<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Business News - Money, Financial & Corporate News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/business http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSun, 23 Apr 2017 22:59:22 -0500Sun, 23 Apr 2017 22:59:22 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bebe Is Closing All 175 of Its Stores]]> Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:35:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/bebe5.jpg

Bebe expects to close all of its brick-and-mortar locations by the end of May, the clothing retailer said in a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The chain had previously said it was committed to closing 21 locations, which represented roughly 12 percent of its total outlets, CNBC reported.

The move comes amid speculation that the company plans to transition to an online-only model.

Bebe didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[MasterCard Rolls Out Cards With Fingerprint Sensor]]> Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:07:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/MasterCard-34123792165_e987246927_o.jpg

MasterCard is testing payment cards with fingerprint sensors in South Africa and hopes to roll it out to the rest of the world by the end of the year, the company said Thursday. 

The technology works in the same way as it does with mobile phone payments: users must have their finger over the sensor when making a purchase. Upon cardholders' registration, their fingerprint is converted to an encrypted digital template. 

Tech experts have said that while using fingerprints is not foolproof, it is a "sensible" use of biometric technology, the BBC reported.

"Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security," Ajay Bhalla, president ofenterprise risk and security, said in a press release. "It’s not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected."

The biometric verification can only be used for in-store purchases. Online and other so-called "card not present" transactions will still require further security measures, according to the BBC. 



Photo Credit: Courtesy MasterCard]]>
<![CDATA[Green Initiatives of Top Companies ]]> Wed, 19 Apr 2017 20:00:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DIT+Earth+Week+Companies+THUMB.jpg

In honor of Earth Week, NBC looked at 5 of the most valuable companies to see what kind of green initiatives they are engaged in.

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<![CDATA[Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Closing]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 19:08:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/storesclosing.jpg

Some major retailers, struggling to compete with online companies, have been forced to close brick-and-mortar locations. Here are some of the biggest names affected by the change in consumer habits.

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<![CDATA[$martMoney]]> Tue, 08 May 2012 09:08:56 -0500 ]]> <![CDATA[New Hampshire Farm Lets You Do Yoga With Baby Goats]]> Wed, 19 Apr 2017 10:10:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/200*120/Screen+Shot+2017-04-18+at+1.40.45+PM.png

The latest fitness trend might just convince some people to slap on yoga pants, especially if they love baby animals.

Jenness Farm in Nottingham, New Hampshire, has gotten a lot of attention after introducing yoga with baby goats as a part of their business a few weeks ago. The tiny goats are let loose while yoga students get into various yoga positions. 

The result is a mix of the relaxed mindfulness that yoga offers and some chaotic cuteness. 

Jenness Farm raises dairy goats for a variety of products, such as goat milk, soaps, and other bath and body items, but visitors have been able to get up-close-and-personal with the animals on their yoga mats for the past few weeks. 

Owner Peter Corriveau said many followers of the farm's Facebook page suggested he offer the yoga class after similar ones have been seen trending in other areas. He has run Jenness Farm since 2001 and knew that his goats would be perfect for the job since he bottle raises them himself.

“Goats are very intelligent and curious,” he said. “Within the first hour of their life they are up and walking around. They are very playful.”

The farm recruited local yoga instructor Janine Bibeau, a frequent visitor of Jenness Farm and a fellow goat-lover. The first few classes have been a big hit and presented a new way to bring in yoga newcomers.

“This is unlike any yoga that I’ve ever taught,” said Bibeau, “you can come into this room feeling tired or sad and you are going to leave a lot more joyous and energetic. After the last class that we taught, my face was sore from smiling the whole time.”

Bibeau has goats of her own, but they are a bit calmer than the hyperactive baby goats that like to jump on top of people while they pose. Her older goats will simply come up and cuddle while she practices her yoga. 

The energetic baby goats are a good representation of how chaotic life can get. Her students are challenged to remain mindful, but of course are encouraged to pet and play with the goats during the class.

