Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SC SBDC Video Shows Our Clients Continue to Grow Through the Years

The SC SBDC has recently released this video to show business owners the kind of assistance and quality of assistance available through our SC SBDC offices. Whatever your need, there is a consultant within our SBDC network who can help you grow your business. These are just some of the successful business owners in our state who have sought help from the SBDC over the years they've been in business. You'll see that they believe they've continued to grow because they've continued their relationship with the SBDC as advisers, resource providers, and trusted friends of their small businesses. 


video

Monday, November 18, 2013

IRS to Take a Closer Look at Small Business Filings

As the title of this article suggests, the IRS is beginning to take a closer look at small business filings. According to Faris Fink, head of the Small Business/Self-Employed division of the IRS, the agency will be shifting its auditing focus from corporations to small-business partnerships due to their significant growth within the past six years. Small businesses have increased by over 15% with the largest coming from pass-through entities. Certified Public Accountant Michael Eisenburg states that the reason for the increase in these entities is due to a lesser initial upfront expense than corporations and less payroll responsibilities such as payroll taxes, annual fees, and managing W-2 forms for employees. Eisenburg also states that the IRS is paying more attention to small business owners because they have a greater possibility of writing off personal expenses as deductible business expenses. To evade trouble with the IRS, Eisenburg gives three tips to small business owners:

1.       Keep business and personal accounts separate. Small business entrepreneurs want to make sure that everything is running through separate checking accounts. Using a single bank account will increase the likelihood that the IRS will conduct a second audit to examine your personal tax returns. According to Eisenburg, "It's automatically a free ride to looking at your personal return”. 

2.       Clearly track income and expenses. It is easy to keep track of your income and expenses once you have separate bank accounts for your business. Keeping paperwork is imperative to show auditors what you write checks for, why income is received, records of what was billed, and records to back up your expenses. 

3.       Don't deal in cash. Doing business transactions in cash raises a lot of questions in the eyes of the IRS. These transactions should be avoided because they are hard to trace and lead the IRS to wonder if you deposited all of your income or if you are paying your bills.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Winthrop University Alum Appearing on Shark Tank Tonight!

Photo via The Herald                                                              

Ever wondered how you'd fare taking your new product or invention to Shark Tank? Winthrop University alumna, Julie Busha will be on Shark Tank tonight – ABC at 9:00 pm - to try to get funding to take her product nationwide.

Julie will also be back on Winthrop's campus in Rock Hill, SC on November 21st to do a “contestant tells all” session and give a behind the scenes look into the show (7 pm; Whitton Auditorium in Carroll Hall). All are welcome – students, faculty, staff, businesses, and community members are welcome to attend – so spread the word…

If you wish to participate on Twitter or pass this info along to others interested in following the Twitter feeds, you can re-Tweet and include the hashtag #sharktank and @slawsa in your messages. The Shark’s Twitter accounts are: @mcuban, @thesharkdaymond, @kevinolearytv, @lorigreiner, @robertherjavec


 Read today's article in The Herald to learn more.


Photo via The Herald

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

BA Announces New Measures to Help Get Small Business Loans Into the Hands of Veterans:

WASHINGTON – The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced new measures to help get small business loans into the hands of veterans by setting the borrower upfront fee to zero for all veteran loans authorized under the SBA Express program up to $350,000. This initiative will start on January 1 and continue through the end of the fiscal year.

“Our nation’s veterans are highly-skilled and highly-trained leaders in their communities,” said Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit. “This initiative will set fees to zero for SBA Express loans to veterans up to $350,000, and is part of SBA’s broader efforts to make sure that veterans have the tools they need to start and grow a business. As we honor our veterans and thank them for their service and sacrifice, let’s continue to identify ways to support them when they come home.”

Of all SBA loans that go to veterans, 73 percent are $350,000 and below. The SBA Express Loan Program, which supports loans under $350,000, is SBA’s most popular loan delivery method, with nearly 60 percent of all 7(a) loans over the past decade being authorized through the program. Since the program’s inception, it has also been one of the most popular delivery methods for getting capital into the hands of veteran borrowers.

Building on SBA’s recent announcement that for the current fiscal year, fees on loans for $150,000 and under are set to zero, this policy announcement means that veteran borrowers will no longer have to pay an upfront fee for any loan up to $350,000 under the SBA Express program. This new initiative will go into effect January 1 and extend for the duration of the fiscal year. This will make the loans cheaper for the borrower, another way SBA is looking to serve small business owners as they look for ways to access capital.

Today’s announcement comes during SBA’s National Veterans Small Business Week, an initiative on the part of the U.S. Small Business Administration to reach out to veteran entrepreneurs and business owners. During Veterans Small Business Week, SBA staff all across the country have been working with partner organizations on educational efforts, mentoring, and trainings to make sure veterans have the tools they need to start or grow their business.

SBA provides veterans access to business counseling and training, capital and business development opportunities through government contracts. In FY 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 veteran-owned small businesses. And since 2009, the dollar amount of SBA lending support to veteran-owned firms has nearly doubled.

For more information about these and other SBA programs, visit the SBA website at www.sba.gov, or contact your local SBA field office. You can find contact information for your local SBA office athttp://www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html. 

