GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks jump worldwide as Bank of Japan rate goes negative

* Bank of Japan unexpectedly adopts negative rates in big stimulus step




Etsy Dives Into Video with New Video App Feature for Merchants

etsy shop videos

The eCommerce website Etsy has announced a new feature for its sellers. Called Shop Videos, the feature is an addition to Etsy’s mobile app where sellers can add videos to their shop pages.

Through the “Sell on Etsy” app, shop owners can now take videos of their products using their smartphones and share them directly to their Etsy page and social media accounts.

According to Etsy, this move was made for sellers to have the chance to share more about their products in a highly-visualized way without the hassle of professional video production.

By using the Etsy app on iOS, the video capturing feature comes with a built-in editing tools where users can clip videos, add transitions and music and a lot more. In the past, many Etsy sellers put videos on their shop pages curated from different sites.

Sellers can still upload their previous videos in the Etsy Shop Videos page. But now, Etsy sellers can also take advantage of this new feature to document their production and advertise their products without spending money.

Sellers can also use it for sharing daily activities to create a more personal relationship with their followers.

How Etsy Shop Videos Benefit Sellers

According to a study by ReelSEO in 2013, 93 percent of surveyed marketers used videos in their marketing campaigns while 82 percent confirmed that using videos in marketing brought positive impact to their businesses.

For Etsy shop owners, it is the best time to utilize Etsy Shop Videos. Not only can it take advertising to the next level, videos can really help customers visualize products — how the product is used or how it works — instead of just staring at a static picture.

Videos can also generate greater reach and recall.

Nielsen and the interactive Advertising Bureau reported (PDF) that videos generate 33 percent brand recall and 45 percent message recall in brand campaigns. Through effective presentation, videos can really leverage product offerings.

The only challenge for shop owners and marketers is the content of their videos. Good content can boost brand reputation and image which in turn help businesses grow.

Image: Etsy

This article, “Etsy Dives Into Video with New Video App Feature for Merchants” was first published on Small Business Trends

U.S. DOT, Auto Industry Agree on Safety, Other Requirements as Cars Continue to Become Wheeled Computers

U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, announced a deal with automakers to improve car safety standards, particularly pertaining to technology in automobiles.

[Related: U.S. Department of Transportation Maps Out Plan For Self-Driving Vehicles]

The deal includes a set of principles upon which both the DOT and the auto industry have agreements. They include enhanced security to protect automobiles (which are increasingly connected to the Internet) from cyberattack; increasing safety recall participation rates; the incorporation of advanced data analytics for the early identification of safety risks; and a continued effort to enhance and facilitate proactive safety.

“We have finalized a historic agreement on a set of broad-ranging actions to help make our roads safer and help avoid the sort of safety crisis that generates the wrong kind of record-setting and headlines,” said Secretary Foxx.

“The commitments we make today will help catch safety defects before they explode into massive recalls. They will help improve the quality of data that automakers and NHTSA analyze to identify defects today, and they will find ways to generate better data in the future.”

Last week, DOT announced it will not only support but encourage efforts to increase the development of autonomous vehicles, so-called “driverless cars.” This effort is part of President Obama’s proposal to invest $4 billion dollars into the DOTs work with automakers on high-tech vehicles to ensure compliance and safety standards.

Autonomous cars and car-sharing services, such as Uber, are expected to massively disrupt the auto industry. A report last month from Juniper Research shows traditional automakers losing market share to tech companies, including Google and Apple, over the next ten years. Google already has an autonomous vehicle  prototype that is being tested on America’s roads.

Documents have been discovered revealing a self-driving car is in the works from Apple. Ford began testing its new car-sharing service, Ford Credit Link, to compete with services such as Uber and Lyft.

When Will I Get My Employer W2, Investments 1099, Mortgage 1098 and Other 2016 Tax Return Forms and Filing Documents


[Updated for 2015-2016 tax season] Before we file our tax returns there are a number of forms we need to receive from our employers, financial institutions and other entities we make money from, conducted financial transactions or did business with. Below are estimated time frames for when we can expect to receive some of these common income tax forms.

