Of Trump Initiatives, Small Businesses Most Focused on Tax Reform

By Chad Brooks
Business.com / Entrepreneurship / Last Modified: October 10, 2017

Nearly half of small business owners surveyed said they are holding off on making any big decisions about their business until any tax changes are officially approved.

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Small businesses owners are likely keeping a close eye on the recent tax reform proposed by the Trump administration, new research suggests.

A nationwide survey of small and medium-sized businesses by Business.com revealed that tax reform, more so than other policy changes like healthcare, immigration and trade, is what they care about most. Specifically, 52 percent of those surveyed said tax reform has the biggest impact on their business.

The recent tax reform proposal from the Trump administration has many businesses taking a wait and see approach. Nearly half of those surveyed are planning to hold off on making any big decisions about their business until any tax changes are officially approved.

"Tax policies really impact the bottom line for SMBs, so these business owners are watching Washington closely to see how these reforms play out and what the timeline for implementation might be," says Doug Llewellyn, president and chief operating officer of Purch, which owns and operates the Business.com brand.

When it comes to tax reform, nearly half of those surveyed said a change in tax bracket would have the biggest impact on them, with 31 percent saying a change in the deductions they could make on their tax returns would have the greatest effect.

Healthcare is the other policy issue affecting small businesses the most. One-third of those surveyed said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the current piece of legislation that has the greatest impact on their business.

For most, the effect has been a negative one. Nearly half of those surveyed said the ACA has harmed their business, with just 14 percent saying they have benefited from the healthcare changes that went into effect in 2010.

While a plan to overhaul healthcare has yet to come to fruition, 68 percent of those surveyed said repealing the ACA would have a positive impact on their business.

The vast majority of small businesses say the other two major policy pieces that the Trump administration has, or is considering changing – the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – aren't keeping them up at night. Just 8 percent of small and medium-sized business owners said NAFTA has the largest influence on their business, with only 6 percent saying the same about DACA.

The study found that only 14 percent of those surveyed currently take advantage of the "free trade" tenets of NAFTA, with 55 percent saying ending the NAFTA agreement would have no impact on their business.

Similarly, more than three-quarters of the small business owners surveyed said a repeal of DACA would not impact their budgeting over the next six to 12 months.

The study was based on surveys of nearly 700 Business.com members across a variety of industries from around the country.

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