NASE Blogs

Thursday, July 05, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - In the wake of the Supreme Court’s final ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the self-employed and micro-businesses are concerned as to the impact the law will have on their health care budgets when the law goes into full effect in 2014. Nearly 900 self-employed and micro-business owners responded to the survey released within hours of the Supreme Court ruling. With the law moving forward into the implementation stage, the self-employed are, once again, looking for more information from the federal government regarding issues of affordability and cost of care. Business owners were divided on ...
Friday, June 29, 2012
Posted by Mike Beene - If I had a frequently asked question file this would be the hot new one: Did the court just hold that for some purposes the penalty for not having insurance is a tax and for some purposes not? The short answer is “yes”. The court’s reasoning is along the following lines in my own words: The most logical reading of the ACA individual mandate is that it is empowered by the commerce clause which gives broad authority to Congress to regulate interstate commerce. However, that reading is unconstitutional because the commerce clause does not extend ...
Monday, June 25, 2012
Posted by Gene Fairbrother (NASE Lead Business Consultant) - I’m sure many of you have received emails from companies advertising how they will sell you leads for new business. While I am not refuting what these folks have to offer, many of you already have some gold sitting in your filing cabinets or on you computer in the form of old sales orders, contact reports, or customer lists. A little prospecting through those old files could payoff in found revenues and add to your bottom line. It's been my experience that after a business responds to an inquiry from potential a ...
Thursday, June 21, 2012
With gas and energy prices hitting highs in the past few months, the self-employed are cutting back their business activity, according to the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). Results from a survey of more than 500 NASE members reveal that fifty-three percent said the rise in prices has moderately or significantly hurt their business.  “High gas prices are still hurting the self-employed, many of whom depend on their vehicles to conduct the day-to-day work of their businesses,” said NASE President Kristie L. Arslan. “What the self-employed and micro-businesses (10 or fewer employees) truly need is a retroactive update to ...
Monday, June 18, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - I have been fortunate enough over the last 10 years or so to travel all over the United States talking to small-business owners. We have conducted hundreds of seminars and webinars helping thousands of small-business owners with just one more question. We learned that most of the questions fall into one of four categories, Taxes, Access to Credit, Getting more customers, and How can I save on health care. This last group of questions may seem to be the odd man at the table, but the affordability of health care continues ...
Friday, June 15, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - As the country waits to hear from the Supreme Court for a decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the self-employed are weighing in on the impact of the law on their business. According to a national survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the greatest opposition to the new law among the self-employed is seen among those who are the most familiar with it. Unlike most Americans, the more the self-employed and micro-businesses (10 or less employees) learn about the law, the less likely they are to support it. “Our ...
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Posted by Kristie Arslan - As the country waits to hear from the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the self-employed are weighing in now on the impact the law is currently having on their businesses. According to a national survey released by the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), while most Americans may be expecting their health care costs to go down under the health care reform law, the self-employed, who are already facing an increase in costs, are bracing for even more. Health care coverage is important to the 22 million self-employed Americans who comprise 78 percent ...
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced last week that the Affordable Care Act's tax credit for small businesses was dolefully underused. In fact, only about 17 percent of the businesses that would otherwise be eligible for the maximum tax credit offered health insurance to employees. In addition, 83 percent of claims were for partial credits rather than the full 35 percent available. Republicans seized on the opportunity to paint the health care law, again, as out-of-touch with business and consumer needs. The NASE has been at the forefront in the small business health care debate ...
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The cost of health care has largely stayed the same or gone down, according to a recent survey by Pricewaterhouse Cooper. Sadly, through NASE's research of micro-businesses and the self-employed this has not been the case. In our latest health care survey survey, satisfaction levels among the self-employed continue to be low when talking about insurance cost and affordability. Respondents indicated that the cost of their insurance premiums had risen in the past twelve months, which was less than the increase seen in our 2005 survey, but greater than the increase seen in our 2008 survey. In addition, ...
