- For Freelancers, New Federal Help in Saving for Retirement
Much of the Secure 2.0 Act, the retirement law signed by President Biden in late December, focuses on enhancing workplace savings options, but some provisions can also benefit nontraditional workers.
Under the new program, the federal government will deposit a 50 percent match on up to $2,000 of a worker’s contribution to a workplace or individual retirement account — a maximum of $1,000 per person. Eligibility is based on income, and the match is reduced over certain limits. Single filers can earn up to $35,500, and joint filers up to $71,000, and qualify for at least a partial match.
“It’s a more effective way of getting people to save,” said Tim Steffen, director of tax planning at Baird Private Wealth Management.
Nontraditional workers can contribute to an I.R.A. on their own and set up automatic transfers to it from their bank account. (They can get the Saver’s Credit, if they qualify.) Workers are more likely to save if retirement contributions are automatic, said David Certner, legislative counsel with AARP.
Some Secure 2.0 Act changes that can help nontraditional workers do begin this year. SEP I.R.A.s, short for Simplified Employee Pension Plan, which are often used by self-employed people because contribution limits are higher, can allow workers to make Roth contributions, Ms. Brenner said.
For the tax year 2022, you can contribute up to $6,000 ($7,000 if you are 50 or older). For 2023, those limits rise by $500 each, to $6,500 and $7,500. (But you generally don’t qualify to contribute to a Roth, or for a tax deduction for a contribution to a traditional I.R.A., if you make over certain income limits.)
Source: The New York Times
2. Potential employees looking for remote work say they’ve been targeted by scammers offering them fake jobs: ‘They prey on people who are vulnerable’
When Roberta Barbosa got a job offer from analytics platform Craft.co in July, she was delighted. The business consultant job was high-paying and seemed like the type of role she envisioned amid her career pivot.
Despite the fact that the company’s chief technology officer switched an interview from video to a phone at the last minute, Barbosa was subsequently impressed by his technological knowledge, and she quickly accepted the role.
Shortly after signing her employment contract, her positive feelings began to shift.
The company’s CTO informed Barbosa that she would need to front the money to buy her work-from-home computer and monitor, and asked her to send $15,000 over Zelle with promises of reimbursement.
At the time, Barbosa believed she was speaking to Craft.co’s actual CTO, Artem Litvinov. What she didn’t know was she was falling victim to a financial scam that has seemingly surged in popularity amid the age of tech layoffs and remote work.
After Barbosa pushed back on the $15,000 request, the relationship turned tense. “He was furious. All of a sudden, the tone of his voice turned crazy,” Barbosa said.
Barbosa pleaded with the company’s CEO and CTO to let her out of her employment contract, which they had convinced her was legally binding.
Eventually, she hired a lawyer who informed her that she was nearly a victim of a financial crime.
“They didn’t get anything from me, but it was a horrific situation,” she said.
In a statement to Insider, the real Craft.co’s CEO, Ilya Levtov, said, “We learned about this scam a few months ago and in all cases where an applicant contacted us, we immediately made clear that the Offer did not come from us. We notified LinkedIn about the scam and added a fraud warning to our careers page. We have and will continue to urge anyone who has been offered a job by us or any company to confirm proactively they are communicating with the actual company.”
Job search platform RemoteHub advises users to be cautious when pursuing positions that seem too good to be true and to always insist on an in-person or video interview.
Source: Business Insider
3. Remote and hybrid job posts up 43%
Irish job posts offering remote and hybrid work have increased by 43% over the last 12 months according to a new study.
The report has been published by Zoom in collaboration with FRS Recruitment.
A snapshot of hybrid and remote work opportunities advertised between October 2021 and October 2022 shows that 33% of all job ads across Ireland offered remote or hybrid work options, up from 23%.
The data also reveals that remote or hybrid working is primarily concentrated in a few sectors, with 87% of these jobs stemming from the IT, accounting and finance, or commercial sectors.
More than 50% of companies offering remote and hybrid work are based in Dublin or Cork, with salaries of city-based roles averaging at €60,814 vs €51,648 for roles within rural-based companies.
The report shows that roles offering candidates flexibility are attracting a wider range of responses, especially among job seekers looking to move from their current employment.
“Zoom’s latest report really underlines how employee expectations of how, when and where they want to work have drastically changed, and that employers have changed their hiring practices in response,” said Zoom Government Relations Director for Ireland, Charlotte Holloway.
General Manager at FRS Recruitment, Lynne McCormack said that for the first time they have candidates telling them that salary is less important than the ability to do their job remotely.
“For many people, the pandemic showed them they can do their work from anywhere, which is enabling them to move to areas outside of cities where the cost of living and housing pressures aren’t so acute and without the burden of long commutes and high transport costs,” Ms McCormack said.
4. How Will Tech Jobs Change in 2023?
After nearly three years of Covid-fueled disruption in the supply chain and the way we work, some new truths have emerged for tech workers and the people who employ them. Among those truths: Remote work is here to stay.
The past year brought a new kind of global threat: war in Europe. In addition to the humanitarian crisis, the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted a major source of developer talent and has helped push the global economy into a period of uncertainty.
