Tax Relief on the Horizon for Small Businesses

Tax Relief on the Horizon for Small Businesses

Small business owners are calling for tax reform, and they may be getting the financial relief they seek.

In a recent poll of 700 small business owners and prospective buyers, BizBuySell found that small business owners rank health care reform and tax reform as the top two issues for the President to address. Health care reform ranked highest, with 44 percent of respondents calling it the number one issue. Tax reform was a close second, with 43 percent of owners and prospective buyers ranking it as their biggest concern.

While the Republicans’ proposed plan for overhauling the Affordable Care Act collapsed in the House of Representatives last week, lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to lower the tax rate for small businesses. Many in Congress are geared up for a long battle over tax cuts versus cutting spending to offset decreased tax revenues, but two Senators are pushing a bill that would mean more immediate tax relief for small business owners.

The legislation, introduced by senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), was first introduced in the House by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) as the Main Street Fairness Act. The act aims to limit the top tax rate on small businesses that file as S Corporations, ensuring small businesses don’t pay higher tax rates than large corporations. The rates are as high as 39.6 percent for these small businesses, and the proposed legislation would limit the top rate to the 35 percent corporate rate.

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of our local economies, and this bill is just one way we can help them succeed,” Nelson said.

The IRS issued a notice Thursday, announcing a new option for small business owners to apply a portion or all of their research credit against their payroll tax liability instead of their income tax liability. Changes to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act expanded the research credit, making more small start-ups eligible to claim the credit. While the research credit is valuable to businesses that invest in research, it also benefits businesses without a taxable income, including smaller startups and new businesses. According to the IRS, the credit is still available to businesses that have already filed this season.