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The NASE recently learned of two new bills that would help individuals who use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). The two bills are H.R. 5842, "Restoring Access to Medications Act" and H.R. 5858, a bill to improve HSAs. HSAs are tax-preferred accounts which can be utilized with high deductible health plans (HDHP), the typical health insurance plan for America’s smallest businesses - the self-employed. The Restoring Access to Medications Act, H.R. 5842, would repeal the disqualification of over-the-counter medications for use with an HSA or a health flexible spending arrangement (FSA). Current law prohibits over-the-counter medication purchase ...
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Posted by NASE Business Expert Gene Fairbrother - A basic management tool to keep your finger on the pulse of cash flow is a cash position report. While every business needs to be producing monthly profit and lost statements along with cash flow statements, these reports are monthly pictures while the cash flow report can be created every week or even every day to give you a flash picture of your cash position. Start by setting up a spreadsheet on your computer with the following headings: Month to date, Total Sales, Cash-On-Hand, % of sales, Accounts Receivable,  % of sales, Accounts Payable, % of sales Then, every few ...
Friday, May 18, 2012
The White House this week released a report entitled: Moving America's Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs Forward. The SBA describes it as a comprehensive look at what investments the Obama Administration has made to keep small businesses moving forward. The President has signed in to law 18 tax cuts that directly help small businesses. This includes new tax credits for hiring unemployed workers and veterans, and allowing small businesses to write off the full cost of new investments in things like new machines and computers against last year’s taxes.    Supporting nearly $80 billion in loans to more than 150,000 small ...
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
About the author:  Andrew Rachmell is co-founder and VP of Business Development of peerbackers.com, a crowdfunding web site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs raise capital to start or grow their business.  The site has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur magazine, Inc. magazine, Reuters, The Huffington Post and other business publications, as well as on MSNBC. So you have an idea to expand your business but you’re not sure where to get the money.   You would rather not take a cash advance on your credit card and pay high interest, and your local banks don’t cater to small ...
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Question: Our small business consists of myself and my wife, doing copyediting and proofreading.  As such we don't really have much occasion to "entertain" customers, as nearly all our work consists of receiveing electronic files or hard copy and doing what we do and sending it off, often to other states.  But if we go out to dinner once a month and discuss business, such as planning, projects, office organization, etc, can we deduct that as a business meal? Answer: The easy answer to your question is absolutely YES, those business meals will be deductible.  The key point is whether ...
Friday, May 11, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - Calls by advocates and organizations for Congress to begin work on comprehensive tax reform, individual and corporate, have been tempered thus far; however, in the last two weeks a growing number of groups have voiced alarm that neither the Senate or House have indicated when they will begin work on what could be the largest piece of legislation in the second session of the 112th.   On April 24th, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenues Measures held a hearing on tax cuts that either expired in 2011 or will expire 2012; unfortunately, ...
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - The continued back and forth between the Senate and House on legislation aimed and helping the self-employed and small business community has resulted in possible bipartisan collaborations. In addition, recent statements in the press have indicated interest in moving a large package that would group together several bipartisan pieces of legislation, including tax credits for reinvestment and hiring of employees in advance of the November election.  The NASE believes this would be a natural vehicle to attach the Small Business Tax Extenders bill to, allowing for a diverse, powerful piece of legislation that would speak directly ...
Friday, April 13, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - For most of us tax time is not the most rewarding time of the year and is typically ranked right up there with visiting the dentist. Statistics would indicate that our commitment to flossing is only evident in the few weeks right before that dentist appointment. And likewise our commitment to tax planning is most likely limited to the few weeks right before the return is due. Unfortunately, in both cases, by that time it is already too late to make any real difference.    Most tax planning strategies end with the ...
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - The New Jobs Report for last month indicated that 227,000 new jobs were created in February which is certainly better than a punch on the nose. Regardless of which way you lean politically, your party will agree that approximately 70 percent of those jobs were created by small business owners. Small businesses just like yours. But it gets better. According to the “Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity” there were an estimated 543,000 new businesses created every month during 2011. That was not a typo: 543,000 new businesses every single month or ...
