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Washington Watch - March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Main Street Or Wall Street? Why Not Both?

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 Main Street. And in many cases, the reason is that they fail to address the entire marketplace: 78 percent of the small businesses in the U.S. are self-employed professionals. The self-employed are a huge majority of the small businesses on Main Street, but many of the proposals being considered ignore this fact.

A case in point is the Obama administration's recent proposal on corporate tax reform. It's great news if you're a corporation, and many of America's largest companies will likely benefit if it becomes law. Good for them. But the 22 million self-employed Americans who do so much to drive economic growth day in and day out are ignored in this proposal. If we're going to talk about tax reform, we need to be talking about reform across the board, not just for those who seem to command the most attention and action from Congress and the White House. 

Self-employed Americans are working every day in every community across the country. They're paying taxes and making the tough business decisions required to compete in a challenging marketplace. But current tax regulations and uncertainty about tax policy effectively means many entrepreneurs are operating with one hand tied behind their backs. What's often holding them back are tax policies that ignore the unique characteristics of the self-employed and apply a one-size-fits-all requirement to a diverse, varied community.

The NASE's Self-Employed Agenda reflects the priorities of America's entrepreneurs on tax policy -- it's a set of five common-sense solutions that, if enacted, will help level the playing field for the self-employed by enabling them to start and build their businesses without the burdensome and confusing requirements of an unequal tax code.

It's a good thing there is a renewed national conversation about tax reform, but let's take our blinders off and see the whole picture of Main Street: effective tax reform means comprehensive tax reform that helps all of the sectors of the economy, including the self-employed.

This piece also appeared in the Huffington Post.


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Tax Tip From NASE National Tax Advisor Keith Hall

Hopefully, you are well on your way to accumulating all of the paper and statements and receipts and the mountain of paper to complete your tax return. It can certainly be difficult to tackle with all of the detail that you are asked to remember. But the single most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. If you have an internet connection you have resources to help you with that tax return. Check out NASE.org for help with any question that you might have related to your 2011 tax return. Also bookmark the IRS website at IRS.gov in order to get the detail straight from the horse’s mouth. The key point is that you have resources. You are not alone.


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