Small Business Updates

New State Website Aimed at Small Businesses

Small businesses are encouraged to visit a new state webpage that covers planning, starting, running, growing and if necessary, closing a small business. Click here to review the contents of the guide.

State Launches Stay at Work Program

Labor & Industries this week launched its Stay at Work incentive program.  It allows employers to be reimbursed for 50 percent of the base wages they paid to an injured worker and for some of the cost of training, tools or clothing a worker may need to perform light duty or transitional work.  Interested employers should apply at

StartZone’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center Open

FREE Assistance is available to anyone whose household earnings in 2011 were less than $50,000, including anyone who has business income to report on a Schedule C. Eligible individuals will receive assistance from a trained and professionally supervised volunteer who will help complete and file 1040, Schedule C, applications for the Making Work Pay and Earned Income tax credits, and other forms.

The Center is located at the HighlineCommunityCollegeOutreachCenter, Bldg. 99 Room 251. For map and directions to the OutreachCenter, please click here. The site will be open from 4pm – 8pm on Thursdays and 9am-1pm on Saturdays from January 12th through April 17th.  Walk-ins are welcome. Business filers may make appointments after March 1st. For more information, call us at 206 592-3388 or email us at

Small Business Workshops – Seattle SBA Education and Training Center
Small Business Taxes & Bookkeeping for the Small Business Owner – 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month – 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Upcoming workshop dates:  Jan 26, Feb 9, Feb 23

Learn about important information regarding your tax responsibilities as a small business owner, find out what taxes to pay and when they are due.

Payroll Workshop – 2nd Thursday of each month — 8:30 am to 9:30 am

Upcoming workshop dates: Feb 9, Mar 8

Have you been in business for a while?  Are you ready to incorporate?  Hire employees?  Want to know more about payroll, benefits, and human resources?  If you need to make informed decisions about growing your business, this workshop is for you.  Key information covered: 1) Contractor versus employee; 2) Keeping current on ever changing tax rules; 3) Payroll software and business owner options; 4) Strategies to empower yourself as an entrepreneur.

All workshops are held at the 4th &BatteryBuilding -2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450,Seattle

Please pre-register by calling 206-553-2664 or e-mail

SBA and SCORE also offer a variety of other workshops for small business owners – find out more here:

Small Business Tax Workshop – Washington Business Center

Feb 8 – 12:00 – 1:00pm

Community Capital Development1437 S. Jackson St,Seattle

(206) 324-4330 Ext. 100

Small Business Tax Workshops – Northwest Washington Business Center

Federal Taxes:  Feb 21, 9 am – 12 noon

State & Local Taxes:  Feb 28, 9 am – 12 noon

Both workshops will be held at:

Greater Marysville Chamber of Commerce — 8825 34thSt.Suite C, Marysville

Pre-registration for either workshop is a must!  Email to register.

Seattle SCORE Workshops

SCORE offers workshops designed to give you the skills necessary to start your own successful business.

Feb 1 & Mar 7 — Starting a New Business

4th & Battery Building – 2401 Fourth Avenue, Suite 450, Seattle

Spokane SCORE Workshops

Spokane Regional Business Center (SRBC), 801 W. Riverside Avenue, Suite 444, Spokane

How to Start a New Business – Feb 1 & Mar 7 – 8:00 am – 12:30 pm – Cost: $40

Financial Record Keeping – Jan 25 & Feb 22 – 8:00 am – 12:30 pm – Cost: $40

Check website for current listings and registration information.

Employer’s Introduction to L&I Workshops

This workshop is designed for new businesses or businesses that plan to hire workers for the first time. It explains an employer’s rights and responsibilities and provides an overview of the services and resources available at Labor and Industries.

Feb 1 – Tukwila – 9am – 12 pm

Feb 8 –Vancouver– 9am – 12 pm

IRS Updates & News Releases:

Did you know? One of the best ways to get information is by visiting the IRSSmall Business Tax Center where you can learn everything from how to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online to how to best navigate an audit.

Reminder: Small Business Health Care Tax Credit,,id=223666,00.html?portlet=108

Small employers can get tax breaks for covering employee health costs.

If you are a small employer . . .

– with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees
– that pays an average wage of less than $50,000 a year
– and pays at least half of employee health insurance premiums

. . .then there is a tax credit that may put money in your pocket.

IRS Announces 2012 Standard Mileage Rates, Most Rates Are the Same as in July,,id=250882,00.html

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2012 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2012, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is:

  • 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The rate for business miles driven is unchanged from the mid-year adjustment that became effective on July 1, 2011. The medical and moving rate has been reduced by 0.5 cents per mile. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.

Payroll Tax Cut Temporarily Extended into 2012,,id=251650,00.html

The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 temporarily extends the two percentage point payroll tax cut for employees, continuing the reduction of their Social Security tax withholding rate from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of wages paid through Feb. 29, 2012. This reduced Social Security withholding will have no effect on employees’ future Social Security benefits.  Employers should implement the new payroll tax rate as soon as possible in 2012 but not later than Jan. 31, 2012. For any Social Security tax over-withheld during January, employers should make an offsetting adjustment in workers’ pay as soon as possible but not later than March 31, 2012.  Employers and payroll companies will handle the withholding changes, so workers should not need to take any additional action.