Employer W-2. This is the most common form required at filing and is provided by your employer(s) to document your earnings for the calendar year.  It outlines the taxes your employer withheld during the year and key compensation elements like your salary, bonus, retirement contributions and severance payments. For most people this tax form is the key one for filing your tax return. If you had multiple jobs in a year you will get multiple W-2 forms. That is, one per employer.  Employers are required by law to provide (via mail or hand-delivered) a form W-2 by the end of January. If you have not received your W-2 shortly after this date contact your employer’s payroll or HR department to obtain a re-issued copy. You can also contact the IRS if not received by mid-February.

Also remember, a lot companies and organizations are moving to providing forms online rather than mailed. So check your employer HR Portal (like Workday or or online account to see if applicable tax forms can be downloaded from there.

W-2s are here! Pay $0 to file Fed & State. Fed Free Edition.

Form 1098. You’ll receive this form if you paid interest on a home mortgage or student loan, paid college tuition or donated to charity. Look to get this form (Copy B) by the end of January as well. If you do not receive the form, contact the originating financial agency or charity and remind them that the IRS requires them to provide the form by January 31st.

As part of the affordable care act and the mandatory insurance requirement you will see a few new forms this year. It is important to file this or you could face a stiff penalty as the IRS. You should receive a form 1095-B for your employer sponsored health insurance coverage. Or if you bought insurance from a health care exchange you should file a form 8962 (Premium Tax Credit).

Form 1099 series (investment or unearned income). This family of tax forms is for reporting unearned income (i.e income that isn’t salary, wages or tips). It is the most widely used set of IRS forms by financial institutions to report their account holders tax obligations. There are several types of 1099 forms, including:

  • 1099-DIV, which reports dividends, distributions, capital gains and federal income tax withheld from investment accounts (which include mutual and ETFs).You should get one of these forms from your mutual fund or brokerage institution. Vanguard, Fidelity and other major financial institutions have the key dates for receipt of tax forms on their websites. For example Vanguard is providing their forms by the mid January (I have already received mine for this tax year) . Fidelity has stated that most forms will be sent to account holders by mid February. The smaller brokers sometimes run late, but they are obligated to notify you of any delays in distributions of these forms.
  • 1099-B. You’ll need this form to determine investment capital gains or losses. For mutual fund accounts, Form 1099-B reports all sales, exchanges, and redemptions (for non retirement accounts. For brokerage accounts, this form reports sales, mergers, bond maturities, and aggregate profits or losses on regulated futures contracts. These are normally sent in mid-February.
  • 1099-INT keeps track of interest income you earn on investments such as fixed income investments like high yield or money market savings accounts. These are normally sent in mid-February.
  • 1099-MISC documents self-employment earnings, as well as miscellaneous income such as royalties, commissions or rents. It covers all non-employee income that is not derived from investments.  You’ll receive a 1099-MISC if you earned more than $600 from any one company while working as an independent contractor, consultant or freelancer within the tax year. These are normally sent in mid-February.
  • 1099-R – This form report transactions from retirement accounts (including IRAs and employer-sponsored plans) such as distributions, removal of excess contributions, Roth conversions, IRA recharacterizations or rollovers, and federal and state tax withholding. The related form to this one is Form 5498 which provides contributions and conversion information for traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs, and Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs. These are normally sent in mid-February.
  • 1099–SA reports taxable transactions for those who own a health savings account and took a distribution.
  • 1099-Q is send to those who received a distribution from a 529 plan account.

Form 1042–S is mailed to nonresident alien investors. It reports dividends and short- and long-term capital gains for non-retirement accounts, and distributions from retirement accounts, including IRAs. The form also reports federal income tax withheld, referred to as nonresident alien withholding.  This form normally takes more time than the others and you can expect it sometime in mid-March.

Most IRS reporting tax forms are required to be provided only for amounts of $10 or more, or if taxes have been previously withheld. However, you must report any investment income or distributions you receive to the IRS. While most of the above forms used to be only mailed, you can now also choose an eDelivery method. See this article for key IRS tax filing deadlines.