TWO NEW TAX BENEFITS ARE AVAILABLE TO EMPLOYERS
Employers may qualify for two new tax breaks when they hire someone who has not worked for more than 40 hours in the past 60 days. These tax breaks are part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, enacted March 18, 2010.
Here’s what you should know:
- 6.2 percent payroll tax exemption — You may be exempt from your 6.2 percent share of social security tax on wages paid to qualified employees, effective for wages paid from March 19, 2010, through December 31, 2010. Most employers will claim it on Form 941, Employer’s QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return, beginning with the second quarter of 2010. The exemption will also be claimed on annual payroll tax returns such as Form 944, Employer’s ANNUAL Federal Tax Return.
- Tax credit up to $1,000 per worker — You may claim an additional new hire retention credit of up to $1,000 for each qualified employee you keep as an employee for at least a year and whose wages are not significantly reduced in the second half of the year. You claim it on your income tax return for your business, usually in tax year 2011.
- Qualified employers — You may qualify for these tax breaks if you are a small or large business, tax-exempt organization, public college or university, Indian tribal government, or farmer. But, household employers and federal, state, and local government employers, other than public colleges and universities, do not qualify.
- Qualified employees — Generally, those beginning employment with you after February 3, 2010, and before January 1, 2011, who were either unemployed or worked 40 hours or less for anyone during the previous 60 days can qualify. You must get a Form W-11, or similar signed affidavit, from new hires certifying they were not employed for more than 40 hours during the 60 days before beginning employment.
According to PLANET’s HR Consultant Bill Cook, “The act covers a lot more individuals than what you might expect, including self-employed individuals, seasonal employees and those replacing workers terminated for lack of work or poor performance.
“Although two national business surveys indicated that few employers would hire someone to get the tax credit, I believe that if they knew that their normal hiring (particularly seasonal employees) would qualify, they might be more interested.”
Seasonal employees are not mentioned in the law, but the act lists those employee types that are not eligible (household workers, government workers) and indicates that all other individuals who meet the requirements are eligible.
Check out the following links to the main IRS site for more details about these tax breaks: irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=220745,00.html and irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98862,00.html.
go to top
MORE THAN 200 ATTEND LAWN CARE SUMMIT
More than 200 lawn care professionals gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, December 1–3, 2010, for the 2nd Annual Lawn Care Summit, hosted by PLANET and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
Dual educational tracks covered both technical and management topics of interest, such as how to plan your company’s marketing from infancy to maturity, employment issues, weed management programs for lawns, the future of turfgrass in the landscape, and debugging the myths, to name just a few.
The opening session, “Lawn Care Lessons to Share” was led by a panel of lawn care experts who spoke of several of their most valued business and life lessons. They shared what they have discovered as “best practices” when it comes to hiring, training, marketing, management, motivation, customer retention, and business development, as well as mistakes they have made and the important lessons that resulted.
“This was a great opportunity to network with colleagues out of my service area. Despite my 30 plus years in the business, I have learned something new that I have implemented in my business in both years attending the Lawn Care Summit, both agronomic and business-wise,” says attendee Mark Schlossberg, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, of Pro-Lawn-Plus, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland. “All lawn care and pest control operators should make it a priority to attend the Summit in 2011.”
Attendees also had multiple opportunities to network with peers and learn about the products and services available for use in their businesses at Networking Lounges, sponsored by Agrium Advanced Technologies, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Professional Products, EverGreen Software by Marathon Data Systems, Holganix, Quali-Pro®, Real Green Systems, and Spring Valley.
For more information regarding the Lawn Care Summit, contact Betsy Demoret, or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.
go to top
CARMINE GALLO TO DELIVER KEYNOTE AT 2011 PLANET EXECUTIVE FORUM AND LEADERSHIP MEETINGP
Communications coach, columnist, and author Carmine Gallo will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Executive Forum and Leadership Meeting, to be held February 16–20, 2011, at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Amelia Island, Florida. If you’re a green business owner and manager, seeking ways to unlock innovative ideas and/or to implement them, this year’s Forum is the place to be. Be sure to register by the early-bird deadline, January 19, 2011, to save!
In what promises to be an engaging multimedia presentation, sponsored by Caterpillar Inc., and titled, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success, Gallo will share about the effective communication skills he has learned directly from the men and women who run such admired companies as Google, Starbucks, Cisco, The Ritz-Carlton, and many other global brands. He will demonstrate exciting new ways to unlock your creative potential and to foster an environment that encourages innovation and allows it to flourish. Attendees will learn how to match — and beat — the most powerful competitors, develop the most revolutionary products, attract the most loyal customers, and thrive in the most challenging times.
Gallo’s keynote will kick off a series of educational opportunities centered on the theme of Innovation & Technology. Langdon Morris, recognized as the world’s leading expert on innovation, will deliver an interactive presentation, sponsored by Vermeer, with individual and team activities with focused work, dialog, personal conclusions, and action planning for participants. And, rounding out the educational offerings will be Gene Marks, small business management columnist, author, speaker, and business owner, who will answer a number of questions, including the following: How one business person generates more leads through social networking, why some bonus plans work and other fail; and which key economic indicators are worth tracking to drive business decisions. His presentation is sponsored by JOHN DEERE.
