Each year since 1963, the United States has celebrated National Small Business Week. This year, perhaps more than any other, I recognize and celebrate the importance of small businesses. Prior to the pandemic, small businesses accounted for over 99 percent of U.S. businesses and employed nearly 60 million people. As the pandemic took hold, overall U.S. employment plummeted, with the highest impacts on small businesses.
All of us bore witness as our favorite restaurants closed their dining rooms, salons darkened their windows, and the clank of construction projects ceased across cities. Many small businesses closed, either temporarily or permanently. Most had to alter their business models and how they serve their customers. Others are struggling to remain in business.
As a tax attorney and advocate, I have stood alongside small businesses throughout my career, helping them understand and overcome challenges, solve problems, and remain strong. Today, I double down on that commitment and reach out to the small business community to let you know that I — and all of TAS — stand with you. We are here to celebrate you, to advocate for you, and to help you stay in business. Here are some ways we can help:
- In the spring, Congress passed new pieces of legislation designed to help businesses stay in business. Some of those laws created new payroll tax credits and deferrals to provide relief from the impact of the pandemic. TAS has launched a new tool to help businesses understand the COVID-19 tax relief options available to them. Help businesses stay in business by spreading the word and following new information about this tool on social media using #BizTaxRelief.
- TAS provides advocacy free of charge to taxpayers who qualify, including businesses and non-profits. If you are facing a hardship due to a tax issue or have experienced unusual delays or problems in working with the IRS and need assistance, contact your Local Taxpayer Advocate.
- TAS has created an informational page about the IRS initiatives to provide COVID-19-related tax relief, including:
- Filing and Payment Relief
- Net Operating Losses
- Credits for Retaining Employees and/or Paying for Certain Emergency Sick Leave or Family Medical Leave
- Retirement Plans Relief
- If your employees are facing financial challenges and have not yet received their Economic Impact Payment, TAS has created a tool to help taxpayers understand what actions to take.
- TAS advocates for small businesses to identify and correct systemic issues. For example, TAS recently identified taxpayers receiving incorrect notices stating failure to make a deposit when the taxpayers had, in fact, reduced their deposits in anticipation of claiming sick and family leave tax credits. TAS advocated for the necessary correction and the IRS is now acting to identify and correct the impacted taxpayer accounts.
- If you know of a tax problem involving IRS systems, policies, or procedures that impact more than one small business, please share the issue with TAS via our Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS). Our Systemic Advocacy team will research your issue and follow up with you on its resolution.
- Every year, TAS reports to Congress on issues that impact taxpayers, including small businesses. Recently, TAS advocated for legislation to release levies that cause economic hardship for business taxpayers and to revise e-filing procedures to ensure taxpayers are properly informed of errors and not subject to unnecessary penalties. As we move forward, I will be looking carefully at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on taxpayers and tax administration and advocating for taxpayers impacted by the pandemic.
- TAS is creating a new Small Business section on our website to better communicate information of specific interest to small businesses. We anticipate providing more information and a launch date soon!
Please take advantage of the available information, our services and spread the word to others who may need assistance. TAS is proud to serve as the voice of taxpayers within the IRS in assisting and advocating for the small business community. I — and the entire TAS organization — stand with you during this National Small Business Week to celebrate your strength, diversity, ingenuity, and resilience.