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Op-ed: Tax reforms would help small businesses

Published April 18, 2017 5:33 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

My company, Cuisine Unlimited, was established more than 37-years ago in Salt Lake City as a small deli and catering operation. Today, we are a second-generation family-owned business with 120 full- and part-time employees offering full catering and events services in our local community, nationally and internationally. We have catered events throughout the country and have been involved with seven Olympic games. We were the exclusive caterer at USA House for the United States Olympic Committee in Athens and Torino.

As chair of the Small Business Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, I have met with hundreds of small business owners to better understand the U.S. small business landscape. Over the past decade, there have been many obstacles to overcome, including the worst recession since the Great Depression and a multitude of federal mandates coming from Washington, DC that have challenged our very existence. We want to grow our companies and contribute to the success of our communities. We find, however, roadblocks to that opportunity.

For small business owners, a critical tool to removing those roadblocks is reforming the tax code. Most importantly, the tax rate should be lowered for pass-through entities (LLCs, S Corps, Partnerships and Sole Proprietorships) and C Corps. The House Republicans' proposal (Blueprint Plan of the House Ways & Means) on tax reform that was introduced last year addresses the tax rate of pass-through entities by capping it at 25 percent and C Corps at 20 percent.

Next, Congress should repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and the estate tax, which would allow family businesses to pass from one generation to the next. The AMT is a very complex provision of the tax code. It really requires taxpayers to calculate taxes twice to determine which method produces the larger tax bill and then they must then pay on the higher amount. This was originally designed to ensure that wealthy Americans could not unduly reduce their tax liability through the use of special tax provisions. However, Americans in the middle class, which includes small business owners, are now commonly subject to AMT.

Eliminating the AMT would represent a key aspect of another goal of tax reform — simplification. Unlike most larger businesses, America's small businesses cannot afford the time or the resources to wrestle with the tax code every time they have to make a business decision.

New opportunities for entrepreneurs, beginning with comprehensive tax reform, would result in an economic vigor that could benefit every family across this country. Small business owners are ready to work with Congress to revise the tax code so that our businesses can make sound decisions based on business factors, not on tax consequences or even tax uncertainties. Comprehensive tax reform would mean small businesses would be able to do what they want to do most and generally do best — expand, create new jobs and have a positive impact on our communities and our economy.

Maxine Turner, founder of Salt Lake City-based Cuisine Unlimited Catering & Special Events, is the current chairwoman of the U.S. Chamber Small Business Council.






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