Over the course of four days, business leaders will also have the opportunity to be involved in breakfast roundtables, innovation lunches, leadership meetings, various networking opportunities, and free time to enjoy the southern hospitality and amenities of the luxurious The Ritz-Carlton. Hotel reservations can be made by either calling The Ritz-Carlton at (904) 277-1100 and asking for the PLANET rate ($249, including resort fee and resort Internet) or visiting ritzcarlton.com, selecting Amelia Island as the location, and using the group block code of PLNPLNA to receive the group rate.
For more details about the 2011 Executive Forum and Leadership Meeting, go online to Events/Education section of LandcareNetwork.org, check out the event brochure, e-mail Joan Haller, or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.
PLANET thanks the event’s sponsors, particularly Platinum Sponsor Caterpillar Inc., Gold Sponsor Vermeer, and Silver Sponsor JOHN DEERE, for making this all possible.
go to top
SAVINGS ON SELECT CERTIFICATION EXAMS
Starting now through February 28, 2011, members and nonmembers alike can enjoy 25 percent off and company discounts on select certification exams. Now is a great time to get Landscape Industry Certified and save! The discount applies to the following exams:
For more detailed information about individual and company discounts, contact the certification team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 395-2522. Discounts do not apply to computer testing fees.
go to top
IS YOUR CERTIFICATION CURRENT?
Have you checked the good-through date on your PLANET certification wallet card recently? If it is December 31, 2010, it’s time to recertify by completing and submitting your CEU Submission Form. When you recertify, you’ll receive a rebranded certificate, lapel pin, and wallet card reflecting your new good-through date.
For information about opportunities to earn continuing education units (CEUs), check out the revised Recertification Requirements sheet. If the educational opportunity is green industry or job related — it will qualify. Webinars, articles, or books as part of self-study and in-house training are some examples of how you can accumulate CEUs in your two-year recertification cycle. Also, check the Recertification Frequently Asked Questions section regularly for updates about recertification.
NOTE: If your wallet card good-through date is 2009 or earlier, your certification has expired. Please contact PLANET immediately at (800) 395-2522.
go to top
MONROVIA LAUNCHES NEW ‘FIND A DESIGN PROFESSIONAL’ FEATURE ON ITS WEB SITE
Monrovia, a grower of ornamental and edible plants, has just launched a new “find a design professional” feature on its Web site. The new link allows Monrovia’s customers and the general public to search through its database for professionals in their area.
If you are a landscape architect, designer, or design, build, and installation professional, and a PLANET member company, Monrovia invites you to submit an online profile. You can include a description of your business, photos, and even social network links in your profile. This is a great way to expand your business and get your name out there as a qualified professional.
go to top
2011 PLANET STUDENT CAREER DAYS SCHEDULED FOR MARCH
The 35th Annual Student Career Days (SCD) will be held March 17–20, 2011, at Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Illinois. The early-bird registration deadline is February 9, 2011.
SCD is a three-day event for students enrolled in interior and exterior horticulture programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities from across the country. Each year, close to 900 green industry students from some 68 schools demonstrate their skills in real-world, competitive events and have the opportunity to participate in an outstanding Career Fair.
The Career Fair also provides green industry companies with the chance to showcase their employment and/or internship opportunities and get their name in front of an eager audience of next-generation industry professionals. Each booth at the Career Fair includes an area where companies can conduct on-site interviews, and companies have the opportunity to be a Lead Sponsor for a competitive event, which they can design, or to be an Assistant Sponsor or Donor, who assist the Lead Sponsor. If you are interested in being a competitive event Lead Sponsor, Assistant Sponsor, or Donor, visit the SCD Web site at StudentCareerDays.org, or contact Anna Walraven at (800) 395-2522.
In addition to the competitive events, sponsorship opportunities also exist at the Silver and Bronze sponsorship, Student Reception sponsorship, Giveaway sponsorship, and other sponsorship levels. To learn about these opportunities to reach hundreds of students, faculty members, and current green industry professionals, contact Dina Wiley at (800) 395-2522.
PLANET thanks Platinum sponsor STIHL Inc., Gold sponsor JOHN DEERE, Silver sponsors Caterpillar Inc.; Gravely, an Ariens Company Brand; and New Holland Construction, and Bronze sponsors BRICKMAN and Husqvarna for helping to make this event possible.
For more details about PLANET’s 2011 SCD, contact Anna Walraven at (800) 395-2522. You may also register online at StudentCareerDays.org.
go to top
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR 2011 PLANET DAY OF SERVICE
Mark you calendars and start your planning for the third annual PLANET Day of Service, April 22, 2011. This program is a grassroots effort and opportunity for PLANET members, state associations, supplier members, PLANET partners, and other green industry professionals to come together across the country for a day of giving back to their communities through volunteer landscape, lawn care, tree care, or interior projects.
