Category Archives: Small Business

Personal Property Tax: The forgotten tax for many small businesses?

by Joe Heinrich, Volunteer Business Mentor, Seattle SCORE

Most small business owners are perfectly aware of the Federal, Washington and city taxes they are obliged to pay. However, the one that tends to fall through the cracks is the local Personal Property Tax on businesses by the county in which the business is located. This article explains what personal property is, how to self-report a business’s personal property, how the tax is assessed and how much a business may have to pay in Personal Property Tax.

What is “personal property” of a business?

Taxable Personal Property typically includes items used by a company to conduct business. Examples of personal property which may be assessed include furniture, fixtures, electronic equipment, telephones and machinery. Leasehold improvements and leased equipment are also included as personal property. However, personal property does not include property which is attached to a building or to the land which a business owns as that is considered “real property”.

Exempt personal property includes inventory (i.e., items owned to be resold or used as raw materials to products to be manufactured and sold) and vehicles used on the roadways.  Continue reading

Entrepreneurship is not a solo adventure.

by Mary Marshall, CEO Coach

entrepreneursThe most successful entrepreneurs figure out early on that they are not alone, that they are not infallible and that they need people better than themselves to do certain things.

However, we often have this vision of the entrepreneur as a superman or woman, slaying all the obstacles on the path to greatness all on their own. I’m here to tell you that image is simply not true. If it were, we would only be building companies of one and the term solopreneur would be all the rage.

Entrepreneurs do have good ideas and often strategies for putting their plans into motion. They often have a unique or different vision that others have not imagined yet but what they cannot do is single-handedly make it happen.

I’m reminded of this as I start the new class of Seattle Emerging Leaders at the SBA. These are businesses who have been operating for at least 3 years but at some point, became stuck and could not get past a certain stage of development. As this year’s class introduced themselves to one another, two very similar narratives emerged.

First, they were greatly relieved to be with other entrepreneurs like themselves who felt more or less alone. Realizing that everyone in the class was having the same experience was an eye opener for all of them. Secondly, they realized that part of their struggle was that while working in the business they rarely, if ever, had time to work on it so accountability for that went out the window with the pressing challenges of each day.

Read more on Mary Marshall’s website

Is there an embezzler in your company?

One of the joys of running a small business is how close you and your employees can become. For many entrepreneurs, their staff is more like family. That’s why it can be so painful to think that one of your employees is an embezzler. However, employee fraud is more common than you may think.

In fact, the majority (55 percent) of embezzlement takes place at companies with fewer than 100 employees, according to a study by insurance company Hiscox.

But that’s not all. In addition to being disproportionately affected by embezzlement, small companies also face disproportionately large costs when they are robbed. Consider this: One incident of embezzlement costs small businesses a median of $289,000. Could your business take a hit that big?

Read more here

Is it time to change your business structure?

The process to change a business structure (for example, change from a sole proprietorship to a corporation) is the same as starting a new business.

Use the Business Licensing Wizard to get information and links that will help you do the following:

  1. Create your business structure with the Washington Secretary of State. (Skip this step if you are changing to a sole proprietor or general partnership.)
  2. Submit a new Business License Application to apply for a new Business License. You will be given a new Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number to be used on tax returns and other documents.
  3. Reapply for any applicable specialty, and/or city endorsements (for example, Nursery endorsements).

Note: You will probably need to re-apply for all of the licenses you currently have. For example, if you are a building contractor, you will need to reapply for your contractor’s license with the Department of Labor and Industries.


This information has been borrowed from the Washington State Business Licensing Service website. (link)

Zero cost federal tax deduction — business use of your home.

by Joe Heinrich, Certified SCORE Mentor

Nirvana would be that a small business owner could generate a deduction from her/his business’s taxable income at no cost. Well, that situation is available for many small business owners: the business use of the home deduction. However, not all of small business owners are taking advantage of this deduction due to not knowing about it or fearing that taking the deduction will trigger an IRS audit.

First, the facts. IRS regulations allow a business owner to take a deduction for the business use of the home, provided that the space is used “exclusively and regularly” for business purposes. The space can either be a room, a part of a room, a closet, the basement or garage, or a separate building on the home’s lot.  Continue reading

The 3 things keeping small business owners up at night.

Small business owners heading into 2018 have a lot to be happy about — but they’ve also got some major concerns about the continued success of their businesses.

Capital One polled small business owners about their hopes and fears, and here’s what the latest Small Business Growth Index has to say about their responses.

Positive Outlook

All told, small business owners feel good about their finances. Nearly half (47 percent) say their businesses’ sales rose in the past six months—the highest percentage recorded by the survey since the second quarter of 2013. Some 37 percent say their financial position has improved from one year ago, too.

But it’s not all sunshine. While small business owners are happy with their finances, they’re also wondering how long the good times will last. In fact, two of the top three concerns cited by entrepreneurs in the survey are financial in nature.  Continue reading

The Megaphone of Main Street Small Business Jobs Report

Infographic # 1: Small Businesses and Employment

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Small businesses employ almost half of all workers in the United States and have been responsible for much of the economic recovery (through hiring) since the 2008 recession.

SCORE’s latest infographic explores small business hiring challenges.

This infographic highlights the findings of part 1 of The Megaphone of Main Street Small Jobs ReportContinue reading