Friday, March 30, 2012
Posted by Mike Beene (NASE General Counsel) One question: If the individual mandate is unconstitutional does the entire law fail?  The court will look to Congressional intent and will frankly have a wide degree of latitude. One hint of Congressional intent might be the failure of the statute to contain a “savings clause” which is typically found in a statute and says essentially that if a portion of a law is found unconstitutional, the remainder of the law stands. Some claim the lack of such a clause was just an oversight. Others say it demonstrates the clear intent of Congress ...
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Posted by Mike Beene (NASE General Council) - Finally, after over two years of speculation on the Supreme Court reaction to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we are in for another few months of prognostication as people try to read something into every nod, scowl and blink of each Justice. Only the expected summer ruling will slow this parade. Under the theory that the issues upon the Court requests argument mean something to their decision, let’s jump on the bandwagon, if only slightly. First question: Does the Anti-Injunction Act prevent the court from hearing the case at this time?   ...
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - Well, it seems like it’s that time again, when Congress considers taking away some of the tax benefits that small business owners have come to count on.  The stories of debates and concessions compromises don’t always make the headlines on CNN but they affect all of the small business owners who are out there every day trying their best to create jobs.  As always, we need to make our voices heard.   Throughout this critical election year, our Congressional representatives will be debating things like accelerated depreciation, the deductibility of start ...
Monday, March 19, 2012
Danielle Rodabaugh is the chief editor of the Surety Bonds Insider, a publication that tracks developments that affect the surety industry. The Surety Bonds Insider is produced by SuretyBonds.com. As a member of the company's educational outreach team, Danielle also writes informational articles to help self-employed business owners better understand the legal intricacies involved with bonding. Starting and managing a business for the first time can be intimidating for anybody. Fortunately, self-employed business owners can expand the opportunity for success when they understand the legal implications that could affect their start-ups. Even though surety bonds are prerequisites for many license ...
Monday, March 19, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - There are a great many horror shows that keep us up at night wondering if anything or anyone might be hiding under the bed. Psycho, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, you name it! Most of us know that these stories are not real, yet our hearts beat faster and our sleep comes slower just thinking of them. Perhaps none of these classics can accelerate heartbeats nor steal as much sleep as a small business owner’s fear of an IRS audit. The overall chances of being audited in any one year ...
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Posted by Kristie Arslan - It has become a time-honored tradition for politicians to claim they're looking out for "Main Street, not Wall Street." Capitol Hill is littered with proposals that are supposed to help small businesses compete in the marketplace and the Obama Administration has made this kind of messaging a key plank in their platform. As is often the case, the truth is not always what it may seem. While there are many proposals before Congress that will specifically address key challenges facing entrepreneurs contemplating or already running businesses, many of these efforts fall short of real help for ...
Monday, March 12, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - You may be one of millions of small business owners who have received a new form from who knows where, called a Form 1099-K.  This is a brand new form required of credit card processing companies, or payment settlement entities (PSEs) as the IRS refers to them, to report the total amount of credit card charges that have been completed by your business.  The real question is what to do with these forms?  We all know that the forms 1099 that we get are included as taxable income on our tax returns, ...
Friday, March 09, 2012
Posted by Molly Nelson - Should you be looking for an apprentice to work with you in your business? Are you (and your clients) disrespectful of your personal time? What's the deal with "user entrepreneurs"? Read these articles to learn more.  The Return of the Apprentice - Inc. "Instead of college, German students enter training and apprenticeship programs—many of which begin during high school. By the time they finish, they have had a far better practical education than most American students—equivalent to an American technical degree—and, as a result, they have an easier time entering the work force." Also of ...
Monday, March 05, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) -  We finally got some answers out of Washington, D.C. Well, at least one answer that is. Congress finally voted to extend the two percent payroll tax reduction past February 29th and through the end of the year. Even though they waited until the last minute and kept all of us guessing, the extension is welcome news and on behalf of all 22 million of us self employed business owners I say, “Thank you”. For the self-employed business owner this extension means that our Self Employment Tax will remain at 13.3% of net ...
