Sales Tax Tips for Veteran Owned Small Businesses

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Many of today’s small businesses are bogged down by complicated tax procedures. With so many small companies conducting business in multiple states, as well as the ever-changing tax laws, many Veteran small business owners find it difficult to remain in compliance with sales tax laws.

Know where you need to file: If you established or generated sales in a new state, made deliveries to a new state on a regular basis, or hired new employees that work remotely from another location, you might have occurred sales tax liability in a new state. This means that you have established a “nexus” in a new state. Nexus, also known as sufficient physical presence, is the determining factor of whether an out-of-state business selling products into a state is liable for collecting the tax on sales in the state. Nexus laws can differ drastically from state to state. Review the sales tax laws for each state that you could be conducting business in.

Know your Method of Filing: Each state determines its own methods for collecting sales tax from businesses. Some states require that all filings and payments be conducted online, while other states can’t support online capabilities. Knowing the correct filing requirements and options for your jurisdiction will also let know you know how to pay. Also, be sure to check pre-payment requirements for your tax jurisdiction. Many jurisdictions require prepayment for larger tax amounts. And some prepayments involve a different filing schedule than your regular return.

Check your bank statement and records: First of all, make sure that all of your checks to the Department of Revenue clear the bank. This sounds like a redundant measure, but if you are on top of your filings and payments, there should be no surprises or difficulties. If you find that you incur multiple instances of outstanding sales tax balances with the DOR, you should review your method for processing incoming and outgoing correspondence.

Know your filing frequency: Sales tax payment schedules can change. If your business is affected you should receive a notice via mail or email. However, if the notice doesn’t reach you, your business is still liable to pay your sales taxes on time. Just like with military rules and regulations, ignorance is not an excuse. It’s important to double check for any changes in your payment frequency at least twice per year.

Take care of all notices immediately: If you ever receive a notice from any jurisdiction, make sure that you review and respond to it in an appropriate amount of time. Even if you’re sure that you paid your taxes, be sure to read their notice and respond to it. Failure to respond to a notice could have your business licenses suspended, result in a levy on your bank account, or a lien on your corporate officers. Do not jeopardize your business because you ignored a notice.

Be in the habit of making accurate documentation: Audits can be an unnerving experience, even for Veterans. But if you are prepared, there’s nothing to worry about. Audits are like personnel inspections; appearances are everything. If your uniform was sharp and you were well groomed, then your inspection was a cinch. If your books are well maintained and transactions are easily followed through clear documentation, then your audit will be easy too.

Take advantage of automated sales tax services: Time is money, and sales taxes generate no profit for your Veteran small business. Why waste your time AND your money when you could easily be more effective overseeing more profitable aspects of your business. There are a variety of sales tax software options that can complete all of your sales tax requirements and meet all of your small business’ sales tax needs.

Nominations Are Open for Connecticut Small Business Week Awards

Do you own a small business, or know someone who does? Do you know of a small business owner with a compelling success story to tell? If you do, you should submit your nomination for the 2014 SBA Small Business Week Awards.

For over 50 years, National Small Business Week has recognized the contributions and achievements of America’s small businesses and their owners, for their contributions to their communities and to the national economy.

Small Business Week award categories include:
•        Small Business Person of the Year
•        Small Business Exporter of the Year
•        Family- Owned Business of the Year
•        Micro-Enterprise Award
•        Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
•        Veteran Owned Small Business of the Year
•        Women Owned Small Business of the Year
•        Young Entrepreneur of the Year

You can find nomination information by visiting the SBA website. Forms can be downloaded as a PDF by using the latest version of Adobe reader. The “Small Business Person of the Year” and the” Small Business Exporter of the Year” awards nominations can be submitted online, by accessing the SBA online portal.

Local award winners will also be eligible to advance to the regional level and regional winners will become eligible for the national level awards. Winners of  national awards will be announced during National Small Business Week May 12-16, 2014.

Self-nominations are accepted. Nominations must be received no later than 11:59 pm ET on Friday, January 17, 2014.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), Veterans are 45% more likely to start their own business. The desire to choose their own path, instead of following orders, and the confidence gained from a career filled with mission accomplishment all factor in to Veterans choosing the entrepreneurial path. Additionally, the Veteran unemployment rate that consistently remains near 10% makes starting a business more attractive. And beginning next year, Veteran entrepreneurs will have an easier beginning on their path to financial independence.

The SBA recently announced that beginning January 1, 2014, through the end of the fiscal year, the borrower upfront fee will be set at zero for all Veteran loans that are authorized under the SBA Express program. While SBA Express only supports loans that are $350,000 or less,  the SBA Express Loan Program is the SBA’s most commonly used loan program. Approximately 60% of all 7(a) loans over the past 10 years have come through the SBA Express Loan Program.

