The momentum on Capitol Hill for comprehensive tax reform remains strong as House and Senate lawmakers continue to put forth and debate reform ideas. The House Small Business Committee held an October 4 hearing examining, in particular, tax reform for small businesses.
During the hearing, lawmakers and witnesses focused on the recent introduction of the bipartisan Small Business Owners’ Tax Simplification Bill (HR 3717), authored by Chairman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and ranking member Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y. The bill implements several suggestions made to Congress by National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson. “HR 3717 aims to update the tax code by simplifying and modernizing approximately a dozen provisions. From realigning estimated payment deadlines to aligning the tax filing thresholds of the Form 1099-MISC and Form 1099-K, the goal is to streamline the decision points for small businesses and their owners,” Chabot said. Additionally, the bill proposes allowing small businesses to both offer and participate in pre-tax cafeteria plans.
Also notable, the bill’s provisions aim to better accommodate businesses and workers in the sharing “gig” economy. HR 3717 would allow companies to enter into voluntary withholding agreements and offer voluntary training without affecting worker classification. “I am pleased that the Chairman and I could come together to draft a bipartisan tax package to address the tax needs of small firms in every industry,” Velázquez said.
Caroline Bruckner, tax professor and managing director with the Kogod Tax Policy Center, which conducts nonpartisan policy research on tax and compliance issues specific to small businesses, testified to her contribution in the development of the bill. “HR 3717 provides simplification and tax relief to small businesses navigating the uncertainty of the current tax code, particularly those taxpayers who are subject to the quarterly-estimated payment rules, the Form 1099 reporting rules and self-employed small business owners paying for their own healthcare coverage,” she said.