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Q: What do I list my NASE membership dues under on my tax return? A: The best place to include business association or other deductible dues is on Line 27 of your Schedule C, Other Expenses.  You can include a specific description such as Business Association Dues, on line 48 in Part V on page 2 of the Schedule C.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra -Legislation extending the payroll tax deduction in February included changes to the Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) voluntary program that allows states to pay a self-employment allowance to unemployed individuals who are in the process of establishing businesses and realizing the dream of self-employment. The NASE has previously expressed desire to see these types of programs extended and embraced by all 50 states; currently only Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington have adopted SEA programs. The changes in SEA include making available federal financed unemployment benefits to the program, additionally, the bill directs the ...
Friday, February 24, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The Help Entrepreneurs Create American Jobs Act of 2012, H.R. 4032, makes permanent the deduction for startups at $10,000. The deduction is set to expire and decrease to $5,000 at the end of the year. The startup deduction provides assistance to those starting their own businesses. The permanent tax deduction serves as a strong incentive for future self-employed individuals who were previously daunted with the upfront expenses associated with starting a business. Please urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor and support H.R. 4032, The Help Entrepreneurs Create American Jobs Act of 2012. Visit the NASE's ...
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The President’s proposed FY 2013 budget request released last week includes several initiatives of interest to the nation’s 22 million self-employed and at least one of the items on the NASE Self-Employed Agenda. “The President’s FY 2013 Budget is a step in the right direction, but it must be followed by additional concrete steps to address the specific challenges that make it difficult for self-employed people to start and grow businesses,” explained Kristie L. Arslan, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self-Employed. “The President’s budget request falls short on a critical element of the Self-Employed Agenda: the ...
Friday, February 17, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - Senate and House conference committee members reached a deal on Thursday morning to approve a 10-month extension of the payroll tax deduction, extend unemployment benefits, and halt a significant cut in payments for physicians that treat Medicare patients.  The payroll tax deduction extension equates to an additional $40 per pay period for nearly 170 million American workers.  NASE advocates for the extension stressing the importance of the extension as it would allow for the self-employed to invest in additional supplies, phone lines and online advertising that continue to struggle in this difficult economy. According to the ...
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - In a move to alleviate growing concern within the small business community, the IRS announced last week that it would not require reconciliation on the 2012 form nor do they intend to require reconciliation in the future. Popularly dubbed 1099-K, the IRS would have required all business, including sole-proprietors, to reconcile credit card transactions.   The NASE strongly advocated against the 1099-K line as it placed a significant burden on the tax filer and would potentially create an misguided audit target for the IRS. While we are pleased with the announcement, the NASE still supports ...
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Q: I set up an HRA 105 for my wife, who is employed by me in my home office. My understanding is that both her and my qualified medical expenses from the HRA can be deducted but cannot find a suitable category on TurboTax to enter this amount. Please advise where this amount is entered. A: If I can be so bold, let me change your terminology a bit as it relates to your HRA 105 plan.  You DID NOT set up an HRA 105 plan for your wife, but instead your Company adopted an HRA 105 plan for the benefit ...
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Representatives Schock (R-Ill.) and Schilling (R-Ill.) are touting legislation that would allow small businesses (C corporations are not eligible) to receive the same tax deduction given to larger corporation for the donation of extra inventory to charity and nonprofits.   Considering that the self-employed and small businesses (499 or less employees) make up 99% of the U.S. business economy, it is yet another glaring example of continued disadvantages faced by the self-employed and small business owners. We applaud Representatives Schock and Schilling in their efforts.  Full text of the legislation can be found here.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall - Are the workers in your business Independent Contractors or are they really Employees, instead?  For most of us it is easier to simply call them independent contractors instead of employees because the presumption is that the paperwork is easier.  No withholding, no payroll taxes, less hassles.  The problem is that the classification of your workers is not a matter of choice.  You can’t just choose for them to be independent contractors because it is easier.  Your worker’s classification is determined by the underlying facts and circumstances of the working relationship with the key point being ...
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander -Politicians are running for office all over America, that much is certain. It's a somewhat quiet week for the Republican candidates for president, since the Flordia primary isn't until next Tuesday, January 31st. The talk this week has been surrounding President Obama's State of the Union address. The NASE weighed in the night of with a response from President and CEO Kristie L. Arlsan and also the next day in a statementby Katie Vlietstra, our Director of Government Affairs. We also noticed one small-business owner that is pressing Republican candidates on their self-employed knowledge. He has several ...