Those eligible for the SBA Express Loan include: Veterans (other than those who were dishonorably discharged), active-duty service members who have completed the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), reservists, National Guard members, any spouse of the previously stated, or any widowed spouse of a service member who died while in service or of a service-connected disability.

Like all 7(a) loans, Express loans are granted to businesses, not individuals. Eligible Veterans or spouses must own and control 51% of the business or more in order to qualify.

In addition to loans, the SBA provides Veteran entrepreneurs with access to small-business counseling and training, focusing on how to develop your small business through opportunities such as government contracts. In 2013, SBA supported $1.86 billion in loans for 3,094 Veteran-owned small businesses.  For more information about zero-fee SBA Express loans and other programs and benefits, visit the SBA website at, or contact your local SBA field office.

Veteran Entrepreneurship, the Road to Success

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Veteran Entrepreneurship

Veteran entrepreneurship is great for Veteran employment, and great for the economy. The Small Business Administration (SBA) contends that there are 2.4 million Veteran owned businesses and they make up 9.1% of all U.S. businesses. Veteran businesses also employed 6 million people, and generated over $1 trillion in 2012.

The SBA believes that Veteran entrepreneurship is on the rise, especially among Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism. The number of Veteran business owners under the age of 35 rose from 4.6% in 2007 to 7.1% in 2012.

Many speculate that the rise of Veteran entrepreneurship is due to Veterans’ desires to no longer take orders from someone else, and decide their own fates. This could be true for some, but there is a lot more to be read into the situation.

Military service breeds a sense of confidence in those who have served. After completing training, deployments and campaigns, many servicemembers believe that they can accomplish any mission that they are assigned. Another reason that Veterans go into business for themselves is the cruel job market. Veterans who find it hard to get someone to hire them find other ways to earn a living. But the biggest factor that contributes to Veterans choosing the uncertain road of business ownership is the benefits that Veterans are eligible for to help them on their road to success.

Beginning with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, there is a multitude of benefits for Veteran Entrepreneurs. Veterans can use their GI Bill to earn vocational certifications and licenses, as well as degrees that will lend credence to their new business. Veteran entrepreneurs are also eligible for various loans and grants through the VA, and also discounts, waivers and tax breaks from federal, state and local agencies. Veterans are also offered discounts on franchising through many private corporations. The VA offers training for Veteran entrepreneurship in whatever field they choose.

Whatever the reason, Veteran entrepreneurs have a proven track record for durability and vitality. Data from the Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business showed that 88.9% of Veteran owned businesses were at least 3 years old.

All Veterans interested in joining their comrades on the road to success by owning their own business should research the benefits and discounts that they are eligible for. With an anthology of helpful links and information, the VAMBOA website is a great place for prospective Veteran business owners to take their first steps on the road to self-employment.

Veterans Small Business Trends

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The national unemployment rate has been above 7% since 2008, and the unemployment rate for Post-9/11 Veterans has been above 10% for most of this year. The president has made a vow to help Veterans find work. The government has implemented programs, such as the Vow to Hire Heroes Act, which helps Veterans find employment, while rewarding the companies that hire them. But while hundreds of companies have pledged to hire more Veterans, many former military prefer to go into business for themselves.

Men and women who have served in the Armed Forces have several key attributes which make them ideal candidates for business ownership. Veterans know how to work hard, but more importantly, they know how to delegate tasks. Veteran Entrepreneurs won’t try to shoulder the load alone, but instead will use their military leadership experience to train their employees to run the business as they themselves would run it.

One of the most important attributes that Veteran-Entrepreneurs possess is often over-looked and seldom mentioned. But the fact is, that no matter what a Veteran’s rank was when they separated from the military, they spent a career taking orders, and now want to call their own shots as civilians. This desire to be independent, combined with the confidence gained by a meritorious military career, make Veterans ideal aspirants to be successful business owners.

A growing trend in the community of Veteran Entrepreneurship is the utilization of opportunities found in franchise companies. Many franchise companies offer Veterans discounts on buy-in and start-up fees. Here are a few of the many notable companies that offer special franchise opportunities for military Veterans:

Little Caesars offers qualified Honorably Discharged Veterans $5,000 off the franchise fee, and $5,000 in credit for equipment. They also offer qualified Disabled Veterans up to $68,000 in benefits, including a waived franchising fee, and up to $10,000 credit for equipment and additional financing.

The UPS Store offers qualified Veterans and spouses of active duty service members $10,000 off the franchising fee, and up to 50% off the application fee.

7-Eleven offers qualified Veterans up to $35,000 off on franchises, and up to 65% in financing.

AAMco offers Veterans who purchase a franchise an $8,000 credit, and direct SBA loans.

Veteran Entrepreneurs are not limited to franchising with existing companies. This is just one of many ways that Veterans can go into business for themselves. There are many programs and benefits available for Veterans who are interested in starting their own business, or buying into a franchise company. The first place that potential Veteran Entrepreneurs should look is the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.