Whether your project is on a large or small scale, Day of Service helps to shine the national spotlight on our industry and to educate the public about the important role the green industry plays as a steward of our country’s green spaces. This past April, more than 3,000 volunteers from a total of 38 states and Canada participated in more than 200 projects. Those projects included landscaping elementary schools, city parks, court houses, libraries, baseball fields, playgrounds, and senior citizen homes, and creating vegetable gardens.
For more details about the PLANET Day of Service, contact Heather Finney or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522. The planetdayofservice.org Web site is being updated and should be available soon. For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Dina Wiley.
go to top
HAVE AN IDEA FOR THE 2011 GREEN INDUSTRY CONFERENCE?
As we begin the planning for next year’s Green Industry Conference, we welcome any ideas for topics that you’d like to see included. In order to build on the success of the Green Industry Conference and to create a valuable education experience, we need your perspective on the most important issues you and your colleagues in the green industry are facing.
To send us your ideas, print out the Submit An Idea form and fax it to (703) 736-9668 to the attention of Betsy Demoret. Please submit your ideas by December 31, 2010.
For additional information on the 2011 GIC, visit GreenIndustryConference.org or call PLANET at (800) 395-2522.
go to top
TRAILBLAZERS: ‘THE BEST BENEFIT OF PLANET MEMBERSHIP’
Have you ever wished you could have the undivided attention of a seasoned industry leader, who would share his or her wealth of business experience with you, for just one day? Well, that wish could become a reality, but you have until December 31, 2010, to make it happen.
December 31 is the deadline to apply for the PLANET Trailblazer Program, where you get to spend a day, one-on-one, with a respected industry leader who is willing to help you take your business to the next level. More than 100 industry veterans and professionals, across all specialty areas, have raised their hands to be PLANET Trailblazers. Nominated by their peers, these individuals set aside a full day each year to mentor up-and-coming PLANET members. And, this benefit is available to you as a member of PLANET.
Hear from one of the hundreds of PLANET members who’ve taken advantage of this opportunity: “We have always wanted to talk to other landscape professionals and pick their brains about how they do things, but with the concern about competition, we have never been able to get that kind of relationship here in our area. Thank you to PLANET for arranging such a valuable mentoring experience!”
Before you know it, December 31 will be here. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for valuable one-on-one time with an industry leader. Submit your PLANET Trailblazer Mentoring Registration Form today! If you have questions about the program, contact Gail Rogers or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.
go to top
RESEARCH WITH AN ROI: GREEN BUILDINGS
In this month’s issue of PLANET News, Judy Guido, chairwoman and founder of Guido and Associates, sheds light on GREEN building research and the opportunities it presents to and implications for our industry. Click here to read all about it on page 26.
go to top
REACCREDITATION STATUS GRANTED TO TWO SCHOOLS
Cuyahoga Community College in Highland Hills, Ohio, and Dakota County Technical College in Rosemont, Minnesota, recently earned their reaccreditation status.
PLANET’s accreditation program is an “industry accreditation,” driven by the needs of the landscape industry. It provides local and national recognition for schools with four-year Bachelor of Science and two-year Associate of Science degree programs that meet the needs of the industry, and it is the only nationally recognized endorsement offered to colleges and universities with landscape/horticulture curricula. Twenty-six institutions of higher learning now have programs that are PLANET accredited.
The site visit team for Cuyahoga Community College included leader and co-chair Kent Hammond, associate professor emeritus, The Ohio State University and The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, Wooster, Ohio; Mark Deacon, chair, Landscape Horticulture Technologies, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cincinnati, Ohio; and George Hohman, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, president, Turfscape Inc., Twinsburg, Ohio. The team granted provisional full accreditation through 2017 to the school’s Plant Science and Technology Program.
Hammond was also part of the Dakota County Technical College site visit team that consisted of David Emmitt, program manager, Plant Science and Landscape Technology, Cuyahoga Community College, Highland Hills, Ohio; and Scott Frampton, co-owner, Landscape Renovations, Inc., Frampton, Minnesota. The team also granted provisional full accreditation through 2017 to the school’s Landscape Horticulture AAS Degree program. Both schools will require another review at the conclusion of 2017.
For more information about PLANET accreditation, contact Anna Walraven at (800) 395-2522.
go to top
AND THE WINNER OF THE PLANET/STARS SAFE COMPANY DRAWING IS …
Congratulations to Mike Brito of Brito’s Landscaping Services, LLC, in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, on winning the iPod Touch, the prize given in a drawing for companies that joined PLANET and also the STARS Safe Company Program at this year’s Green Industry Conference.
Although the prize drawing is over, you too can be a winner if you join the STARS Safe Company Program, where the safety of your employees and your company operations is the goal. For more information about this program, contact Cheryl Claborn or call the PLANET office at (800) 395-2522.
go to top