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Q: I read something several months ago about taking a loan from your 401K retirement plan. If you were at least 55 years old, you were not required to pay this back and there was no penalty for this. Is that true? A: From a technical standpoint you still must repay the loan. If you don't repay the loan, regardless of how old you are, then the loan becomes a distribution. The tax treatment and potential penalties for such a distribution will then be dependent upon your age. The key point is whether a 10% penalty will apply to the distribution. If ...
Monday, January 09, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Businesses spent $231 billion and more than 133 million paperwork hours to comply with federal regulations in 2011, according to a study release by the American Action Forum. The study also found that it would take 66,730 employees just to file federal paperwork (assuming a 2,000 hour work year). The NASE has been an advocate for simplification of the tax code for many years. To find out more about our stance, please check out these links: NASE President & CEO Kristie L. Arslan comments upon how lawmakers look to reduce the tax gap "often at the expense ...
Friday, January 06, 2012
Prior to preparing 2011 tax forms, the self-employed and micro-businesses (fewer than 10 employees) should be aware of a number of tax law changes, but also must stay focused and connected for new changes that are inevitable during 2012. As always, stay tuned to the NASE for the most recent updates! The following tax law changes relate to 2011 returns: Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction – Unfortunately, the payments that small-business owners make for health insurance premiums for themselves and their families won’t be as tax beneficial for 2011 tax returns as they were for 2010.  The premiums paid for health ...
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Posted by Kristie Arslan -There's no doubt that we face uncertain times with our economy. Unemployment levels are still high. The stock market has had a rollercoaster year. While Congress finally overcame its political bickering to pass a two-month extension of the payroll tax, it can't be motivated to act on other initiatives that could aid our economy -- especially big ticket items that could help the self-employed. But one thing is certain: small and micro-businesses, the driving force of our economy, must protect themselves every day by planning in advance. It's a common assumption that large corporations make up ...
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - What would the end of the year be without best of lists and countdowns? The staff at Self Made has decided to pull together our favorite posts from this year below. Did we leave one out? Let us know in the comments and we'll add it. Self-Employment Keeps the Unemployment Rolls Low [Commentary] Economic Recovery Starts with Small Business [Commentary] Tell Us Your Story About The Deduction On Health Insurance Costs Self-Employed: Take An SE Tax Deduction For Health Insurance Costs Productivity and Goals Tax Day: Let's Make the Tax Code Fair [Commentary] 1099 Additional Reporting ...
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Congress continues to battle it out in Washington over the payroll tax cut. Here's the latest news: Overheard On CNN.com: Congress' Lack Of Action Sparks Anger Payroll Processors Say Two-Month Payroll Tax Fix Undoable (Fox News) House Republicans Reject Payroll Tax Deal (NY Times) GOP-Led House Blocks Senate's Payroll, Jobless Aid Bill (National Journal)
Monday, December 19, 2011
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The Department of Health and Human Services is rolling out a new health insurance option for the uninsured.  If you have had a hard time finding health insurance because of a pre-existing condition or if you’ve been turned down for insurance coverage and feel like you’re out of options, you’re not out of luck. You may now be eligible for a new government program—the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan—created by the Affordable Care Act.  This transitional program is available for children and adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who have been locked ...
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Posted by Molly Nelson - The days are shorter and the weeks busier, so here are a few quick articles of interest: Inc. shares the only ethics guide you'll ever need FreelanceFolder has 25 tips on avoiding communication problems Small Biz Bee says cloud services could help grow your business The NYT's "You're the Boss" blog reports on the controversy over Amazon's "Price Check" app 
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, brought forth a Republican version of the payroll tax cut extension, which would extend certain unemployment benefits and prevent cuts to Medicare physicians. The bill would also give the green light to the Keystone XL pipeline, which is contentious. Find out more: GOP Embraces Showdown Over Oil Pipeline, Tax Cuts (MSNBC) Quick Take: Lawmakers Confident Of Ending Payroll Tax Cut Impasse (National Journal)