02/14/2012 06:03 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2012

7 Tax Reform Proposals Small Businesses Would Support

Small, medium and large businesses do share some tax concerns after all. While small businesses may often focus on payroll taxes and bigger businesses seem to be primarily concerned with business income tax, seven of 15 potential tax reform proposals currently on the table appeal to businesses regardless of size. Those findings, according to a new survey of business advisers released by American University's Kogod Tax Center and Bloomberg BNA, may indicate widespread support of any tax reform bill that would address these particular concerns.

"What the survey reveals is that although the small business and the mid-to-large-size business communities differ with respect to their number one tax reforms goals, there is broad based agreement across the entire business community on the importance of a wide range of tax reform proposals," David Kautter, managing director of the Kogod Tax Center, said in a release. "These proposals should serve as a starting point for Congress as it looks at completely overhauling the nation’s tax laws."

Advisers for small businesses and for medium and large businesses revealed almost identical support for these seven proposals:

  • Extending 100 percent expensing (reported by 39 percent of small businesses/37 percent of medium to large businesses)
  • Lowering of the income tax rate for corporate and flowthrough income (39 percent/36 percent)
  • Reducing payroll taxes on employees (35 percent/32 percent)
  • Eliminating estate taxes (26 percent/28 percent)
  • Issuing definitive rules on independent contractor status (22 percent/23 percent)
  • Replacing the income tax with a national sales tax or other consumption tax (22 percent/23 percent)
  • Enacting a single, flat income tax rate (18 percent vs. 18 percent)

While businesses of all sizes seemed to agree on the tax proposals, they differed on tax priorities. For small businesses, two tax proposals tied for first place in importance -- repealing the alternative minimum tax and reducing payroll taxes on employers. Those two proposals outranked the importance larger businesses placed on them by 2 to 1. Making the health care tax deduction for self-employed permanent ranked as the second place priority for small businesses.

The top tax priority for medium and large businesses was extending the 100 percent expensing deduction for equipment purchases -- repealing the AMT and restructuring business income tax tied for second.