Economy Feed

Photo by Amina Filkins If National Small Business Week has you thinking about starting your own company, congratulations. You’ll be joining a growing sector of the U.S. economy. The Small Business Administration (SBA) describes a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees. That covers enterprises from one-person shops to manufacturing facilities with hundreds of workers. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Dynamics Statistics indicate there were 5,358,600 firms that met that definition in 2021, the latest year for complete data. That was an increase from 5,322,155 in 2020. But small really is key here. County Business Patterns (CBP) data... Read more →


Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash It’s National Small Business Week 2024! Technically, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s annual recognition event started yesterday, Sunday, April 28. The kick-off yesterday of this year's National Small Business Week (NSBW) included an awards ceremony where this year’s National Small Business Person of the Year and runner-up were named, along with the Small Business Persons of the Year from each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The event, with a theme this year of Building on America’s Small Business Boom, continues through Saturday, May 4. Your small business taxes: The full... Read more →


Elizabeth Magie portrait over her The Landlord’s Game board. (Photo: Wednesday’s Women) Rent or buy? Taxes are a part of the equation when making that crucial property decision. Taxes, or rather a specific type of tax, also was the impetus for a real-estate-based board game that morphed into (or, some would say, was appropriated by) what we now know as Monopoly. The game of property purchases and their rental rates when placed on prime gameboard landmarks has remained popular since its launch in 1933, thanks in part to hundreds of licensed spinoffs. And while Charles Darrow, an unemployed salesman in... Read more →


The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped many companies keep workers during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic days. But some ERC claims wrong, and the IRS is successfully recouping some of those incorrectly claimed and/or issued funds. The Internal Revenue Service closed out its Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) on Friday, March 22, on a high note. Going into the day, the VDP, which allowed those who got improper ERC payments to pay back most of the money, had produced more than $225 million from 500+ taxpayers. Another 800 submissions were still being processed, and even more being filed... Read more →


Are you having second thoughts about an ERC claim your company made? It so, it's time to review your records, and if you find you received an incorrect tax credit amount, let the IRS know by this Friday, March 22. (Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent) With the deadline to let the Internal Revenue Service know you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) fast approaching — it's this Friday, March 22 — business owners who are concerned need to act fast. Recipients of wrong payments can apply for the IRS' ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program by that deadline. If accepted, the businesses... Read more →


Did you discover you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) payment? You still have time to get out of the tax jam by applying for the ERC voluntary disclosure program. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) ERC voluntary disclosure deadline is March 22 Last December, the Internal Revenue Service announced that businesses that received improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) amounts could let the agency know about the error. In these cases, many of which were created when companies got bad tax advice from aggressive ERC promoters, the companies would have to repay only 80 percent of the... Read more →


Tax laws are full of unintended consequences. That became painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a variety of tax relief provisions were created to help individuals and businesses deal with the virus' economic effects. Such was the case with the Employee Retention Credit, or ERC. "The ERC provided a financial lifeline to millions of businesses and exempt organizations during the pandemic," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in his prepared testimony for the Feb. 15 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. "The IRS has worked hard to implement this credit, and we have processed about 3.6 million ERC... Read more →


It's the last weekend of 2023, and you're busy planning how you will ring in 2024 on Sunday night. Unless you live in Florida. Oh, Sunshine State residents will party on New Year's Eve, too. But many also are making back-to-school shopping lists. That's because Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, is the start of yet another Florida sales tax holiday. This two-week event waives the sales tax, both state and local option add-ons, that's usually collected on what state officials have deemed school supplies. Among the items that will be tax free during the Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 through Sunday, Jan.... Read more →


Only 80% of wrongly-claimed Employee Retention Credit amounts must be repaid. Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash We're all aware of the continuing medical issues from long COVID. The coronavirus' tax effects appear to be just as persistent. The Internal Revenue Service is still dealing with law changes enacted to provide pandemic relief. The Employee Retention Credit, or ERC, is one of them. This refundable business tax credit was designed for companies that continued paying employees during the COVID-19 pandemic despite financial hardship. To qualify, the businesses were either fully or partially suspended due to a government order, or had... Read more →


Shopping with your true love can be fun, but you'll probably have to make a separate, solo trip so you can surprise your partner. And if you want to buy any or all of the true love gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" carol, you also will want to make sure you have lots of cash or a large credit card limit. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Even though inflation has slowed this year, Americans are still grumbling about prices. But it hasn't slowed holiday shopping. More than 200 million people went in search of perfect... Read more →


