Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is the government doing for YOU?

While I support the U.S. government’s efforts to stimulate the economy through legislation such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, I have to admit that sometimes I find myself asking: what’s in it for me? I missed out on the first-time homebuyers’ credit; my car didn’t qualify for the Cash for Clunkers program; and although I’d like to take advantage of the tax credits available for improving the energy efficiency of my home, a major remodel isn’t a possibility right now. I know I will benefit from these stimulus efforts in the long run, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little envious of the $8,000 check my new neighbors just pocketed!

So, while I continue to navigate the ARRA to see how it can benefit me personally, I’d like to point out one area where it can help small businesses that may have struggled financially last year.

Under the ARRA, small businesses with a net operating loss (NOL) in 2008 can get a refund of taxes paid over the past five years instead of the usual two. To qualify for the new five-year carryback provision, a small business must have no greater than an average of $15 million in gross receipts over a three-year period ending with the tax year of the NOL. Businesses with more than $15 million in gross receipts still qualify to carry back their 2008 NOL for two years.

“The new net operating loss provisions could throw a lifeline to struggling businesses, providing them with a quick infusion of cash,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, in a release.

You’ll need to hurry if you want to take advantage of this option, however. Calendar-year corporations that qualify as Eligible Small Businesses (ESB) must file a claim by Sept. 15. For individuals--sole proprietors, individual partners and shareholders in an S corporation that qualifies as an ESB--the deadline is Oct. 15. More information is available here.

—By Jenni Chase, Editor, Glass Magazine

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