As President Obama readies his State of the Union address, news outlets are reporting that economic growth and taxation will be the focus of much of his remarks. According to these news reports, he will call for a "level playing field" in tax policy to ensure that the economic recovery reaches everyone, not just those in the upper tax brackets. He'll surely include several applause lines to appeal to his supporters in Congress and across the country. If the President and Congress are really serious about ensuring a fair tax code, they'll take action on the tax and other policy changes that level the playing field for the foundation of the American economy: the self-employed.
The nation's 22 million self-employed are starting and building businesses and contributing to the economic turnaround. But they're struggling not just with the economic challenges we all face, but also with a disproportionate tax burden and excessive paperwork requirements. The changes required to address these challenges aren't necessarily difficult - but they are vital to the continued success of the self-employed sector of the economy.
The Self-Employed Agenda for 2012 includes the following items:
- Action: The self-employed need this deduction extended or made permanent to avoid the dramatic increase in tax burden that will otherwise take effect.
- Action: Small and micro-businesses, who pay both the employer and employee version of the payroll tax, need relief to be extended for the full year to ensure they can continue to grow and contribute to overall economic improvement.
- Action: More than half of the self-employed work from an office at home, so Congress should pass and the President should sign legislation simplifying the deduction.
- Action: Maintaining the current level for this deduction is vital to encouraging individuals to continue to start new companies and contribute to the growth of our economy.
- Action: Small and micro-businesses need this exemption to remain at 2011 levels to ensure the self-employed are not unfairly singled out for higher taxes by this reduction in the exemption.
We all know 2012 is a pivotal year for the economy - and for the politicians who help shape policies designed to boost growth. If our elected leaders are concerned about keeping their jobs into 2013, they should focus on the tax policies the self-employed need to keep growing their businesses in 2012.