Small business has geared up to battle two tax issues that impact them. They are estate taxes, which are often referred to as a "death tax," and the alternative minimum tax.
During its annual, "Death-Tax Summit," in Washington, DC, the National Federation of Independent Business assembled NFIB members to call for the permanent repeal of the death tax. "The death tax is one of the most destructive taxes small business owners face," according to an NFIB statement.
"It creates a disincentive to expand a business, create jobs, and often taxes a family business right out of the family. Instead of hiring new employees and growing the business, the death tax forces small business owners to pay for expensive estate planning simply to be able to keep the business in their family after their death," NFIB stated.
While Congress has passed temporary relief from this tax, it is scheduled to be reintroduced 2011. President Bush has repeatedly called on Congress to extend the current law.
Noting that small business is the country's number one job creator, NFIB said the elimination of the death tax "is crucial to the survival of the small business community, and we encouraged our members to make their voices heard alongside hundreds of others."
The alternative minimum tax is a complex provision enacted 40 years ago when Congress discovered the wealthiest citizens were finding loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. However, the tax was never adjusted for inflation, and now many middle class taxpayers and small business owners find themselves subject to the tax.
It's estimated that the number of taxpayers affected by the alternative minimum tax will increase from approximately 1.8 million in 2001 to more than 41 million by 2013. Congress has repeatedly passed temporary relief from the tax and is expected to extend an exemption for another year.
However, NFIB is continuing to fight for full repeal and is also focusing its efforts on ensuring that small businesses are included in any temporary extension.
Permanent relief is needed, according to NFIB, "to ensure small business owners don't slip through the cracks to face an exorbitant tax bill." While applauding any exemptions that include small businesses, the organization will continue to push for permanent relief.
Calculating whether you must pay the alternative minimum tax is not easy. Small business owners have had to spend money they otherwise would use toward growing their business on hiring tax professionals just for this tax alone, NFIB claimed.
"Small business owners are already overburdened by the complex tax code," said Dan Danner, NFIB executive vice president. "The alternative minimum tax forces millions of taxpayers to fill out a 12 line worksheet, read eight pages of instructions and complete a 55 line form to determine whether they must pay this unfair tax."
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