More than 20,000 businesses are about to learn how serious the Internal Revenue Service is about stopping questionable Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims. The tax agency has sent them a letter notifying them that they won't be getting the COVID-19 pandemic tax relief. Many of the claims were filed by ERC mills that have aggressively promoted the tax relief, often to businesses that did not qualify. The amount of such questionable claims prompted the IRS in September to stop processing all new claims. This first round of IRS letters to some of those who did file for the ERC is... Read more →


Small businesses' many challenges were multiplied during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped many companies and their workers make it through that lean time. But recently, unscrupulous promoters have pushed some owners to improperly claim the ERC, creating new problems. Now the IRS is offering a way to correct those bad filings. (Image via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped lots of small businesses and their staff make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. When properly claimed, the ERC is a refundable tax credit designed for businesses that continued paying employees while... Read more →


A field of tulips in Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands. (Photo: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Zdeněk Macháček) Tax season, at least the filing part for most of us, ended this week with the arrival on Oct. 16 of the extension deadline. That means that many of us in the tax world are thinking of taking a bit of a break. One place to consider is Amsterdam. The Netherlands capital has always been a popular tourist destination. Yes, I'm starting with the city's more-lax laws in connection with mood altering substances and, shall we say, personal interactions. For the less daring tourist, the... Read more →


The coming wage base bump also means more FICA taxes for higher earners. It looks like this man got the good news that his Social Security benefit will be larger next year. However, the tax news for high earners who are still working isn't as welcome. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave 71 million benefits recipients good news today. Next year, they'll get a 3.2 percent increase in their Social Security retirement benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. The cost-of-living (COLA) bump means that retirees will, on average in 2024, see more than... Read more →


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash Businesses who applied for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) aren’t the only ones upset with the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of claims. So are the Republican leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Missouri), chairman of the tax-writing panel, and Rep. David Schweikert (R-Arizona), chair of the W&M Oversight Subcommittee, this week wrote to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel demanding an update on the ERC processing backlog. The ERC, also sometimes referred to as the Employee Retention Tax Credit or ERTC, was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to help businesses and... Read more →


Photo by Max Burchill on Unsplash To paraphrase a gazillion social media posts, exploitative people are why we can't have needed tax breaks. OK, Congress plays a big part. And the Internal Revenue Service too often steps on its own tax toes. But in many cases, unscrupulous people mess things up for the rest of us who are just trying to comply with tax laws and get a little bit of legitimate tax relief along the way. That's what happened with the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). This refundable tax credit was created by lawmakers to help businesses that were struggling... Read more →


Labor Day isn't a holiday for all workers. (Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash) Labor Day is a day off for many workers. But entrepreneurs probably put in regular shifts this first Monday in September. When your small business depends primarily on you, you tend to work even on holidays. Since you're busy being the boss, I won't take up too much of your time. But whether you're a new business owner or have been the boss for years, it's always good to stay on top of your tax responsibilities. Here are some tax basics for all of us self-employed... Read more →


Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash If you're planning to squeeze in an end-of-summer vacation, budget a bit more for added taxes. The tax costs are being felt primarily by international travelers. U.S. travelers, no longer so concerned about COVID-19, have embraced delayed European trips. Residents of the destinations are, for the most part, happy for the added income. However, in particularly popular disembarkation sites, the sightseers are contributing to local infrastructure stress. Those visitors, say locals, should contribute to the area's upkeep and repairs. So tourist taxes have been instituted or increased this year in visitor-favored destinations such as... Read more →


The bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico, is one of several international exchange points expecting increased traffic this weekend as Mexican shoppers visit to take advantage of Lone Star State tax holiday savings. (Photo by Nils Huenerfuerst on Unsplash) The final five summer sales tax holidays are upon us, with Texas kicking things off this weekend. And it's going to be an international affair. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials expect a higher volume of crossings into the Lone Star State starting tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 11. That's the first day of Texas' three-day back-to-school tax holiday. If... Read more →


Get ready Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia shoppers. Your back-to-school tax holidays are coming up in August. And yes, Floridians, your event wraps up this week. Many school supplies, like these at my local grocery store, will be sales-tax-free in Texas later this summer. (Photo by Kay Bell) With August just one day away, it's definitely time for parents and youngsters alike to get ready for the reopening of classrooms. Yes, those two groups likely will celebrate (or not) differently. But there's one thing they can share,... Read more →