Interest in the class has exploded since photos and video from the first few classes have gone viral on Facebook. There is already a long waiting list to get into a class, but Corriveau says that they are working on expanding the yoga area to let more people in at once. 

For more information on goat yoga at Jenness Farm you can visit their website here.

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<![CDATA[10 Discounts, Deals and Freebies for Tax Day 2017]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 12:19:17 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tax+day+deals+2017.png

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Last-Minute Tax Day Filing: How to Pay Uncle Sam at the Deadline]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:50:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tax-form.jpg

Waiting until the last minute to pay your taxes can cost you if you are expecting a refund, since the government hangs on to your money and receives more interest on it. However, if you owe money to the government, that same principle applies to you. Why not wait until the last minute? 

There is no reason not to, as long as your return is postmarked or electronically submitted by April 18, 2017, and your payments are submitted then as well. Extending your deadline to file does not extend your payment time. You are expected to pay the amount you owe, or your best estimate, by the April 18 deadline. 

If you do have to make an estimate, it is usually best to err towards overpaying. Paying too much can always be applied to next year’s taxes, but paying too little requires that you pay interest on the difference – and could expose you to an audit if you greatly underestimate the amount. 

You have four general payment methods from which to choose: 

 

  • Check/Money Order – The classics never go out of style. The IRS accepts checks or money orders payable to the United States Treasury. Include your phone number, Social Security number, and the 1040-V payment voucher (or other voucher as appropriate for the tax form you are submitting). 

  • Credit/Debit Cards – There are six IRS-approved payment processors for credit or debit cards. Links to these vendors may be found on the IRS website here. Debit card charges are usually flat fees ($2.25-$3.95) and credit cards are charged as a percentage fee (1.87%-2%). 

  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) – Essentially, this is the reverse of direct deposit. Most e-filing methods require EFW. This has to take place as part of the electronic filing process – you cannot initiate EFW after your taxes have been submitted.

    Check with your financial institution and verify that they allow EFW transactions. If so, they will supply you with the routing number and account number for the account from which you wish to have the funds withdrawn. Do not assume that the routing number on your checks is the correct one – sometimes extra internal routing digits are included, and the numbers need to conform to the IRS standards.

    You will need to supply a contact phone number, Social Security numbers for every filer, and a payment date. You can still choose to have your payment made on April 18, even if your form is filed earlier. 

  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) – This is the IRS-run equivalent of EFW. It has the advantage of allowing same-day wiring of funds from your account, and is useful for scheduling regular estimated tax payments for the self-employed.

    EFTPS requires registration with the IRS. It can take five to seven business days to register, so make sure you leave enough time for your registration process to be completed before your payment deadline expires.

 

Electronic methods can be used on all 1040 Series forms, but not all tax forms or taxes can be handled through electronic payments. For details, check the links available on the IRS website here. This page also contains links for businesses to use in electronic payments. 

Should the computer gremlins attack or you spill coffee on your keyboard, you can still pay by phone using one of the IRS-approved credit/debit card processors, or by calling the IRS directly and using EFTPS. 

Choose whichever payment method works best for you, and pay at the last minute with confidence. Just do not forget to make that payment before the deadline, or you’ll have to make a much bigger payment later.

Read More From Our Partners at Moneytips:

 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How to File for an Extension on Tax Day]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 06:40:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tax+forms.jpg

The tax day deadline is here but don't worry if you're not ready to file your taxes. 

You may file an extension with the IRS that gives you up to six more months to file your taxes — but you gotta do it today and still have to pay. Filing an extension will spare you from late filing penalties — 5 percent of the amount of tax you owe for each month or partial month past the April 18 deadline. The extension is automatic — you do not have to send any justification or reasoning like "I have 5,000 wadded-up receipts crammed in a shoebox." 

To file an extension, fill out IRS Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Tax Return” and submit it before the April 18 filing deadline. The form and instructions are available at your local IRS office, online here, or through any e-filing service. 