IRS Releases New Tax Gap Estimates; Compliance Rates Remain Statistically Unchanged From Previous Study,,id=252038,00.html

The Internal Revenue Service has released a new set of tax gap estimates for tax year 2006. The tax gap is defined as the amount of tax liability faced by taxpayers that is not paid on time. The new tax gap estimate represents the first full update of the report in five years, and it shows the nation’s compliance rate is essentially unchanged from the last review covering tax year 2001.

The tax gap can be divided into three components: non-filing, underreporting and underpayment. As was the case in 2001, the underreporting of income remained the biggest contributing factor to the tax gap in 2006. Under-reporting across taxpayer categories accounted for an estimated $376 billion of the gross tax gap in 2006, up from $285 billion in 2001. Tax non-filing accounted for $28 billion in 2006, up from $27 billion in 2001. Underpayment of tax increased to $46 billion, up from $33 billion in the previous study.  Overall, compliance is highest where there is third-party information reporting and/or withholding. For example, most wages and salaries are reported by employers to the IRS on Forms W-2 and are subject to withholding. As a result, a net of only 1 percent of wage and salary income was misreported. But amounts subject to little or no information reporting had a 56 percent net misreporting rate in 2006.

IRS Kicks off 2012 Tax Season with Deadline Extended to April 17,,id=251825,00.html

Taxpayers have until April 17 to file their tax returns. The IRS encourages taxpayers to e-file as it is the best way to ensure accurate tax returns and get faster refunds. The IRS also announced a number of improvements to help make this tax season easy for taxpayers. This includes new navigation features and helpful information on and a new pilot to allow taxpayers to use interactive video to get help with tax issues.

“At the IRS, we’re working hard to make the process of filing your taxes as quick and easy as possible,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Providing quality service is one of our top priorities. It not only reduces the burden on taxpayers, but also helps in filing an accurate return right from the start.”

Taxpayers will have until Tuesday, April 17, to file their 2011 tax returns and pay any tax due because April 15 falls on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, falls this year on Monday, April 16. According to federal law,District of Columbiaholidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do; therefore, all taxpayers will have two extra days to file this year. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Oct. 15 to file their 2012 tax returns.

Tax Tips for 2012,,id=104608,00.html

Visit the Tax Tips page to find information on a variety of tax topics for the 2012 filing season. Just some of the tips you will find there:

Federal Tax Information Aplenty through Social Media

Tax Help ‘en Español’

Four Ways to Get IRS Forms and Publications

IRS e-file Launches; Most Taxpayers Can File Immediately,,id=252505,00.html

The 2012 electronic tax return filing season is open. IRS reminds taxpayers that e-file remains the best way to get fast refunds and ensure accurate tax returns. IRS e-file has surpassed the milestone of 1 billion returns processed. The electronic transmission system revolutionized the way the IRS processes tax returns and made speedy refunds possible. More than 112 million income tax returns were e-filed last year, or 77 percent of all individual returns filed.

“E-file is the best option for taxpayers. E-file enables taxpayers to file more accurate returns and receive their refunds quickly and safely,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman.

Do Your Federal Taxes for Free with IRS Free File,,id=252506,00.html

IRS Free File, which has been making taxes a little less taxing for a decade, opened January 17. More than 33 million returns have been filed through Free File since its debut.

Everyone can use Free File, either the brand-name software offered by IRS’ commercial partners or the online fillable forms. Individuals or families with 2011 adjusted gross incomes of $57,000 or less can use Free File software. Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, has no income restrictions. Free File software is a product of a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC. The Allianceis a consortium of approximately 20 tax software providers who make versions of their free-file products available exclusively at  All Free File members must meet certain security requirements and use the latest in encryption technology to protect taxpayers’ information. Seventy percent of taxpayers – 100 million people – are eligible for Free File software. It’s perfect for first-time filers, families looking to save money or older Americans adept at using the Internet.

Recent Articles from e-News for Small Businesses

Contacting the IRS for information and assistance

The hours of service for most IRS toll-free telephone lines is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

Related link:  Ways to contact the IRS

Revised Circular E now available

Pub. 15, (Circular E) Employer’s Tax Guide, is updated to reflect the recent legislation temporarily extending the payroll tax cut for employees.

Identity theft

Two new fact sheets offer information for taxpayers caught by identity theft:

FS-2012-8, Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft

FS-2012-7 Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Choosing a tax preparer

Even if a return was prepared by an outside individual or firm, taxpayers are legally responsible for what‘s on the return. IRS Tax Tip 2012-06 offers tips to help choose a tax preparer wisely.

National Taxpayer Advocate annual report

The National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2011 annual report to Congress focuses on IRS funding and taxpayer rights. IR-2012-6 has more information.

Winter 2011 SSA/IRS Reporter

The latest issue of SSA/IRS Reporter includes information for employers from the IRS, Social Security Administration and the American Payroll Association.

Revisions to FBAR and Form 8300 instructions

Headliner Volume 316 explains the new process to amend a previously filed Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business, or TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts.

Recent IRS announcements

Tax Tip 2012-01 IRS Offers Top 10 Tax-Time Tips

IR-2012-5, IRS Offshore Programs Produce $4.4 Billion to Date for Nation’s Taxpayers; Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program Reopens

IR-2012-3, More Innocent Spouses Qualify for Relief under New IRS Guidelines

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