While government regulations and business tax laws continue to concern independent retailers, some of the policies enacted in January are having a positive effect on small businesses and startups. The JOBS Act, an acronym for Jumpstart Our Business Startups, was recently passed by Congress as a means of enabling entrepreneurs to raise up to $1 million from the general public. Business owners previously could raise funds only from accredited investors, according to the law. The Act enables companies to use popular online fundraising platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Fundable, all of which serve to help startups and inventors take their first steps in the business world. The Securities and Exchange Commission regulates the JOBS Act and other platforms to prevent fraud.
Another small business development taking hold this year and next year is the independent company tax rebate. Employers with fewer than 25 employees, and average wages of $50,000 or less this year, are entitled to a tax credit of up to 35 percent of what is paid for employees’ health insurance. In 2014 this tax credit will increase to 50 percent, and it is not a deduction. Credits are worth more because they count as payments of taxes, so independents can get money back from the government if they have no tax liability.