The form is quite simple, requiring your Social Security Number for identification (and your spouse’s if you are married and filing jointly) along with your best estimate of your tax liability and the amount you are paying. Note the important distinction: an extension to file does not mean an extension to pay. You are still expected to pay the amount of taxes that you owe even though the exact amount is unknown. You still have to pay interest on any underpayment, and potential penalties apply if you pay less than 90 percent of your tax bill. 

You can file Form 4868 electronically or as a paper form. E-filings must be submitted by midnight local time on April 18; paper forms must be postmarked by April 18. The instructions for Form 4868 will tell you where to mail your paper copies, as well as outlining your payment options if you expect to owe. You will receive a confirmation when your e-filed extension is approved, but with a paper filing, you are only notified if the extension is rejected.

How can an automatic extension be rejected? That generally happens when the basic information does not match up, although your extension may be rejected if you grossly underestimate the amount of tax that you owe. A simple error like transposing numbers on your SSN or a mismatching address that was not updated with the IRS will keep your extension from being accepted. Notification in either case makes e-filing a safer option for extensions. 

Extensions may also be granted under special circumstances such as military service in a combat zone (See IRS Publication 3, “Armed Forces’ Tax Guide”), or if you are a U.S. citizen living abroad and meet certain criteria (see IRS Publication 54, “Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad”). 

Unless you live in one of the seven states that have no state income tax, you will also need to file a state tax extension. The procedure for filing state tax extensions varies by state, so contact your state tax agency to verify the rules. Some states grant a six-month extension automatically, others require that you file a request. 

Just as with your federal return, you still have to pay your best estimate of the state taxes that you owe. If you can do so, it is best to err on the overpayment side. You will avoid any underpayment penalties and can receive a refund when you do file your state taxes. 

Filing an extension can bring you peace of mind and keep you from making potentially costly tax mistakes. However, if possible you should plan to file your taxes on time next year and avoid the guesswork of how much you owe in taxes. Modify your filing and tracking system so that next year it consists of more than a shoebox full of wadded-up receipts.

More From Our Partners at Moneytips:



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[JC Penney Postponing Store Closures, Liquidation Sales]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 15:26:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages_450830623.jpg

J.C. Penney announced it has postponed the liquidation sales and closure dates for the 138 stores it plans to shutter this year after seeing an increase in sales, the company told CNBC exclusively.

"Ever since the company announced its store closure list, those stores have seen better-than-expected sales and traffic," J.C. Penney spokeswoman Daphne Avila told CNBC.

The liquidation will now begin May 22 instead of April 17 as originally scheduled. The new closure date of July 31 is about six weeks later than J.C. Penney originally planned.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[These Airlines Have the Worst Records for Bumping Passengers]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 15:31:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-157241910.jpg

Despite United Airlines' high-profile blunder in yanking a passenger from a full flight, the odds of getting bumped from your next flight on a U.S. carrier are very small, CNBC reported.

But a lot depends on which airline you choose to fly.

Faced with slim profit margins on each ticket sold, the airline industry routinely sells some seats twice, based on the odds that some passengers won't show up.

Some airlines apparently do a much better job of calculating those odds than others, based on a review of Department of Transportation statistics on what the industry refers to as "denied boardings."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Forbes' Five Most Valuable Baseball Teams]]> Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:42:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/DIT_SPO_FORBES_TOP_5_BASEBALL_1-149193940108300001.jpg

Forbes released their 2017 list of most valuable MLB teams. Find out if your team is near the top.

 
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<![CDATA[Tesla Becomes Most Valuable US Automaker]]> Mon, 10 Apr 2017 16:42:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-545144512.jpg

Tesla overtook General Motors during trading Monday to become the most valuable automaker in the United States, CNBC reported.

The electric car company sold about 76,000 vehicles last year, a fraction of the 10 million sold the same year by GM.