Yet tech workers, despite recent high-profile layoffs at tech giants, still hold the upper hand overall. It’s still a knowledge economy, will be for the foreseeable future — and people who understand Python and Rust and cloud computing still hold the knowledge.
There are still far more open positions than people to fill them: in the U.S. alone, about 375,000 tech jobs remain open. And the year-end jobs report by Dice, an online career marketplace for technologists, found that job listings were up 25% from January through October, over the same period in 2021.
It will also likely come from startups, especially fledgling companies founded by former employees of Amazon, Meta, Salesforce, Twitter and other hoarders of tech talent. Some of the hot innovations of 2022, such as Open AI’s ChatGPT, are likely to inspire their own ecosystems full of related tools, and the companies that make them.
“There’s a lot of investment firms that are still bullish about the startup space, and where they can be investing,” said Lindsay Grenawalt, chief people officer at Cockroach Labs, which raised $278 million in Series F funding at the end of 2021. “That’s what I’m excited about, opportunities come up in new technology companies.”
Source: The New Stack
5. 96% N.W.T. government employees are now working remotely
According to the territorial Finance Department, 96 N.W.T. government employees have some kind of remote work arrangement.
Of those, 13 are working outside the territory and four are working inside the territory, but in a different community from their office.
The territorial government employs more than 6,300 people. In January of 2022, it introduced a policy that allows employees the option of working outside their office.
After most N.W.T. government workers got a taste of working from home during the pandemic, one of them was surprised that more of their coworkers didn’t want to keep it up.
“I think a lot of people really benefited from it,” said the N.W.T. government employee. They requested anonymity because speaking publicly could affect their ability to do their job.
“My team was functioning very, very well working from home. Maybe others didn’t.”
The employee said that when the government began its return to the office, they wanted to continue working remotely part-time, in a hybrid situation.
Most people prefer working from home: national survey
The Future Skills Centre, a federally-funded research organization, surveyed more than 6,600 people across all provinces and territories between March 1 and April 18, 2022.
More than three-quarters of them said they liked working at home more than in their workplace.
Remote work also appears to be more popular at the Yukon government.
That government has 6,100 positions, and according to a Public Service Commission spokesperson, 390 employees have remote work agreements. Of those 390, 22 are working outside the Yukon.
6. Streamline Your Freelance Client Acquisition with This Resume Software
The demand for high-quality freelancers has grown. If you manage your own freelance business, you may know how important client retention and acquisition are. As competition for the best clients intensifies, you could start generating high-quality custom resumes and cover letters that make your skills stand out from the crowd.
Save your time and creativity for the work itself, not the process of finding work. Resoume helps you save time acquiring clients by quickly creating your pitch materials from the information you input. You can even pull information directly from your LinkedIn profile. If you need a custom resumé to highlight your relevant experience for a potential client, this software platform can streamline the process and generate a document in moments.
Managing your online presence may be easier when Resoume does it for you. Your subscription comes with a personal website and a custom subdomain. Plus, check your analytics to see how much traffic you’re getting.
7. Tax tips for freelancers in 2023: 8 smart ways to file
Here are top tax tips you should know as you prepare your 2022 return and as you look toward next year.
1. Know what’s taxable income
With any type of income, Uncle Sam wants you to pay taxes on it as you receive it throughout the year. Freelancers, gig workers, and the self-employed usually receive 1099-NEC forms to help them report job income. You’ll also owe self-employment tax: 12.4% to Social Security and 2.9% to Medicare, for a total of 15.3%.
2. Know what’s not taxable income
If you had student loan debt forgiven recently, here’s some good news: “The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 made any discharge of student loan debt between 2021 and 2025 excludable from taxable income,” says Ben Henry-Moreland, a certified financial planner who specializes in working with freelancers.
3. Deduct business expenses
Businesses can deduct business expenses if they’re an “ordinary and necessary” part of running your business. That goes for all self-employed workers, from Uber drivers to freelance writers and Amazon shoppers.
4. Take advantage of your home office
You can also take a home office deduction if your office space at home is exclusively used for business on a regular basis. It doesn’t even need to be a separate room. A corner of a room with a desk and chair suffices if its exclusive use is for your business.
5. You have options if you’re facing a tax bill
If you owe money to the IRS, you should still file your income tax return on time, which is April 18 this year. Your tax bill is also due by this deadline, and if you don’t address it, “you’ll still pay interest and late fees for as long as you have outstanding tax,” said Ben Henry-Moreland, a certified financial planner who specializes in working with freelancers.
6. Calculate next year’s quarterly tax payments
To avoid paying underpayment penalties, freelancers should pay quarterly tax payments throughout the year since they don’t have paycheck withholdings.
Form 1040-ES includes blank vouchers for mailing tax payments. Or, you can make payments through the IRS Direct Pay site or through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).
7. Contribute to a retirement account
When you put money into a traditional IRA, it’s tax-deductible in the year you make the contribution (as long as you meet requirements). This could lead to a lower tax bill next year. If you haven’t filed your 2022 taxes yet, there’s still time to save. You can make IRA contributions for the 2022 tax year until April 18, 2023.
