happy to be able to announce that a new version of the maps we display for each business, company and organisation on the site has been completed and went live earlier today.

The new maps leverage the power of google-maps to display each location in a clearer way, with a shorter loading time. In response to the way we found many visitors were using the site, we’ve also changed the way the site works slightly so that users who click to ‘See a larger map’ now go directly to a page designed for printing. These pages display just the vital contact information about the company underneath a good-sized map that can be adjusted by the user or immediately printed.

We hope that the businesses on Bizwiki and the tens of thousands of people who use the site every day find these changes useful. The new system has been thoroughly tested, but as always any errors or location discrepancies can be reported here. http://www.bizwiki.co.uk/contact.htm

Thanks, and we hope you continue to find Bizwiki useful.

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Bizwiki.co.uk in Top UK Citation Sources list – Again!


Since its launch in 2007, Bizwiki has been considered an important place for local businesses to be listed. This is not only for the traffic Bizwiki can drive to a business but also because Bizwiki provides business information to the ever popular Accessplace.com as well as several other local UK directories like TownPages.com and BritishServices.co.uk.

On yesterday’s Top UK Citation Sources for local businesses compiled by Smart Local, (click here) Bizwiki, Accessplace and TownPages.com take 3 of the top 30 slots.

We are of course grateful to the author of the list and honoured to be included, especially since it means we are keeping our place in the “top citation sources” lists for a fourth consecutive year.

In 2012 Nyagoslav Zhekov of NGS Marketing reviewed a number of published “top citation source” lists and assigned points to the sites based on how many times each was mentioned. Bizwiki.co.uk was ranked number 6 out of more than 30 UK local business sites. 

In 2011 Bizwiki was featured as an “extra-important” site on LocalVisibilitySystems’ Top UK Local Business Directories list.

In the same year both Bizwiki.co.uk and Accessplace.com appeared on Bright Local’s Top 50 UK Citation Sources list.

And in 2010, Mike Blumenthal featured a guest post by Myles Anderson which jointly listed both Bizwiki.co.uk and Accessplace.com as number 8 in the Top 10 UK online business directories.

Both sites also appeared on Cylex UK’s 2010 list of 28 Online Business Directories.

We are happy to have received these commendations, and more importantly hope that our users continue to find Bizwiki to be a useful resource when searching for any local companies, business and charities.

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Report an Error form working again


The report an error form hasn’t been working for the last few days which meant that you couldn’t submit an udpate request. It is now fixed so please feel free to submit from the Report an Error link that is on every company listing page on both Bizwiki and the sites that use Bizwiki’s data.

Please do not submit update requests from the contact form or via email. We can only action update requests that are sent using the Report an Error form.

Thank you.

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Major changes to Bizwiki Record Editing


In an effort to streamline the editing of records on Bizwiki and ensure that vital changes are actioned and go through to the live site fast, we are making some major changes to how records are submitted and reviewed.

The “Add / Edit a Record” functionality will soon be consolidated into the ‘Report an Error’ feature. This has the benefit to users of not requiring them to register for an account and log in to be able to request a fix or report an error with an existing business record, and will streamline the processing of records by editors by having only the important fixes come through to them.

We have had a great deal of success in adding and compiling business records using our fine-tuned Bizwiki Bot Spider, and new company records will be added to the site periodically at regular intervals. We will also be adding additional depth to existing records using the same technology, with human editors getting involved where required.

The result of this should be fewer features immediately available to users to add and edit records on the site, but a faster response rate to any required fixes and edits to existing records. We also anticipate the process of requesting important changes both being made easier for visitors, who will now be able to do so without any registration being required, and a reduced workload on our editors who put so much effort in to staying on top of it all.

This is a step in the evolution of the Bizwiki project, so while some users may miss some of the functionality that is being retired we hope that you will enjoy the faster response times, periodic automatic updates, and continue to use and benefit from the site.

 

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Simple New Years Resolution: Opt out of Physical Phone Books


If you’re looking for a nice and simple New Year’s resolution that might be able to help make a lasting impact, consider opting out of the delivery of physical phone books and yellow page directories.

More and more people are finding the vast majority of their information about local businesses online, so if you aren’t finding yourself actually making use of the yellow page book you might be happy to hear it’s now easier to opt out of receiving it on your doorstep.

It’s wishful thinking to ever expect the directory publishers to ever make it opt-in, but thanks to a few websites you can now at least ask for the huge books not to be sent to you.  If you don’t use them and find they tend to make a short trip from delivery to the recycling bin, there’s no better time than New Years to decide to do something about it.

According to YellowPagesOptOut, “Why do we want to help you manage your directories?

Because we understand that delivering unwanted directories doesn’t benefit anyone. All participating companies must follow the guidelines in our Commitment to Consumer Choice. And in 2007, we adopted Industry Environmental Guidelines, which calls on all members to be more environmentally responsible in their business practices. “

Opting out:

  • United States http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/
  • United Kingdom http://www.stopjunkmail.org.uk/guide/paper_directories.php
  • Canada http://delivery.ypg.com/en/US/Home/Index/
  • And have a very Happy New Year!

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    Bizwiki now has over 150,000 registered Editors


    We are happy to be able to announce that the Bizwiki project passed another milestone at the end of last week, when our 150,000th Editor registered on Bizwiki.co.uk.

    This means that there are now over 150,000 people who have signed up to Bizwiki to help edit, add, correct and improve business information on the site.

    Millions of people access and use the information on Bizwiki and the other sites it powers every month, so this is a great time to say thanks to the many users who are helping make this site the useful resource that it is. In a testament to the power of collaboration, we are seeing more improvements every day to the width of coverage of the business community but also to the depth of information about the individual companies that compose it.

    The Bizwiki site is built around a self-organised and collaborative community that any of our users are invited to join. Rather than the usual experience of just reading what a website has to say, everyone is invited to actively participate. Users can help produce for themselves the best and most comprehensive index of businesses on the web, or the most detailed index of companies in their town or even street.

    If you’d like to join in, add a company or update any of the information on the site, just click the Create Account link to become a Bizwiki Editor.

     

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