But Tesla's market capitalization, which is calculated by multiplying the total number of shares by the present stock price, hit about $51 billion, Bloomberg reported. That was about $1.7 billion more than GM, as of 9:35 a.m. ET.

PiperJaffray analyst Alexander Potter said in a note that Tesla has a "captivating impact on consumers and shareholders alike" that will be difficult for competitors to replicate.

Tesla shares rose more than 3 percent to reach a fresh all-time high of $313.73 in midafternoon trading Monday, after receiving the highest price forecast ever issued for the stock by an analyst at a major firm.

The stock closed up over 3 percent at $312.39 per share.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon Refunding Up to $70 Million for Kids' In-App Purchases]]> Wed, 05 Apr 2017 20:47:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AMAZON_AP_16287435798944.jpg

For any parent whose kid racked up a big bill making in-app purchases on Amazon, a refund may be on the way, NBC News reported.

The FTC and internet retailing giant Amazon agreed Tuesday to set aside their appeals in a case over this very issue and set the stage for a potential $70 million in refunds for purchases made from November 2011 to May 2016.

A court found last year that Amazon hadn't gotten parents' consent when their children made some in-app charges.

The FTC has filed similar cases in the past against Apple and Google. Following outcry, Apple added additional default protections to make it harder for children to make in-app purchases without the account holder's parents' password.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Prices Rise for US Housing Market ]]> Thu, 30 Mar 2017 20:29:06 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NC_homeprices0330_1500x845.jpg

A warmer-than-normal February and a strong stock market are helping to inspire Americans to start house hunting early. Rising prices for homes have also pressured some to make fast offers out of fear of being priced out of a home. 

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<![CDATA[Uber Suspends Self-Driving Car Program After Crash]]> Sun, 26 Mar 2017 00:24:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16349000708921-Uber-Self-Driving-Cars.jpg

Uber Technologies Inc. suspended its pilot program for driverless cars on Saturday after a vehicle equipped with the nascent technology crashed on an Arizona roadway, the ride-hailing company and local police said.

As Reuters reports, the accident, the latest involving a self-driving vehicle operated by one of several companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles, caused no serious injuries, Uber said.

Even so, the company said it was grounding driverless cars involved in a pilot program in Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco pending the outcome of investigation into the crash on Friday evening in Tempe.



Photo Credit: Eric Risberg, AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Costco Wholesale Expands Test of Home Grocery Delivery ]]> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 16:52:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477000903.jpg

Costco is ramping up its home grocery delivery efforts by teaming up with another third-party service, CNBC reported.

Shipt, an online grocery delivery service, said Tuesday it was adding Costco to its delivery service in the Tampa metro area. The service is available to consumers using the Shipt app.

Costco already has home grocery delivery service available in the San Francisco market through Instacart, another third-party delivery service.

Costco didn't respond to requests for comment.

In Tuesday's release, Shipt said it plans to offer its services to 50 markets and over 30 million households by the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Famed Restaurant French Laundry Switches to 'Tickets' From Reservations]]> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 22:25:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/french+laundry-0320-2017.jpg

A world famous, Michelin three-star restaurant in Napa County is among the latest high-end establishments to join the trend of requiring prepaid "tickets" for reservations.

The French Laundry in Yountville, long considered one of the finest restaurants in the world, began using a service called Tock on Monday for its customers to book prepaid tables online because, it seems, even a three-star dining room isn't immune to no-shows.

The new booking system requires diners to pay for some or all of their meals when they schedule their reservations. And at the time of purchase, they also can tell the restaurant about any food allergies or make other special requests.

The French Laundry's booking options through Tock include a table in the dining room for up to seven guests, which costs $310 per person, and a table in a private dining room for eight to 12 guests, which costs $400 per diner.

Other restaurants using the Tock system include Lazy Bear in San Francisco, Staplehouse in Atlanta and Lûmé in Melbourne, Australia.

The French Laundry has received Michelin's top three-star rating for the past six years, according to the restaurant's website.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>