Filing Frenzy: Tax Deadline Strikes Today

tax-day

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

tax

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.

More Taxes? No Taxes? How About Fair Taxes

By John Stanford, WIPP Government Relations

WIPP recently submitted testimony to the House Small Business Committee on comprehensive tax reform. This blog gives an overview of WIPP’s advocacy efforts. For more details, I encourage you to read the testimony. Our government relations team strives to make official communications as easy-to-read as possible, but should you have questions please reach out to WIPP.   

 

Women entrepreneurs deserve a tax system that rewards the effort, tenacity, and risk it takes to start and grow a business. Moreover, they deserve a system of revenue collection (because that’s what taxes are) that is simple and fair.

In testimony submitted to the House Small Business Committee, WIPP said just that. Citing reports from the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate as well as the SBA Office of Advocacy, the testimony documents what women business owners already know: the tax system is broken, failing under the weight of complexity, uncertainty and outdated policies. But more importantly, the testimony addresses the impact of possible reforms – and the need for any overhaul to be comprehensive.

What does that mean? It means that the idea to lower the corporate tax rate, favored by the White House and some in Congress, must not happen independently of adjusting individual rates in a similar manner. This distinction matters because so many businesses, including almost 9 in 10 women-owned businesses, are structured as “pass-through” entities paying taxes as individuals (including S-Corps, Sole-proprietorships, partnerships, and LLCs).

Corporate-only reforms would be unfair to these businesses – and for that reason WIPP has always supported comprehensive (corporate + individual) reform. The testimony underscored this important point.

In addition, WIPP identified tax policies that, absent major reforms, would benefit women entrepreneurs. This includes making more small business tax credits and deductions permanent. In recent years, these tax “extenders” have been extended (hence their name) at the last minute, or even retroactively – not a good way for business owners to plan their budgets.

WIPP also asked Congress to consider tax credits that benefit new businesses, helping offset the costs of launching a new company. Another policy request was to avoid changing the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) provisions in the tax code, as these have proven to be both popular and good tools to incentivize productivity and long-term business health.

In agreement with the idea that simple businesses (sales – costs = income) should have simple taxes, WIPP also supports simplifying the cash accounting method and expanding its optional use to more small businesses. Finally, with healthcare costs an always-growing burden on employers, WIPP continues its support of expanding the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit so more women entrepreneurs minimize the cost of providing healthcare to employees.

More ideas for reforming the tax system to incentivize entrepreneurship and innovation are out there. WIPP will continue working to identify policies that let women business owners focus more on their business and less on complex tax requirements. At the end of the day, all of these decisions should be made with the basic principles of simplicity and fairness in mind. And that’s exactly what we asked Congress to do.