Access to Angel Investors Just Got Easier

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

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Seeking to clear up a gray area triggering securities registration, the House of Representatives passed The Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act pushed by Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Pitch events or demo days are common methods for business owners to showcase their companies and products to a room full of investors. Right now, there is confusion about whether these events are allowed because the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules prohibit “general solicitations.” The HALOS Act would clarify that pitch events hosted by angel investors are not general solicitations and do not require securities registration – a complex and expensive process for both angel investors and companies seeking investment.

Angel investment is particularly important for women-owned businesses. Recent data indicates that one in four angel-backed companies are led by women. The number of women-led companies receiving angel investments has increased by 234% in just the last decade. Since women-owned businesses receive only 4% of conventional small business loan dollars, it is vital to cultivate other sources of capital.

This bill will now move onto the Senate for consideration. WIPP will continue to engage Members of Congress on access to capital issues. An additional recommendation in WIPP’s access to capital platform, Breaking the Bank, urges Congress to incentivize angel investments with tax credits.

 

 

Filing Frenzy: Tax Deadline Strikes Today

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By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

Tax Day is upon us and woman business owners have been working overtime. Not on growing their firms, planning investments or making important hiring decisions, but on tax compliance. At least, that’s according the House Small Business Committee, which took a look at the burdensome tax.

Forgetting tax liability – the amount a business owes – the Committee focused on how difficult it is for small businesses to satisfactorily comply with dense tax rules. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses spend 5.5 billion hours preparing and filing taxes – time that should be spent growing the business. The costs and complexity of calculating tax provisions makes it difficult for smaller businesses to take advantage of incentives designed to reward investment. As a result, larger businesses that can incur the costs of calculation reap the rewards.

As we’ve heard from WIPP members across the country, tax certainty is a top priority. Clarity on what provisions and incentives will be enacted would provide businesses with the ability to plan ahead, rather than adjust to a changing environment. For the last few years, Congress has passed legislation solely for “tax extenders” – deductions and credits that were set to expire at the end of the previous year, but were extended to cover the current tax year. While many of these credits could provide some relief for small businesses, firms spent the entire year without knowing if these provisions would be available. Hardly an efficient way to have to run your business.

A simpler tax code would reduce compliance time and allow owners to focus on their business – not the latest tax rules. Also, small businesses should be able to take advantage of the same incentives that larger businesses can. WIPP will continue to focus our advocacy on the two guiding principles of simplicity and fairness for women-owned businesses.

Could comprehensive reform – not seen since the 1980’s – be on the horizon? House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced last week that his Committee is planning to release a tax-reform “blueprint” this summer. Additionally, Members of the House and Senate have stirred over international tax reform in the wake of recent corporate mergers. While the conversations are ongoing, comprehensive tax reform in an election year, with an ardently divided Congress seems, at least in our view, unlikely.

For updates on tax policy and other finance issues, please visit WIPP’s Economy and Tax section and WIPP’s Economic Blueprint.

 

 

House Committee Talks Taxes For Small Businesses

BY: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

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If, like most small business owners, you have concerns about year-end tax planning, Congress may have a Holiday present for your business’ bottom line.

 

An agreement to reauthorize tax rules, known as “extenders,” could come before Congress adjourns for their Holiday recess. Extenders are temporary tax rules and require Congress to authorize their renewal. Extension of these provisions, although temporary, could save your business from significant tax liability.

 

For small businesses, these changes can have a tremendous impact. The House Small Business Committee held a hearing, “Employers of Choice: How the Tax Extender Debate Will Affect Small Business” on December 3 to discuss how the year-to-year renewal process impacts small firms. The hearing allowed members of the small business community to explain the importance of these tax rules and how uncertainty can negatively affect investments by small businesses.

 

Did your small business invest in any equipment this year? Then one tax extender that is important for your business is often referred to by its place in the tax code, Section 179, or simply as “Small Business Expensing.” This rule allows businesses to deduct the full cost of equipment purchased during the tax year, subject to certain conditions, instead of writing off portions of the purchased equipment over several years. If this provision is not extended, small businesses that made significant investments in equipment could face higher tax liability.

 

Last year, Congress agreed to reauthorize certain tax extenders for the 2014 tax year. For the 2015 tax year, negotiators in the House and Senate are still determining what tax rules to extend and for how long. A similar bargain is expected this year, but it is still unclear what provisions will be included.

 

For more information, please see WIPP’s advocacy efforts on the Economy and Tax.