NASE on Micro-Business

Posts Tagged ‘stimulus

The health care reform debate is constantly evolving.  Here are some of the week’s top health care headlines to help keep you up-to-date on what’s being said:

Healthcare Reform Debate Heats Up In The House (The Small Business Watchdog)
Power player, the House Ways and Means Committee, debates the idea of a public option.

Health reform FAQ: Cutting through the noise (CNN Money)
Confused about what health care reform would look like and how it would change your world? You’re not alone.

Little Known Info About the Self-Employed and Health Reform [Survey] (NASE on Micro-Business)

President Obama Comments on Self-Employed and Health Reform (ABC News)
His comments on the self-employed and health care reform start at the 4:00 mark of this video clip of the interview.

HHS Secretary Presses Congress on Health Care Reform, Rules Out Increased Deficit Spending (Fox News)
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers Wednesday that President Barack Obama is willing to listen to suggestions on how to pay for a health care overhaul, as long as they don’t increase the deficit.

Bipartisan Health Bill Gets Cold Shoulder (Roll Call)
With President Barack Obama and lawmakers in both parties continuing to struggle for a bipartisan health care reform deal, sweeping legislation — pushed by a bipartisan Senate duo — that would fundamentally restructure the way Americans get their health insurance has been gathering dust.

Often times when policymakers are putting together economic recovery and stimulus packages, it is usually micro-business and the self-employed that are left out in the cold. This is not because legislators don’t care about micro-businesses, but rather because they are do not realize that the needs of the self-employed differ greatly from a small business with 25, 50 or 150 employees.

In February, President Obama signed into law the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), a stimulus package which included various spending projects and tax cuts to spur our ailing economy. In addition to some changes to various SBA loan programs, the big stimulus provision touted for small business was an extension of the $250,000 limit of Section 179 expensing. Of course, for some businesses that use expensive equipment such as construction or manufacturing this is an important provision. However, the average micro-business owner is not likely to purchase that much equipment in one year. Yet there is one new tax credit included in ARRA that, I am happy to report, will benefit the self-employed.

The “Making Work Pay” tax credit is a temporary refundable tax credit available in the 2009 and 2010 tax years that will allow the self-employed to receive a credit of up to $400 for individuals and $800 for married taxpayers filing jointly. To qualify, your gross income must be less than $75,000 or $150,000 for married couples. The Corporation for Economic Development’s (CFED) Self-Employment Tax Initiative estimates that the “Making Work Pay” tax credit could positively impact up to 15 million self-employed taxpayers or 68% of all Schedule C filers. Interestingly, it is not well known that this tax credit applies to the self-employed; yet, for all those entrepreneurs struggling in this difficult economic time, it could offer welcome financial assistance.

The “Making Work Pay” tax credit is the realization of the Obama administration’s promise to offer economic assistance to the middle class. We are pleased to see that they did not exclude the self-employed from their efforts.

Here are some of the top small business articles and blog posts of the week so far:

·         You\’ve finally settled up with Uncle Sam. So what should you do with the extra cash? (CNN Money)

·         Obama Seeks To Root Out Credit Card Issuer Abuses (WaPo)

·         GM Plans Major Summer Shutdown (CNN Money)

·         Will Obama Blow It With Small Businesses? (The Journal Blog)

·         105 Absolutely Free Online Videos and Lectures (SmallBizBee)

·         New Health-Care Rule for Laid-Off Workers Hits Small Businesses (Ind Street)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has forums every other month for its small business stakeholders, like the NASE.  I attended the second forum of 2009 earlier this week, and learned a couple of things that I hope will be helpful!

The recent stimulus legislation, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, included a much-discussed net operating loss carryback provision.  There is still time to take advantage of this provision even if you’ve already filed your 2008 return and waived the carryback, if you filed your 2008 return and didn’t waive the carryback, or if you haven’t filed your 2008 return yet.  However, there is not a lot of time left to take advantage of the carryback provisions – many of these forms are due by April 17, 2009!  Check out IRS.gov for more detailed information and filing instructions.

If you’ve been lucky enough to get first-hand tax advice from Keith Hall at one of our TaxTalk Seminars, you’ll remember that he makes a point to say not to run your business like you’re going to get audited.  I almost laughed at this IRS forum when one of the topics presented was about the audit process.  We were reminded that returns are randomly selected for audits, and if you file electronically you are no more likely to be selected for an audit than if you do a paper return.  Also, audits aren’t necessarily bad!  It’s more likely than not that if you are audited, your return will have no change or you might even get a refund.  Like Keith says, don’t run your business (or live you life) expecting to get audited, but remember that everyone needs to keep adequate books and records, and the more organized you are the easier it is if you are audited!

President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled a new package of aid aimed at small businesses today.  President Obama told small-business owners, “You deserve a chance. America needs you to have that chance,” as he detailed plans to ease access to credit for small business owners.  The Administration’s plan includes increasing bank liquidity, reducing lending fees and increasing loan guarantees. 

For more detailed coverage, please see The New York Times and the Washington Post’s Small Business blog.

February’s end means the first month of applications for the NASE Business Development Grant program are in! More notable than the start of the popular program for 2009 (for me, at least!) is that February marked the first month the grant applications were accepted online.

Instead of hand-writing or typing out the application form, NASE Members can now link to the grant applications through www.NASE.org/grants.

The online app still requires applicants to mail or fax in the supporting information — such as a business plan and documentation of the business — but we hope having the applications online will make it easier for members to start and complete the applications. When members create an account to start the application process, they can pause the process and come back to it at any point. They’ll also be able to easily see online whether their application is complete, when it’s being reviewed, and their award status.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the grant program, NASE Members can apply for up to $5,000 for a specific business need. Applications are accepted on a monthly rolling basis from February – November. This means when you apply in March, your application is considered against all other applications in March — not held until the end of the year.

There is some fine print — the NASE Business Development Grant program is only available to members of the association, and only to certain membership levels. If you’re unsure if you can apply for a grant, just log in to MyNASE and use the Quick Link “Grants.” Grants are given at the sole discretion of the NASE, and, unfortunately, we can not award grants to everyone who applies.

Still, it’s a great chance to get your own little stimulas package, thanks to the NASE! Log on and apply today!

The IRS has put together a helpful guide to the tax provisions in the recently enacted stimulus legislation. 

Check it out for answers to general tax-related questions about the stimulus, and more detailed information on the Economic Recovery Payment and the Making Work Pay Tax Credit.


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