NEW YORK — In 2013, small business owners will contend with many of the same issues that made it hard to run their companies over the last 12 months.
Many small business owners are worried about their personal tax rates. Sole proprietors, partners and owners of what are called S corporations, all report the income from their businesses on their individual Form 1040 returns. That means their companies are in effect taxed at personal rates, which can be higher than corporate rates.
One of the most important tax provisions for small businesses, what's known as the Section 179 deduction, will shrink to $25,000 next year from $125,000 in 2012. The deduction, which applies to equipment purchases, was $500,000 in 2011. Congress can increase the deduction at any time, even after 2013 has begun. But for the time being, business owners can't count on getting a big break.
Under the new law, companies with 50 or more employees will be required to provide affordable health care insurance for their employees starting Jan. 1, 2014. During 2013, federal and state health insurance exchanges will be set up, and owners will be able to see how much it will cost them to buy insurance. As the year begins, however, many small business owners don't know whether their states will be creating exchanges, or whether they'll have to go into the national system — and they don't know what that will mean for costs.
For some owners, that information will help them decide whether they will buy insurance, or whether they'll decide it's cheaper to not provide coverage and just pay the government a $2,000-per-employee fine. For those who have close to 50 workers, they may decide to not hire more workers in order to remain outside the law's jurisdiction.
A trend that's expected to gain speed in 2013 is what's calling onshoring. That's the term for manufacturing that had been done overseas, and that's now taking place back in U.S. factories. Apple Inc. earlier this month said it would move production of some of its Mac computers to the U.S. from China next year — but many small businesses have already been making the switch. While Apple is an example of a big company moving in this direction, the majority of U.S. manufacturers are small businesses.
While companies' caution has weighed on the job market, many company owners who actually want to hire say it's hard to find workers to fill some positions.