Friday, October 1, 2010

Economic de-stimulus for small business

Going into this election, there is a lot of talk about economic stimulus. Who did what, what did it accomplish and what did it cost?

But the reality is that the economy is terrible. Many people are out of jobs, can't sell their homes for what they paid for them, or are terrified that they will be the next ones to be laid off.

What is not being discussed is hidden taxes and hidden disincentives to business.

One of the big ones was the new EPA rules for lead identification and containment. Good intentions -- contain lead and keep it from contaminating people -- but very targeted in who pays. If you are a contractor you know exactly what I mean. You just paid around $700 in fees and materials to get certified under the new rules. And the real kick in the pants is that these rules are going to cut into your business.

Why? Because those who play by the new rules will pay more. Homeowners and businesses that hire licensed contractors will pay more to have remodeling work done. Where will that business go? To those who do it without licenses and without reporting the work.

It is a hidden tax on everyone who plays by the rules, and it is a disincentive to legal business and it is an incentive to illegal business.

Illegal business -- under the table cash payments for goods and services -- is going to be a major problem for the new national health care. As the government-paid portion of the insurance is going to be based on declared income, it adds an entire new level of incentive to avoid reporting income.

And when more people avoid reporting income, the IRS becomes more intense in rooting out such fraud -- which negatively impacts those of us who are playing by the rules.

This week the International Franchising Association pointed out that new tax reporting requirements contained in the new health care bill were going to be a pain for small business.

The following comes directly from the IFA letter to the IRS

“The immense scope of this new information reporting requirement will undoubtedly impact the operations of small franchised businesses and lead to serious unintended consequences,” said IFA Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy David French. “The proposed rules are very broad and afford no opportunity to minimize the burden of these requirements. Therefore, the IFA strongly believes that the only solution for franchise business owners is to repeal these new reporting requirements before they are scheduled to go into effect.”

"Under the new health care law, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, beginning in 2012, businesses must report all transactions that involve property and services, and which aggregate more than $600 in a year. These transactions will trigger the requirement to file a Form 1099 with the IRS and furnish taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) for the businesses and persons involved. Currently, businesses are only required to file Form 1099 for independent contractors they use in their businesses. The new rules expand the requirements to cover all goods and services purchased for the business."

The IFA hit it right on the head. It is a new hidden tax on business and it discourages business.

Vote on that in November.


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