8. Get organized
Keeping receipts and organizing your tax documents will make it easier to figure the correct deductions “and be more likely to withstand an IRS audit,” Henry-Moreland said. Need some guidance? The Internal Revenue Service set up a Gig Economy Tax Center to help you understand relevant tax forms and freelance topics like estimated taxes, filing requirements, deductible business expenses and more.
Source: Yahoo Finance
8. A Step-by-Step Guide for Starting Your Freelance Business
Before you start your freelancing business, consider the hours you are willing to work, how big you want your business to grow, and your reasons for starting a freelance business.
1. Create Your Goals in a Business Plan
It’s essential to decide how you plan to operate your freelancing business. Generally, a sole proprietorship is cheaper to set up and run, especially if you plan to work independently without hiring others. However, you will remain financially liable with this option.
2. Choose a Business Name and Design a Logo
Therefore, you need to give your business a name that you register as a DBA (doing business as) if you have a sole proprietorship. You must also provide a business name when you do your LLC registration.
Once you have chosen a professional name that denotes your area of expertise, it’s time to design a business logo for your website and social media account.
3. Get Yourself Online
Create a signature email by adding your details and logo to help you find gigs. However, remember that a professional-looking website and social media account (preferably on LinkedIn) will give your more exposure and allow you to showcase clients, their reviews, and past projects.
4. Determine Your Pricing Strategy
The best way to determine your pricing is to see what other freelancers charge for the same services. Some of the most popular are hourly rates, flat fees per project, and individual quotes per project.
5. Finding Clients and Growing Your Business
Now that you have completed the steps above, it’s time to find your target market, helping you to apply the correct marketing strategies to reach them. You may know some of the people you want to sell to from your previous job, and you can reach out to them directly on social media or by email.
6. Register for Taxes
Every business must pay taxes according to its structure. For example, if you have chosen a sole proprietorship, you only need your social security number to pay taxes on your freelance business’s annual income.
7. Get a Business Bank Account
Cash management is critical to every business. First, you must keep track of all your income from clients. Keeping track of client payments is easier if you work on a platform, but you still need a bank account to receive your money.
8. Remain Consistent
A consistent freelancer meets deadlines and does not let clients down. A happy client will keep returning to your freelancing services. However, freelancing work often comes with challenges, so ensure that you understand the client brief to prevent misunderstandings. If unsure, contact the client for more information.
9. Create a Portfolio
A portfolio is an essential tool that shows potential clients what you can do. It should include a description, images, and videos of your previous work. Moreover, professional platforms like RemoteHub allow you to showcase your skills on a larger platform.
10. Network with Clients & Other Freelancers
Freelancing often includes working with people who have never met in person before. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that both parties can trust each other and understand the project requirements clearly. To do this, build strong relationships through networking events or social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. This helps create leads for potential jobs and strengthens your professional network.
11. Leverage Technology
Technology is essential to make your freelancing business more efficient through project management systems or e-signature software. Investing in the right tools can help you stay organized and improve client communication. Furthermore, it allows you to easily track deadlines, send invoices, and receive payments more quickly.
12. Set Up a Website/Blog
A website is a fantastic way to display your work and attract potential customers. Moreover, blogging allows you to share your knowledge and experience with the world, building authority around what you do as a freelancer. This helps build trust among customers looking for someone who can provide reliable services in their field.
Source: StreetWise Journal
9. Legal recruiter Major Lindsey acquires freelance lawyer startup
Legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa said Thursday it has acquired Hire an Esquire, a staffing startup that uses technology to match lawyers and paralegals with primarily freelance jobs.
Hanover, Maryland-based Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) said it will integrate Hire an Esquire’s online platform into its own interim staffing business line. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MLA’s flexible staffing business currently uses a “very human-driven approach,” said partner Kirsten Keegan Vasquez, MLA’s vice president of law firm recruiting and interim legal talent.
Philadelphia-based Hire an Esquire analyzes lawyer and legal professional candidates and assigns a “fit score” based on hard and soft skills to match them with law firms and legal departments.
Keegan Vasquez said this approach will provide “another data point” for staffing decisions. “We think that’s critically important as data and tech-driven models become more popular in the legal industry,” she said.
10. What the job market could look like in 2023, based on a surprisingly strong end to 2022
In November, the same month rocked by headline-making staff cuts across Big Tech, the U.S. labor market posted a near-historic low of 1.4 million layoffs, or less than 1% of the workforce, according to the latest Labor Department data.
Meanwhile, there were 10.5 million job openings, or roughly 1.7 vacancies per available worker. Companies were just barely backfilling the share of people leaving, making 6.1 million hires in the face of 5.9 million separations, which includes both voluntary and involuntary terminations.
Recent mass layoffs around tech and finance are a result of companies over-hiring during a pandemic rebound around innovative (read: speculative) initiatives, like crypto and the metaverse.
As of November, job openings ticked up for professional and business services, as well as manufacturing, and hiring shot up in health care and social assistance.
Job-seeker confidence has slid in recent months, and people are less likely to quit without a new job lined up. But despite economic worries, 4.2 million people quit their jobs in November.