NOTE: Being accepted to receive an SBA loan by your local lending institution (which is the only way SBA loans are made) is still dependent on having a complete and feasible business plan, a good credit score, and adherence to specific lending criteria at any given bank. We suggest you contact your local SBDC office to get assistance in putting required materials together before going to the bank.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SBA's 7(a) Loan Program Explained

The SBA’s 7(a) loan program is one of the primary and most popular programs by the SBA. Obtaining financing for your small business can be a challenging task and this article from the SBA explains some important details about how the 7(a) loan could be the right option for your business. In order to be eligible for this loan you must meet certain requirements. Some of these requirements include demonstrating a need for funds, having a sound business purpose, as well as meeting other specific eligibility requirements. The 7(a) loan amounts up to $5 million which can be used to fund start-up costs and buy equipment. These funds can also be used for the following:

·         Purchase new land (including construction costs)
·         Repair existing capital
·         Purchase or expand an existing business
·         Refinance existing debt
·         Purchase machinery, furniture, fixtures, supplies or materials

The 7(a) program offers flexibility, longer terms, and potentially lower down payments compared to other financing options. This loan also offers specialized programs for individuals interested in exporting; those located in underserved communities; members of the military community; and small businesses owners looking to meet their short-term and cyclical working capital needs. As we mentioned earlier the 7(a) loan offers longer terms. Generally the term loans are repaid in monthly payments of principal and interest.
 

When considering the 7(a) loan program keep in mind that the SBA doesn’t fund these loans directly to small business owners. However, banks receive a guarantee that the SBA will repay a portion of the loan if you default on payments. So if you think that the SBA’s 7(a) loan program is suitable for your business then click on this link (http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/sbas-7a-loan-program-explained) to get the full explanation and check out the other SBA resources to help prepare you for the loan application. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Community & educational development

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: 5 Tax Breaks Set to Expire This Year

There are several federal tax breaks that are scheduled to end as of December 31st this year. Unless Congress decides to extend these breaks it is unsure whether any will apply next year. According to this article by the SBA there are five tax breaks that business owners should explore and take advantage of before they expire at year-end.

Break 1: Faster write-offs for buying needed equipment
Instead of depreciating your equipment costs overtime, here are two other ways you deduct these costs this year:

  • Deduct up to $500,000 of the cost of qualified equipment (whether new or pre-owned) this year as long as you’re profitable. Next year, the deduction limit is scheduled to be $25,000.
  • Deduct 50% of the cost of new qualified equipment, even if it adds to or creates a business loss. Next year, this deduction is set to disappear entirely.


Now you can deduct some of the cost of your equipment so you can upgrade your office computers, provide your staff with a smartphone or tablet, or add new machinery to your inventory.

Break 2: Faster write-offs for improving your facilities
Usually the costs for capital improvements to your workspace can only be depreciated over a 39 year period. However, improvements to leaseholds, (by the lessor, lessee, or subleasee), restaurants, and retail establishments can take advantage of any or all of the following write-offs for improvements that are completed before the end of the year:
  •   $250,000 first-year expensing for eligible improvements
  •    50% bonus depreciation for eligible improvements
  •  15-year amortization period for any costs not deducted with first-year expensing or bonus depreciation

Break 3: Tax credits for hiring certain workers
You should think about hiring certain target groups if you need new employees on your payroll. After projecting the cost of this hiring and factoring in future health care obligation you may find that you are entitled to tax credits that can be used to offset your tax bill. Here are some tax credits for hiring certain workers:

  •        Work opportunity credit for hiring certain disadvantaged workers, including certain veterans. Make sure that you timely submit IRS Form 8850 Download Adobe Reader to read this link content to your state work force agency to get eligible workers certified as entitling you to the credit.
  •           Indian employment credit if you hire an enrolled member, or spouse of an enrolled member, of an Indian tribe who performs services within an Indian reservation.
  •           Empowerment employment credit if your business is located within a federally-designated empowerment zone.

Break 4: Exclusion for gain on certain stock
Businesses that are C corporations involved in technology, manufacturing, retail or wholesale and is seeking new investors should consider issuing new stock before the end of the year. If your stock meets the definition of a qualified business stock and your investors hold it for more than five years, then all of their gain will be tax free. This is exclusion for gain on stock is said to decrease to 50% exclusion unless congress decides to extend the current 100% exclusion.

Break 5: Tax credit for doing research
If your business is thinking of doing research on a new product then you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to 20% of increased research expenses. This credit is not limited to research used to create products for sale. It also applies to research for internal processes (e.g., internal use software) that improve your business operations. Although this tax credit has been extended 14 times since its inception in 1981, it is set to expire at the end of this year and it is best to use the credit while you can.

To learn more about these tax breaks and to access more details visit the this link for the full article: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/use-%E2%80%98em-or-lose-%E2%80%98em-5-tax-breaks-set-expire-year

Friday, November 8, 2013

Resource Fair for Small Businesses

Don’t forget to Register NOW for the upcoming Resource Fair for small businesses.  Deadline to register is November 14th!!  This is a great opportunity to meet some of our local business resource providers, and you can’t afford to miss it!



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Entrepreneur Leadership & Ethics Seminar in Rock Hill



Posting on behalf of our friends at Rock Hill's new Technology Incubator .....
please call The Technology Incubator at 803 329-8721 with any questions.
 Print off and complete the form if you wish to mail in a payment by check.