5:43 PM February 26, 2014
By Ann Sullivan
Ever wonder why paying taxes is so complicated? There's a commercial that says every year Americans leave $1 billion in unclaimed deductions and tax credits they are entitled to. Apparently so hard to understand that Americans just donate that money to the Treasury by failing to claim what is theirs.
A Congressman is out to change that. Dave Camp from Michigan just released a comprehensive draft of what he thinks would end up with more money in the Treasury and a whole lot less headache for business owners who do the tax dance every April. The Congressman spent three years traveling the country and holding Congressional hearings trying to figure out how to reverse the complicated tax system we currently have in place.
Highlights include getting rid of the seven tax brackets and have only two brackets for households: 25% and 10%. For those of you who have a combined income of above $450,000 don't hoop and holler too much--there will be a 10% surcharge on top of the 25% bracket. Let the record show that 99% of households would fall under the 25% bracket. Individuals would claim a standard deduction of $11,000 and $22,000 for married couples. It would also get rid of the hated AMT. The mortgage deduction would be limited to $500,000, cutting in half the current deduction.
On the business side, the plan would drop the corporate tax rate to 25% and the R&D tax credit would be made permanent. Investment income would be treated as normal income but 40% of it would be exempted. Camp says that would result in a drop of 3% over what is paid under today's system.
Kudos to the Congressman and the GOP leadership in the House for tackling this gargantuan task. The Committee on Ways and Means, which Congressman Camp chairs, is interested in your comments. You can find out more about the proposal here. Whether or not the proposal will ever make it to the President's desk for a signature remains to be seen. But this is a trailblazer when it comes to reforming the overly complicated tax code--something every business owner longs for in the first quarter of the year.
11:55 AM February 25, 2014
Last week, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz spoke at the National Press Club about the administration's "all of the above" energy strategy -a healthy mix of all types of energy sources to meet America's needs. The Secretary's speech disappointedly failed to discuss how our nation's export policies could spur growth and prosperity. There are over 20 LNG export applications waiting to be approved by the Department of Energy that could be a timely catalyst for jobs and economic growth to the country, if applications were expedited. Similarly, we need to export crude oil. For the first time in history, the U.S. has access to crude oil in such great quantities that we can and would benefit economically from exporting it. Unfortunately, Secretary Moniz sidestepped the question when he was asked about reexamining the obsolete, decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports. The Secretary also failed to give any indication of the future of Keystone XL, which would lower energy costs for people across the U.S. if approved, and the State Department's latest report has confirmed again that the pipeline's approval would not significantly impact carbon emissions, which the Secretary claims to be the administration's biggest concern with regards to its energy plan. WIPP's Economic Blueprint calls for a comprehensive energy plan, one that incorporates the use and deployment of domestic energy and alternative energy sources. We must put a greater emphasis on exports and moving forward with sensible projects.
11:51 AM February 24, 2014
According to the press release, The Obama administration on Wednesday released its final version of its "cybersecurity framework," a best practices manual for banking, defense, utilities and other industries to help protect themselves against attacks by hackers. Obama, who first made the call to create the guidelines in his 2013 State of the Union address, specifically called on the government to tap private industry and come up with a plan to improve information sharing with the private sector, raise the level of cybersecurity across critical U.S. infrastructure by encouraging widely accepted standards and best practices, all while keeping civil liberty concerns in mind. This information is vital for small businesses and particularly for our WIPP members. We offered a 3 part series on Cybersecurity this past month that will provide you a good background into the issue. To receive a copy of the podcasts, please click here.
12:49 PM February 20, 2014
WIPP is proud to introduce The WIPP Federal Contracting Certificate Program that demonstrates the capability and competence of women entrepreneurs to compete in the federal contracting arena, and provides the credentials and formal recognition needed to build business opportunities with contracting officers and prime vendors. WIPP members who complete the program will be listed in WIPP's directory of qualified contractors.
To enroll in the WIPP Certificate Program, follow this link for an explanation of the program levels as well as program enrollment. For additional information on the WIPP Federal Contracting Certificate Program, please email Procurement@wipp.org.
WIPP has a proud history of policy and education engagement in the procurement sector. More then a decade has passed since 2000, when federal law established a women's procurement program to assist the government in meeting its 5% women-owned small business contracting goal. Since then, the SBA implemented the program applicable to 83 industries and 373 NAICS codes. In March 2011 the WOSB Federal Contract Program began allowing contract officers to restrict competition to WOSBs.
Federal law requires the federal government to purchase at least 5% of its goods and services from women owned small businesses. To date, the Government has yet to reach this goal, leaving $4 Billion of opportunity for qualified WOSBs unmet.
Throughout this period WIPP has provided many educational tools and resources to the women's business community:
- Give Me 5 an online education program created by WIPP and American Express OPEN, designed to educate women entrepreneurs on how to successfully navigate the federal contract marketplace through a full range of courses.
- ChallengeHER, an initiative created by the SBA, American Express OPEN and WIPP to help expand the reach an impact of the WOSB Federal Contract Program.
And now WIPP introduces the WIPP Federal Procurement Certificate Program to provide an educational pathway for women entrepreneurs to acquire contracting ready credentials, strengthened skills and experience, a greater understanding of procurement policy, formal recognition in the federal market place and the ability to compete in government contracting.
For more information and to enroll in the program, please click here.
1:23 PM February 18, 2014
According to Cisco VNI Forecast, Global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013. Global mobile data traffic reached 1.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2013, up from 820 petabytes per month at the end of 2012. To add to that, Over half a billion (526 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2013. Global mobile devices and connections in 2013 grew to 7 billion, up from 6.5 billion in 2012. Smartphones accounted for 77 percent of that growth, with 406 million net additions in 2013. The interesting highlight in this release of Cisco VNI Forecast is that the Mobile network connection speeds more than doubled in 2013. Globally, the average mobile network downstream speed in 2013 was 1,387 kilobits per second (Kbps), up from 526 Kbps in 2012. This information will help WIPP members plan for growth and their use of social media is a vital source to support one's product and services.
Other important highlights of these updates are here.