We all know the burden that government-mandated paperwork and red tape puts on small businesses. (If you don’t, just check out the 10,000 Commandments; Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.)
Some proposals in Congress could ameliorate this regulatory burden.
The Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2015 (S. 86) would suspend finds for first-time paperwork violations. The measure would apply to “small business concerns,” which are firms meeting the definition under the Small Business Act. The Act provides that "a small-business concern [is a business], including but not limited to enterprises that are engaged in the business of production of food and fiber, ranching and raising of livestock, agriculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries, shall be deemed to be one which is independently owned and operated …" and that has annual gross receipts of no more than $750,000. The relief could be extended to other small businesses.
The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015 (S.426) and (H.R. 527) would require federal agencies to modify their rule-making procedures. In effect, the bill would impose some favorable changes to Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), previous legislation that was supposed to provide regulatory relief to small businesses. The measure passed the House on February 5, 2015, and is awaiting action in the Senate.
The Small Business Tax Compliance Relief Act of 2015 would make some changes to the administration of tax laws. According to the NFIB, which supports the measure, “Small businesses annually spend between 1.7 billion and 1.8 billion hours on tax compliance and $15 billion to $16 billion on compliance costs.”
On July 22nd, the Senate Small Business Committee held a hearing on solutions to relieve the tax burdens for America’s small businesses. Witnesses include small business owners, the tax counsel of the NFIB, a CPA, and a law professor.
The Small Business Regulatory Sunset Act of 2015 (S. 846) would require federal agencies to review regulations periodically (at least every 9 years) and to publish rules and compliance guidelines on the agencies’ websites.
What to do?
Small businesses lack the well-funded lobbyists to push their agenda in Congress. It’s up to small business owners to communicate with their representatives and advocate for needed change.
To monitor small business-related legislative developments, go to GovTrack.