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Help with Tax Complexities for Small Business
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By Dawn Kraus

As a small business owner, you know that tax complexities have become a huge obstacle for small businesses to overcome. The Office of Advocacy of the United States Small Business Administration reported that businesses with less than 20 employees spend approximately $1,300 per employee in order to comply with tax regulations from the federal government, 45% more than bigger business. This is due in large part to the complicated and often changing regulations. With miles of paperwork and meticulous record keeping, there is little time to investigate tax rebates, deductions or credits. While drowning in a tide of paperwork and restrictions, is there hope for any small business to stay afloat? Yes! Fortunately there are a variety of resources available for small business to find information to help ride the tide of paperwork and sail on to success!

Gaining the level of knowledge needed to understand and manipulate the legalese of the tax code is difficult and time consuming. Most small businesses don’t have the time to invest or the money to hire an expert. There are resources you can make use of in order to get a little insight into these matters. The Internal Revenue Website www.irs.gov has a section dedicated to small business. With helpful instructions on what is deductible, self-employment tax, employment taxes, information on partners and stakeholders and even small business videos, this is a valuable resource for all businesses that should be periodically checked throughout the year. In addition, the IRS website also has links to state websites, providing access to information for whatever state you are located in.

Although finding help to sort through tax complexities is beneficial, what about the tax regulations that make it difficult to survive as a small business? The Office of Advocacy of the United States Small Business Administration speaks out against unjust taxation for small business. As the ‘small business watchdog’, the Office of Advocacy represents the views of small business to federal agencies as well as to Congress and the President. The Office is currently working on a Top 10 list of tax rulings that should be reviewed and reformed. Among these Top 10 Rules for Review and Reform are:

  • Ask the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council to remove the “foreign exemption” from the federal procurement policy. This should act as an incentive for federal agencies to award contracts to US-based small businesses rather than overseas companies.
  • Have the Office of Federal Procurement Policy review the reverse auction techniques for online procurement to see the impact it has on small firms.
  • Request the Internal Revenue Service to simplify the home office business deduction by permitting a standard deduction, which affects 53% of all small businesses.

For more information about the Office of Advocacy’s Top 10 Rules for Review and Reform, visit their website at www.sba.gov.

Another great resource for small businesses is SCORE, counselors to America’s small businesses. They are a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to the education of entrepreneurs. At their website, www.score.org, SCORE provides helpful sections such as ‘How To’, ‘Business Tools’, and ‘Disaster Prep and Relief’. With 24 hour mentoring advice, in person mentoring, low costs workshops nationwide, and online workshops, SCORE is an essential resource for any small business.

With a little research and perseverance, small businesses can not only survive the flood of tax complexities, but thrive, growing stronger and bigger. With the help of the Office of Advocacy, small business owners have a voice in government and hope for future change.

Dawn Kraus has been working with small businesses and not-for-profit organizations since she graduated Johnson and Wales University in 1994.
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