Momentum Builds for Reforms to Simplify Small Business Tax Rules

Date: April 25, 2017

Senate, House take action on bills to help entrepreneurs create jobs, stimulate state economy

HARRISBURG (Apr. 25, 2017) – The Pennsylvania state House Finance Committee gave a thumbs up to three tax reform bills today that would simplify tax reporting for small business and stimulate job growth. The House action comes fresh on the heels of recent steps taken by the state Senate to advance similar proposals. Pennsylvania’s leading small business group, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) applauded these developments.

“Pennsylvania’s economic growth is woefully anemic and job growth isn’t much better,” said NFIB Executive State Director Kevin Shivers.  “Small businesses are buried under an avalanche of complex tax rules and Pennsylvania workers and consumers are bearing the brunt of the fallout.

“Legislation moving in the Senate and House will simplify the tax code for small business and help to jumpstart this vital economic engine. Pennsylvania entrepreneurs are grateful to Senate Appropriations chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and House Finance chairman Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks) for leading these important reforms through the legislative process.”

House Bill 331, sponsored by state Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) would allow an entrepreneur to sell one asset and purchase another without a tax penalty. Pennsylvania currently is the only state in the nation to outlaw this practice. The change would encourage business expansion by enabling a business to upgrade their equipment, or buy a new building, and stretch out tax payments. The measure was reported from the committee to the full House for consideration.

Yesterday, the state Senate Appropriations Committee rereported similar legislation, SB 201, by state Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon). 

The state House Finance Committee also reported HB 333 by state Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland) that would allow small businesses to deduct up to $500,000 of a qualifying equipment purchase from their state income taxes. The federal government and many states have similar provisions. Pennsylvania law already allows companies structured as C-corps to do this. Unfortunately, most of Pennsylvania’s small businesses are not organized as C-corps. A similar bill, SB 203, sponsored by state Sen. Scott Hutchinson was reported last February from the state Senate Finance Committee. 

HB 332, sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), would allow small businesses to take a net loss from alternative sources of income. If an owner had to sell personal items to make payroll, the owner could apply the loss against a business gain. A similar bill, SB 202, sponsored by state Sen. John Eichelberger was reported last February from the state Senate Finance Committee. 

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